Consider Sun and Shade Requirements
In general, plants described as requiring “full sun” (most vegetable plants fall under this category) need at least six hours of exposure to direct sunlight daily. “Part sun” or “semi-shade” plants flourish where periods of direct sunlight alternate with periods of shade, or where the sunlight is filtered by an intermittent canopy of branches or a trellis overhead. “Full shade” describes a spot where direct sunlight never penetrates, due to shadows cast by dense evergreens or solid man-made structures, such as a high wall or porch roof.
Understand the Difference in Seeds
Open-Pollinated (OP): These plants come from a parent of the same variety and they can, in turn, produce offspring of the same variety. This is called “coming true from seed.” The seed from open-pollinated varieties can be collected from the plants you’ve grown and saved to grow again next year.
Heirloom Vegetables: Heirlooms are open-pollinated varieties that have been cultivated for at least 50 years. They are often more flavorful, colorful, and interesting than hybrids, but they may lack disease-resistance or require staking.
Hybrids: These plants are the result of cross-breeding to produce offspring with certain desirable traits, such as disease-resistance or uniform color or size. Their complicated genetics mean that the seed inside the fruit you grow one season will not produce a plant like its parent. Each year, you will have to buy new seeds of this variety if you want to grow it again.
Learn About Crop Timing
Vegetable crops fall into two categories:
Cool-Season Crops: Peas, lettuces, radishes, brassicas (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, collards), and spinach germinate and thrive in the lower temperatures of spring and fall and tolerate light frosts. Many cool-season crops can be direct-sown in the garden around before the last frost.
Warm-Season Crops: Tomatoes, eggplants, summer and winter squash, beans, and corn prefer summer’s heat. Plant these only after the soil has warmed. Many warm-season crops require a long growing season and should be started indoors in late winter or early spring or purchased as seedlings ready to be transplanted.
Consider Easy-to-Grow Varieties
If you are beginner gardener, learn about some heartier vegetable varieties for a successful harvest.
Estimate Mature Size
Before installing any plant in your garden, check the size it will reach at maturity, and make sure the planting spot can accommodate that. You can maximize your growing space by choosing some vertical plants like tomatoes.
Map Out Your Plants
Sketch out your plan on paper. Use graph paper and draw to scale, keeping in mind the mature size and habit of each kind of plant. Site larger plants like corn and tomatoes where they won’t cast shade over shorter plants. Choose compact varieties if you have limited space. Start small: You can always dig more beds or enlarge existing ones in subsequent years. Check out Urban Garden Solutions for a handy Garden Planner.
Well, the day has come…finally. I am the proud owner of another Troybilt Super Bronco garden tiller and I couldn’t wait to put it through its paces. The garden tiller arrived Saturday morning and after unpacking it, attaching the handle, and adding some fluids, it has been used to plow up two small garden plots. I had no issues with it at all and am proud to have a machine as well built as any tiller I have used in the past. Troybilt really knows how to build them.
We have been debating whether we should move the vegetable garden that we built next to the swimming pool to a larger area outside of the safety of the fence. If you have been following this blog then you are probably already aware of the nice raised beds that we built last Spring once we moved into the new house in the West Georgia area. The first season of crops outperformed our expectations and I want more space to grow more vegetables. I’m sure everyone understands that desire if you like to get your hands in the dirt like I do. Just to catch you up, the image below is a picture of the raised beds that we built.
As you can see from the picture, there is some open space on the other side of the fence for more vegetables. In reality, there is a lot of open space over there that is not used for anything except grass.
Now, to get to this new area we have recently ordered a new garden tiller from Troybilt.com. It should be here in a couple weeks so I will be working all winter on clearing the grass out and amending the new garden space with manure and compost. I am planning two garden plots on the other side of the fence as well as moving the existing raised beds and reclaiming the space with grass and other non-vegetable plants. :)
My concern though are my neighbors. They seem to show up at the strangest hours and are voracious in cleaning out my vegetable plants and their fruity offerings. There are 3 of them that we have seen creeping through the yard where the new vegetable garden plots will be so now I have to figure out how to keep them out of the garden. I’m sure you have figured out what I’m talking about by now so here are a couple pictures I took last week. If anyone has ideas on how to keep the deer out of my garden without building a fence around my acre property, please leave a comment.
Also, I would appreciate if you would click on some of the social media sharing buttons and help spread the word about my blog. I will post some pictures of the new tiller once it arrives so stay tuned.
