starting a garden- Gardening & Landscaping

I would like to start a garden, but I don't know the first thing about it and it seems so overwhelming and time consuming, I never bothered to try and learn. Where would I put it, which direction in the yard should it be, on the east side, west side? How do I test the soil to see what I need to

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  1. #1
    Deal GURU
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    Default starting a garden


    I would like to start a garden, but I don't know the first thing about it
    and it seems so overwhelming and time consuming, I never bothered to try and
    learn. Where would I put it, which direction in the yard should it be, on
    the east side, west side? How do I test the soil to see what I need to add,
    what is compost, what do I use to fertilize, etc. I have three kids and
    don't know if I would ever have the time to learn, but I would like to get
    started small and go from there, maybe some pot gardens. Is there a
    specific place that can teach a novice, or should I just google and see what
    I find?





    Thanks

    Melissa in OK
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  2. #2
    Deal GURU
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    Try the Master Gardeners website. They have regional and local chapters, so you
    may want to search by your state. I know that they have classes, demonstrations,
    answer questions and give tips specifically for the area you are in, like best
    varieties to plant, soil conditioning ect.. I did a search and found 150,000
    hits on MSN. Good luck, gardening is fun and it's nice to see the results of
    your labors.
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  3. #3
    Deal GURU
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    Melissa -- there was a discussion on gardening on the list a while back - you
    could try to search the archives . .

    For a 'hands on' learning you could try your local extension service -- they are
    great for information on a lot of different things. Our extension service has a
    Master Gardener program where people take the classes, get certified and go into
    the community to help people just like you

    Maybe just starting small with some containers would be a good idea. You can
    grow most things in containers -- just pick a veggie or two and go from there


    Good Luck!

    Karin
    North Dakota
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  4. #4
    Deal GURU
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    Excellent information. Thank you so much for all of the sites and info on
    starting a garden. I am kind of in the same boat as Melissa. Continuing to watch
    this thread...

    Kathy in MO
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  5. #5
    Deal GURU
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    ok check it out . if the kids are big enough then put thim to work . put
    your garden where it will have full sun for most of the day. honestly i dont
    realy think it matters what side of the house you put it on as long as it gets
    sun on that side . turn your dirt . dont waist your money on testing kits
    unless your gonna start a farm. just get some mrcl gro. time releace . your
    dirt needs plenty of nitro. potassium calcium and there was something else i
    thank it was magnesium . but the mrcl gro. will cover all of this and it
    should say 10-10-10 and every thing should be fine follow the directions on it
    so you dont burn out your plants . another thing is if your dirt is kind of
    clay . the put some peatmoss. so that it will drain and the plants can pull
    nutrients from it also you can take your yard leaves, grass clippings and till
    it in the dirt. about 3 inches thick over the garden is good and till it all
    in . all of this is compost . they say its
    supose to be rotted but i bet it will do this just fine after tilled .
    lol.... honestly weather your dirt is clay or not your should put this in any
    way. cause its realy good for your plants and it keeps your dirt rich. when
    your done with that. then your dirt is prity much ready for your plants . let
    me know if you have any questions or any thing i will be happy to help you out.

    Eric,
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  6. #6
    Deal GURU
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    how do you know there are not "bad" things in the soil
    the people that sold me my home -- their kids used to sell drugs -- also there
    was signs of truck or cars being diven on the property.

    I have had the property for 4 years ...

    each year I plan to test but delay due to other priorities

    any comments ??
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  7. #7
    Deal GURU
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    how do you know there are not "bad" things in the soil
    the people that sold me my home -- their kids used to sell drugs -- also there
    was signs of truck or cars being diven on the property.

    I have had the property for 4 years ...

    each year I plan to test but delay due to other priorities

    any comments ??
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  8. #8
    Deal GURU
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    If it's been 4 years, you -should- be fine, but a test is never
    remiss. You could also get some fill dirt, and rotatill the land
    where you want the garden, adding in the new clean dirt, and perhaps
    some potting soil to the land.
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  9. #9
    Deal GURU
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    You could replace the dirt in the area you may be concerned about just as
    precaution. Or try a test plot & see how things grow....this won't let you
    know if there is anything transferring to the plant, however, just whether
    or not it is fertile. If you have a local agricultural office, they may be
    able to test the dirt for you.
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  10. #10
    Deal GURU
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    Eric:



    Yes, they might??.our local office does it for free. The flip side is peace
    of mind is worth something.
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  11. #11
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    if something was dumped that long ago and the grass hasent died . then get er
    done lol
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  12. #12
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    The two books I recommend the most are Lasagna Gardening (sorry, can't
    remember authors name). And Square Foot Gardening by Mel Barthlomew. I
    know you can google Square foot gardening, and on the official website
    there is a several page download that gives you the basics of
    gardening. There is also a yahoo group called "The Potager", and the
    ladies there are always helpful.

