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Starting a garden...HELP!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
OK, for at least three years I've been claiming that I was going to start a garden in our backyard. I even planted the seeds last year but never tended to it. We did eat some of the stuff that came up so it didn't go to waste. Anyway, what's your best advice about starting a garden from scratch? Books, seeds, how to keep it up. Anything you can think of! Thanks!
post #2 of 6
my best advice is to only plant enough to eat - start small to get the hang on tending a garden. I'd start with about four plants each of the ones that produce many veggies - you'll have to pick them every 3 days - ex. beans, peas, tomatoes. Plant more of the ones that are singles ex. carrots - and choose which to plant wisely - lettuce is so hard to keep away from bugs.

Read the other posts for advice on how to start plants, etc. and check out your library for gardening in your area - climate and soil are very important. Also, you'll get tips like planting marigold near tomatoes to keep pests away.

I do not garden at my home, the conditions are not right in my windowbox. But I do have a few of my own rows in my mother's garden.
post #3 of 6
i'm also a new gardener and my advice is to start as simple as you can. take yearly steps towards your dream garden instead of trying everything at once. buy some plants instead of starting from seed. that way you'll know that the plants are already well established. if they die, you'll have fewer things to figure out for next year (soil, irrigation, mulching, plant type, etc). you want this to be a fun experience, so start simple and learn from this first year.

my first year gardening at our new house was a nightmare. i bit off way more than i could chew. i worked so hard plotting and planning our new garden, tilling the soil, putting up cute picket fencing, tending my seeds in early spring...then our trees filled out and blocked out all the sun...then the beds flooded. i harvested a few herbs, one pepper, and some tomatoes...but overall it was a royal flop.

the second year, i was pg with ella and was on bedrest the last few weeks of may. after she was born, the trees had filled out and it was easy to see where the sun hit the yard at various times of the day. we picked a small sunny patch, bought a few plants from the farmer's market, and planted our mini-garden in mid-june. we watered and mulched, but that was about all the upkeep we had time for. to our surprise, we ended up with over 200 tomatoes, tons of peppers, herbs, etc. it was a great joy to harvest fresh veggies and herbs each day.

this is our third year and i am back to starting from seed. we're expanding the garden. last years sunny spot was productive, so i'm more confident in starting from seed. its still risky, but since the plants we bought did well last year, i'll be able to tell if i messed up with the seeds and not have to worry about the soil and whatnot if plants fail to thrive. i'm only trying a couple new things (brussel sprouts, kale, peas, and beans). if all goes well, i'll add a few new things next year, and the next year, etc. :cool:

sorry i'm so long winded on this one! hope my experiences are helpful to you. - a
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great advice! I never thought of starting with plants instead of seed. I will definately do that. Should I start looking for things right now? When should I actually plant? After the first thaw, right?

Thanks again!

post #5 of 6
Elkblad, if there's a farmers' market near you, that might be a good place to find plants this spring. And the farmers who sell them to you can give you some tips about planting them. Our farmer's market is a great place to buy heirloom vegetable plants. There are some heirloom tomatoes that are absolutely scrupmtious. As for when to plant: you want to put in most plants when all danger of frost has passed. I'm originally from Buffalo, and I remember that the traditional time to put in tomato plants is memorial day. I imagine the climate in Michigan is similar to that of Buffalo.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks! There is a farmer's market just a few miles from me. I will check it out. I'm thinking Memorial Day is a good time too.

Thank you so much!

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