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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
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    5,310

    Vegetable Gardening

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    Okay the gardeners/fruit growers finally piqued my interest. I am considering if I can get DH to resign himself to helping build and let me have the space putting in a small vegetable garden. Based on my CFO (lives same geographical area) and my fabulous Mammaw I think I could have some success with squash, cucumber, tomatoes in my area. My Mammaw also grew corn but I don't have the extremely huge yard or the patience she was blessed with. I am thinking larger tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, squash, zuccini and cucumber (and getting Mammaw's pickle recipe mmmm).

    Our backyard is rock under 1" of sandy loam so it will definitely be a built up garden for sure. We have a perfectly rectangle lot, 50X150. House is relatively close to the street (I bet not more than 20' back) and 1630 sq foot. So I guess the backyard is probably 80-90 foot deep still. It is long so I have room to work with but DH probably won't let me have too much as he has "visions" of a large covered patio. Okay back to the task at hand.

    How much room would I need? It is full sun right now but there are plans to put in a large shade tree practically middle of the yard with a canopy that one day will shade 90% of the width or more (we are thinking a Monterrey Oak ~30-40 ft canopy). What type of fill dirt? Can I just build up with landscape timbers? How many plants of each? We are a house of two, don't eat that many tomatoes but homemade salsa might be a task. We would steam the veggies as we both loved steamed squash. So this is more just for fun than anything. What else do I need to know?
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Squashes need a lot of room to spread out. Lots of people around here grow them separately from the rest of the garden. They're pretty plants (I think), so people put them around their mailbox, around the house or walkways, or just in random places in the yard.

    With tomatoes, it depends on how much canning/freezing you want to do, and also if you're not a super-diligent gardener, yields can vary a lot from year to year. A dozen to 18 plants are enough for DH and myself, but for instance, this year with 10 plants (plus one cherry and one tomatillo), less than ideal weather and a distracted gardener, we got a total of 4 pints of sauce and no other preserved tomato products.

    When you build up your beds, don't use treated or creosoted lumber. I would guess that the recycled plastic timbers should be safe, but I really don't know, so I'd want to read some more about it. In my own garden, rather than built raised beds, I just mound up beds at the beginning of each season. That gives me drainage and soil depth, but I can still till and amend the garden all at once, and build up a deeper and deeper topsoil year after year. But my soil is over clay, so that's different from rock...
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    197
    It's probably better to start small and expand as you go along. Gardening in a big space might be a put off after you realize how much work / time is taking you. I would say start maybe a off 4 - 4'x4' bed and see how much you like. You can always expand if needed. But don't forget there's only the two of you! Unless you're vegetarians, I doubt you can eat all that food. I'm not sure where about you live, but first to do is find out what "zone" you're in. It basically tells you what you can grow when. http://www.garden.org/zipzone/

    Unless you live in the hottest zone down in the States, tomatoes do well in full sun. Most vegetables needs at least 6 hours of sun. Lettuce and some other leafy vegetables can use less sun.

    And I like to have raised beds that are about 4'x4' with about 2 feet of foot path for wheel barrows. 4' is good because you can reach in the bed without stepping in it. Ideally, you should have about 12" of good quality compost/soil. Not sure if you have access to "sea soil" down where you are. But I had some one year and everything I planted with that soil grew like crazy!

    If you need more help, try http://www.gardenweb.com I learnt a lot asking people in that site. Or email me directly if you have more question Gardening is my passion

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    Posts
    5,310
    Oh 4X4 sounds alright. Or maybe two 4X4 so I can position them along the fences. My mom had a graden ages ago and recommended 8X8 but that is a large square. We are Zone 8B, so that is good to know. I already learned a bit about zones and soil planning a shrub/flower/landscape bed with DH.

    I will check what the soil places have, I went cross eyed at the selection buying landscaping dirt.
    Last edited by Aggie_Ama; 10-14-2008 at 08:38 AM.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    A great resource for raised beds, particularly if you are starting small is:
    http://www.squarefootgardening.com/
    The soil mix used here worked great for us - as did the trellis.

