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Just getting started...

Posted by huskyslug Houston, TX (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 22, 09 at 18:16

I just constructed a 5 X 5 garden and a 4 X 8 for corn only. I'm looking for a little help with the layout of my 5 X 5 garden. I'd like to include tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, canteloupe, peppers ,beans, cucumbers, and possibly lettuce. Anyone that has a diagram or a link to a diagram to help with the layout of my garden would be appreciated. Also, anyone with tips specific to Texas would be great since I'm originally from Maryland. What else can share squares with the things that I'd like to include in my garden? I've also started an herb garden and a compost bin at the same time. This is the first time I've had a garden in over 18 years, but I helped my grandmother with hers for about ten years. Thanks in advance for any help...


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Just getting started...

Rather than start a new thread, as I'm in much the same position.

We've bought a variety of corn - I notice the packets all recommend a 12" spacing, but the book suggests 4". Are some varieties better suited to smaller spacing, or should I be able to grow tighter than the packet suggests. Yield seems pretty low if I can only grow 16 stalks in a 4x4.

Also, if I grow tomatoes in an upside down L shape with the left side running north south and the top running east west, can I grow bell peppers on the smaller L inside, like this:

  
T T T T
T P P P
T P x x
T P x x
T P x x
T P x x
T P x x
T P x x

Also, what kind of support do folk use for bell peppers?


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RE: Just getting started...

This is also my first year trying square foot gardening. Am also a native Marylander now gardening in Texas - have been doing row organic gardening in central Texas, and last summer was really brutal with the heat. This year I am trying one 4x4 square foot plot, along with the regular row garden (a rather small row garden, about 12' x 30').

Am experimenting with many of the same things you are in the square foot plot, using the recommended spacings. Am also including several herbs, including basil, since basil was one of the very few crops that did well in the regular garden last year.

My most productive crop last summer was okra. Will be planting that again this year in the row garden; it would probably thrive in the square foot garden as well.

This year I made an effort to choose relatively small and fast-growing varieties, in the hopes of being able to harvest sooner in the face of very hot and dry weather. For example, the square foot garden is getting a small variety of melon and two cucumber varieties that spread less than most.


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RE: Just getting started...

albanach,

Since peppers require a lot of heat, I'd be inclined to place them on the west side of the bed and keep the tomatoes to the north and east. Actually, I would keep all the tomatoes (any tall crops) to the north, and shorter crops to the south.

I like the small cone shaped tomato cages for my peppers, with a small stake next to the plant to tie the main stem to. They can get really heavy with peppers, so I use a strip of nylon, cut from some cheap dollar store knee-highs, and loop the strip around the plant stem and the stake with a rather loose figure eight, so as not to cut into the stem.

Granny

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden


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RE: Just getting started...

albanach,
Be careful if you're planting more than one variety of corn. If they are pollinating at the same time, they can cross and affect the flavor of the corn.

Just in case you didn't know...

Here is a link that might be useful: Tales of a Transplanted Gardener


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RE: Just getting started...

Huskey:
You've got some tall plants you ant to grow. The best I can suggest is the following with a trellis to the north.

N
W E
S

Tom* cuke** cant**
BushB BB BB
Lettuce row
Pep Pep BB BB BB
Carrot row

* I'd give the tomato 4 SF and pmant it in the middle, unless you want to do the 1/SF vine thing.

** Your trellis is going to get crowded, so give the cukes (2 plants) and cantalopue (1) 1 1/2 SF of trellis space. It will all grow together, but hopeully they'll all get enough light to mature.

I put the lettuce next because it needs the shade or it will bolt way too soon.

Follow Granny's advice above on the peppers.

You don't have room to plant pole beans so plant succession bush beans instead.

Again I suggested the shortest plants to the south like has been mentioned. This is my quick thought.

Good luck and hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure


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RE: Just getting started...

I appreciate the help from everyone.

Sinfonian- I checked out all of your work and learned a lot. I'm a little confused as to your diagram above as the spacing was off. In how many boxes should I plant my tomatoes? What can/should share a square with a tomato plant? How hard are grape tomatoes to grow? Also, when do I need to have the trellis in place?

I'm brand new to this and I really want to impress the in-laws (who are negative and skeptical about my chances of success). This has me all fired up now! I put more thought into what we eat(especially my 2 1/2 year old daughter) and would like to include tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, green beans, carrots, strawberries, canteloupe, peppers, and lettuce/greens.

I dug up the earth that is beneath my garden frame. I understand that this is not necessary but I needed to get some frustration out after the father in law sarcastically mocked my tiny 5' X 5' garden!

Any suggestions as to any layering (lasagna gardening)? I just ordered Mel's All New Square Foot Gardening book, but I'm ready to get started. Please point me in the right direction.

Thank you once again for any and all help that is provided. Please help me in making this work. I want to be able to put a smile on my daughter's face and wipe the smirks off of my in-laws faces!


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RE: Just getting started...

Husky, sorry my diagram was bad. For a full tomato plant, I would go a 4SF square with the tomato in the center. You can plant radishes or some other fast growing veggie around the outside of the squares while the tomato is young.

I would install the trellis right before any plant reaches it and needs to be trained up it.

Squash and strawberries could be tough to add. Strawberries run so I'd do them in pots, and squash go everywhere. You could maybe get away with squash in the south corner and let it sprawl out into the yard. Not sure there.

In general, you do have a small garden. The way you get tons out of it is to succession plant like crazy. You will get tons of greens and carrots out of the garden, but you don't have the space to plant enough of the big stuff to get tons from it. But you will wow folks. This blackthumb did.

