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Thread: Gardening for Beginners

  1. #1
    WoundedWarrior
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    Cool Gardening for Beginners

    Greetings,

    My wife and I are planning to plant a garden next year, and we want to begin preparing this year. I am hoping to gain some advice and wisdom from those who have experience.

    Currently, we are planning to till the earth and begin preparing the soil for springtime planting.

    We aren't sure what all we would like to plant, but we will likely try: tomatoes, cucumber and/or zucchini, some type(s) of lettuce, berries (strawberry), perhaps cantaloupe or some kind of melon, and considering sweet corn.

    Any advice or links to resources is appreciated!

    Thank you,
    -WW
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  2. #2
    Senior Member blue_ladybug's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by WoundedWarrior View Post
    Greetings,

    My wife and I are planning to plant a garden next year, and we want to begin preparing this year. I am hoping to gain some advice and wisdom from those who have experience.

    Currently, we are planning to till the earth and begin preparing the soil for springtime planting.

    We aren't sure what all we would like to plant, but we will likely try: tomatoes, cucumber and/or zucchini, some type(s) of lettuce, berries (strawberry), perhaps cantaloupe or some kind of melon, and considering sweet corn.

    Any advice or links to resources is appreciated!

    Thank you,
    -WW

    Here is one link..

    How to Grow Vegetables | Guide to Growing Vegetables
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    Senior Member wwjd_kilden's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    Unfortunately I'm of no help lol, but my mom gardens every year and plants a lot of the things you're planning to in the spring/summer, especially tomatoes, cucumber, and I think she does squash too. It's definitely nice to have your own vegetables, etc. whenever you need it.
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    I grew seeds indoors first this time.

    The last time I just put the seeds in the ground and watered. Stuff started coming up all at the same time. I didn't know what was weeds and what was plants...

    But if you grow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before its time to plant you will know exactly what are weeds and what are plants.

    Also this year I used a little miracle grow, which maybe helped.

    I also think that actual rain water helps the plants grow faster and stronger than regular tap water. This is just a theory that I have from watching my plants. I think if you had a way to capture rain water and use it more than tap water your plants would grow better. I'm not an expert on rain or growing plants, so take all this as just general advice.

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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by Grandpa View Post
    I also think that actual rain water helps the plants grow faster and stronger than regular tap water. This is just a theory that I have from watching my plants. I think if you had a way to capture rain water and use it more than tap water your plants would grow better. I'm not an expert on rain or growing plants, so take all this as just general advice.
    Very probable. Some areas have awful tap water.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member blue_ladybug's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by Grandpa View Post
    I grew seeds indoors first this time.

    The last time I just put the seeds in the ground and watered. Stuff started coming up all at the same time. I didn't know what was weeds and what was plants...

    But if you grow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before its time to plant you will know exactly what are weeds and what are plants.

    Also this year I used a little miracle grow, which maybe helped.

    I also think that actual rain water helps the plants grow faster and stronger than regular tap water. This is just a theory that I have from watching my plants. I think if you had a way to capture rain water and use it more than tap water your plants would grow better. I'm not an expert on rain or growing plants, so take all this as just general advice.

    Tap water has fluoride and other icky stuff in it. MiracleGro is awesome..
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  8. #8
    RachelBibleStudent
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    make sure you take good care of your soil...

    look into mulching...it has a lot of benefits in gardens...

    also make sure to plant the right vegetables in the right season if you want to be successful...

    and look into 'companion planting'...certain plants grow better together than apart because they exchange nutrients and repel each other's pests...

    if you want a really neat study of farming and gardening from a biblical worldview then i highly recommend the book 'born-again dirt: farming to the glory of God' by noah sanders...

  9. #9
    RachelBibleStudent
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by Grandpa View Post
    I also think that actual rain water helps the plants grow faster and stronger than regular tap water. This is just a theory that I have from watching my plants. I think if you had a way to capture rain water and use it more than tap water your plants would grow better. I'm not an expert on rain or growing plants, so take all this as just general advice.
    i have experienced this too...i don't know what it is but i can water every day yet the plants get the biggest 'growth spurt' any time it rains...

