Advice for clueless beginner?

NoviceMonkeyDecember 1, 2013

I have a 5x10 raised bed that i was so excited about for Spring, but am totally clueless. Can anyone make suggestions for what would be nice to start with in such a small area? I can do climbing veg on one 10" side. I started researching, but now am overwhelmed & intimidated. Suggestions?

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It really depends on what you like to eat.

In my zone 5 garden, I plant the hardy things in early April, like onion plants, peas, brassica starts, and probably a couple other things I'm forgetting right now. Then after last frost (end of May) is planting time for the things that like warmth, like tomatoes, squash, beans. If you want to be eating greens all winter, then plant things like spinach and kale in the summer and early fall, and provide them a little protection (fleece).

Just make sure your climbing veggies are on the north side of the bed so they don't shade things.

In such a small space, I'd suggest growing short things that can handle some shade (like lettuce) under taller things, like, say, collards, and using every inch of space.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 10:15PM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)


I was just like you, I would research soo much, i got intimidated, and overwhelmed and ended up not doing anything.. If theres one advice i could give u,do not get like that! Gardening is supposed to be about growing your food getting close to nature.. We stray away from that with all these "scientific theories" and research... It's much better to just get out in the garden and plant. There is nothing better than experience.. Humans need to learn that academics is nothing compared to true experience.. You could read a book all day and not have a clue. Let me get out out in the field, you'll have a clue real quick..

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 12:36PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

We grow cucumbers on a trellis when the weather gets near 80 degrees. They grow better when it is warmer. You don't have many "lost" cukes when you trellis them. You should rotate (grow different crops) each year. Otherwise you deplete your soil and draw bad bugs. I'm still on the fence about companion planting. I read the pros and cons. I guess I will try it next year, just to see if it works. It is important to attract beneficial insects to your garden. They will eat the bad bugs so you don't have to spray chemicals. I know there is alot to learn. Just dabble at it and enjoy what you can grow. My agricultural center is s wealth of information about growing and insect control. I prefer organic methods and what is called IPM. Which is checking your plants every few days for bugs and destroying them manually or organically.

This post was edited by zackey on Tue, Dec 31, 13 at 15:54

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 5:11PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I learned alot by reading gardening books from the library and seed catalogs have good info. Taking classes would help you learn more. Most of us just jumped in and learn as we go.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 3:57PM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

Read "soil biology primer" by elaine ingham. One of the best books on gardening. Dr.Infham is a wealth of information, any of her books/articles are decent.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 10:20AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

NoviceMonkey - I would suggest you look over on the Vegetable Forum for general advice on growing. It is more lively and frequented than this one. While reading materials such as that recommended by Natures_Nature might be interesting, you say you are already overwhelmed and intimidated, so I'm not sure it would help.

There are a lot of people on Garden Web who are very keen gardeners but who do have a tendency to make it all far more complicated than need be and who all have their own ideas of what you must do.

Firstly, I would make sure you find advice specifically for your area.

Secondly, I would start small - and you are, 10 x 5 is easy to maintain. And the word maintain is very important. Many newbies start off very enthusiastically, spend a lot of money, plant their plants and then hope to come back 2 or 3 months later and harvest fabulous veggies. You need to keep at it regularly - little and often. Watch for pests - but don't stress about a bit of damage. Keep on top of weeds. Get the watering sorted out.

Thirdly, I would try not to grow everything you fancy the first year. Begin with a few of the easier varieties for your area.

Fourthly, unless you live somewhere with absolutely awful soil I would incorporate what is already there in your garden. It is not a sine qua non of gardening that you need to buy lots of stuff to build beds.

Please don't be frightened off. Just get started - when the season is appropriate.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vegetable Forum

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 11:24AM
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You call a 5'x10' raised bed "small"?! I guess it's all relative- I'm stuck with small pots & containers on my patio & porch, I'd give anything for a yard and a raised bed or 2. Grow what you like to eat and pay attention to proper planting times for the plants you are growing (cool season vs warm, etc), and use good soil & compost & mulch. You will get the hang of it after a few successes and some failures. Learning takes time. Don't be intimidated, just get started :)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:38AM
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