I want to start a veggie garden but I have never done it before..help?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Dar, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. Dar

    Dar Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 31, 2008
    I have a fair chunk of land that I can use for a veggie garden... but my problem is I have never done this before...

    how is the best way to start?

    Right now the proposed garden area has grass and weeds. I will be renting a rototiller to turn it up and I will be tossing the top layer of sod over the fence.

    How do I stop the regrowth of the grass and weeds? I know the root system goes down a fair ways and skimming off the grass layer will just open the earth..

    I will be mixing in with the rototiller old chicken bedding that has been aging for 2+ years along with some fresher stuff.

    I want to grow:
    squash (various types)
    peppers.. last time I tried to grow these they were all wonky and mis-shaped

    I dont know if I should do different plots.. so the squash put in a 5'X5' area because I know it will spread and invade other areas but if I give it, its own little plot away from everything else it wont push other things out.

    I have heard that if you plant onions and garlic around the perimeter that it will deter the bunnies.. is this true?

    **I know asparagus take more then one season to grow. I have an area thats between my two dining room windows thats elevated and out of the way

    what tips and tricks can you offer a beginner?.. am I going to big to soon?
  2. KenK

    KenK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2011
    IMO, you shouldn't throw out the top layer of sod. Till it in with your chicken litter. Put a nice layer of mulch over the whole thing and let it sit for the winter.

    You need to find local sources of information about planting times and varieties that do well in your area.

    I would recommend starting fairly small. You can grow a tremendous amount of food in a relatively small area if it is well tended. Planting more than you can keep up with will lead to not much vegetables and a lot of frustration.
  3. Dar

    Dar Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 31, 2008
    Quote:but if I till it in wont that create even more grass and weeds that grow?
  4. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    I'm a fairly new gardener myself, so I don't have a lot of advice other than go to The Easy Garden , a BYC sister site.
  5. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    You could plant a winter crop like Winter Rye or Hairy Vetch, they aerate the soil and keep weeds from having room to grow (plus make great winter forage for your critters). Just be sure to cut them back before they flower next spring. They don't deprive the soil of much (actually, they help) and you can use the cut crop as mulch and compost to turn into your soil.

    Starting small is great, and plant things you & your family love. We add a raised bed a year, and have yet to feel like we have too feel overwhelmed.

    Also, local farmers markets are a great place to start. Starting seeds can be tricky, but if you get seedlings from local folks they are there with the knowledge & they have had success growing those plants in your area.
  6. KenK

    KenK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2011
    Mulch, mulch and more mulch. I figure if you try to remove the top layer of grass and weeds your just going to end up threshing the seeds out to be left behind and removing the valuable organic matter.

    Don't let weeds or grass get a foot hold and try you best not to let any go to seed once you get your garden going.
  7. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    I will be watching this with interest...I want to do a garden, too!

    Our problem is that our soil here is very, very sandy. Ugh!

    I think I'm going to have to do a couple of these:
  8. Royd

    Royd Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Middleburg, Fl.
    I see that you are in Canada, so what you are dealing with is a short season, with long daylight hours. Use that to your advantage, during the growing season......Plant longday onions.

    As for the removal of sod, I do most of my work by hand, with several different forks. It's slow, by anyone's standard, but I don't end up with a bunch of roots in the garden. You can till it in, and till it again in the spring, or you can remove the sod, pile it up, and use it as a base for a compost pile.

    Getting the soil prepped a season or two ahead of time, is benefical to the plants you want to put in.

    Again, take advantage of your climate. Asparagus prefers a good dormancy. Rhubarb prefers the cool nights of summer. I would think that any of the Brassica family: Broccoli, cabbage, collards, etc. would do well, in your area..Beets is another one.

    I have found that starting the plants as seedlings, not only allows you to select the strongest plants, but eliminates planting a thousand seeds, just for twenty plants. Also, you don't waste all of the space and time on something that doesn't come up.

    Observe what is happening. Some plants prefer an acid soil, some a neutral soil...Very few prefer alkaline.

    Stay ahead of the curve, especially with your short summer. Maybe have some cold frames and row covers handy for those June frosts.
  9. Dar

    Dar Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 31, 2008
    Quote:everything I have listed I know do well in this area... I have rhubarb already but I never use it as no one likes it so its on its own and had been let go... they were here when we moved in

    I know my mom and aunt have used 5G water bottles and pop bottles cut in half for some plants to cover them for the early and late frosts... my aunt will also have some clear drop sheets or vapor barrier that she will tent like this /\\/\\/\\/\\ and secure with stakes for the down sides and through the rows she will have larger stake like a 2"X2" for the high portion... does that make sense?

    we usually plant in late may.. around memorial day/Victoria day week end... and harvest when ready.. some things can stay in as late as late October...

    thanks for the suggestion of the broccoli and cauliflower... i totally forgot about them!
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  10. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2008
    If it is possible to put chickens in this area they will save you a lot of work. I would add organic material: leaves and veggie scraps, a little wood ash, grass clippings if still available and let them work it over. They are great composters and tillers. They also will eat some of the weed seeds. You are going to need to fence off the area anyway if you have free ranging chickens because they will scratch up seedlings, eat tomatoes, greens etc. Depending on how many you put on it they could have it worked up in a few weeks. Then let it rest thru the winter.

    Next spring you can add more compost, put it into rows, etc. I would be reluctant to discard any top soil if I could avoid it . I might make some exception if I was planting in an area that had something like bermuda grass which is very aggressive and chicks don't seem to get rid of it completely. Have you considered raised rows? Just raising the individual rows a few inches by mounding the dirt can make for an easier garden. Mulch is definitely the key to keeping weeds down and makes your garden better every year.

    I have to give squash a separate area or out side row. Peppers are heavy feeders like tomatoes and for some reason I can grow hot varieties well but have more trouble with sweet peppers making it to maturity. Calcium utilization is important in tomatoes, composted egg shells help and bone meal does also. You also need tomatoes that are known to do well in your area. TomatoFest is a site that has heirloom tomato seeds. It really cuts the cost of gardening if you use heirloom seeds and there is nothing as gratifying as reaping lots of produce from one tiny seed. You can lengthen your tomato and pepper season with wall o water or something similar.

    I have found onions and garlic to repell rabbitts. I also like to plant herbs with or near my vegetables. Some of them act as insect repellents and they attract beneficial insects. Maybe this winter you can read up on the best ones to use.

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