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Novice gardener struggling with planning. HELP! :(

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Post  dizzygardener on 1/26/2011, 1:50 pm

Please help me if you can!

Here is a list of everything I want to grown with season:

Tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, leaf lettuce, butterhead lettuce, broccoli, kale, onions, garlic, cranberry beans, green beans, snow peas, cantaloupe, carrots, radishes, celery, sweet peppers, cabbage, and spinach.

I'd also like to grow the following herbs: Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Chives, and Italian parsley.

Ok, that seems like a whole heck of a lot of stuff! affraid

Anywho, I'm trying to figure out my early spring garden.

According to the NGA I'm in hardiness zone 7a, but I could just as easily be in 6b or 7b. I'm in the mountains at the intersection of all three zones. My avg last day of frost is around the middle of April.

I have access to a decent sized piece of land, but I'm only planning one 4x8 box. For the early spring, I'd like to grow:

3 squares each of carrots, leaf lettuce, butterhead lettuce, spinach and onions
2 squares each of snow peas, shelling peas, collard greens, kale, broccoli, cabbage, and garlic
1 square each of chives, parsley, and radishes

Now what? I'm totally confused on what to plant where and what to shade and what not to shade.

Here's a couple plans I've played around with:

Novice gardener struggling with planning. HELP! :( Spring12
Novice gardener struggling with planning. HELP! :( Spring13


thinking thanks
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Post  middlemamma on 1/26/2011, 2:19 pm

I wouldn't pretend to be able to help you with placement...

but I would recommend looking at this site for some guidance.
http://www.ghorganics.com/page2.html

Also I would say that you might consider succession planting so that all your stuff does not come ready to harvest at the same time. Smile
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Post  Blackrose on 1/26/2011, 2:24 pm

@middlemamma wrote:I wouldn't pretend to be able to help you with placement...

but I would recommend looking at this site for some guidance.
http://www.ghorganics.com/page2.html

Also I would say that you might consider succession planting so that all your stuff does not come ready to harvest at the same time. Smile
+1

This site is good too:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants

Also, which side of your box is North? That would determine the best place to put your trellis and plant your peas.
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Post  dizzygardener on 1/26/2011, 2:30 pm

I did consult a couple different companion planting lists. I've double checked everything. Am I missing something here? So far as I can tell, I don't have any plants next to each other that are incompatible.

Where is north? Good question!

Since I haven't built or placed the beds yet I suppose it could be anywhere. For simplicity's sake, let's say north is at the top.
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Post  dizzygardener on 1/26/2011, 2:50 pm

Oh I see the problem now. In the first picture the cabbage is near the lettuce! Got it.

Let's just focus in this plan then
Novice gardener struggling with planning. HELP! :( Spring13

If North is at the top the peas should be as well right? But I'm wondering if a little shade might be a good thing for the lettuce, etc. The Carolina sun can be devastating hot even in the spring, but especially in the summer!

Then there's the broccoli, collards, kale, and cabbage all of which will probably shade what is around it. I think I'll grow Di Cocci broccoli. It can grow pretty tall, right? I've got Copenhagen cabbage seeds.The Kale is going to be dwarf blue curled and the collards are going to be the American southern variety. So much to consider, and this is only spring. I'll want to intro other things as well like Eggplant and beans and tomatoes...
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Post  Squat_Johnson on 1/26/2011, 2:58 pm

Welcome.

I don't think they are incompatible, but they will fight for space.

I always put the cucumbers, peas, and tomatoes on the north side of boxes on a trellis, and they don't shade out other plants. Plants that won't get too big go in the middle, and then onions and lettuce in front.

Put cabbages and broccoli in the middle, but don't put them next to each other. They will grow bigger than one square, so in the meantime, put lettuce or spinach in-between. Onions and carrots in the front (south)
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Post  dizzygardener on 1/26/2011, 3:30 pm

Novice gardener struggling with planning. HELP! :( Spring14

How is this for a second draft? I've paid a bit more attention to companion planting here. I've also get the peas at the top (north) the collards and Kale are also at the top.

The broccoli and cabbages are no longer next to each other and are in the middle.