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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by RachelBibleStudent View Post
    i have experienced this too...i don't know what it is but i can water every day yet the plants get the biggest 'growth spurt' any time it rains...
    That's because water has this amazing ability to change its composition according to its immediate surrounding environment. Traveling through pipes can affect it greatly where it basically becomes lifeless and the act of evaporation to clouds causes like a reset to bring it back..ugh, its difficult to explain. Find a documentary called Water: The Great Mystery, it explains scores of research of water and experiments done over the years on how water can be affected positively and negatively by its environment, which eventually affects your body because you drink it...they have found that water is mostly affected by human emotion more than anything else.
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  11. #11
    atwhatcost
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by WoundedWarrior View Post
    Greetings,

    My wife and I are planning to plant a garden next year, and we want to begin preparing this year. I am hoping to gain some advice and wisdom from those who have experience.

    Currently, we are planning to till the earth and begin preparing the soil for springtime planting.

    We aren't sure what all we would like to plant, but we will likely try: tomatoes, cucumber and/or zucchini, some type(s) of lettuce, berries (strawberry), perhaps cantaloupe or some kind of melon, and considering sweet corn.

    Any advice or links to resources is appreciated!

    Thank you,
    -WW
    First -- learn about composting, because it takes a lot of loam to make a garden grow.

    Now, how big is the spot, and may I assume in the ground, not in containers or a raised bed? (I'm a container gardener because our back yard is 16' X 16' of concrete, so I only assume. Don't know. lol)

    The reason I ask is because I know an easier way of plowing and getting rid of weeds in the spot than actually plowing yet, if you're gardening in the ground. Lay down some black plastic onto the spot that will be your garden and leave it down through the rest of the month (or only two weeks, if early September is already cold in your part of the country.) Then pin it down so even a good tropical storm won't blow it away. This kills off everything under it that can't run away. (Worms and bugs will leave. Microorganisms and weeds/grass/whatever is already growing there will die.)

    Then when it's time to remove the tarp, remove all the leftover dead weeds (because they have seeds) and augment the soil with compost and vegetable, long-term fertilizer. Just make sure the compost doesn't have seeds in it too. (Grass clipping are only good if you're a diligent mower. If you wait to mow after the grass flowers, all you do by using the grass clippings is start a new lawn.)

    That gives the spot time to recover before it gets so cold most vegetation goes dormant anyway. (The soil needs those microorganisms, bugs and worms.) Next spring you have all the ingredients on it already to plow it, and, hopefully, no weeds t worry about.

    And then, this winter learn. Get books about gardening in your area. Find out what your wife wants. (Hubbies are more practical. They want edibles, while wives want flowers. lol) Find out what can grow in your region and when. Find out what the pests and diseases are for that plant. (Half our tomatoes are eaten -- and just one or two nibbles before the beast toss them -- by squirrels. The beast -- aka squirrels -- also eat our squash/cuke/pumpkin roots. Blasted beast took out the roots on our baby fig tree too.) Know your enemies before starting.

    And consider herbs. Basil and tomatoes? Chives and tomatoes? Lots of stuff goes good with the produce.

    Be careful who you buy from too. If you're planning on buying plants, instead of starting from seed, Bonnie Nursery got us three years in the last five years. They supply Lowes and Home Depot for veggies, so five years ago anyone on the east coast who grew tomatoes in their garden lost the tomatoes to Late Blight. (A tomato disease.) Since Late Blight also takes out bell peppers, we lost all our tomatoes and pepper plants before getting a single one. Same thing happened to the tomatoes the next year too. (I didn't let them near our peppers, just in case, so we got peppers.) And then last year some disease out of their nursery got our basil FOUR times in one summer. Finally gave up on them and bought basil in dinky pots in the produce aisle of our grocery store. (And had basil last winter, since I can bring in some potted plants and put them under my grow light. Same basil is now giving us seeds for this winter's pesto.)

