New garden

amythystmoonMarch 4, 2010

Howdy All:

My name is George. My family is starting a new garden this year. My question is what should we try and stay away from. Things on list of wants are "salsa Garden" sunflowers, cukes,Lots o' tomatoes, peppers. marigolds squash, onions and the like.

Now here is the kicker. one we are starting from lawn and they do not want to desod just rotitiller away, and there is not water on site. I am looking for ways to get a water tank we can move on wheels.

Any help would be appreciated also hate to ask but all our seeds are reg. store bought and I don't have any to trade. Donations of a couple here and there would be greatly welcome.

Again thx for your time and support.


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linda_schreiber(z5/6 MI)

Just a few thoughts. Hope they are helpful.

Glad you are starting a garden! It will be frustrating, and wonderful! But it will be more wonderful than frustrating, I promise.

A new garden is always a learning experience. If you don't get great yields the first year, don't get discouraged.

Just rototillering instead of desodding makes me wince a little.... You might be just spreading the runner grass and making weed seeds very happy. But it may work out ok. It's just that often a few hours of hard work desodding can save many, many, many hours of weeding later. Just my own opinion, though.

For the first year, I would really advise pretty much sticking with regular store-bought seeds. And especially the starter plants you can buy locally, even at the big-box stores, as long as they look healthy. These are likely to be easily available in your area *because* they are easily-grown varieties, fairly disease-resistant, pretty reliable yielders in your zone. May not be the fanciest varieties, but great for new gardeners!

In zone 5, unless you have plans to start your own seeds indoors *very soon*, with the space and light and time and supplies and experience that can take, I really would plan on buying plants, this year, instead of seeds for some of the longer-season things on your list.

The cukes, tomatoes, squashes, peppers, will give you much better success if you buy them as plants, rather than as seeds. I know they cost more, but it is better to have 4-6 plants that give you some harvest all summer than to have a pack of 30 seeds that are all just beginning to set fruit when the first early frost happens.... Been there. Done that.

However the ground is cleared, pay attention to the soil you find there. Do a little searching on what good growing soil looks like and feels like. Yours may very well be just fine for this planting year. But if you want to keep on vegetable gardening, you will want to learn about keeping your soil rich and productive.

What kind of fencing are you planning? You can fence the garden, or fence just bed-by-bed. But be thinking now of how you are going to keep your garden from feeding the groundhogs and rabbits instead of your family. Can be as simple as some sort of short poles and chicken wire over the bed. But if there is no barrier.... The critters' favorite salad is seedlings and young plants. They can take out your newly planted garden literally overnight.

Good luck with the new garden! If you have questions, or problems, or just want to vent (grins), we are here.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 6:25PM
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Good luck with your garden. I hope you come to love gardening and enjoy a bountiful harvest.

I have read about spraying "Round-up" herbicide on a patch of sod several weeks before tilling, or else laying plastic down or weighing down newspapers on the sod to kill it first. Perhaps you could investigate those methods to kill your sod before tilling.

Some municipalities have free compost for the taking. It improves your soil tilth and fertility, making your plants happier.

Stay away from the more difficult seeds in your first years of gardening: onion, tomato, and pepper, instead purchase tomato and pepper plants, and grow onions from sets, not seeds.

Sunflowers and marigolds are not difficult to grow from seed. I always start cucumbers and squash from seed. If you like beans, they are another possibility because they are easy to grow  however, rabbits love beans and peas. A huge rabbit population in my city makes a small fence a necessity.

Wire tomato cages will support tomato plants and keep them upright off the ground. You place the rings while the plant is still small, to minimize root damage.

If watering is a problem, mulching your garden would help to conserve moisture.

The most important bit of advice that I have is to start small. I have known a few people that started medium or large gardens, then became overwhelmed by the entire gardening experience which became too much of a chore for them that first year. Unfortunately, they quit gardening completely.

A small garden will give you joy, wonder, and pride, and increase your interest and pleasure in gardening, not to mention present you with the most flavorful vegetables you have ever eaten. After having a successful first year garden, you will probably want to expand it a bit the following year, and every year after.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 5:04PM
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George, where are you located? I'm around Ann Arbor, MI. I would say there are a few local nurseries that are fairly cheap and have great plants to start with. I would also agree, start small and go from there. Good luck and enjoy!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 8:51PM
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hi george

if i might give you some tips...
when i started my garden 5 years ago...this is how i did it...
first,i saved alot of newspapers..and leaves from the previous year...then,when things warmed up...around mid-may...i laid a large extention cord to take the shape of the garden i wanted to make...( you can use rope or just paint or chalk the lines)i dug a small trench where i had laid the cord,,,then placed the newspaper on the grass where my new garden was to be made.. to stop light from getting kills all green under the paper....after that,i put the leaves on top of the newspaper to act as compost....then covered it all with about 4-6 inches of triple mix i ordered from a local place....stomped it all down to compact it....then started to plant the things i wanted in my new have no need to move sod or do any extra hard work...
now i have a nice garden that i open for tours every july...last year i had 700 visitors for the tour
this is in my opinion,the best way to create a new and lush garden...
and as for having no could place barrels or even the big recyclying or garbage containers around the garden to collect rain water for the plants...

hope this helps a bit...
cheers and good luck..

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 11:17AM
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Howdy All:
Thx for all your great idaes and support. AS for where I live it is in clinton, on north of london. Again thx for the encouragement.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 12:00PM
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