Thoughts?
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Post  kimbertangleknot on 1/26/2011, 5:00 pm

The only thing that I would say is perhaps moving the quick growing replanters (radishes, lettuce perhaps if your harvesting the whole head, not sure about the spinach) closer to where you can easily replant it. Since it's a 4x8 it'll be a bit harder to get at the squares in the middle. In my eyes, everything else looks good. What are you planning to plant when the peas are done? They do not do well in the NC summer at all, once it starts to stay in the constant 75+ they go down hill fast (speaking from experience). They are a cool weather crop for us most definitely. The onions and garlic look good, they're a long growing type crop (unless you're going to grow green onions). Also, the parsley and chives will be common cutters to keep them from going to seed, so long as you can reach them easily, it should be fine.

I love gardeners garden planner, it's so awesome aint it?
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/26/2011, 5:08 pm

I would second the notion to keep the frequently used veggies in the easy to reach spots. Leaf lettuce and spinach would come immediately to mind.

And, if you are like me, you can really overthink this thing. That's part of the fun, though.
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Post  dizzygardener on 1/26/2011, 5:38 pm

@kimbertangleknot wrote:The only thing that I would say is perhaps moving the quick growing replanters (radishes, lettuce perhaps if your harvesting the whole head, not sure about the spinach) closer to where you can easily replant it. Since it's a 4x8 it'll be a bit harder to get at the squares in the middle. In my eyes, everything else looks good. What are you planning to plant when the peas are done? They do not do well in the NC summer at all, once it starts to stay in the constant 75+ they go down hill fast (speaking from experience). They are a cool weather crop for us most definitely. The onions and garlic look good, they're a long growing type crop (unless you're going to grow green onions). Also, the parsley and chives will be common cutters to keep them from going to seed, so long as you can reach them easily, it should be fine.

I love gardeners garden planner, it's so awesome aint it?

Thanks!

I do need to rethink my radishes and lettuce, but honestly, I might just split the bed into two 4x4 with a walkway in-between. That will probably make my life a lot easier!

I was just wondering how long I would have peas. If they'll be gone by summer, I'll probably replace them with melons (cantaloupe or musk) and cucumbers.

Here's the rest of what I'm thinking for the summer transition:

Novice gardener struggling with planning. HELP! :( Summer10

Once the cabbages are harvested I'll probably transplant some herbs: rosemary, oregano, etc. I'll probably add in some marigolds through out.

I'm also thinking I'll do potatoes in pots / sacks.

I'd really love to try to grow some celery, but I'm afraid.

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Post  middlemamma on 1/26/2011, 5:44 pm

Afraid?

It's just a seed...don't be afraid. BIG hug

You won't know unles syou try. Smile

What if it grows and you eat it? YAY!!!!!

Jen
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Post  Megan on 1/26/2011, 6:08 pm

Welcome to the forum and to SFG! glad you\'re here

As Middlemamma said, it's only seeds! Very Happy Here are a few of my thoughts, in no particular order.

Your peas will be gone by summer.

Carrots are a long-term crop.

Radishes grow REALLY quickly and you can replace them with something else. I would plan on them for early spring, plant something else in that square, and then you can plant radishes again in the fall (perhaps in another square) if you want more.

I agree with the others on frequent cutters. If you like salad every day, plant your lettuces together and where you can get to them quickly to nab a harvest in the evening.

Any herb can be planted in a SFG, but this year I used only annuals (basil and cilantro) in my SFG. My perennial herbs have beds or containers of their own. Woody herbs (such as thyme, oregano, rosemary etc.) and plants like chives CAN be grown as annuals, but if you give them a dedicated spot, they have a good chance of coming back year after year and get bigger as they do.

Two melons in two squares side-by-side is TROUBLE. I would give one melon two squares. (Or maybe that's what you meant and the software just forced you to list it that way.)

Think about plant height and how you will access your squares. That right side of your plan might make it a little hard to access your beans (I assume you're planting bush, not pole, beans?)

I would not plant dill in the same bed as carrots, at least not so close to each other. They will cross-pollinate.

It might help to plant your long-term crops (garlic, onions, carrots) in the row just south of your big stuff (the melons, tomatoes, cukes). They don't get THAT tall, you won't need to get at them very often, and they probably won't mind some trampling by the big guys.

I'm with you on the celery. I got some seed last year but never got to planting it. I want to try it this year, though! Smile

Happy gardening! flower
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Post  Blackrose on 1/26/2011, 6:11 pm

Novice gardener struggling with planning. HELP! :( 43549 Megan!

Great post!

you rock
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Post  kimbertangleknot on 1/26/2011, 6:35 pm

@Blackrose wrote: Novice gardener struggling with planning. HELP! :( 43549 Megan!