As for lasagna gardening. Chop the greens and browns very small so it composts fast. You want it finished when you plant, or close to. Correct me is I'm wrong here. I don't do lasagna gardening, just composting. Hehe

Good luck, and I've been there. Have fun!


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RE: Just getting started...

Just wondering if I can plant garlic or chives around the edges of my tomato squares...

Also, what pest eliminating items should I mix in with my veggies?

I filled them with Mel's mix today and looking forward to getting everything planted on Sunday. I'm going to buy plants this year and try my hand at seeds next year.


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RE: Just getting started...

I've had a slight change in plans...

I'm planting the corn in my 5' X 5' X 12" and the rest in my 4' X 8' X 10".

I want to be able to grow as many different veggies as possible to see which are easier for me. Is 10" deep enough as opposed to 12"?

Also, would you recommend growing close to the house or away? I have over 3 acres in my backyard. I've already placed the 5 X 5 out in the middle where it will get a little shade from a tree in the early afternoon(this was recommended by a Texas gardener).


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RE: Just getting started...

The closer you get to your house, the more you will enjoy it. It's so easy to dash out the back door to grab a handful of something for dinner, and you have a tendency to keep it neater and prettier when you always have it in full view. My favorite garden was just a tiny one off of our back patio, right out the kitchen door. I had some raised beds, but they just contained the native soil, along with extra that was dug from the pathways, along with store-bought steer manure and some peat (we have sandy, alkaline soil). I was also able to plant around the edges of the boxes and along the walkway between the patio and the garden. Now I have my garden at the back and sides of the yard so I can fence out the dogs, and it's a lot larger, but I loved that little garden. Look.. a dozen "patio" sized tomatoes! Lots of green beans, carrots, onions, peppers, beets, lettuce, cabbage, strawberries, nasturtiums, allysum. And a huge, beautiful rosemary that I killed by overpruning it the next year. (photos taken 2002):

Photobucket

Photobucket

Granny

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden


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RE: Just getting started...

  • Posted by alys Zone 5/6 - MO (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 25, 09 at 10:07

Granny, that is an adorable garden!

Mine is right off my patio too. In fact, one long side touches the patio and I stand on the concrete to pick veggies! I do wish I'd gone a mower's width away and had grass on all four sides, but that is all I'd change. I love having it so close. I only have one bed now, but am planning a second one this spring, for planting of summer squash I don't have space for now.

huskyslug (great name btw), 10 inches is plenty! As long as you aren't putting a bottom in, what are you going to grow that has roots going more than 10" deep? If they do, they'll just go down into the ground.


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RE: Just getting started...

What advice does anyone have for me here? I have a 5' X 5' raised bed that I'm going to plant corn in. I'd like to incorporate squash into this since I'm afraid that it will take over my other garden. My plan is to plant the corn in 60% of the bed to the north and squash in the rest and let it run. Any suggestions from anyone?

Also, I just went crazy and bought the following packets of seeds:
Tomato(roma, supersweet 100 hybrid, juliet hybrid, and beefsteak)
Sweet Corn (luscious hybrid)
Lettuce(romaine and bibb)
Carrot(Scarlet and red cored chantenay)
Thyme
Rosemary
Sweet Basil
Cantaloupe
Peppers
Squash(Gold rush hybrid)
Garden Beans(Stringless Blue Lake)
Onion(Hybrid Granex Yellow)
Cucumber(Straight Eight)

Which of these seeds can be directly planted and which ones should I start inside? Thank you for all of you help...


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RE: Just getting started...

huskyslug, I don't know where you live, but here in E. WA I have to start tomatoes and peppers inside about 8 weeks before the last spring frost. I don't know about thyme and rosemary, as I purchased those as plants. Everything else can be seeded directly into the garden, but you might want to get a head start by planting the cucumbers, cantaloupe and squash inside. I would imagine the onions could be planted outside for green onions (scallions), but probably should have been planted inside earlier in the season for large onions.

Granny

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden


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RE: Just getting started...

  • Posted by alys Zone 5/6 - MO (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 26, 09 at 10:02

Like Granny, I think you may be too late to start your tomatoes and peppers and they do need to be started indoors in all but the warmest climates. Ditto her advice on the other seeds.

Your corn idea may well work, but I suspect you will need to hand-pollenate it. Forgive me if you already know this....Corn is usually planted in big patches because the wind blows the pollen off the tassels and onto the silks. If you plant a small bunch, you'll need to pull off the tassels and smack the ears to transfer the pollen to the silks.

I haven't ever tried it before myself. I know how the pollenation works because I grew up on a farm.


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RE: Just getting started...

I realize that I got started late, but the plan to start a garden was a spur of the moment thing that has grown into this. As far as the warmest of climates comment, I live just southwest of Houston, Texas. Does that qualify as warm enough?

I'm going to use this year as sort of a trial and error run for future years. I'll enjoy whatever fruits of my labor that I'm blessed with. Thanks again for all of your help everyone...


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RE: Just getting started...

Well, in that case...I'd bet you could just plant everything outside! You have to worry more about shading things than keeping them from freezing. I'll back out quietly now and let a southern gardener help you out. :-D

Good luck!

Granny

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden


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RE: Just getting started...

You could save your pepper and tomato seeds to start indoors later, for the fall garden. Tomato and pepper transplants should be readily available in nurseries and garden centers for planting now.


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RE: Just getting started...

I second the above. Texas Gardener magazine has a garden planner that came with my subscription. They recommend starting your tomato, etc, seeds the first week of June for your fall garden for the area where you live. Eventually I'm going to transfer all that info to a To-Do list on my blog, but haven't gotten that far yet.

Here is a link that might be useful: sb158's Valley Garden


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