arrgh... my problem is pests! and no shade in my yard. it's too much sun for even sun-loving plants if they're in containers, and anything i put in the ground gets bothered by a pest of some sort... we're bordering army corps of engineers property, so we have a gorgeous view of lush trees behind our home, but only a little yard between here and there - and there's really not much we can do to keep out all the pests! deer, squirrels, rabbits... i'm sure you could do some things but i don't know what, and last time i tended several plants, i left town for a few days and the fruit that would've been ready to pick was what appeared to be trampled and rotten... something even trampled all the vines so nothing else grew. i guess it completely dampened my spirit that year and hasn't recovered. i'd like to do containers on my deck, but i have very little space up there...
You have probably heard of weed barrier and landscape fabric. They work to keep weeds down but they're very $$. Alternatives can be old sheets, black garbage bags or plastic sheets, tin foil, newspaper, brown packing paper, cardboard... Lay them out, hold them down with rocks, bricks, soil, etc. Cut a hole and plant your seedling. With foil, plastic, cardboard, and maybe packing paper, place a soaker hose underneath or water each plant through the hole (very gently, just a trickle). Newspaper and fabric will allow water to soak through. The biodegradables can be added to the compost pile. Another good way is to use no barrier but put all your grass clippings on the beds, leaving a little space around the plants. Just keep adding them all summer, the plants love them. Ask your neighbors for theirs, too. Obviously you don't want clippings that have been treated with herbicides or pesticides!
Gee I wrote a long bunch of tips for you guys and it never got posted! Basically, adults buy each other your holiday gifts now, stuff for the garden. Container plants need a LOT of regular watering; Google self-watering containers including DIY. Use a purchased soil for containers; I like the Miracle-Gro mix with fertilizer, but it is not organic. Get soaker hoses if you plant an in-ground or raised bed garden; water twice a week for ~4 hours as early in the morning as possible, pref 4-8am; you can use a timer. Check square foot gardening site for handicap garden ideas. Totally agree about the tools! Look for old ones at yard and rummage sales. You probably can get by with a hoe and a garden rake (the hard type, not the flexible leaf type); I use a big spoon to dig planting holes. and yes a fork for compost. Start small with seedlings not seeds, but beets, carrots, scallions, beans and peas can be done with seeds. Pant a few things you really love to eat and see how it goes. Most of all, have fun and enjoy your lovely fresh food!
I'd say, keep it simple! You'll learn as you go. If you are just container gardening on a patio or balcony, or using a small, pre-existing garden bed, forget about stocking up on lots of,high-quality. pricey tools, you don't need them. Get a decent metal hand trowel. Buy or borrow a shovel and hoe, or rent a roto-tiller if you need to break up sod for a large, new bed. Garden gloves, absolutely--I rotate three pairs. Sunblock and a cheap sun hat, yes. Then improve the soil with lots of compost, buy the plants you want--and then go have fun!
I found that tomatoes were not a good starter plant, they required more time than I thought and it was hard to do on the balcony of an apartment. What did work was cactus, believe it or not I originally managed to kill my cacti by over watering them. Now I can manage to keep some fresh herbs alive.
I have a garden every year and enjoy working in it too. you can see my garden pics in my gallery and very proud to have them displayed there. I have had several tomatoes so far. My cucumbers have bloomed and will have some to be picked in a few weeks now. The temperatures have been hot, but I still get them watered and dirt broke around them.
How can I save this article! I absolutely loved it and Im excited!!!!!!!!!
6/26/2012 12:19:44 AM
There is another form of gardening too, Aeroponics! Even if the initial start up may seem like a lot these little guys are amazing and are an alternative for people who live in apartments or condos! https://organic.towergarden.ca/
I can't stress the point about the soil test enough. It is SO VERY IMPORTANT to be giving the plant that you are trying to grow the proper nutrients. I am a Master Gardener and always inform people that soil tests are available from their County Co-operative Extension Office. In my state, the test is free. Some may charge a minimal fee, but it is well worth it as the test comes back with everything that you need to add to your soil to grow that particular plant. Just like our nutrition, if a plant does not get the right nutrition, it will not live and thrive. So stop wasting your money on plants and seeds ....and call your County Extension office first and ask about a soil test. You will be glad that you did!!
If you have never had a vegetable garden, start small with easy to grow plants - tomatoes, peppers, zucchini/squash, broccoli/cabbage. As time goes on you will learn more and more about the differences in varieties and plants. I have been gardening for years and love it. I am still learning, but I have fun trying. And my kids love it as well.
Planning on getting my garden started this weekend.. have a long weekend to do so. I'm hoping Im not waiting too last minute to start from scratch!! Heres to crossed fingers and toes that I can get something to grow.
For decades, I have randomly tried growing plants -- and killed them all. This year, though, I'm taking the county extension Master Gardener course. And I think my garden has an excellent chance of surviving.
Fantastic article, one of my goals is to have a garden full of things to eat. However my obsticles are that everything would have to be in containers and my outside space has NO direct sunlight, NONE. My husband's more interested in flowers, orchids to be more specific. To me growing stuff's a waste of time if you cant eat it.
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