Aqua1967
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Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:25 pm
Location: Livingston County, Michigan

Help for a new SE Michigan gardener wanna-be

Hello everyone, I'm so glad that I found this forum. I'm sure I'll be spending a lot of time here learning and reading old posts.

While in the past I've grown a tomato plant or two in a container, I've never really done much vegetable gardening. This year I figured I'd try a raised garden or container garden, or perhaps some sort of combination.

I recently moved to a home where the previous owner had a nice vegetable garden, but they used chemicals such as Roundup. So I wanted a raised bed/container garden so my plants would not come into contact with the poisoned soil. I have no idea how long that stuff stays in the environment and we've been here 3 1/2 years. Do any of you know?

I would like a few tomato plants, a couple bell pepper plants, a couple basil plants, a couple lettuce plants, a couple cucumber plants, and a couple zucchini plants. If there was room for some other things, like marigolds or other beneficial plants to have grown alongside these vegetables, that would be great. Do you have any ideas of other beneficial plants besides marigolds?

My idea was to use stone or brick to build a nice looking raised garden that was tall enough to have a built-in stone/brick bench along one side on which I could throw cushions for comfort. I also have 4 dogs so the garden would be high enough to prevent a leg lift incident and prevent any digging. It is just myself and my husband, so the raised garden would be small. I realize it will take a lot of soil to fill this garden and right now I'm not even sure what the area dimensions would need to be. Could any of you offer your size suggestions?

I want a bottom to this garden to prevent contact with poisoned soil. Is this feasible or is it a recipe for disaster? Would I need to allow sections to be open to the soil below for drainage? Could I have drainage openings in the container walls? Would I be better off just using containers instead of trying to build a raised garden container of sorts?

I also figured I'd try growing some potatoes in one of those "smart bags" or a "potato condo". Does anyone have any pointers or comments on using those? Could I grow the other vegetables I was considering in those "smart bags"?

I appreciate your thoughts and experienced advice.

gumbo2176
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Location: New Orleans

Re: Help for a new SE Michigan gardener wanna-be

Not sure how long Roundup lasts in the soil, but I've seen folks use the stuff and a few months later the weeds are back, so I'd imagine it doesn't last all that long. Besides, I can't see why anyone would use Roundup "IN" their garden and take the chance of overspray getting it on their vegetable plants.

As for a raised bed plot, you really don't want it any bigger than 4 ft. across by whatever length you need to plant what you wish to grow. A 4 ft. wide bed allows you full access from both sides to be able to reach into the middle of the bed because the purpose of a raised bed is to keep from walking on and compacting the soil.

Not sure how much experience you have at this, but know that there are many plants that need a fair amount of space to do well, so bottom line is don't overcrowd the area with too many plants or they will be fighting for moisture and minerals to grow well.

Tomatoes need to be staked to do well. Cucumbers love being grown on a trellis and that keeps the fruit off the ground, plus it saves garden space. Zucchini get HUGE. Bell pepper plants are another plant I stake and tie off since they can be bent over if loaded with peppers and strong winds or big rains hit your garden. Lettuce is more a fall/very early spring plant since it will bolt (go to seed) as soon as the weather gets in the 80 degree range and when it does that I find they get very bitter tasting.

A better option would be Swiss Chard if you are looking for a salad green. It is much like spinach, only much larger and heat tolerant and is considered a good spinach substitute.

Basil plants can get very big too. Most of the time mine get to be between 3-4 ft. tall and a couple feet around.

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jal_ut
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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Help for a new SE Michigan gardener wanna-be

"I have no idea how long that stuff stays in the environment and we've been here 3 1/2 years. Do any of you know?"

The Roundup will be gone. I would go plant in that old garden plot. Plants do better when in the ground as their roots go deep, 3 to 6 feet, so this can't be done in a pot.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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