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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Western Ky
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    21

    Cool starting a vegetable garden

    We live in zone 6. We want to start our first vegetable garden. We're not sure how to get started after we get the ground broke up. I know some things can't be planted beside others, some need hills and some don't (but what are those things) and how to fertilize each item.
    I searched the web for a planting guide, but didn't really find much information.
    Any tips would be great.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,131

    Default Re: starting a vegetable garden

    A simple Google of - vegetable gardening ......will produce many links to much info....such as the sites below.

    Many of these sites will have forums/disscussion groups also.

    -----------------
    http://www.backyardgardener.com/veg/

    Tons of info.

    You will find Clyde's Garden Planner to be very helpful.


    -----------------------------

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/victorygarden/

    Click on GROW at top of page. This will take you to another page with more info and yet more links to more info...........such as the article below which is under the primers & projects heading.


    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/victorygarde...ects/soil.html


    Other sources for info you can hold in your hand would be....your local library, local bookstore and/or Amazon.com
    Last edited by goldhiller; 03-18-2008 at 10:04 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,480

    Default Re: starting a vegetable garden

    Gardening is easy, the only to real important things are that the soil be nutrient rich and the plants get plenty of water. Both of these items will be dictated by your location and climate. If you're into natural, there are plenty of ways to non-chemically enrich and maintain the nutrient levels that the plants need. Watering can be done by hand or a dedicated watering system can be easily installed.

    After dismal tomato crops and generally poor crop production levels the last few years, I put some research into space planning, soil testing and enhancement, and water requirements of the various items planted. You aren't likely to find a single "go to" site for all the info, I didn't. What you're more apt to do is look for information on each plant you want to grow, and note the needs of it. Once you have that, you have a benchmark to start with.

    In general, most things require about the same watering levels (adjusting for local temperatures and heat waves ). Most things like the same soil Ph and nutrient levels (neutral Ph and well balanced nutrients ). My small garden (about 20' x 70' ) and is home to peas, beans, 4 varieties of pepper, zucchini, crookneck, 8 varieties of tomato, 2 varieties of cucumbers, usually a melon or two, sometimes a pumpkin. There is a 12' row of raspberries, a large persimmon tree, and a small pomegranate bush. As you can see, lot's of things in a small space. The peppers are the only things we keep off to one side, everything else is perfectly happy together. I will admit, if you plant two varieties of zucchini or similar squash, they will cross pollinate, which is only a real concern if you want perfect looking fruit OR you want genetically pure plant stock and seed to collect for next years planting.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sand Springs, OK
    Posts
    467

    Default Re: starting a vegetable garden

    I'm in the same zone as you are. The best source I have found is a farmer's almanac. I don't work in the garden very often because I can't breathe very well outside. I'll give you the way my husband does it. We have very sandy soil so we need to add a lot of organic material to keep everything healthy. The best way to know what you're going to need to add is to have a soil sample tested at your local Co-operative extension office.

    potatoes should be planted now, at the very least before the tax deadline. start with a deep trough and just cover the seed potatoes when the foliage is about 4 inches tall pull soil up around the bottom half of the foliage. Keep doing this until the foliage finally dies off, then it's time to dig. Potatoes need loose soil like sandy soil with a bag of compost mixed in.

    Lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers and asparagus are the next to be planted in our garden when the last threat of frost is gone.

    2 weeks later we put in tomatoes and peppers, okra, corn and beans. I prefer to buy tomato plants but you could start seeds right now and they would be ready to plant the first of may. Just be sure to turn the trays twice a week and keep an ocilating fan blowing on them at least half the week to make the stems strong.

    We've planted tomatoes in rows with individual cages, against the fence and in rings around a standing crescent of fencing (the big stuff with 6" squares). My grandmother and grandfather preferred the crescent planting arrangement because they could get inside and pick tomatoes as well as putting composting scraps in there to degrade. They always mulched. My husband just lets the grass grow around the plants for shading in the hot sun and to hide the fruit from the birds that don't like to get in tall grass. To support the plants I prefer he use old knee-hi stockings, grandma used to cut up old t-shirts then she started shredding her old woven cotton blouses and sheets but these just don't hold up. My husband's grandfather used twine or soft thin rope. However he would forget where he put it each year and have to buy more. When we cleaned out that garage we found tons of rotting twine and rope. He died in 1982, we cleaned out the garage in 1998.