Great post!

you rock

I agree. Very awesome.

The cukes and melons can (and probably will) get very vine-y and compete. Your eggplants will also vine and there is another thread about caging peppers and eggplants, and pretty much everyone says to cage/trellis the egg plant. So you might want to think about relocating them. The beans, yes, pole or bush? It does make a difference. My thing with dill, is that everything I've read up about it is you have to be careful because when it goes to seed it can become pretty hard to get rid of. I would maybe think about doing any herbs you want to do this year in pots or a dedicated bed. The basil though should be fine in your bed, it's pretty easy to keep up with one plant.

It would probably be easier (just my opinion) to break them up into two 4x4, because there is a wide variety of things you are wanting to grow. It will also help you get more familiar too and be overwhelmed (the thinning and pruning could get quite hard if you don't know exactly what your looking for). Just my opinion of course.

Your peas will be gone getting into summer. I planted mine late, I didn't harden them off, but they started to come back by about mid may, but going into June they were done for. So I only got a few pods, but they were really good. You can plant peas before the frost (so everyone says) I'm going to try that this year since I still have 24 squares to figure out. (I'm still working on the cool weather crops, but I read a ton so I feel a little confident about them.)

But really, go for whatever you want to do, take our advice and then just try stuff yourself! What works for one person in their area might not work for their neighbor, it's all about trial, error, and good eats =)
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Post  Megan on 1/26/2011, 7:00 pm

I'm not quite sure why it's so awesome, but thank you. Embarassed

I agree about breaking it up into smaller SFGs if possible. I had two long beds (8x4 and 9x3) last year and it worked out okay, but I had to think about how to orient/arrange things so I could get into the middle without falling flat on my face or stepping on my Mel's Mix.

I planted 3 squares of basil last year (and probably overcrowded them) and I have a TON of pesto as a result. (Well....semi-pesto... just basil, garlic and olive oil. It is still awesome, though, and I can add cheese if I want on top. Was trying to save $$ and calories, and frankly we don't miss the nuts.)

My peas didn't do well at all last year but I am going to try them again (and try to find some innoculant this year.)

But really, go for whatever you want to do, take our advice and then just try stuff yourself! What works for one person in their area might not work for their neighbor, it's all about trial, error, and good eats =)
I completely agree. My beds were rather backwards in more than one way, but I got a great harvest nonetheless. Try it out, HAVE FUN is the most important thing, and don't worry if a few plants don't work out. It's just seeds.

OH.... another thing.... while you are planning, think about how you are going to get water to your beds if you don't get enough rain during the growing season. If you have the time to do the ladle thing, more power to you. I didn't. I started out with a watering can (worked fine while seeds were sprouting), then tried to use a hose. That rapidly backfired, as I had trouble dragging the hose around my beds. First I tried hose guides (didn't work), and then tried extra rebar (taller than the hose guides) pounded in at the corners of the beds, and THAT didn't work either. I ended up putting in an irrigation system which I am quite happy with.... but it was an unexpected expense, albeit a reasonable one.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/26/2011, 8:11 pm

When reading the book, and no offense to Mel, the ladle thing made me wanna slap myself. I just don't have that kind of time. And, I doubt I ever will. So, my go-to tool is a watering wand. The kind that is about 3 feet long and bends at the bottom. I can get under and around anything with that guy. Best $12.99 ever spent, imo. If need be, I carry a stick, lift up leaves, and shoot some water underneath. My neighbors think I'm crazy walking around my yard with a stick and a flourescent sprinkler, but the heck with them....they thank the psycho all August long.

And, I am officially issuing a "signature warning.".......

It's all about trial, error.........and good eats!

How on Earth do we go wrong with that statement? Well done. cheers clap
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Post  kimbertangleknot on 1/26/2011, 8:20 pm

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:When reading the book, and no offense to Mel, the ladle thing made me wanna slap myself. I just don't have that kind of time. And, I doubt I ever will. So, my go-to tool is a watering wand. The kind that is about 3 feet long and bends at the bottom. I can get under and around anything with that guy. Best $12.99 ever spent, imo. If need be, I carry a stick, lift up leaves, and shoot some water underneath. My neighbors think I'm crazy walking around my yard with a stick and a flourescent sprinkler, but the heck with them....they thank the psycho all August long.

And, I am officially issuing a "signature warning.".......

It's all about trial, error.........and good eats!