    I hope these help.

    Angela in OK
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  13. #13
    Deal GURU
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    The two books I recommend the most are Lasagna Gardening (sorry, can't
    remember authors name). And Square Foot Gardening by Mel Barthlomew. I
    know you can google Square foot gardening, and on the official website
    there is a several page download that gives you the basics of
    gardening. There is also a yahoo group called "The Potager", and the
    ladies there are always helpful.

    I hope these help.

    Angela in OK
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  14. #14
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    I started gardening when I got married many years ago, so am just trying to
    reach back to when I started. I recall being confused about what I was
    doing....had a beautiful plant thriving in my proudly made new garden, only
    to have a neighbor point out to me that it was a weed....but let me tell you
    it was one beautiful weed! But I soon learned it really wasn't that
    confusing, or difficult.



    The garden should be placed where it is sunny...and can drain well...not in
    a low spot. The point of a garden is to keep things simple. Spending a lot
    of cash on testing kits isn't necessary. Talk to neighbors, friends, etc.
    in your area...the elderly are great sources of information if they garden.
    Try some easy plants to start with. Carrots, green beans, turnips, &
    lettuce are easy to grow. (You could do potatoes but make sure you have
    seed potatoes, not those that you buy in the grocery store for cooking as
    they are sprayed to stunt growth). Mark your rows when you plant the seeds
    with something that won't wash away, or blow away (yes I've done both). The
    dirt should be loose so if it is to compacted, add some peat moss. Rotted
    manure makes a great natural fertilizer. The need to fertilize will depend
    on what you grow (peas add back to the soil) and over fertilization can burn
    tender roots. (These are easy to grow but take a lot of room & need
    shelling when ready....I plant mine by a fence so that they are easier to
    pick). Tomatoes can be bought from the greenhouse & make great plants for
    container gardening. (These "already started" plants are called bedding
    plants that just need to be transplanted to their new home.)



    Depending upon the weather conditions and growing season where you live will
    determine what you can grow. I've seen gardens grow in practically cement
    if they've gotten the proper moisture! It really isn't difficult but takes
    some trial & error. Gardening is not really time consuming...a good
    thorough weeding once or twice a season plus the odd picking now and then is
    enough, at least where I live (short growing season!). When I started, I
    drew a map of my garden so I had an idea of what came up where..noted how
    things did & what I did. Considering I didn't have a clue, I found that it
    quite easy & rewarding.



    I've never used compost, and have been told that feeding a composter is an
    art in itself...compost is the breakdown of organic material..I'll leave
    that subject to more knowledgeable people!



    If you can get a book by Lois Hole, she has some great ones.



    Keep it simple & you'll be surprised by how quickly you learn. It is
    actually even relaxing to go out & spend some time communing with Mother
    Earth. And as someone else suggested, it's a great learning experience for
    children. The can grown their own beans in a cup of dirt & watch it
    grow....I've done this with 3 year olds. They are great at taking care of
    things. Good luck on your endeavour..hope I've been of some help. You can
    do this!!



    Cindy
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  15. #15
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    If your soil is questionable, try "googling" straw-bale gardening. I bought this place a year and a half ago. It had been used for many years as a rental and so, other than the actual homesite, nothing had been developed. It is also on a hill. The only way (I thought) that I was going to be able to have a garden this year was to have fill dirt and top soil brought in. The cost for that (at least all in one season) was out of my reach so I did some research on gardening in straw bales. I don't know where I had heard of it but somewhere in the back of my mind I had apparently stored the term.

    Anyway, there is some cost in buying the straw bales. You don't want to use old hay as you will end up with lots of weeds. There is also the cost of "prepping" the bales with ammoniun nitrate (expect to have to look hard for it; I had to special order it through my local feed store; it's used in explosives). The 50-pound bag cost me $16.00.

    Supposedly, you can get two growing seasons out of a bale of straw. We'll see. I don't know if they would survive a soggy winter in the Pacific Northwest, but if they do, and I've used only half the bag of a.n. so far, it may not work out to be too costly.

    Anyway, my tomato plants look great. They're flowering and look nice and healthy. I have onions, beans and beets coming up and I will be planting peppers this week. I don't know if zucchini, winter squash, or cucumbers will work in the bales, though, as they may be too spreading. I think I will plant them in raised beds made with cement blocks (95 cents each from Home Depot) but filled with straw.

    Anyway, it's a suggestion. The sites I went to were all positive. We'll see how my garden is producing throughout the season!

    Janis

 

 

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