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Old 02-19-2013, 09:57 AM
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Default First Garden!

This is my first year living full time on the mountain here in NC, and along with everything else I'm turning farmer! Went to Tractor Supply yesterday and got seeds for my latest adventure. We have:
  • Onions (Yellow)
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomato (Roma)
  • Pea's
  • Radish's
  • Cucumber's
  • Hot Peppers
  • Sweet Corn
  • Carrot's
  • Strawberries (Everbearing)
  • Raspberries

I know nothing abut gardening so I hope these vegies will co-exist in the same area. Any suggestions or advice will be appreciated!
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:13 AM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Don't forget the water.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:33 AM
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Default Re: First Garden!

A few thoughts.

First, watch the orientation of the garden as it relates to sunshine. It's best to put the shortest things towards the south so they get sun. E.g. don't put the corn or peas on the south side then put the carrots, radishes & onions just to the north of them. The taller plants can block the sunshine.

Watch your viney plants (e.g. cucumbers or pumpkins). They'll need space to spread out. I put these on the perimeter of the garden and train them to grow outwards so they don't grow into the other plants.

I'd keep the perennials (strawberries, raspberries, asparagus and the winter crops like garlic) in a different location. You won't want to be having to work or till around them when planting other things each spring. I made a couple raised bed gardens that I keep these in. The rototiller doesn't go into those areas.

Stake your peas. Optionally, the tomatoes.

I have a hard time with corn coming out nice and it takes a lot of space. If your garden isn't big enough for everything, I'd scrap the corn.

Plant things at the right time so they come into harvest when you want. E.g. if you're making sauces, try to make it where the tomatoes, peppers, onions... all come into harvest at the same time. It sucks when the tomatoes are ready for canning but the other things aren't ready for harvest.

Make sure you mark which are the sweet and hot peppers...
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:52 AM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Thank BC, great input!
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Orientation! Plant your rows running north and south. This allows better sun unless you plant something that likes shade. Start your tomatoes inside now for your area. Your season is vastly different from mine. Are you going to fence it? Critters travel a long way for good eating. If you fence it go with 2X4 X4ft. tall fence. I plant my berries along the fence or you can string climbing wires for them. If you have not tilled it yet burn off any weeds etc. before you till. If the soil is heavy clay consider amending it with a truckload of sand. Your plants like it and weeds pull much easier.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Here is my garden site and here are my (non Monsanto) seeds.

So just to be clear on this, I dig a hole, toss the package in and cover it with dirt. Right? Do I have to wait for the snow to melt?

But seriously, this is my site. It gets good sun all day long during the growing season, it's close to a creek and just around the corner is where I plan to put my bee's. I'm told that the bees will like being close to a stream and I figure the morning sun will wake them up early and get them to work.

I will fence it (hives and garden both) and put a solar powered electric wire around the fence. I have lots of water as there is a spring just up from the garden area and I can channel the water down to where I need it.
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Last edited by squerly; 02-19-2013 at 11:53 AM. Reason: Fixed broken link.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:12 PM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bczoom View Post
A few thoughts.

First, watch the orientation of the garden as it relates to sunshine. It's best to put the shortest things towards the south so they get sun. E.g. don't put the corn or peas on the south side then put the carrots, radishes & onions just to the north of them. The taller plants can block the sunshine.

Watch your viney plants (e.g. cucumbers or pumpkins). They'll need space to spread out. I put these on the perimeter of the garden and train them to grow outwards so they don't grow into the other plants.

I'd keep the perennials (strawberries, raspberries, asparagus and the winter crops like garlic) in a different location. You won't want to be having to work or till around them when planting other things each spring. I made a couple raised bed gardens that I keep these in. The rototiller doesn't go into those areas.

Stake your peas. Optionally, the tomatoes.

I have a hard time with corn coming out nice and it takes a lot of space. If your garden isn't big enough for everything, I'd scrap the corn.

Plant things at the right time so they come into harvest when you want. E.g. if you're making sauces, try to make it where the tomatoes, peppers, onions... all come into harvest at the same time. It sucks when the tomatoes are ready for canning but the other things aren't ready for harvest.

Make sure you mark which are the sweet and hot peppers...
Damn city slickers !!! You forgot the most important part !!
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: First Garden!

That will work.

Read the packages as some of those plants you're going to want to get started now (e.g. tomatoes, onions)

The peas can go in relatively soon as frost doesn't bother them. They will be fully grown and harvested well before anything else so you can consider putting something else in that area for a 2nd harvest. Personally, I do pumpkins and they're ready right around Halloween.

I'd consider putting the cucumbers on the western side of the right (higher) garden. You can then train them to grow down that hill.

