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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're finally living in a place that has gardening space, and next season I want to have a vegetable garden. Does anyone have advice for planning? Any good resources that list space a plant needs, what types grow best in what areas, if there's any specific reason for planting certain things close or far away from each other? Thanks!
 

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What region are you located in? What is your garden space like? A lot will depend on those. What do you like to eat?

The best resources are region specific. They will be the ones most relevant to you and get you the best start on your gardn, including seed varieties. Co-ops and farmer's markets will usually stock varieties that are well suited to your area, and the farmers themselves can tell you which ones work best for them. Usually the starts they sell are the ones they use.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's not a large garden, I haven't specifically measured it but I'd say about 5' on each side. I believe we're in zone 8, according to this map zone 7b/8a. I'm not sure what local resources there are. At this time of year, the local farmer's market isn't up as often so it's hard to get to it with our schedule.

Tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini would probably be a good place to start. We have two potted strawberry plants as well, but I'd rather leave them potted for now. I'm not sure how much can realistically be planted in the space. It's part of our porch, sort of, so sunlight may be a problem. Two sides are partially walled-in and there's a porch above it. It should all get a decent amount of direct sunlight in the summer, but I imagine things like tomatoes would have to be at the outer edge and shade-friendlier plants would be better closer to the house.
 

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Green beans and kale are one of the best places to start with gardens. Of course, we like tomatoes and zucchini, but those don't go in for a while. Peppers are a maybe. Those grow best on our roof here-- one of the only crops that really thrived on the blazing heat (and the carrots that came up from seed via the compost in the pots-- go figure!) Stick with jalapenos and chiles like Anaheim rather than the sweet peppers.
 

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I live where you do (7b)and don't get a lot of sun, at all. I grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers,strawberries, and herbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the reaponses! I really have no idea what I'm doing, I don't know anything about timing. Fortunately I have a little while to plan it out. :) I'm still working on clearing the area, it's been overrun by vines, especially since the cold snap killed everything that's been growing here.
 

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I highly recommend using a pea and bean inoculant for those crops the first year. You might even find benefits using it every year, but that will depend on your soil. If you grow organically and use ample organic matter, you shouldn't need this every year, and you can get by without adding any, ever, as those "critters" will colonize the soil over time as you tend to it. But you will see more robust growth the first year. Inoculent is bacteria or fungus or a combination of the two, and can help legumes get a good start and grow better, especially in "new" soil.

I highly recommend Dave's Garden for a lot of information like this. I would look up stuff only as you need the information. I would not overwhelm myself with a lot of info, as location has a heavy impact on what is relevant (clearly, though, info on how inoculants work is not location-specific), and really gardening is fairly simple and basic. Plant, water, grow, harvest. Everything else is just details to make things go more smoothly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Anyone know good resources for clearing plants out? There's a ground cover vine (I think an ivy) that appears to be surviving both round up and vinegar covering the area that I'm a little worried about what's gonna be involved in removing it. What tools, etc
 

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Can you post a picture?

In general for weeding out stubborn plants, you want a spading fork, and usually a trowel, japanese weeding tool (ho-mi) or a weeding claw. You also might want a shovel. Weeding claw, ho-mi or trowel? The first two (there are other japanese tool designs similar to the ho-mi) use a *pulling* action that I find more comfortable, the trowel is a *pushing* action. For the claw or ho mi, I have that in my right (dominant) hand while my felt hand deftly gathers up the roots/runners. If you are left handed, go for the claw as there still arent' officially any left-handed people in Japan. :p

DO NOT ROTOTILL.

If your soil is really bad, use the shovel to *cut* a line or square (you do not need to dig). Start from the nearest edge of the garden. Then with the spading fork, pry loose all soil in the area. Keep the fork handy. Then, using the hand weeding tool, sift through the soil, pulling out any runners and roots. Be very gentle with the hand that's pulling the vines and roots out. Idelly you want as unbroken a piece as you can get. You'll get a feel for how much effort is too much or not enough. Use the spading fork to loosen the soil more, or deeper as much as needed. It will save you loads of work this way. You can do this from a kneeling position as well as standing.

Place debris in the garbage, not the home compost. Commercial compost (yard waste bins) are hot enough to kill anything. Repeat with the next section. You should have a nice ditch or hole at this point for the next batch of clean soil to fill in.

Remember that it is very likely the vine is *under the lawn*, so you need to make sure that the edges are well weeded. Do some exploratory weeding to see how far any roots or runners go. You'll need to monitor the edges of the lawn/garden boundary regularly for any new invaders.

There are easier long-term ways of getting rid of vines, but that won't help for this year. If you have a section you'd like to expand into next year, now is a good time to start with those methods. Get those tools, they are good garden tools to have around.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I talked to someone who works at Ace (local hardware store, the people tend to be genuinely helpful, someone there helped us when one of our doorknobs broke and the door was jammed) who suggested roundup for Ivy. It's a bit expensive, so I'd rather not. I thought I got a picture of it, but can't find it on my phone now. @[email protected] I'll get another picture. Once it starts getting a bit warmer, I'm sure kiddo will be happy to help out with pulling up the vines, so hopefully that'll make it more pleasant.

Is it worth it to continue trying to kill the vines with vinegar or should I just try pulling them out live?

On an only somewhat related note- I'm also looking into vermicomposting. I'm not sure if I'll actually do it this year, but at this point I'm pretty sure the idea is something I'll definitely be doing at some point.
 

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That is English Ivy, or a close relative. Unless it's growing in a rock wall or something, it's actually very easy to get out and keep out with a little diligence. Roundup (and no need to use it unless it's in that wall) needs to be spread on every single leaf, and frankly that's about as difficult as getting in there with your tools and getting it. The roots are fairly shallow, and it's not likely to be hiding under the lawn. Just use that spading fork liberally-- get the ground good and loose-- and pull it out bit by bit. If you weren't planting a garden there you could get by with less work and a bit more follow-up.

In the end, ivy in small spaces is easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's good to hear, thanks! I'm not looking forward to the cost of the roundup but I know it kills down to the roots so better to be safe. :)

It's not getting on any walls but is threatening to overtake a few machines behind the building (condo complex, not sure what the machines are, I think they're related to the house fans though) so that definitely needs to be cut off.
 

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Personally I would not bother with Roundup on English Ivy. You still have to pull it all so you are not saving yourself any work there, and the roots are not that persistent. English Ivy is more a problem in semi-wild spaces simply on a scale of magnitude and can be devastating to trees, but all these problems exist because the area gets relatively little human maintenance, not because ivy is that hard to get out.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You were right about the ivy being easy to pull up! I managed to clear a little under a quarter of the space in less than half an hour. There are two bushes and a few other plants that may be a little harder to get out the roots of.

In the front garden we have a nasty huge ornamental grass and tree roots to deal with (got a hatchet today to deal with them, had to rent a rug doctor at the same time- that doesn't look suspicious :p) so I'm glad this is looking a lot more manageable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I measured the garden- I have about 90sqft! I bought a few non gmo seeds and there are some more I want to get as well. There are some that I need to plant indoors soon
 

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I think, for me personally, the most important thing is to adapt your vision so it is possible but not so much that you have to compromise important features. When we moved into our new house and we started planning our garden we had to make compromises due to our lack of space, maybe I'll have a pond one day! :frown:
 
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