Southwest

winstonsblues(7b)February 28, 2014

Hi all,
I think I may have been active here a few years ago, but just got back into gardening after not having time for it. My last gardening experiment (8x4 raised bed) failed miserably in 2010. But I lack some common sense when it comes to gardening in Ok I guess... everyone says raised beds are better, they need full sun, etc. So I placed that bed right smack in the middle of a backyard with no wind break or shade, in a fairly urban area which probably had very few pollinators. I tried to grow carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, regular & cherry tomatoes, and okra. I think that was all... probably pretty crowded too. We literally got nothing except a few okra and the basil. Anyway, it's been a few years... we've moved... and the backyard here is so nice I just want to try keeping something alive again. Where in the last yard it was just grass and whatever those little trees/shrub looking things are that grow everywhere, this backyard has shown a few different types of flowers, it has two huge pecan trees, mostly soft types of ground covering, and not the ugly grass that grows everywhere. So I'm hoping it is just in a better starting place to grow stuff. I am not sure, but I think I will be planting in the ground this time. It is definitely not red clay. I don't know if it is some other kind of clay, if so, it isn't too sticky, but it isn't sandy either. I hate to be overly optimistic but the texture seems pretty good as is. Anyway, this is long and rambly! I have had so much trouble deciding what to try and grow variety wise, but I think I will go with the ones I've seen mentioned on here multiple times. Oh yeah, do huge pecan trees indicate anything about the soil? Can I be pretty sure about the fertility just based on the fact that stuff grows already back there? Glad to be back and hear what everyone has going on :) Oh yeah, seed starting method? Do you use heatpads/grow lights or just a warm enough room with sun?

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chickencoupe

Hey winstons. Welcome back!

Have you had a soil test?

I just make the best of seed-starting. I stuck my first batch on top of the fridge and kept them moist. My hubs just installed a rickety light shelf in a southern room with small windows. Seems to be doing okay.

This post was edited by ChickenCoupe on Sat, Mar 1, 14 at 1:48

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 1:44AM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Winston, we all learn through mistakes! And sometimes things just don't work, it's not necessarily the gardener, or at least that is what I tell myself :)

Can you show us a picture of the area where you are planning to garden? That might give us some ideas.

Full sun in Oklahoma does not necessarily mean FULL SUN! It is so hot here that some shade is a good thing.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 4:44AM
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winstonsblues(7b)

Hey guys,
No, I have not had a soil test... I can't seem to find a consensus on how useful the store bought ones are. Any thoughts on that? I wish I could put up a pic of the garden area! Unfortunately, my camera is lost.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:17AM
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wbonesteel(7)

In my experience, if you haven't lost at least one item during a move, you're probably not doing it right. ;) If nothing else ended up scratched, broken or ruined, consider that to be a miracle, good planning or not.

As for your new garden? Get a soil test from your county extension agent. Might take a couple of trips, one to get info on what you should do, then another to bring the sample into the office. ...or you can hit the website and go through the checklist.

Store bought soil tests just cover the basics, and just the spot in the garden that you've tested. Test multiple spots in the garden and you'll have a better feel for what you need to do about the basic nutrition and pH in your garden.

We moved to Oklahoma in 2010. We had our soil tested through the local county extension agent, conveniently located just a few blocks from our home. By the time I had the garden planned and installed that first year, it was really too late to plant much of anything, but we did have a few fresh veggies. The second year, after mixing in lots of amendments, including compost(s) and some building sand, we filled two freezers with produce. Last year, the constantly changing spring weather - and the soil pH - played havoc with the garden and production dropped. We still had a lot of produce, but nothing to brag about, except for the green veggies - lettuce, spinach, collards, etc.

Gardening here is an adventure. Every season and every year seems to bring a new and different challenge than the year before.

wrt to the soil at your new home, you can never go wrong by adding compost and organic material of every type and kind to your dirt, soil test or not. The first year, I'd recommend mixing amendments directly into the present dirt in your garden. After that, you can experiment with other methods, including layering. Just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 10:21AM
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winstonsblues(7b)

Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 10:55AM
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