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Author Topic: Beginners' Gardening?  (Read 9744 times)
Morag
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« Reply #15: January 31, 2009, 08:53:43 pm »

Ugh and the smell of rotting potatoes....  give me cat crap any time.

Had potatoes rot in my kitchen once. That was incredibly horrible. I think my roommate passed out from the smell. (There was apparently a flood, and the potatoes were stored in the bottom of the pantry. We didn't realize it until the smell leaked out.)

As for the gardening topic, I have nothing useful to add but I have to thank you, Star, for starting this topic! I'm hopeless when it comes to gardening -- and my dad's an organic farmer, so it's pretty embarrassing. Wish I could make myself listen when he talks, but...  Wink Anyway, I do better with absorbing information from reading it, so this thread is going to be very useful to me.  Grin
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« Reply #16: January 31, 2009, 09:37:31 pm »

As for the gardening topic, I have nothing useful to add but I have to thank you, Star, for starting this topic! I'm hopeless when it comes to gardening

I echo this sentiment.
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« Reply #17: July 22, 2009, 09:57:47 pm »

I can't decide exactly how to phrase this, so I hope y'all will bear with me if it gets a little confused.

I would love to have a garden; every year I think what a wonderful thing it would be to Grow Stuff.  Problem is, I find it intimidating.  Our soil is frankly pretty scary for plants--it's almost clay--and turning even a small space into a bed I could grow something in seems like such a big task that I just kind of cringe and back away.  Container gardening makes me a little nervous too, though, since trying to do that is how I managed to wind up killing mint.  Twice.  (MINT, people.)  Among other plants.  Any time I try it, things seem to wind up dead.  Quite aside from all that, my days are pretty full already and I'm a little short on time or energy to devote to caring for a garden.

Any ideas on how a total novice might sort of ease into gardening under these circumstances?  I realize this probably sounds kind of like, "I wanna garden but I don't wanna work, wah," but that's not really how I mean it...   Embarrassed  What I'm trying to do here is find a way to maybe fit growing some of my own food (even if only a very little) in around the rest of my life, and the most likely way to make that happen is to find a way to reduce the amount of time and energy that have to be put into it.

I also kind of consider myself a beginner as well even though I have been doing it for a few years now.

Like you at the beginning I was feeling intimidated but I have come to learn that the more slowly I work the more I get done!  I also found out that I'm not gardening just for gardening's sake but for exercise and just being able to appreciate nature.

Just start small and keep experimenting - even the seasoned pros find that they are not immune to learning something new!
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« Reply #18: July 22, 2009, 10:55:04 pm »

Any ideas on how a total novice might sort of ease into gardening under these circumstances?  I realize this probably sounds kind of like, "I wanna garden but I don't wanna work, wah," but that's not really how I mean it...   Embarrassed  What I'm trying to do here is find a way to maybe fit growing some of my own food (even if only a very little) in around the rest of my life, and the most likely way to make that happen is to find a way to reduce the amount of time and energy that have to be put into it.

If you wanted to start out very small - try Jiffy Pots! For those who've never worked with them, they are little peat discs - you add warm water to them & they swell into little pots. Jiffy Pots are a great way to start seeds out, and you can grow micro-greens and herbs in them. I actually found a 'Jiffy Greenhouse', which is basically a plastic tray w/a clear plastic lid - you leave the lid on & it acts as a greenhouse & when your seedlings get big enough, you can transfer the whole Jiffy Pot to a larger pot or outdoors. They're relatively inexpensive & don't take up much space - just a sunny window, really. 
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« Reply #19: November 08, 2009, 10:59:21 pm »

I can't decide exactly how to phrase this, so I hope y'all will bear with me if it gets a little confused.

I would love to have a garden; every year I think what a wonderful thing it would be to Grow Stuff.  Problem is, I find it intimidating. 