Unless you love just eating radishes by the bowlful, I wouldn't plant too many. I'm the only one that eats them in our family and about a 6-10' row is more then enough.

Tomatoes and peppers will probably take up the entire lower garden.

Are the strawberries you got the kind that jump and re-root? If so, save them a bit of extra space.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:25 PM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigAl View Post
Damn city slickers !!! You forgot the most important part !!
The first two rolls are for Gods critters to munch on .
I don't put up any fencing so the critters can have whatever they want so long as the dog doesn't see them since she thinks the critters are for her to munch on.

I'll see if I can find a picture but I kid you not that the deer were bedding down in the garden last year. They can eat as much as they want of anything.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Squerly,

First the bad news. You garden will be a dissapointment this year. Ya needed to start it last fall.
Now the good news. You can rescue the project.

As soon as the soil is tillable, turn it over. Deep . Not with a rototiller but with a shovel. Dig as deep as you can ( at least 10 inches) and turn the soil.

Observe what you have. The soil should be full of organic mater. If not, you need to bring some in. Manure is best but rotted leaves will help. Forest soil is mostly rotted leaves so you will also need to add other nutrients.

Test the PH. It should be slightly acidic. Simple kits are available at most garden shops, including the big box stores like Lowes. And organic sulphur to get the Ph below 6.5. Most seeds won't germinate above 7.0

Add bone meal especialy where you have root plants. Use a balanced fertilizer like 12-12-12. These stand for N,P,P or Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potasium.

Do not use a fertilizer high in Nitrogen. That would be the first number. Good for lawns but it will cause less fruit growth.

Phosphoruous and potasium promote strong stems , flowering and fruit production.

Now is the time to get these fertilizers in the ground. You can spread it before the first dig or after. You are going to dig again in about three weeks to get a good mixing. The second dig can be with a tiller.

As others have said orient the crops to benefit of the sun. Since you have two sections you can consider them separately and make crop rotation easier.

Simple rules on rotation. Grow corn after beans, beans after tomatoes and never grow tomatoes in the same soil two years in a row. Always clear tomato vines completely from the garden, never compost them.


Never dig rows up and down the hill but always horizontal to the slope. That seems perfect for your garden orientations.

Your soil will lend itself to potatoes and yams. Plant them in soil that does not have much fresh manure. On the other hand, cucumbers and squash, any of the mallow fruits and veggies, plant in manure. I always put manure in piles or rows and plant my mallows there one year and follow with taters and maters the next year.

Taters and maters are from the same family. You can grow them together. I mean literaly together. Frangible clay soils that contain a lot of sand, or even small gravels, is good for either. Both like a high mineral content.

If you plant corn, in your area you will have to protect it from racoons. Welded wire mesh fencing at 6 feet will restrain them but only with some success. Around here we actualy build an enclosure over the corn. As mentioned, sweet corn might not be a good plan.

Straw berries from seed will dissapoint you. I do hope you bought plants. Those you can plant anytime in permanent rows. Raspberries will also do well in you soils. You will get crops this year if you plant nursery stock.

Frankly, I would plant them in the little hill between your two garden plots.

If you wish to do asperagrass, you must start with mature roots systems and plant in pure compost manure. Do not harvest for three years. So if you planted today you would not be able to harvest untill 2016. If you do seed, make that five years or 2018.

Mulch everything well and you will use less water. I would put drip lines under the mulch. Relatively cheap and better for the plants as the fruit will not suffer from moisture blights.

So in review, dig the ground asap. Add amendments. Dig again in three weeks. Till to fine granules and plant your veggies in rows, your fruit plants in berms and your mallows in little highly manured hills.

Just add water.
enjoy.

At least until the bugs, pests, varmints and diseases come to rob you.

And remeber this axiom of gardening,,,,No matter what happens to your plans, your plants, your hopes and dreams,,,,there is always next year!

Last edited by FrancSevin; 02-19-2013 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:28 PM
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Default Re: First Garden!

To add to Franc's post.

Manure. I don't believe there's a thing of using too much. Don't be shy with it. In the size area you have, I put in about 15 tons (about 10" thick once tilled). If you have the choice, get stuff that's a few years old. When fresh, it's really slick when wet and it's hard to dry. Also, if you have a choice, use cow manure as opposed to horse. Horse's digestive system don't break down seeds well so you'll get a lot more weeds compared to cow manure.

As for mulch, I use a garden cloth and cover with grass clippings from mowing the lawn to hold them down and keep moisture in.

BTW, what kind of rototiller(s) do you have or plan on using? A large tiller off the 3-point of a tractor works best before planting. Something small like a Honda Harmony is my preference over my Troy-Built Bronco for doing between rows (where there is no mulch).
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: First Garden!