    2 weeks later we're planting squash and pumpkins. These we plant in hills, mounds about 2 inches higher than the rest of the soil and about 18" across. With 3 feet between hills.

    The off weekend, I get him to weed, mulch or harvest. Because he gets paid every two weeks and we're better able to stagger the costs for compost and plants that way.


    one more note: We decided last winter 2006-2007 to gather leaves from the neighbors to keep our soil warmer. We buried the place we usually plant in 24" of leaves for the season. BUT we should have shredded the leaves first. We ended up with a matted mess that was hard to move to plant beneath and it was even harder to till under. We won't be doing that again without shredding the stuff first.
    Last edited by debbysewn; 03-18-2008 at 10:37 AM.
    Debby in Oklahoma

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,157

    Default Re: starting a vegetable garden

    I found the book "Square Foot Gardening" by one of the PBS victory gardens show guys helpfull in getting the most out of a small garden. I don't know if it is still in print.
    Basically the garden is arranged in 4'x4' modules.
    I suggest starting out small at first unless you realy have the time & inclination to put the effort in.
    You can get quite a few tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cukes from a small garden. Squash take up a bit more space, but can grow around other plants some.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: starting a vegetable garden

    In each mound, bury a fish at about 9" deep, top with soil then plant three corn kernels at 8, 12 and 4 o'clock, three squash seeds at 10, 2 and six (or cucumber or melons). Plant three bean plants in the center. Thin to the strongest of each of the three. The symbiotic trio planting on a mound has been known as the Sacred Sisters a technique that has been around since pre-historic times.

    The legumes will put nitrogen in the soil that the corn needs and use the corn for support. Chicken manure and compost are also nitrogen rich soil amendments. The squash will naturally shade the corn roots and keep them cool and weed free. Arrange your mounds in a concentric square pattern in the SW corner of the garden (wind in any direction will pollenate). This way your leaf letuce and other spring early summer crops will also enjoy the shade protection and be less prone to bolt early.

    Companion planting important - plant items that do well together and those that compete apart. For example most gardeners know about the benefits of french mari****s in the garden, especially near your tomatoes. Basil and parsley do well and help the tomatoes as well as mint (and deter pests).

    Keep cucumbers away from tomatoes, as well as impatients. Both plants can harbor viruses that can infect your tomatoes.

    Onions and garlic and other members of the allium family on the perimeter, their strong scents encourage pests to go elsewhere. Garlic on the perimeter will also deter Deer. You can make a garlic drench spray to repel aphids and as a soil treatment the plants will take up the garlic and bcome hardier and more pest repellent but not the taste. Garlic soil drenches also work well near fruit and roses.

    Plant Chili Peppers where ever you have problems with root rot and other Fusarium diseases. Teas (infusions) made from chili Peppers are useful as insect sprays.

    Chives improve growth and flavor of carrots and tomatoes. A tea of chives may be used on cucumbers to prevent downy mildew.
    Plant Rosemary near cabbage, beans, carrots and sage.

    If you decide to plant potato mounds, plant some horseradish in containers placed in the potato patch (horseradish can be invasive).

    Lavender repels fleas and moths. Flowering lavender nourishes many nectar-feeding and beneficial insects.

    Lemon Balm has citronella compunds that deter bugs. Dried and made into a powder and sprinkled around the garden, it will keep many pests away. Rub the leaves on your skin to keep mosquitoes away.

    Plant Dill near cabbage, onions and cucumber, but nowhere near carrots, and away from tomatoes to draw hornworms away from tomatoes and to the dill.

    Beans and peas enrich the soil with nitrogen captured from the air, they are good company for carrots, beets and cucumbers, and great for heavy nitrogen users like corn and grain plants.

