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Starting a garden

garden gardening vegetables

10 replies to this topic

#1
Destiny Skywalker

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My husband's Christmas gift is going to be a miniature greenhouse/raised planter. We want a garden badly but we don't have a lot of space, we have a dog that pees on everything, and pesticide-crazy neighbors.

The greenhouse is on backorder, but for Christmas Day, I thought I would get some seeds and a tomato planter (going to try one of the hanging ones). (Not to mention I'm not lugging the entire thing to Oregon.) Since this is our first time with a garden, I could use some expert gardener advice. I thought our first planting could be broccoli, kale, lettuce, peas and spinach. We're in Zone 7B, so that looks like sometime in February-March.

My first question is seeds. Since it's our first time, should I just get some seeds from Home Depot or should I try to order some online from someplace nicer? Do local nurseries carry vegetable seeds this time of year?

#2
monkeygirl

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Ed Hume seeds FTW. They won't carry them til it's time to plant them.

And what's this about OREGON?
  • Ms. Spam +1 this

#3
Destiny Skywalker

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We're going to Bandon for Christmas and meeting the whole crazy family there.

I think I already kicked out broccoli. I don't think the planter's big enough.

#4
Guest_bodega_*

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If you're short on space pick up a book called Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Not only does he have an amazing name but the book really shows you how to get the most out of a very little. How much space do you have?

#5
Ms. Spam

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I second Tami's seed advice. My mom also gets her seeds from another place. I'll have to check with her to see what their name is.

#6
Destiny Skywalker

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Probably about 3 x 3. Thanks for the book suggestion, bodega. Another gift!

#7
Lace Mindu

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Sounds awesome! What a great gift.

Home Depot-type seeds are fine if you're just starting out, but fresh ones give best results. Look for a date on them that says "packaged for 2013". It's not that old seeds don't work, you just have to plant more of them to get something to grow and your first time or so, you don't want to worry. Peas and lettuce are particularly cranky about growing from old seeds, germination rates for them fall quickly. Spinach and Kale are less finicky.

The catalogues will carry more varieties of things and more bizarre stuff, like yellow or purple carrots, lime green cauliflower, Celeriac, Kohlrabi, etc. But if you're me, that just entices you to spend more money, plus pay for shipping. I say the Home Depot is faster and probably cheaper and will have all the mainstream varieties you need to start out. I like the Burpee seed brand, but they're all pretty much the same.

I was just at Home Depot last week - there were seeds there. It's probably a good bet that they have something.

I like the lettuce, spinach, kale and peas for first (cold weather) planting. Plant several varieties of lettuce - red leaf, green leaf, romaines, buttercrunches. Save the seeds and replant as you harvest, or just cut leaves and they'll regrow, and save the leftover seeds in a cool place for next year. But don't bother with heading types (like iceberg) - they take too long and rarely form nice heads.

Not a big fan of broccoli growing here. It takes up a big amount of space for a comparitively small yield of one, one-person softball-sized head per plant (unless you fertilize it more than I do). And if you don't start it indoors early (or buy plants), it can take a long time outdoors. But worth giving it a shot. Or you could stay easy and do a french breakfast radish instead (mild, and fast/easy to grow so a quick reward), some take only 30 days). Ditto with some Spinach varieties (check dates to picking as you can pick when baby-leaf sized) and lettuces. And onions from onion sets (baby onions) - you'll have green onions to pick in a month, too, and they're fabulous on the grill. So you could get some fast results with the other stuff.

After they're gone and it's warming up, replace with bush green beans (huge yields, and they taste SO fresh), cucumbers and/or canteloupe or zucchini (home grown are awesome) - look for bush or miniature varieties -- and hot peppers (easy to grow, get plants from Home Depot), and maybe carrots. More lettuce and onions if it's not too hot. Also, some fingerling potatoes from seed potatoes, maybe in a felt "grow bag" that you dump out to harvest the potatoes - no digging! Awesome tasting stuff.

Honestly, I love peas and they're fun to grow, but you have to grow a lot of plants to get more than a teeny bowl of individual peas. Or at least I do, they probably need more sun than I have. They're delicious though, right out of the pod in the garden raw. They never make it to the house, usually. Also, I tried growing sugar snaps and failed, but think you'd get more harvest per plant with those if you're better at it than I am.

Anyway, ignore at will. Grow what you love or what packets of seeds "follow you home", it's part of the fun.

Oh, and Park's Whopper is the easiest tomato I've ever grown, very hardy and disease resistant, but with big juicy fruit (and lots of it). Not an heirloom, but the easiest beefstake to grow and tasty, too. Julia (red grape) and Ildi (yellow grape) are the most prolific and will keep you in tomatoes from 60 days until the first killer frost. You can start tomatoes from seed, but they need lots of light or they get leggy. You might be best just getting plants unless you don't mind fussing over them. But if they die or look bad by planting time, you can always just buy plants as usual!

Enjoy! Happy growing!

#8
Destiny Skywalker

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Thank you so much, Lace! Exactly the advice I was looking for.

#9
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3x3 Isn't a lot. About enough space for two tomato plants. Whatever you pick to grow make sure it's prolific.

#10
Destiny Skywalker

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Yeah, I was going to try the hanging tomato plants. That was why I kicked broccoli and headed lettuce off the list, just not enough space. When we move to a house with a bigger yard and too-close next-door neighbors that aren't crazy about harsh fertilizers, he can have his dream garden.

I also picked up another book on vertical gardening. He should have plenty of ideas. I think this will be our summer project.

#11
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Nice!



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