First Gardening Season - Need Advice

phrankMarch 17, 2014

Hi, about to build a raised garden, it'll be 32 cubic feet. I plan on growing a variety of veggies, including some kale, lettuce, spinach, peppers, cukes, carrots to start.

I have no idea what soil or combo of soil to start with. I expect to be buying bags of soil. I would like to go organic, but its not entirely necessary.

Best experience you've had with bagged soil, what mixture to use, if I need to add manure or anything else. Please be specific in your response, I am a greenhorn - as opposed to a green thumb!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I gace up my soil last year and very happy about it.
Since you are going to start I would suggest you look into SFG gardening ( square foot gardening )
No soil, just vermiculite, peat moss and your good home made compost..
No tilling any more, no PH to worry about..I love it.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the reply Japus, I don't have any compost, can you recommend a good mix that I can purchase commercially?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 3:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Last year when I first started SFG I had no compost either.
Out local recycle center was giving away what they had worked on all year.
What did I know ? absolutely nothing !!! After asking what it consisted of he told me leaves & brush.
I picked up twenty four 5 gallon buckets then added horse manure, cow manure, mushroom manure, chiccy doo doo, into the prescribed compost mix of Mel's Mix.
During the season I added a small amount of fish oil weekly..
To say I had a good harvest is an understatement.
It was only a test season and I was very satisfied, decided to pursue SFG completely...
Try you local recycle center, they may do the same thing.
If your interested in this program, I suggest you ask your questions in the SFG forums, many knowledgeable folk there.
Good Luck

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 4:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can see planting in a raised bed for beets and carrots (root crops) in other words. Japus is growing Kohlrabi, I see. I am not knowledgeable to tell you which growth medium is best. Keep; an eye out for the best compost.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Mike Larkin

Check with you local garden centers to see if they sell composted soil. Also your local township may have a compost facility which you may be able to pick up for free. Making your own is a good idea but does take a little time. Another idea is to use the Lasanga layer method. See link.

Where you planning to build a raised bed. There are many people that beleive that is is not good to used presure treated lumber. So do some research and you can decide. I went to a local lumber mill and got some rough cut locust tree boards that are working great.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mother Earth News Link

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

After reading my post above, I realize my post didn't help very much. I want to add that I find the cheaper potting soils are sometimes better than those $8-$10 bags of "brand name" potting soil. I think that many contain lots of peat moss and vermiculite with some plant food. In my raised beds I added peat moss, pine bark fines, bunny manure tea, shredded fall leaves. Let it be for a year, then plant. Japus should give some advice on ingredients, well, hopefully will, if they have success with their recipe.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 2:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I never realized how important compost was until last year.
My wife always mentioned it to me, however I was much to busy to really get into gardening.
Once I started the SFG program, I then realized the importance of the compost.
I'm fairly fortunate in being where cows, horses, and farmers are readily available, not everyone has these benefits.
For about 8 months I was able to pick up discarded produce from a local grocery store, that has now stopped.
Here's what I add to my compost pile.
All of my kitchen scraps, less meats and dairy products, if it grows I toss it in.
All cuttings from my yard, flowers, yard scraps, etc.
Horse manure, cow manure, wood chips from tree cuttings, leaves (shredded), coffee grinds ( I have 500 lbs over the winter)
chicken manure, goat & pig manure (what they are fed is important.
I have about 4 different books on compost and read them faithfully, over and over.
Compost to me has become a way of life which has been seen by the success of last seasons test run in my SFG beds.
If your really interested in gardening, it becomes a passion not everyone can devote time to.
I don't fish any more, I don't do lots of things I once did, just devoting much of my time to this wonderful past time of nature.
By the way a great free video on natures way of doing things
" Back To Eden " do a search
I strongly recommend it, it's on youtube also

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 9:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just a suggestion as you get started. Try to find coconut coir bricks instead of peat moss as peat moss is not-sustainable and it's harvest harms the environment, where as coconut coir is sustainable and not depleted.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Last spring my local Big Lots got in a shipment of pressed coconut coir, and they were a few bucks per square package. I am not sure if you have a Big Lots near you. They may not get them again, but it's worth a check. As of a couple days ago, mine didn't have any yet. Big Lots gets things if they get it cheap so, it may never be in their store again, or they'll get some in you just have to check the store.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 11:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I second alsires.
most economic and reliable source of coco coir I have found is from greentrees hydroponics.

Here is a link that might be useful: cococoir

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 7:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am starting a self watering system this year in an earth box and I am wondering what is a good store bought fertilizer to use?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 6:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is an article describing the results of a comparison study in Utah.

From the article:

The soils tested were first, loam topsoil purchased at a local greenhouse, with nitrogen added at 21-0-0; second, the same soil and nitrogen with "Black Gold Compost Blend"; third, "Mel's Mix Square Foot Gardening Soil"; and fourth, "Miller's Mix.âÂÂ

Link below

Here is a link that might be useful: soil comparison.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 10:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Born in 1998, Offshore Strategy offers today to
Ouvrir compte offshore with suitable conditions. Getting in contact, explained their team with you all of the creative process. See

Here is a link that might be useful: Ouvrir compte offshore

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 5:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A good resource for square foot gardening is the book by Mel Bartholomew "Square Ft. Gardening." It gives the proper number of plants/sq. ft., the recipe for Mels' Mix, etc. I found a copy at Lowes, but I'm sure it's available in many other bookstores.
I'm new to the forum and to SFG, so I'm sure I'll have lots of questions!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 9:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks Japus for sharing the Back to Eden film with us. I just watched all of it . I loved it. It came at just the right time. I want to do as he has done. I feel it is the best way and the way God intends us to live. Healthy, happy and listening to Him in His rest. God will supply everything I need from land to compost and soil and seeds. Haha I am so happy! Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 2:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Glad you enjoyed it, Linda.
That movie was very refreshing to me,
Remember though, wood chips should not be mixed with growing medium as it wil suck out all nitrogen, just a cover would be ok, as in mulch.
I'm going to use chips to cover my mix this year, however I will make sure not to mix it in

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks San_c for the coco coir link.

And Japus, thanks for sharing Back to Eden - just finished watching it and I'm quite intrigued. Could you also share the 4 compost books you like?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 10:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry, To anyone on my forum. I bet you all would OKAY grilled cheese sandwhiches for all people that come here fore the next 5 hours.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 2:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 1:01AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Backwoods Garden
Hello all, I have been trying to Garden in the woods...
The Chipmunks Must Die!
Last year I asked for advice about getting rid of the...
Need suggestions for fast growing hardy privacy shrubs.
I'm looking to plant some privacy shrubs in our backyard...
My poor Cherry Laurel
My Otto Luykens used to be so, so beautiful. Last...
Elaine Daly
no acorns / no hickory nuts (Berks Co)
our yard is surrounded by 3 acres of woodland. normally...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™