I have always wanted to build a compost bin so I can harvest “black gold” for my garden vegetables. But, this concept has alluded me for years now. I know it is supposed to be very easy to compost garden and yard waste (waste as in plant materials), but I have just been too lazy to start a compost bin. Every year I review dozens of composting bins that you can buy as well as build and I promise myself that I will start composting. I also spent hours reading about worm composting, also known as vermiculture, but there has always been some reason to not pursue it. This back and forth is going to stop this year though. I will build a compost bin. I will do it this year, after we purchase our new house……There I go again, excuses.
I need some help from my readers now. Since this is the year to build that compost bin, I would like to hear from my readers on the best BUILT, not bought, compost bin that works for you or someone you know. I have a dozen plans in my head and have read hundreds of articles on composting but I don’t trust some of the websites that I have read with telling me the absolute truth about the matter. Has anyone tried worm composting? What worked for you or didn’t work?
I’m still working on the 2nd article of the “Everything You Need to Know About Seeds” series and will have it up sometime this week. Stay tuned.
Okay, it’s time to get this party started.
The plan for this weekend is to build (2) 4x8x8 raised beds. I already have the pressure treated wood (see previous post about the type of pressure treated wood used) and will be assembling them this weekend. It’s really easy to build the beds with little to no experience working with wood.
All you need to get started for each bed is the following small material list:
Qty: 3 - 4×8 (or 4×6 if you prefer) pressure treated lumber boards
- Qty: 12 - hot dipped galvanized screws (at least 2.5 to 3 inches in length)
- Cordless drill or corded drill (whatever you have will work)
- Handsaw or Circular saw (if you are comfortable with a circular saw it will make the cutting much easier)
- Tape measure
- Landscape fabric to attach to the bottom of the bed to prevent weeds from growing up through the bed.
- Staples and Staple gun to attach Landscape Fabric.
Simply cut one of the 4×8 boards in half and then attach the cut boards to the long side boards with at least 3 screws per corner. You will have a 4×8 rectangular bed once you are finished. Attach the landscape fabric to the bottom of the bed with staples to form a barrier.
The next task after building the beds is to fill them with dirt. I will most likely make a trip to my local landscape company and have them fill my truck up with a couple scoops of dirt. I have estimated that it will take at least 2 scoops of dirt per bed. More details later on how this works out.
Have a great weekend.
Greetings to all of my gardening friends.
My name is Chris and I have decided to start writing about my gardening escapades for everyone to read. I am hoping to provide some humor as well as practical tips to my readers that describe my gardening journey.
My wife and I are looking for a new house to purchase but things have slowed down to the point it may be at least a year before we can finally move out of the rental house into a more permanent location. I have been reluctant to spend much time gardening or working outdoors at the rental house but since it will be a little longer before we move, I have decided to spend some time on a garden that we can take with us later.
My goals are as follows over the next 12 months:
- Build a couple raised beds for some vegetables
- Transplant a couple small tree seedlings from the Arbor Day Foundation into pots.
- Figure out a way to handle the kudzu growing along the fence in the back yard
- Build a couple flower beds along the front of the rental house (this is my best friends house which we are “babysitting” while he is in the Army).
I have already been living here for almost 3 years now and haven’t done much gardening since I moved in. Last year I built 2 raised beds out of 2×8 ACQ pressure treated lumber (Alkaline cooper quaternary (ACQ) is a relatively new wood treatment that is available in some areas of the country. This product is higher in copper than CCA but is free of arsenic.) My concern about this type of lumber in my garden is that the copper or other compounds used in the treatment process will leach into the soil. I’ve read so much about studies that show many of the chemicals or compounds do not leach into the surrounding soil or in fact they do leach or who cares if they might leach into the ground, that I am almost to the point of simply building new beds out of stone. At least I can pickup the stone beds and move them to another location (which I plan on doing when we get our home purchased).
As to the Arbor Day Foundation trees I received after donating $10 to them, we had planned on being out of this rental by the time they were delivered but that didn’t happen. In the short-term, I had to find a way to keep them from dying so I planted them in the vegetable garden raised beds but now I have to move them. I really don’t want to plant them in the yard because there is little room to actually do this and I don’t want to leave 10 holes in the yard when we finally move. I think I can keep them growing with little shock if I just put them into 1 gallon pots for the next year. They were only 1 year old seedlings when I got them so another year shouldn’t hurt. I will keep an eye on them though to ensure they don’t become rootbound.
Well, that’s it for now. I will be posting often and hope that you will continue to read my journey. Come back often.
- Raised beds in (food) gardening (greenreview.blogspot.com)