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Help with starting a garden

Posted by sbaltmanis AZ (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 27, 12 at 18:27

I stumbled upon this forum and am hoping I can find some help here. I'm new to gardening, but am really hoping to start growing some vegetables for my family.

We hired a friend of a friend who used to own a landscaping business to re-do our backyard, and as part of the deal he was going to create a garden space, help me plant it and teach me what to do. Unfortunately he skipped town before actually planting anything!! I now have a space set aside, with water lines run to it and nothing in it!!

But in doing research trying to figure out what to plant I'm starting to wonder if he set aside a horrible place for a garden and if it will work. It is in the southeast corner of our block wall enclosed yard with an orange tree to the north and a huge lemon tree just west. Between those trees and a huge tree in our neighbors yard it gets ZERO direct sunlight this time of year. Looking through pictures of our yard from lats summer the angle of sun allow very little shade for virtually the whole day during the hot months.

Between the shady winter, sunny summer and tree roots taking water, am I going to be able to grown anything there?

My husband thinks I should give it a shot since we already have water run there, and I'm tempted to do so...but I"m afraid I"m just going to be spinning my wheels!

If I do plant, what is best to do in those conditions? Or am I better off just turning it into a play space for my kids and building a raised planter elsewhere in our yard?

I appreciate any tips or advice!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help with starting a garden

I've been thinking about your problem, but I'm not sure I have any good answers. The first thing that comes to mind is that your kids probably won't like that spot as a play area any more than plants will as a garden. Could you post a bit more info? How big is the area? What about the water: Is it a drip system, a faucet and hose, ??? Was it 'designed' as a row garden, square foot, or just left flat?

This illustrates (at least to me) the difference between a landscaper and a gardener. Not the same thing at all. A landscaper will dump Bermuda clippings in your compost; a sane gardener never would. Don't despair or give up just yet; I'm sure we'll come up with some ideas - and some of 'em might even be good ones!


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RE: Help with starting a garden

Thank you for your response. The space is roughly 9x7 feet. I'm not sure what to call the water lines that are run to it, they aren't drips. They are almost like mini sprinklers that you stick in with stakes. Right now the space has just been left flat.

Any thoughts or feedback would be very helpful!! Thanks!


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RE: Help with starting a garden

If the area is shady in winter and sunny in summer, it sounds like it's a north facing section. Always troublesome to work that area. I'm trying to picture why it would be sunny in summer if it's trees that are currently providing the shade. This should give you dappled shade in summer, which isn't so bad. Could the trees also act as the support structure for some shade cloth?

One aspect you have not mentioned is the soil. I cannot tell what part of the Valley you live in but nearly all parts of town need the soil amended. Until you tackle that issue, the rest is moot.

A raised bed is not a bad idea either but remember that raised beds are harder to grow in during summer because the soil heats up faster than in-ground plantings.

Start small. Do *something* and just begin. See how it goes, adjust as needed. A good way to start is to figure out what produce you and the family like to eat, and try to grow one or two of them. Go from there. Good luck and keep us posted!!


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RE: Help with starting a garden

  • Posted by campv Camp Verde (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 30, 12 at 12:19

Question have you tried digging in this soil? You need to check for tree roots first. Dig down about 1 foot and check it out. Citrus roots will take all the water and stunt anything you grow. If no roots, you will need to amend the soil if you want plants or seeds to grow. AZ has the worst soil and I am sure this area has been tramped down. Sun vs. shade - veggies will find away to grow, tomatoes like sun , eggplant and spinich not so much. Every plant is different.
I like raised beds as they are not so back breaking.
So- ck for tree roots if good to go, amend the soil and start planting. Start small like Mary stated. See what works. For people like me who have large gardens every year it is always trial and error and it will be for you as well. But the end results- you grew your own healthy vegtables.


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RE: Help with starting a garden

Thank you for your response. The space is roughly 9x7 feet. I'm not sure what to call the water lines that are run to it, they aren't drips. They are almost like mini sprinklers that you stick in with stakes. Right now the space has just been left flat.

Any thoughts or feedback would be very helpful!! Thanks!


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