    If you start from seeds, learn how to do that right too, or you get no plants to plant because they die off from Dampening Off, a disease that hits baby plants because the soil has to be sterile for the seedlings.

    And rule number one for gardening -- never assume everything will go right. It never does. Enjoy what you get, and don't forget to enjoy it from start to finish. Even tomato flowers are pretty. You just have to stop and notice.

    The beasts are still eating our tomatoes. I've stopped hating them so much. There's only two of us and hubby is semi-allergic to tomatoes. (He can eat them cooked, but raw makes his whole mouth itch.) Exactly how many tomatoes do we need? So the beasts have become squirrels again. I just wish they'd eat more, if they're going to eat one. And really? Why do they keep picking the passionfruit? They don't like the taste. (Most of the time the fruit is bitter, so I don't like it either. If they'd stop picking it so early, they're delicious months later. lol)

    Rule of thumb for beginners though -- start small. You don't know if you'll even like gardening, until you try it. If you don't, you're still stuck taking care of it for the rest of the season.

    Oh, other rule of thumb -- next summer, when you have a good compost pile going? Every time you see a weed, smother it with compost. It's good for the soil and will kill the weed. That's lazy gardening done right. (Again, only works if your ground-gardening. If I did that in containers, my containers would overflow. lol)

    If you find out you like it, consider oddball veggies like Brussels Sprouts, (you'll like them if you watch them grow -- cool plant) broccoli, popcorn, (you'll have to hand pollinate unless you grow a whole lot, but fun to try at least once), beans (more types then you know), carrots, prickly pear cactus, (I have to weed it, so I don't have the guts to prepare it for food -- OUCH!), and pumpkins. (I grew a pumpkin in a container. The books said I shouldn't have been able to do that.)

    Enough to get you started?

  12. #12
    Practice-English
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    Thumbs down Re: Gardening for Beginners

    I don't have the green thumb at all---

    I'm allowed to tell you something,
    I love fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers.


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  13. #13
    WoundedWarrior
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by atwhatcost View Post
    First -- learn about composting, because it takes a lot of loam to make a garden grow.

    ...

    Enough to get you started?
    Yes! Thank you!

    We do have some ground to work with - Not sure what size yet, am thinking 10x20 to start with.. but also want to get a better idea of what we are going to plant, before deciding how large.

    I like the tarp suggestion - I have seen this before, but did not know that you could do this prior to the first plow/till - will definitely do this soon (probably within the next couple of weekends).

    Your comments about the beasts made me smile Do you find that any sort of fencing/chicken-wire helps with keeping pests away?

  14. #14
    atwhatcost
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by WoundedWarrior View Post
    Yes! Thank you!

    We do have some ground to work with - Not sure what size yet, am thinking 10x20 to start with.. but also want to get a better idea of what we are going to plant, before deciding how large.

    I like the tarp suggestion - I have seen this before, but did not know that you could do this prior to the first plow/till - will definitely do this soon (probably within the next couple of weekends).

    Your comments about the beasts made me smile Do you find that any sort of fencing/chicken-wire helps with keeping pests away?
    Have you ever googled videos of squirrel traps? It's funny, unless they're going after what you don't want them to have. We've yelled, squirted, soaked, fenced, tried dried fox urine, (apparently Philly squirrels and mice never met a fox, so they don't care lol), and would have shot, except our neighbors are in the next 16' X 16' yard on the other side of our fence.

    One time we made a contraption of bird netting (usually used over fruit trees to stop the birds from eating the cherries, plus, etc.) completely covering the tomatoes. Even tied little bags of pebbles to the bottom, so the wind wouldn't blow it away. Opened the back door to see one of the beast watching us while he ate his tomato. Squirrels naturally climb up to escape, but the only way in was through the bottom of the netting.