One thing I missed, do not plant tomatoes until the ground reaches 60 degrees F. Otherwise they will go into cold shock and never recover.

You can heat the gound with sunlight if you raise a berm ( a planting row) and cover it with black plastic. Or black weed block.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:43 PM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Here's a quick photo tour of how I started one of my gardens. It's on a hill so I needed to build it up to get it more level to reduce erosion. All the grading, manure and such was done in the fall.

I was putting in a driveway next to it which is the area to the left.

Using the tractor rototiller, rough up the top few inches from both the driveway and garden area. Skim the topsoil and put in a holding area in the garden.

Dig deeper under the driveway so I have 6-8" for the stone. Put that fill dirt in the garden to level it off some.

Hit it with a layer of lime.

Top it off with manure.

Voila. The crops growing the next season.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Looks good BZOO.

I like the way you ended up withthe garden above grade. That promotes drainage, soil areation and good ventilation of the crops.
Lime is important in eastern soils. It promotes green growth, but remember, it will raise the PH.
As you pointed out, manure cannot be overdone. Especialy if it is compost manure. Well rotted compost and composted manure tends to balance PH levels automaticaly. Compost,,,AKA "Black Gold" cures so many ailments in the garden it is considered by most avid gardeners as nature's miracle.

I agree with you assessment about Horsemanures. However, If bedded in wood chips, the resulting horsemanure is more balnced than cow manure. So let it cook for two seasons to kill off the seeds, mix it well with composting leaves and garden debris.....it makes an excellet amendment.

I mix it 50/50 with river sand to amend my clay soils. I make up a batch in the wheel barrow and use it as a planting medium when I set new greenhouse plants like Tomatoes, Peppers, Mallows and any flowering ornamentals including annuals and perrenials. You can plant seeds right in the stuff, no worries.

When planting Azelias and Rhodedendrons, I mix in some sulphur and replace the sand with decomposing granite. Our soils here are so base acid loving evergreens need them.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:07 PM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Speaking of throwing "stuff" in the ground, don't forget your ashes from the wood stove and if you burn paper only (no plastics or other crap) from the burn barrel. If you have a scrap burn pile where you burn pallets or whatever don't put that in your garden as it contains nails and other crap you really don't want in the garden.

From harvest time in the fall until planting time in the spring, I put the burn barrel right in the garden (on 3 bricks). When it starts to fill, I just kick it over and roll it around a bit and let the ashes spread.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:09 PM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Be careful with the type of manure you use, if you do use it. Some are really high in nitrogen and can cause problems. Chicken manure and hog manure are two of the types to be careful with. Rabbit manure is more balanced, but can sometimes be hard to find in the right amounts.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:29 PM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Hope you like pulling weeds.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bczoom View Post
Speaking of throwing "stuff" in the ground, don't forget your ashes from the wood stove and if you burn paper only (no plastics or other crap) from the burn barrel. If you have a scrap burn pile where you burn pallets or whatever don't put that in your garden as it contains nails and other crap you really don't want in the garden.

From harvest time in the fall until planting time in the spring, I put the burn barrel right in the garden (on 3 bricks). When it starts to fill, I just kick it over and roll it around a bit and let the ashes spread.
Ashes are a fine soil amendment. Besides trace elements, they contain lots of carbon. The basic building block of all Plants.

However, they raise the PH. Be sure to add a a balncing amendment to lower it.

I cannot stress enough the importance of proper ph levels in a garden plot. A high population of nutrient sucking plants, coupled with the artifical importation of exotic nutrients (fertilizers and their salts) it is fairly easy to get the PH condition out of wack.

Warning, do not put wood ashes on Azealias or Rhodes. Do not put it in compost going on such acid lovers. It will kill them.

The advice about Pig and Chicken manure is valid. You can actually make a nitrogen explosive out of Chicken manure.

If you use it on tomatoes, you will grow the largest healthiest, tallest, greenest, tomatoe plants you have ever seen. And you will get virtually no fruit.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:02 AM
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Default Re: First Garden!

What effect will coffee grounds have on my strawberries and raspberry plants? I've got the living in 5-gallon buckets until the weather gets better. Will tossing the grounds on them benefit or hurt?
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:25 AM
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Default Re: First Garden!

Wow,

We have some master gardeners here amungst us....

Very good advice I would have to say. I am impresed by the information you are sharing.

We garden with a black plastic sheet over the ground, and cut holes to plant through it. NO weeding is nessary for the most part, and the cover holds the moister in, so less water is used. Preen is also a good gardern herbicied for weed to, best on grass, and small seeded broadleaf weeds.

Regards, Kirk
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