Any ideas on how a total novice might sort of ease into gardening under these circumstances? 
Well, I fifth the raised bed idea.  For your situation it seems to be the only solution.  Not to kick up a dead thread but I thought it was an interesting one that others still might have advice on.  Some advice to give you to you from my self whom is an avid gardener.  Mix in to the soil chicken shit and cow meneuer.  Both fertilizers have many great properties for your crops.  Basil loves to grow next to tomatoes.  I don't know why but it does make sense.  I do this in my own garden and my basil plant loves it.  Plan strawberries close together in rows next to each other so they can pollinate each other and the patch will spread on its own so if you plan to grow them give them their own space. I like to put some black garbage bags as liners around the base of my plants I cut a small hole to let the plant breath but it helps to cut down on the weeding.  Then you just line your whole garden with black garbage bags that have been cut in half to use them fully. 

Also some bug prevention tips.  Cayan pepper powder dissolved in water with some soap, sprayed on the leaves of your plants is supposed to work.  If you know how to do extractions us a habanero pepper instead, that should pack a punch but I would wear gloves and goggle when spraying it.  Also beer bombs are wonderful.  Take an old beer can and cut the bottom off at about 2 inches from the bottom, fill it with either rotten beer(slugs seem to like that more I've found) or just the cheapest beer you can find, like Milwaukee Best aka the beast, and strategicly place it around the base of your plants.  The slugs were unusually bad this year and ate my pepper plants to shreds until I heard about the almighty beer bomb.  Then I started catching slugs left and right.  I'm telling you it works and it's sooooo simple and you get the pleaseure of cracking a beer in honor of their death, and the life of your plants so. So garden on!
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« Reply #20: November 09, 2009, 11:53:16 am »

Mix in to the soil chicken shit and cow meneuer.  Both fertilizers have many great properties for your crops.

Manure can be a great fertilizer, but a caveat: this probably isn't a good idea for a beginning gardener, especially if they are growing plants for culinary use. Unless the manure has been properly composted, there's a risk from things like E. coli bacteria. For most beginning gardeners, commercially prepared fertilizers are an easier and less risky alternative.
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« Reply #21: November 09, 2009, 12:44:44 pm »

Manure can be a great fertilizer, but a caveat: this probably isn't a good idea for a beginning gardener, especially if they are growing plants for culinary use. Unless the manure has been properly composted, there's a risk from things like E. coli bacteria. For most beginning gardeners, commercially prepared fertilizers are an easier and less risky alternative.

If done now (in the northern hemisphere, anyway) it should be just fine for the spring.  The problem is with fresh manure and planting soon after application.  With a winter/early spring to season, there should be no problem.

Brina
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« Reply #22: November 09, 2009, 02:14:01 pm »

If done now (in the northern hemisphere, anyway) it should be just fine for the spring.  The problem is with fresh manure and planting soon after application.  With a winter/early spring to season, there should be no problem.

Brina

I agree.  We just finished cleaning out the goat and chicken pens and spread all the stuff - the manure plus the straw and hay - on the garden plot.  By planting time, it's completely composted.  I just dig it under, plant, and then mulch on top.  We clean out pens again in the spring, but that stuff we just pile up to ripen all summer and then spread it in the fall as well.
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« Reply #23: November 09, 2009, 06:32:06 pm »

If you decide to go with the raised bed idea, I suggest getting a copy of the new Square Foot Gardening.  It shows you how to build your own soil, rather than trying to rehabilitate what you have. Because you plant things very close together, it also virtually eliminates weeding.


Sperran

I second Sperran's recomendation of the book Square Foot Gardening. Done properly, it makes vegetable gardening relatively simply. You can start with a small raised bed, then, if all goes well the first year, expand to a larger or second bed consequtive years.

I grow in very heavy clay soil. Yearly amendments of organic matter are a must. You can use whatever is popular locally. Here, we use compost, rotted manure and peat moss. In other areas I have heard of them using quano, coconut husks, and fish tailings. Find out from your local garden center what is local and inexpensive.

Crops that almost never fail for me: green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, pole beans, corn (if I start it inside, you might have a longer growing season) salad greens.

Hope this helps.
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« Reply #24: November 14, 2009, 04:07:24 pm »

If done now (in the northern hemisphere, anyway) it should be just fine for the spring.  The problem is with fresh manure and planting soon after application.  With a winter/early spring to season, there should be no problem.

Brina
Sorry, I'm from the north east so I was being egocentric with my advice and I only buy processed manure from the stores, so it's ok.
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« Reply #25: November 14, 2009, 07:30:19 pm »

Sorry, I'm from the north east so I was being egocentric with my advice and I only buy processed manure from the stores, so it's ok.