    For your environment (which is similiar to the climate we had the last summer we were in NC), tomatoes, squash, green beans, peppers and cukes would do well. Those are all the things that suffered here because it was such a short summer this year. You could do all this in one 4x4 space if you planned it out right. You would have plenty for eating, but likely not much for preservation/canning unless you happened to have a bumper crop. If you did SFG, you could also do succession planting and get spring crops, summer crops and fall crops from the same 4x4 space (particularly since you would have a long growing season). It's surprizingly less work than traditional 'row' gardening and it uses less water!
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    Posts
    5,310
    GLC- That site is intriguing and looks like it would be something taking little work from DH (a plus). Plus, I guess if I hate gardening I could turn them into flower beds at that size. The backyard is completely barren with just a bunch of struggling Bermuda, I am sure DH would warm to the idea of a tidy garden. I hope.

    I don't know how I could forget my Mammaw growing beans and peppers! I only remember the corn, rows of it.
    Last edited by Aggie_Ama; 10-14-2008 at 09:18 AM.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    In my experience, 4x4 beds are a bit of a reach (for me). I prefer 3x8 or 3x6. That way, I don't have to stretch so much to reach the middle of the bed. Square Foot Gardening is good, although the author gets a bit compulsive on the measuring!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    Posts
    5,310
    Quote Originally Posted by tulip View Post
    In my experience, 4x4 beds are a bit of a reach (for me). I prefer 3x8 or 3x6. That way, I don't have to stretch so much to reach the middle of the bed. Square Foot Gardening is good, although the author gets a bit compulsive on the measuring!
    LOL, yeah he site was a little over excited but my lovely alma mater has a whole web page of how to container garden, terrace garden and what vegetables to plant in various parts of the state updated yearly. All hail Aggie Horticulture!
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Quote Originally Posted by Aggie_Ama View Post
    Aggie Horticulture!
    Is that a tautology?
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    Posts
    5,310
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    Is that a tautology?

    Oh lookie I learned a new word today! I guess in a way it is.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    61
    To start, I think my location means I'm in a completely different position to you climatewise

    But....

    From a few year of growing veg I would say the following:

    - Never wiorry about space, you can always grow something. If it's tiny then herbs. as soon as it's bigger than a window box you can grow more than that.
    - There seems to be types of squash that grow everywhere, but always need lots of water and possibly feeding if thye haven't had enough compost to starrt with. I had silly huge amounts of courgette (zucchini) this year. Some other winter squash - varies what they need but lost of water generally. others a few (a type of patty pan) needed more sun than others.
    - Beans - there will be types that will grow everywhere and lots. beans are fab. this year i have grown cherokee trail of tears - wow they are amazing. tasty and go on and on and on. rather than glut they have given me a steaday crop (for a single person).
    - tomatoes - great to grow because the taste is so much better. there are so many types - there's bound to be one that suits what you want
    - cabbages and brassicas - I wish I could comment but the caterpillars ate mine.

    this is just brief - but the main thing is just try and grow stuff, experiment and see what you can grow.
    Last edited by ms pepperpot; 10-15-2008 at 04:55 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    148
    I tried a garden a couple of years. I did learn one lesson, I planted way too many squash! I mean, I like squash but there was no way I could eat as many as I planted. And I didn't even think I'd put in that many plants.

    Okra is a great thing that loves sun and heat, I think. My grandfather always grew lots of okra and tomatoes with his gardens.

    If I had it to do over again, I'd also start with the tomato plants already started and not seeds. I live up in the panhandle so for me it didn't get warm enough to grow mine up in time before it began to get too cold.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Omaha Nebraska USA
    Posts
    216
    I planted a little garden for the first time in several years. I re-learned one thing: you only need one zuchinni seed.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    148
    Quote Originally Posted by carpaltunnel View Post
    I planted a little garden for the first time in several years. I re-learned one thing: you only need one zuchinni seed.
    Amen, sista'! LOL

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    The one Garrison Keillor bit sticks in my head, how in Minnesota in the summertime, someone will ring your doorbell, and when you come to the door there's no one there but a huge bag of zucchini.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

 

 

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