Starting a Garden

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Last summer we started a garden and to say the least it was a bit of a flop.  Of course we didn’t even start to plant until the very end of May and I think stopped watering it by the end of July.  Our yields were small.  Some of things didn’t bear fruit at all.  Even with it not working out I learned a lot and we now have garden ready for on time planting this year.  About 2 weeks ago I received and e-mail from the our local Parks and Rec offering a free class on how to garden.  I signed up right away knowing for experience that I could use a bit of help.  I took notes and that is what I am going to share with you to help you with any gardening aspirations you may have for yourself.  Happy gardening friends!

Step 1:  Select a Site

Step 2: Create your plot

  • Directly in the ground
  • Raised bed (This is what we have.  A raised be should be no more that 4 foot wide so you can reach everything from the outside.)
  • Containers  (Just make sure they have a place for drainage)

Step 3:  Consider what type of soil you have or may want to use.

  • Compost Mixture, Top Soil, Potting Soil, or artificial mixes

Step 4: Prepare your site

  • Test the pH.  The desire range for a garden is 6.0-6.8
  • Till or turn the soil with a shovel.  The looser the better.

Step 5: Design your plot

  • What will you plant and where will you plant it.  Make sure that your taller plants won’t be shading your smaller plants.
  • Add fertilizers or compost.  Manure is a good choice for organic fertilizer.
  • Consider how long it take plants to develop fruit.  You will be able to plant some thing twice.  Plant your taller plants in a spot where they won’t cast a shadow over the smaller plant.  If your garden is small, it can be helpful to stay away from things that take up lots of space with a small yield like sweet corn.  For some vegetables like tomatoes and pepper it can be helpful to start with a small plant rather than seeds.

Jeremy’s Raised Bed Build Notes:

  • Size: 4′ by 12′ for easy access without walking into garden
  • Materials:
    • 2″ by 12″ boards (not pressure treated)
    • 4by4 post cut down to just under 12″ sections for each corner
    • 6″ to 8″ lag bolts to hold everything together (4 bolts per corner…2 each side in corners)
  • We built a large 8 foot main bed and a smaller 4 foot section for use with strawberries as they spread and will come back year to year in our climate

Step 6:  Planting

  • Follow the direction for spacing and depth.  If you are planting in 4ft. wide raised bed you can plant things closer because you will not need space to walk or hoe between roes.
  • Decide how based on what you want to do with the vegetable.  For example if you are going to can or freeze plant a larger amount.

Step 7:  Maintain your garden

  • Water your plants in the morning or evening.  For many plants it is helpful to water in the morning to prevent the growth of fungus or rotting.
  • Fertilize your plants to help them grow.  This year I will be fertilizing by adding 2-3 drops of Basic H our household cleaner per quart of water once per week.
  • Control the weeds.
  • Control the insects, pests and disease.

Step 8:  Harvest your vegetables, enjoy right away or freeze, can or ferment for later.

I hope you have found this information helpful.  Please post any helpful tips you may have.  One last tip that I am going to follow this year is to purchase my plants and seeds for a locally owned green house and garden center where I know they will have knowledgeable  staff to answer my questions and guide me along my way.

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