Help decide what to plant to give us veggies all season

justinandlaura1June 21, 2009

Hi All,

I found the SFG and got instantly hooked. I just finished building a 10' x 4' planter bed and will be going to find the stuff to try to make mels mix today. I have no gardening experience, but i am dying to grow my own veggies. I cant stand buying the tasteless poison filled veggies from the store. I was hoping with 40 squares I would be able to have enough variety that my garden would be able to provide veggies throughout the entire season (not sure what that season is...I'm in santa clarita, 30 miles north of Los Angeles). I am hoping to avoid having everything ready to harvest at once...then end up with 50 tomatoes at once that all go bad, but rather pick varieties that will be ready at different times, so we can stagger the harvest throughout the season.

Also, I was wondering if there is a list of "beginner plants" that I should start with to increase my odds of having a successful year. Not sure if planting in mid-june has any bearing also.

Any info would be greatly appreciated. Not sure how much food we will get from 40 sqft, but hopefully we can start weening ourselves off of big chain grocery veggies one day.

Thanks again.


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angela12345(7b NC Mixed-Humid)

This planting chart (scroll down) makes it easy to help figure out what to plant and when. Also, my local agriculture extension office has a number you can call to speak with a "master gardener". I also found a great planting chart thru there, although that was just something that office did and not all offices have that posted on the web.

I say don't worry about if they are beginner plants. What's the worst that could happen ? So what if a few don't thrive ? What if you plant them and they DO thrive !! I am growing my first ever garden too. It is 2 feet x 18 feet. Everything is growing great, almost all are blooming, and some have little baby veggies already. I have 4 kinds of tomatoes, bell pepper, squash, zucchini, cucumber, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, bush beans, and sweet potatoes. A lot of them I transplanted into the garden from plants I bought at the local farmer's market. (they were 4-pack for $1 and 2 free if you bought 10 ... I kept half and shared half with sister-in-law)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:04AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

First, the 'poisons' will be on the outside, not on the inside as petrochemical fert does not magically move its way into the fruit or seed.

Second, there is no plant that bears 'all season' as Angela implies.

Third, I'm finding from the numerous comments here that Mel's Mix first year commonly does not give all the nutrients plants need and you'll want to add supplemental fert; if it were me, I'd add to the mix and then regular applications during the season.

Fourth, harvesting various veggies all at once is much more work and presents storage preparation issues.

Last, 40 sf is a good start. You're gonna love it.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:47AM
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angela12345(7b NC Mixed-Humid)

? ? ? ? ?

I did not see any plant on the chart that bears 'all season' and don't see how I implied it in my post. The one that bears the longest on the entire chart is squash and it only bears for 3 months in her area according to the chart.

What the chart does help with is figuring out what to plant and when so you can have a variety of things in your garden at all times. Even the chart isn't the answer to everything under the sun. As an example, my local ag. office says we can plant bush beans here from May 1 - Aug 15 in 2 week succession plantings with harvesting June 21 - Oct 15 (and even plant as early as April 1 using row covers). But if you look at the zone 7 chart (my area), it only shows planting May 15 - July 15 and harvesting July 1 - September 1. BUT, the chart is certainly better than nothing and I think the chart is a good start to figuring out what & when. Especially for a beginner like me who had no idea that broccoli should not be grown in the heat of July in my area.

I am growing for immediate consumption, not for storing, so I also did not want gallons of bags of beans (or squash or tomatoes or whatever) ready at one time. I wanted a little bit of a bunch of different things ready each week. I did not want to have beans for dinner *every* night !! One thing I had to figure out was what was the recommended number of plants for 2 people to be able to consume the harvest. Also what plants are a once and done plant and what plants would be able to be harvested over a long period from one plant. For example, squash are harvested for a long period from one plant, but bush beans are for approx 2 weeks. Carrots, obviously, once you pull the carrot out, that plant is done ... no more producing carrots from that plant, LOL.

So ... 1 or 2 squash plants might be enough for 2 people for the whole time squash produces. But 20-80 carrot plants (depending on how much you like carrots) split up into succession planting of 4-10 carrots every week from Feb 1 - Mar 1 would give you 4-10 carrots ready every week once they start producing, rather than 20-80 carrots all ready at one time.

I also think 40sf is a good size. Our garden is 36sf (11 feet of that is trellised) and I have open squares that I am not using right now. But as soon as I am able to plant fall crops, I will have room to start them early without pulling a summer plant. Then as the summer plants are done I can start pulling them and planting more fall crops in those newly emptied squares to extend the harvest.

The one thing I would like is a little more trellis for my summer plants (or I need to cut back on my tomatoes some!!). I would like to have some honeydew on the trellis and more cantaloupe, and maybe have moved my watermelon to the trellis(?). As it is now, my trellis is divided as follows ... each square is 1 plant per square except the cucumber ... 6 squares tomato (2 each of 3 kinds), 2 squares cantaloupe, 2 squares squash, 1 square cucumber (2 plants in 1 square). However, in the fall, the only thing I have planned that will be trellised is peas. I doubt I need 11 squares of peas !!!

That being said, this is my first ever garden and I am very excited about it so far. I have read a lot on the internet, but I am not an expert ... I haven't even eaten my first veggie yet !!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 1:11PM
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Hi - you might want to find a good nursery to pick up the plants where you can get answers to a lot of the questions about which plants are still good to go, which are too late. You might (or might not) spend more on the plants, but the quality is better and the advice is priceless. Locally I like Sego in North Hollywood or Green Arrow in North Hills.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 2:22PM
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momma_s(9b, SZ14)

JD~ What zone are you in in SoCal?

I agree with Dan's statement about Mel's mix the first year... This is my first year, and I've had to add fert. to my mix to get my plants growing larger and blooming (and getting blooms to bear fruit instead of fall off).

With the unusually cool weather we've been having, perhaps that means it'll be warmer later into the year. I dunno. But I agree with Angela that you won't know until you try!

If you buy plants from the store (you'll have to at this point with tomatoes, peppers, melons since they take so long to grow), make sure they're in good condition, disease & bug free, and maybe some that are further along to help with your "just starting."

GL, and let us know what you decide.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening With Care

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 10:54PM
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