February 3, 2015 at 7:56 pm #35730
HELP!! I know next to nothing about gardening but I am delving headlong into it. I have broken the ground for my garden at the same spot my grandfather used to have his garden at. So I know the soil is good. He used to raise quite an impressive garden in that same spot and I wish I had paid more attention to what he did rather than spending all my free time fishing and hunting as a kid.
So I guess what I need to know is…everything? I plan on tilling the soil again a few times then I will form my rows, then plant the seeds. Is that correct for starters? I live in the central Texas area so how do I know when to plant what? I know I want Okra, tomatoes, squash, cantaloupe and onions. Maybe others…not sure.
Also, I am planning on using compost for fertilizer. I have been saving back stuff like egg shells, the pulp from my juicer, banana peels, etc. Any ideas or instructions about that?February 3, 2015 at 11:11 pm #35753
Well I live in a house in the city, Coral Gables, Florida so even when it is cold it is hot. I am growing tomatoes, a mix of lettuce which grow very well from Dec to April here. Also have potatoes growing too which I do every year. The problem with tomatoes is the bugs so they are a little work. You need to keep an eye on them. I have not tried cantaloupes but I have seen others grow them here. The cantaloupes take a lot of space to grow.
I have grown spinach and sweet peppers the red, yellow and green ones. They grown well when it is colder again same time table Dec to April.
Summer and all year long I grow banana trees here, papayas, and fruit trees.
On the lettuce the seeds are small and really do not need to do much to plant them just put them on the grown and water them, they will grow. I grow 300 to 400 every year.
I need to try to grow onions, tried one year but they died, maybe were I planted them was to hot.February 3, 2015 at 11:42 pm #35760
Carpedebass, First off congratulations on your endeavor, and a certain amount of jealousy because it’s 10F here. You must realize what a big topic gardening is on it’s own. More later gtg.February 3, 2015 at 11:56 pm #35762
I do compost for fertilizer. I also add the used coffee and green tea and add it to my compost. The lettuce and the tomatoes like a lot of water. You need to water them at less two times a day but if hot then three times.
I have been growing the lettuce in pots this year to try something new for the SHTF time. If I need to bring them in at night I can do that. I have a second floor were they can get sun and water that I set up.February 4, 2015 at 12:15 am #35768
carpdebass, talking to local gardeners is going to be your best bet being they will have the same weather, soil, and pest considerations as you. For example, where I live (Vermont) the growing season is short and so I need to err on the side of varieties that have shorter maturation time frames. For example a few years ago I tried growing watermelons and cantaloupes and frosts came before they were ripe. I’m going to try again this year but using varieties that ripen faster. Plants that really like hot weather aren’t going to be the best choices here either. Like with real estate, gardening considerations tend to be local.February 4, 2015 at 2:18 am #35779
Agree with MB on this since zones are very important and varieties in plants. Here in Miami the soil is not very good for lettuce but is good for fruit trees like oranges and lemon trees. We use good compost and fertilizer for the tomatoes.February 4, 2015 at 2:42 pm #35811
Soil preparation, almost all plants grow better in loose nutrient rich soils.
PH match for plant type
Adequate water supply and water retention, humus and mulches
Pest controls, bugs, rodents, deer, birds
Sun exposure to match plants
Plant support devices
What Free and MtB said.February 4, 2015 at 3:02 pm #35816
I also mix the compost with potting soil because sometimes my compost is very strong. My lettuce grow better this way.February 4, 2015 at 3:02 pm #35817
Thank you all so very much. I guess I asked too broad of a question. The plot I have is fairly large. I’d say 100 feet X 100 feet. The soil turns over very easily and looks to be quite nutrient rich. As I stated, my grandfather used to have a garden in this very same place, but that was several years ago. His garden was quite impressive.
I went yesterday and tilled the soil for the second time, just to get it good and broken up. I also added some of my compost material directly to the soil, then tilled it under. I hope that’s correct. I honestly have no clue what I’m doing. Running the tiller itself has been a learning experience. At first my rows looked like waves rather than straight lines. HA!
My grandfather used to dump all sorts of pesticides on his garden. I honestly think that is why he got cancer. I want to control pests, weeds and fertilize organically. I know grasshoppers are horrible out there in the summer months so that’s probably enemy number one. Birds, rabbits and deer are likely enemies two, three and four. I plan to hook up an electric fence with a solar panel to keep the four legged animals out and have been pondering the use of netting materials for the birds but that’s going to be quite the undertaking as I have personally seen okra plants grown in this garden to 9 feet tall.
I guess what I’m looking for is some confirmation that I am starting out correctly. I have broken the ground with rows left to right. Added some compost material. Then re tilled it in a cross hatch pattern to ensure the ground is well broken and loose. I plan to till one or two more times before forming planting rows and seeding for the various plants come spring time. One side of the garden, the soil is still not quite broken up enough for my liking.February 4, 2015 at 3:18 pm #35819
Yes you are doing it right since your grandfather used the soil for gardening it has very good soil and since it has not need used for years it will be in great shape. You did right by adding your compost.
Now the problem will be the grasshoppers they will eat you alive. Hard to stop them with the organic pest control, please post back if they work and how you made it of were you purchase it. I would be interested.
100 x 100 is almost my property size with the house on it. City land is smaller and cost a lot. My land is 100 x 125.
So you will be growing a lot of food if you can keep the grasshoppers from eating it all up. The rest are easier to keep off your plants with the electric fence. Birds will be your number two problem. See if there is some type of low sound device that will keep birds away.
The large growers use a black mesh screen that goes over there garden, it also helps with the heat too. This black screen is not cheap but lasts for many years.February 4, 2015 at 3:53 pm #35820
Freedom, thanks for the encouraging words. I’ve seen the screen stuff and wondered about it. Yes, the garden should be quite large. I’ll let you know what I find out about the organic pest control stuff. There has to be a way and I’m determined that I’ll find it.February 4, 2015 at 3:53 pm #35821
You might find that one side of the garden is slightly different than the other for a variety of reasons. The soil may have been amended differently than the other side, (less compost) or it could be the drainage is different or maybe you didn’t till it as well.
You might as well start reading everything you can about Organic Pest Control: What Works, What Doesn’t Here’s an article to get you started.February 4, 2015 at 4:03 pm #35824
Thanks 74. I’ll give it a look.
Yea, the one side seems a bit harder to till. It’s funny because that side is where the water should drain to, so you’d think it’d be softer. Another thing is the rocks. I know good and well there were no rocks in my grandfather’s garden, but now there are rocks in it. The largest are about the size of a softball. It’s like they grow from seeds or something. How the heck did rocks get out there?February 4, 2015 at 4:10 pm #35826
Rocks push up from below from frost and there is soil erosion thinning the soil. Both work to bring rocks to the surface. Rocks are not a real problem as long as your equipment moves them easily. Large rocks that the machine catches on or lurches the machine you want to remove.February 4, 2015 at 4:11 pm #35827
I don’t know what your climate is but up here rocks work their way to the surface due to the effects of frost. The water in the soil expands when it freezes which has the effect of pushing rocks upward with the soil, then when the ground thaws, the rocks don’t go back down as much as the soil does, and so slowly rocks make their way to the surface. This is why New England is full of stone walls, The farmers had to dispose of the stones somehow.
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