No prob.  I have a large-ish garden, and I get a giant pile of horse poo delivered (like a full dump truck full) free from the local horse ranch every year.  Wink

Brina

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harvestmoon13

« Reply #26: November 14, 2009, 07:31:09 pm »

Sorry, I'm from the north east so I was being egocentric with my advice and I only buy processed manure from the stores, so it's ok.

Makes more sense now.  I had assumed that you were talking about the fresh stuff as well.  Ah, the joys of online communication. Smiley
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« Reply #27: February 14, 2010, 11:10:26 pm »

I can't decide exactly how to phrase this, so I hope y'all will bear with me if it gets a little confused.

I would love to have a garden; every year I think what a wonderful thing it would be to Grow Stuff.  Problem is, I find it intimidating.  Our soil is frankly pretty scary for plants--it's almost clay--and turning even a small space into a bed I could grow something in seems like such a big task that I just kind of cringe and back away.  Container gardening makes me a little nervous too, though, since trying to do that is how I managed to wind up killing mint.  Twice.  (MINT, people.)  Among other plants.  Any time I try it, things seem to wind up dead.  Quite aside from all that, my days are pretty full already and I'm a little short on time or energy to devote to caring for a garden.

Any ideas on how a total novice might sort of ease into gardening under these circumstances?  I realize this probably sounds kind of like, "I wanna garden but I don't wanna work, wah," but that's not really how I mean it...   Embarrassed  What I'm trying to do here is find a way to maybe fit growing some of my own food (even if only a very little) in around the rest of my life, and the most likely way to make that happen is to find a way to reduce the amount of time and energy that have to be put into it.
Absolutely add compost or some sort of organic material to your existing soil if you aren't going with raised beds. Greens are generally easy, but they don't take the heat very well, your local nursery should be able to help with species that grow well in your area. As far as watering, mulching helps and also keeps the weeds down. Hope this helps.
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« Reply #28: February 15, 2010, 09:17:58 am »

I also kind of consider myself a beginner as well even though I have been doing it for a few years now.

Like you at the beginning I was feeling intimidated but I have come to learn that the more slowly I work the more I get done!  I also found out that I'm not gardening just for gardening's sake but for exercise and just being able to appreciate nature.

Just start small and keep experimenting - even the seasoned pros find that they are not immune to learning something new!

Last year was my first year of gardening, and I had a lot of trepidation getting started - I put it off for a few years because I never felt like I had enough information to start.

When I finally decided to go for it last year, even then at some point I basically had to stop myself from thinking and planning at some point. I found I was obsessing with the reading *about* gardening and plotting it all out, really worried that I would not do something right and that my plants wouldn't grow or would die, and I'd feel like an idiot. (This kind of perfectionism is stunting and rarely ever leads to perfection! LOL) Finally I caught myself thinking like that, and I realized that if I waited until I had all the knowledge I needed and absolutely was not going to make any mistakes, I'd never get started. So I just went for it to the best of my ability. And yeah- I made mistakes (which means I learned a few things that will make it better this year, and am now slightly more experienced than I was a year ago.) It was worth it. I'd say that going with the great advice you've been given here, checking it out for a few months, and then as Angelwitch said: start small and keep experimenting. At some point you just have to jump in.
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« Reply #29: February 16, 2010, 11:00:40 am »

So I just went for it to the best of my ability. And yeah- I made mistakes (which means I learned a few things that will make it better this year, and am now slightly more experienced than I was a year ago.) It was worth it. I'd say that going with the great advice you've been given here, checking it out for a few months, and then as Angelwitch said: start small and keep experimenting. At some point you just have to jump in.

Everyone makes mistakes, some of us even learn from them Smiley

The only unforgivable garden mistake is planting the wrong tree in the wrong place..... hard to correct later. But almost anything else is fixable.....as my poor perennials will attest. Some of them were moved as many as three times before I found optimum areas in the garden for them......

I all fairness to me, when I was starting out I used the local horticultural clubs' gardening guide as my bible... and found that in my little microclimate garden, things were growing much bigger than I was told they would get for our area. Keep gardening and you will simply have fewer mistakes as the years go by.
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