Author Topic: Never grown anything...  (Read 3947 times)

Offline wbo3

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Never grown anything...
« on: October 18, 2008, 10:06:28 PM »
Ok everyone.  I am interested in planting a garden.  However, I have never planted anything.  I also have a tendency to kill my wife's house plants just by looking at them.  I live in a restrictive neighborhood, which I hate, so no large scale garden will be possible.  Does anyone have any suggestions, pointers, advice, etc?  Like I said, I have NEVER PLANTED ANYTHING, but I do want to learn.  I can plant a couple of small trees in my yard, if there are any fruit trees that you could recommend.  As for the garden, it will retty much need to be a container type thing, or I may be able to talk my wife into letting me put some things in her flower bed behind the house.  Oh, I live in upstate SC, so the winters are pretty mild here.  I know that the weather has something to do with plants and when you plant them.  See?, I do know something.

Offline flagtag

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Re: Never grown anything...
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2008, 02:23:59 PM »
I'm not a gardener - yet. I plan to start next summer (spring).
As for trees, how about apple and/or pear?  A friend gave me some of her pears and I made an "excellent" batch of pearsauce with them. (Even if I do say so myself)
How about trying window boxes for some of your vegies? Large pots for things like tomatoes? Peppers? Garlic plant? Corn in the ground, tho.
I'm sure you will get a lot of advise from those who know what they're talking about soon.

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: Never grown anything...
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2008, 02:33:22 AM »
My suggestion would be to start small.  Maybe get a few large flower pots that you could grow things like herbs or cherry tomatoes in.

I'm a big fan of heirloom vegetables but they aren't always the best to start with because they can be more prone to various problems that newer hybrid varieties are not.  When starting out I think it's more important to get a few small successes under your belt growing some easy to raise stuff, than it is to go full bore, have a bunch of stuff die & get discouraged.

There are a ton of good gardening books out there.  When I first started I read a lot of Jerry Baker's books.  There are a couple of threads already started about square foot gardening & container gardening.  I'd urge you to look into both of those methods.  They show you how to grow lots of stuff in very little space.  Most of all start slow, pick one or two things & expand your knowledge base from there.  Good luck!


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Re: Never grown anything...
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2008, 11:02:08 AM »
You can grow tons of things in a flower garden. You need to start now in preparing your soil. I suggest you go to the library and check out Square Foot Gardening. It will tell you everything you need to know about gardening in a small area. With that said, in South Carolina you can grow green beans, squash, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions in your flower bed. You can grow many other things, but those are easiest. You can start onions now and they might make it through the winter. What I do is take a regular onion....cut off some the bottom where the tiny roots are.....put it in the ground and cover it with soil. You will get green onions from this for free from the onion you buy at the store. I go out and clip off the tops and add them to food that I am cooking or salads. In Houston, we planted strawberries as ground cover in our front flower beds. They tend to take over like grass, but they make a gorgeous ground cover with white blooms and red berries. Lettuce comes in all sorts of colors and will look great in your front flower bed planted in between bushes and flowers for added interest. You can buy a mix from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I buy the Stir Fry mix. It is beautiful colors of purple, green, dark green and even red.

The fruit trees are a little harder, If you don't want to fool with lots of spraying, I recommend fig trees and blueberry bushes for fruit. Apples, peaches, and plums take lots of work and dormant oil spray to make fruit without worms in them. I use my chickens to patrol the fruit which helps me, but you can't do that in a subdivision.

If you have a fence around your back yard, add raised beds around the fence and plant pretty vegetables. You can plant peppers in a variety of colors next May and will wind up with some of the prettiest beds in the subdivision. Share your peppers with neighbors and they will be even happier with you.

If you let your kid raise a rabbit or two in a hutch in the back yard, you will have the best manure in the world absolutely for free. In South Carolina, you will have to freeze 2 litre water bottles and put them in with your rabbits to help them cool off in the summer. If you raise the right breed, you would also have a meat source in the event of a disaster. 

Check out this terrific web site for other ideas on building raised beds and adding rabbits to your landscape. She is over the top with how much she raises in her yard, but you will get some great ideas.

Plant herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, and dill) in large pots. The rosemary will make anyone coming to your house linger with the beautiful smell. You can actually buy pots of rosemary at Christmas time at Lowes and Home Depot. They make beautiful Christmas decorations. We actually kept ours on the front porch until there was a freeze warning and then brought them inside. Mine is still growing from last year.

The problem with containers is over or under watering. I invested in a small water meter for house plants and use it to check my containers for water. I feed the containers coffee grounds and compost. I bury food scraps deep in the container and they rot. You may not want to do this if you have a dog. The dog will dig up the rotting food and destroy your container. You don't want to overdo the burying food scraps thing, but the book I mentioned above will walk you through how to compost. You can buy commercial fertilizer, but using it on your soil will kill the earth worms. Remember that gardening is all about the soil and the earthworms are the soil workhorse.

You can do this. I used to kill houseplants, but have been gardening for years and years. When my kids were small, we fed our family of 4 from two tiny plots of garden. The trick is the soil. It has to be in peak condition. The better the soil. The better the vegetables, flowers and herbs.

Offline Stein

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Re: Never grown anything...
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2008, 11:37:12 AM »
Start with something easy. I have a single year of gardening under my belt and would suggest salad greens.  Find a pot, get some soil and plant some leaf lettuce seeds.  As they grow, pick a leaf or two off each plant and they will keep growing back all year until frost.

We have a 4' x 4' Square Foot garden in the back yard, I wrote a little about it in another topic here.  With a small amount of space you can still grow quite a bit of stuff.

Offline flagtag

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Re: Never grown anything...
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2008, 04:53:48 PM »
Speaking of lettuce ... Does anyone know where I could get Endive seeds?  I haven't been able to find them anywhere. In fact, finding Endives is hard enough. (Only one store around here has it.)