Buying a New House that Has a Garden! Help!

NewGirl1257(7)July 19, 2012

My husband and I are buying a new house, and it has a huge vegetable garden (and I love that). We'll be closing in August and the first thing I need is to know how to take care of it from day 1. This is how bad it is - I barely even know how to water a garden - when, how much, which plants need more and which need less, etc. I would have no idea how to plant or fertilize anything.

I know for sure I have tomatoes, fennel strawberries, potatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos and habeneros, and corn, and I'm sure lots more that I just couldn't identify when looking over the garden.

I want to be sure that I take care of it and I do all the fall things I need to do to be sure it's in good shape in the spring.

I was also contemplating trying to do some winter gardening to learn some basic things - I thought maybe I could get a cover for one of my plots and plant lettuce and other fall/winter plants.

I would be really grateful for any advice, even if it's just a really good gardening 101 book that you love.

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Hi, and welcome to the very addictive world of gardening! One of the best sources for information on all aspects of gardening is Virginia Tech through the Virginia Cooperative Extension. There are dozens of publications available for free on more topics than you can imagine. I'll put a link below to the publications on vegetable gardening. If there is nothing on that page about a subject you need information on, just enter a term in the search box near the top of the page and you should find lots of information.

Enough water is one of the basic keys to good gardening. In most cases, vegetables need 1 - 2" of rain a week. If nature doesn't provide that, then a good watering system can be used to supplement. I personally like soaker hoses because the water doesn't evaporate in the heat nearly as much and the foliage of the plants doesn't get wet as often, a fertile ground for disease.

If the garden is growing well in August, it most likely doesn't need any fertilizer at that late date unless you are starting new crops. Then a good complete fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) can be added for the fall crops.

Sanitation in the fall is important, too. Remove the old plants when they stop producing and compost them if they don't have diseases or dispose of them to prevent spreading any diseases that may be present.

A good cover crop to help the soil over the winter is crimson clover. Sow it in the fall and turn it under about 2 weeks before time to start planting in the spring and it will enrich the soil a lot. It also adds organic material to the soil which helps hold moisture in during the heat of the summer.

These are just a very few tips that should help some. If you can't find answers to questions online, you can always call the extension office in your county for help. A list of the offices can be found here:

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: VT publications

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 1:26PM
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Thank you SO much Sandy. I will be checking out those links. I really appreciate the help.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 11:25PM
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