New Gardener. New Home.

lmw0336March 23, 2012

Hi, I'm Michael and I am posting for the first time. I'm a young and ignorant man but i do love plants and have been reading a few books on vegetable gardening to try to learn a bit more! My girlfriend and I just moved into a home in Atlanta that we're renting and we've also been given full autonomy with our yard. So I have researched the easier basics: how many of each type of plant a two-person home would need, soil conditions, doubling-digging vs no-till vs lasagna technique...like i said, i know the *easier* basics. The biggest obstacles that I am coming to now is designing the plots and plot size. In all of the books and online guides, no one really seems to address how to procure the size of your garden based on what you want to grow. How big? How many rows? How to allign all of the rows keeping in mind the needs of the different spacings for the different neighboring plants? And also keeping in mind the rsuccession spacings? Ahhh!

I really like the idea of providing enough for the two of us to not have to go to the store for these things. Am I being too ambitious for it being my first time gardening?

Here is what we would like to grow:

Tomatoes: 5 plants

Okra: 1-2 dozen.

lettuce: 2-5

corn: (probably in its own 4 X 4 or 5 X 5 plot)

cucumber: 4 plants

bok choy: 4-6 plants

beets: 25-40 plants

carrots: 30 plants?

peas: 20-40

summer squash: 5-6 plants.

collards:

peppers: 5-6 plants

cabbage: 5-10

radishes: 15-30

2 kale

6 chard.

What size plot(s),smallest possible, would you all intuit(as seasoned veterans) as a reasonable and accommodating size? Or what should i group with what in the different plots?

Thanks so much for reading! And if you find yourself with a few free odd moments available to reply any comments or suggestions, we would really appreciate it!

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allhaileris

I'm pretty much where you're at, in a new house and newish to gardening other than container gardens and looking for tips too. We lucked out and had the garden spots already setup. I'm horrible at guessing size, but I think our area is about 1/2-2/3 the size of a 1 car garage, and about half is fallow right now.

What are you going to do with your extras? Give away, can, freeze? That sounds like a lot of squash, don't those things kind of explode with fruit? Unless you do the stuffed squash flowers things.

There are three of us at our house, and I'm going to go overboard on the tomatoes and green beans because I can can those (dilly beans - yum!). We need to pick up a freezer (I'm guessing) for the non-cannables, like corn on the cob and anything I can stir fry. I don't like mushy veggies, so I don't want to go overboard either. Right now I have a spot that about 1.5' wide and about 4-5' long that I'm going to put a few peas (like a couple in 4 spots where I'll set up poles to climb on, like a tent), and then split the rest of the room between carrots (many), beets, turnips and a couple lettuces.

I'll definitely keep an eye on this!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 6:27PM
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captivatedlife(5/Denver)

Another newbie (first growing season in our new home but have been gardening in containers for years!)

First decide what method you will use. Will you use square foot, potager, hill, rows, what?! Then you'll know how much space you need. Also, with that much your first year expect some success but also expect some failure.

I would start with a semi square foot/potager design because it's good in urban spaces. Good luck

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 9:09AM
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jolj(7b/8a)

Looks like you have plants for year around or 4 seasons in Ga. I think you should read "Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew. He has a good map for space of plants & when to plant. Beans,spinach 4"x4",beets & carrots,radishes,onions 3"x3",
Broccoli,cabbage, cauliflower,eggplant,pepper,12"x12".
Tomatoes 24"/2' square.
Just some of his work.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 9:03PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

Looks like you have plants for year around or 4 seasons in Ga. I think you should read "Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew. He has a good map for space of plants & when to plant. Beans,spinach 4"x4",beets & carrots,radishes,onions 3"x3",
Broccoli,cabbage, cauliflower,eggplant,pepper,12"x12".
Tomatoes 24"/2' square.
Just some of his work.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 11:03PM
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danielmc

I would ask some questions before getting to far along I see this post started back a bit but... is this a open area or is it shaded by the house, tree, etc? Corn is wild pollinated so it would be better (critical mass) to have a larger area with several rows or be less organized and do a honey comb pattern and as the corn gets say 3 1/2 feet high plant acorn squash or vine beans with them as the corn is harvested you get the beans climbing the corn for support. That is alot of summer squash for two unless thats zuchinni and summer(yellow) squash. Placement of plants is tricky cause you want to rotate placement next year and you don't want to shade short plants with tall plants. Raised beds you dont have to leave walk room but you will in a traditional garden that said if your renting you wouldn't want the expense of putting in raised beds... we have 400 sq feet of raised beds which provides for two with some for storage. I am planning on increasing that size next year as my kids get older and eat more. I would venture that this would equal about 600 sq feet if you had to leave walk ways. I do use poles for beans and trellis for cucumbers, peas, watermelon, and pumpkin. I would also add watch what you can double crop potatoes and peas will be done in time for you to put in pumpkin and late beans this will cut down on space you need. Carrots planted next to tomatoes can also be pulled for young tender carrots before the tomatoes tower over them might also want to look at planting borage and marigolds they help with pests and encourage pollinators to visit. One last bit of advice no matter how many years you do this you will always be new to it set aside a small area to try something new every year purple carrots, artichoke, peanuts, white pumpkin, asian greens, or funky color beans you will learn maybe find a new favorite vegi but more than likly you will just visit the garden more often and take better care of everything.
Best of luck

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 3:10PM
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