    Keep beans away from the alliums (garlic, onion, chives, etc.).
    Beets are good for adding minerals to the soil - the leaves are edible (sold as red chard) and are composed of up to 25% Magnesium. Companions to beets are lettuce, onions and brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbages).

    Brassicas benefit from peppermint, dill, sage, and rosemary. They need soil with plenty of lime to flourish.

    Flowering plants besides the herbs mentioned above and Mari****s not only encourage beneficial insects and pollinators to the garden (and earthworms) but are additionally helpful to deter other pests. Four O-Clocks draw Japanese beetles like a magnet - another plant to plan as the beetles dine on the foilage and it poisons them on the spot.

    Remember to reserve some of your cool weather crop seeds (leaf lettuce, radish, etc.) as you'll want to plant two early cycles and then again as the weather cools for a late summer/early fall crop. You'll also want to plant things like carrots in stages so you'll have staggered harvests for several weeks.

    Happy Gardening.
    Last edited by unregistered; 03-18-2008 at 10:29 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    666

    Default Re: starting a vegetable garden

    Quote Originally Posted by unregistered View Post
    In each mound, bury a fish at about 9" deep, top with soil then plant three corn kernels at 8, 12 and 4 o'clock, three squash seeds at 10, 2 and six.

    Yeah, I think the pilgrims google searched and found that bit of information on the native Americans awesome gardening web site just before landing at Plymouth Rock.

    The only problem they had with it was the “clock” part which took a couple of years to figure out.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: starting a vegetable garden

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    After dismal tomato crops and generally poor crop production levels the last few years, I put some research into space planning, soil testing and enhancement, and water requirements of the various items planted.

    Have you looked into the benefits of planting french mari****s (thick patches) near and amongst your tomatoes and a thick section of Lovage very near by (for overall production boost from the entire garden)? Even when container planting it works wonders on strengthening and improving tomato plants and the crops they produce. A container of borage planted nearby is also very helpful when dealing with weak tomato production due to pest stresses.
    Last edited by unregistered; 03-18-2008 at 10:52 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sand Springs, OK
    Posts
    467

    Default Re: starting a vegetable garden

    Quote Originally Posted by unregistered View Post
    Have you looked into the benefits of planting french mari****s (thick patches) near and amongst your tomatoes and a thick section of Lovage very near by (for overall production boost from the entire garden)? Even when container planting it works wonders on strengthening and improving tomato plants and the crops they produce. A container of borage planted nearby is also very helpful when dealing with weak tomato production due to pest stresses.
    yes, plating mari****s or geraniums between your tomato plants will keep the bugs away from your tomatoes. I'm allergic to both so my husband won't use them but they do work.
    Debby in Oklahoma

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,381

    Default Re: starting a vegetable garden

    The time to start a garden is in the fall, not in the spring, but my first garden(s) were all started in the spring. I encourage you to go ahead with the garden and enjoy it. Rodale publishing has many books on organic gardening and I would recommend that you go organic.

    First rule is, plant what you want to eat. But this fall, you need to do at least one of two things, collect leaves and/or plant a cover crop. For a new plot, I'd recommend both. Till some leaves in early fall and plant a cover crop of winter Rye and Harry Vetch.

    Next spring, till this in, plant and use the leaves (stored in plastic bags) as mulch. As for this year, you should be able to find wheat straw to use as a mulch. Wheat straw will breakdown over the summer and enrich the soil. Use as much as you can get.

    This year I'm trying something that I stumbled into last year. Last year, I had no time for a garden, but I managed to till a couple of rows through the winter rye and planted tomatoes, cucumbers and sugar snap peas. I dug a few hills in the rye for squash and watermelons. I left the rest of the rye grass. It grew tall and then turned ****en and fell over and made a wonderful mulch. The only weeds I had were where I tilled. This year, I'm not tilling, just planting in the rye. We'll see how that does.

    I'm also going to let some of the tomatoes run on the ground instead of caging them.

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