    A very soaked squirrel finally got away tearing a hole in the netting. (I have trouble tearing the netting. lol) Satisfying in itself, except the next week we found more ripe tomatoes with one or two nibbles out of them in the alley and in neighbors' yards. They seem to like picnicking on neighbor's picnic tables with our tomatoes. My neighbors don't even ask anymore why I'm in their yards. lol

    But what type of pest really depends on where you live. I met a gardener whose big problem was boars. She lived in Hawaii. Dad's problem is deer. When hubby was married before and living in the burbs, his problem was rabbits. (A hedge of marigolds stops rabbits.) Oddly, we live in the city, but don't have problems with rats.

    Mice! Well, mice is everyone's problem, but that's more an inside thing and has to do with grain. lol
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  15. #15
    WoundedWarrior
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by atwhatcost View Post
    But what type of pest really depends on where you live.
    :-) Those are some funny stories -- bet they're even funnier as an eye-witness! :-)

    It seems we'll just have to wait and see what kind of animal friends will stop by and "share" our food.
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    You will need quite a bit of room for corn because you need several rows in order for it to cross polinate, or something like that. I never grew corn but knew somebody who did and just a couple of rows is not enough. You'll have to read up on that for the details.

    I had a garden that was about 3' wide and 75 feet long because we didn't have a big area (strip garden). I laid one of those flat hoses with the holes in it down the middle of the strip, hole side down, and would turn the water on just enough for it to trickle all day long and keep the ground soaked.
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  17. #17
    atwhatcost
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by sassylady View Post
    You will need quite a bit of room for corn because you need several rows in order for it to cross polinate, or something like that. I never grew corn but knew somebody who did and just a couple of rows is not enough. You'll have to read up on that for the details.

    I had a garden that was about 3' wide and 75 feet long because we didn't have a big area (strip garden). I laid one of those flat hoses with the holes in it down the middle of the strip, hole side down, and would turn the water on just enough for it to trickle all day long and keep the ground soaked.
    If you don't have the space for a lot of corn, you can pollinate by hand. It's hard work though. You can only do it during a heatwave -- and not until day 3-5 in the heatwave -- and it's even hotter and more humid working in the corn. I grew 5 stalks of popcorn in a 2 foot round tub with sunflowers in between. (And a pumpkin vine snaking around the container. lol) All that work, and I got enough popcorn to make half a popper. And they certainly were much smaller than the commercial size popped corn.

    If I had to do it again... Well. I wouldn't. I learn lots of lessons in "things to try only once." lol
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  18. #18
    WoundedWarrior
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by sassylady View Post
    You will need quite a bit of room for corn because you need several rows in order for it to cross polinate, or something like that. I never grew corn but knew somebody who did and just a couple of rows is not enough. You'll have to read up on that for the details.
    I just found out yesterday, that the average sweet corn stalk yields one (1) good ear of corn -- Wow! We probably won't try corn our first season/year :-)

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    Senior Member PennEd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    Every year we have a pumpkin carving contest. Loads of fun for all. I finally have a yard to grow a garden and wanted to try a little pumpkin patch so the carving participants can pick their own pumpkin instead of having to bring one.
    The only thing I've ever grown before was a beard! Some of the seeds I used said they expired in 2013. Ironically they seem to be doing the best. I pretty much just water them and gave them a little fertilizer, but I'm not sure if I need to cut stuff away, get rid of plants not doing so well, and other pruning needs.
    Does anybody have experience with pumpkins? Thanks.
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    Default Re: Gardening for Beginners

    I grow zucchini. I just water them and put miracle grow on them. The squash would get really big if I didn't pick them early. Should be the same with pumpkins. They are a squash too.

    I prune the leaves that turn yellow. I prune anything that starts to get white spots. I watched a youtube video about pollinating the female flowers if you don't have bees, or birds, that do it. Its pretty easy.

    Squash has been the easiest thing to grow, for me, because it grows so fast.
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