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Thread: Gardening...Vegetable Gardens?

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    Red face Gardening...Vegetable Gardens?

    Are there any avid vegetable gardeners in here? Now that we spend so much time outdoors I am attempting a small vegetable garden this year. This is coming from the black widow of all things plant, so this could go south REALLY fast...but I'm up for a challenge. Plus, now that my kiddos are getting older I need some kind of a hobby to keep me from going bonkers.

    I've watched an unfortunate number of youtube videos on gardening, and read several websites...but would love some first hand advice or words of caution. I decided to start seedlings in my house this past week in hopes of having plants ready to go outside when it warms up. I have little green leaves sprouting up! That's a first for this black thumb!

    Anyway, I'd love to hear from any other garden lovers out there! Any suggestions? Wisdom?

    Thanks!
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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Gardening...Vegetable Gardens?

    I would suggest a raised bed planter garden. You can easily build simple ones (lots of designs online) from basic supplies at HomeDepot. You then fill it with soil, plant a few vegetables that are seasonally appropriate and give the kids chores like watering and weeding.

    Don’t use any pesticides and grow marigolds around the edges. Let the bugs get some of the crop tobteach the kids about crop loss. I grew these big beautiful tomatoes plants one year with my oldest boy only to have an army of horn-tail caterpillars defoliate them. My son learned a good lesson from that.
    Matt
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    Re: Gardening...Vegetable Gardens?

    Thanks JoyfulNoise!

    I saw something called "smart pots" that are made of a very thick kind of fabric. You can get a 4ft round one for $28 on Amazon. I decided to go the fully disposable route in case my foray into gardening proves to be an epic disaster. If it is a success it is supposed to last for several years.

    I heard about growing marigolds around the edges...I am guessing that helps keep some pests away. Do you have any suggestions on safe fertilizers to use on veggies? I can read boxes all day long, just curious if you had a suggestion.

    I like the idea of the kiddos helping, I'll definitely employ them! Plus, my oldest loves tomatoes....so there is some pay out to keeping them alive!
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    Re: Gardening...Vegetable Gardens?

    Great opportunity to go organic.

    Buy the best organic dirt available. Neem oil is a fantastic choice to control pests.
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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Gardening...Vegetable Gardens?

    Assuming the soil in your area is of good quality, I would mix 50/50 local soil from your yard with organic compost or, if you don’t mind the heavy odor, steer-manure and compost. You don’t need to amend that mixture much but adding bone meal fertilizer is a good way to get lots of slow-release nitrogen and phosphorous into the soil. Earthworm castings (earthworm poop ) is a great natural fertilizer with TONS of nutrients. You could, if you wanted to get a little crazy, setup your own household kitchen waste composting bin. You can get reasonable sized ones that sit in your yard and it makes a great place to throw banana peels, egg shells, discarded vegetable chopings, grass clippings, etc. Composting creates your own soil and is a good way to teach kids about conservation. Earthworms themselves are a good thing to add to the soil (you can buy them live) as they will eat grubs and keep soil pests away. Earthworm poop is literally the best form of fertlizer one can use.

    Neem oil is an excellent natural pesticide and I’m not at all opposed to Bt powder use for caterpillar control as Bt is a natural, fungus based pesticide that is totally harmless to humans.
    Matt
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    Re: Gardening...Vegetable Gardens?

    I don't have a really sunny spot for a garden due to all the trees we have but I have three Garden Patch grow boxes that work really well. They have a water reservoir that you only need to check about once a week.
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    Re: Gardening...Vegetable Gardens?

    I have 6 raised bed gardens made out of red cedar, 8ft x 4 ft, using 2" x 10" x 8' lumber , total of ( 6) for each bed
    It depends on what you want to plant and how they will do with the type of soil and mix you use.
    Initial cost of soil is the most expense.
    If you have to buy all bag stuff, you will use about 30 bags per 8x4 bed. second year you might have to add about 5 bags per bed due to soil settle.
    If going the raised bed style, put some metal mesh fence/screen that has small openings on the bottom before fillinf with dirt,that way it will help in keeping ground digging pests from popping up in the plant roots.
    soil test kits from Lowes, Menards, junk, as bad as test strips for pool, packaged in a serious looking container like for our pools, never had luck.
    If you fert. yard use a drop spreader near the garden, but good luck finding one anymore. mostly all broadcast now.
    If you mow grass and catch clippings, use that for mulch under plants but only if you do not fertilize or treat lawn, really helps for tomatoes and splash up from soil causing blight.
    Water plants from below, not overhead like rain onto leaves,rain water and house water is much different.
    water plants when soil is dry , 1-2 inches below surface, only 1-2 inches of water per week if you can calculate that out.
    My best plants I have luck with are cucumbers, green beans, onions, peppers, tomatoes, rhubarb, lettuce not so much luck with radishes, it really comes down to soil, location to sun and climate you live in.
    This is just some of the things I learned over the last 4 years of my raised bed garden and by no means am I a gardener per say. Here in Iowa you really cant plant until second week of May usually due to chance of late spring frost which will murder the plant unless you plant cooler loving plants such as lettuce, onions, they cant take a little cold and could be planted early May.
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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Gardening...Vegetable Gardens?

    Quote Originally Posted by rajung View Post
    ... not so much luck with radishes......
    May have been your beds werent deep enough. Radishes and carrots have taproots that can easily go down 20. If you cramp the taproot, the rest of the plant suffers.

    Red cedar is an excellent choice in wood, very pest and rot resistant.
    Matt
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    rajung's Avatar
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    Re: Gardening...Vegetable Gardens?

    [QUOTE=JoyfulNoise;1384256]May have been your beds weren’t deep enough. Radishes and carrots have taproots that can easily go down 20”. If you cramp the taproot, the rest of the plant suffers.

    Good to know, thanks
    Explains why when I checked them I thought I had some great ones due to the amount of , for whatever they are called, upper green stems, when I pulled out of the ground I had red peas.
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    Re: Gardening...Vegetable Gardens?

    Marigolds are supposed to work on rabbits and other small furry critters. I've been doing that for a couple years and I'm not sure if it's working but it sure hasn't hurt and it does add a lot of color. At the end of the year you can collect the buds and have plenty of seeds for the following year.

    I have been using Milorganite for a lot of the plants as it's natural and it's not supposed to burn plants. That way you can add it when planting something young or transplanting. Mix some with the dirt and add the plant, water and on to the next.
    I also found a fairly close horse riding stable (craigslist) that gives away manure and the bedding straw. They have it in bulk and 40-60 lb bags. I run it through a chipper and it makes a great fertilizer and mulch.
    Milorganite - Google

    If you get a chance beg, borrow or buy a couple raspberry plants. Get a red and a gold or a couple of each. Depends on your patience. I started out buying 10 plants and after a few years I have two 40' rows of them. They are so great to snack on while you're out weeding. Get the everbearing kind and just cut the canes down at the end the year. They grow like weeds and you'll need spade off the runners to keep them neat. Those are what I keep transplanting and also donating to friends who wanted to start growing. You'll need some 5-6' fence posts and some wire. I use stainless steel electric fence wire from Menards to run three or four lateral lines between the posts. In spring as the canes come up you need to weave them between the wires to give them support and make it easier to harvest.
    Blackberries too but with those you need to take the tips towards fall and bend them down and bury them with an inch or two of soil to get them to root and get a new plant. I love berries.
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    Re: Gardening...Vegetable Gardens?

    Awesome info!
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