How on Earth do we go wrong with that statement? Well done. cheers clap

Ya know, I always mean to pick up one of those watering wands and just always forget. I'll have to put that on my LIST this year instead of just saying I'm going to remember it.

I feel so spechul, I said something that is good for a sig.
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Post  Chopper on 1/26/2011, 11:26 pm

If it makes you feel any better, it never even occurred to me to follow that direction. I am away too much and I have automatic watering here in So Cal (you do or you simply have a ratty yard). So do not sweat it. Do the best you can.
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Post  Rolanaj on 1/26/2011, 11:57 pm

I just want to add that peas and beans really don't like onions or garlic. I've read that in several places and last year I managed to plant beans with garlic and it didn't work out well.
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Post  dizzygardener on 1/27/2011, 11:58 am

@Rolanaj wrote:I just want to add that peas and beans really don't like onions or garlic. I've read that in several places and last year I managed to plant beans with garlic and it didn't work out well.

Really? I read that Garlic is actually beneficial to peas.

Can anyone else chime in on this?
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Post  dizzygardener on 1/27/2011, 12:01 pm

@Megan wrote:Welcome to the forum and to SFG! glad you\'re here

As Middlemamma said, it's only seeds! Very Happy Here are a few of my thoughts, in no particular order.

Your peas will be gone by summer.

Carrots are a long-term crop.

Radishes grow REALLY quickly and you can replace them with something else. I would plan on them for early spring, plant something else in that square, and then you can plant radishes again in the fall (perhaps in another square) if you want more.

I agree with the others on frequent cutters. If you like salad every day, plant your lettuces together and where you can get to them quickly to nab a harvest in the evening.

Any herb can be planted in a SFG, but this year I used only annuals (basil and cilantro) in my SFG. My perennial herbs have beds or containers of their own. Woody herbs (such as thyme, oregano, rosemary etc.) and plants like chives CAN be grown as annuals, but if you give them a dedicated spot, they have a good chance of coming back year after year and get bigger as they do.

Two melons in two squares side-by-side is TROUBLE. I would give one melon two squares. (Or maybe that's what you meant and the software just forced you to list it that way.)

Think about plant height and how you will access your squares. That right side of your plan might make it a little hard to access your beans (I assume you're planting bush, not pole, beans?)

I would not plant dill in the same bed as carrots, at least not so close to each other. They will cross-pollinate.

It might help to plant your long-term crops (garlic, onions, carrots) in the row just south of your big stuff (the melons, tomatoes, cukes). They don't get THAT tall, you won't need to get at them very often, and they probably won't mind some trampling by the big guys.

I'm with you on the celery. I got some seed last year but never got to planting it. I want to try it this year, though! Smile

Happy gardening! flower


praise praise praise

THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!
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Post  kimbertangleknot on 1/27/2011, 12:03 pm

On my companion planting list (there's a link to one I've compiled from searching the internet on my blog) and it does say that peas/garlic don't get along. Would make sense. Peas are delicate, fragile, cool weather loving. Garlic is difficult, hot, short tempered. I can just see the peas laying delicately on top of the garlic and out of no where. BAM! It gets whooped by the garlic for encroachment!

tongue
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Post  quiltbea on 1/27/2011, 12:13 pm

I, too, copied a chart from a reliable gardning book..... which I've forgotten but I have all the charts copied......and it states that beans and peas should not be planted near onion or garlic.
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Post  dizzygardener on 1/27/2011, 1:28 pm

Hmm...

Seems that the link offered to me in this post is inaccurate.

It says "GARLIC: Plant near roses to repel aphids. It also benefits apple trees, pear trees, cucumbers, peas, lettuce and celery. Plant under peach trees to help repel borers. Garlic accumulates sulfur: a naturally occurring fungicide which will help in the garden with disease prevention. Garlic is systemic in action as it is taken up by the plants through their pores and when garlic tea is used as a soil drench it is also taken up by the plant roots. It has value in offending codling moths, Japanese beetles, root maggots, snails, and carrot root fly."

from http://www.ghorganics.com/page2.html#GARLIC:
dizzygardener
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Post  kimbertangleknot on 1/27/2011, 1:42 pm

I've read that too, but came across more than 5 pages where garlic and peas don't get along, so for me, majority ruled my decision. But really, it's up to you if you want to try it. I haven't grown garlic yet, so I can't speak from experience, only what books and the internet has told me on the subject.
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