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Topic: Hi, Gardening noob here

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Subject: Hi, Gardening noob here
Date Posted: 6/10/2008 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2006
Posts: 553
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Well, I convinced my wife to let me put in a small vegetable/herb garden.

I'm using the "square foot" raised bed methods from this book http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9781591862024-All+New+Square+Foot+Gardening

I have two 8' X 2' beds set together end to end longways in an unusual spot between my garage and my neighbor's wooden fence 6 feet away.  It seems like too shady of a spot, but that side of the garage faces south and gets several hours of afternoon sun.  Weeds and brush grew like crazy back there last year so I figured, why not try to grow something other than weeds.

I mixed my own soil... about 500-600 pounds of it.  One part peatmoss, one part perlite, one part compost.

Using the square foot method, I have 32 squares, so here's what I've planted:

strawberries  (2 squares)

sugar snap peas (2 squares - 8 plants each)

bibb lettuce (2 squares - 2 plants each)

jalapeno peppers (2 squares)

sweet Genovese basil (2 squares)

green and red bell peppers (3 squares)

cucumbers (1 square - 2 plants each)

roma tomatoes (1 square)

big beef tomatoes (1 square)

habanero peppers (1 square)

hot banana peppers (1 square)

pineapple sage (1 square)

bee balm (1 square)

peppermint (1 square)

lemon balm (1 square)

head lettuce (1 square - 2 plants each)

greenleaf lettuce (1 square - 2 plants each)

wildfire lettuce mix (1 square - 2 plants each)

scallions (1 square - 16 plants each)

sweet marjoram (1 square)

rosemary (1 square)

cilantro (1 square)

Italian parsley (1 square)

Greek oregano (1 square)

dill (1 square)

I'll try to post photos later

Date Posted: 6/11/2008 8:09 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 5,584
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Wow, Mark, your garden is exactly like the garden of my dreams!!  

I one day aspire to the square foot method, but these past few years I've done container gardening--usually bush-style green beans, cherry or grape tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and a couple of herbs.  But your garden sounds huge and fabulous.  I wish you a bountiful harvest!!

Date Posted: 6/13/2008 1:53 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 2,433
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Sounds tasty! Can't wait to see pictures. It sounds like a good sized plot and you'll be raking in the produce.
Date Posted: 7/12/2008 10:47 AM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2006
Posts: 1,530
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Last Edited on: 1/19/09 1:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/20/2008 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 2,288
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Mark, can you update us on how your garden did this year?  What are some things that grew well and what did not?  Also, what part of the country do you live in?

Date Posted: 5/22/2009 10:44 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2006
Posts: 553
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Sorry everyone.  I completely forgot about taking photos and posting updates last year.


My results were mixed, but I learned quite a bit.

My strawberries were perfect, and super sweet.

All of my lettuce did well, but they went to seed so fast we were able to enjoy only a few salads.  They didn't even seem to mature before going to seed.

The sugar snap peas,  scallions, sweet marjoram and dill never came up. (all of them were old seeds I think)

My jalapeno and hot banana peppers produced, but not much at all, maybe 6-7 peppers.

The habanero peppers never really produced.

The basil, pineapple sage, bee balm, peppermint, lemon balm, cilantro, rosemary and Italian parsley were perfect.

The Greek oregano didn't do well for some reason.

My green and red bell peppers were just OK.

The cucumber fruits never really filled out into a nice plump hot dog shape before they over ripened. They were plump at one end and skinny at the other.  This year I'll know to just go ahead and harvest them.

The tomatoes didn't do so well.  The big beef produced one fruit that a worm ruined. The romas did better, but both plants took forever to produce.  Matter of fact I would've had a great harvest -- if the late October frost hadn't killed them.




The Rosemary and pineapple sage are supposed to be perennial, but died guring winter.  The other perennials (bee balm, peppermint, lemon balm, strawberries) came back better than last year, especially the Greek oregano.  There are cilantro sprouts everywhere from the seed that fell from the one plant last year.

I think my tomatoes and peppers weren't getting enough sun back there, so we're going to just container plant them on the deck this year.  We're also going to container plant the annual herbs to make room for more vegetables in the square foot garden.  We plan on using alot of the squares for a rotating lettuce harvest, so if it works out right we'll have garden fresh salad all season long.

Last Edited on: 5/22/09 10:44 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/23/2009 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2009
Posts: 181
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Sounds like a fantastic garden!   We all have our failures and successes.  I now do all my vegetables in containers...more work planting , but less throughout the season.  The beans,cukes, tomatoes, squash, and even small eggplants grow up wire cages.  I underplant them with marigolds (seems to keep the bugs away and gives color early on).  Very little weeding, but I have to pay attention to the weather and water frequently.  I did get some nice lettuce last year but not enough from a couple containers to make it worth while to do again, this year it's just arugula(from seed)  -  we'll buy the other salad greens.  My herbs are in the raised garden (smaller than yours) and do well mixed in with flowers/ I do keep the basil in a pot, just easier to snip  - from the kitchen to the deck.  The oregano and chives come back like crazy every year.  Be careful with any mint you plant... it will takeover the whole garden.  It's best kept in a container as it'll spread like a vigorous weed, you'll be pulling it up everywhere.  I tried to overwinter my rosemary in the house this winter but it looks pretty sad, I may have to give up on it.  I didn't do any peppers this year, they never grew well (except the habeneros......got enough 2 years ago to chop and freeze to use all year - in small amounts!)  Here in southern New England we're at the mercy of mother nature and so far it's not been kind to my garden.  Too much rain, not enough sun, and still getting colder than normal nights (last week we had two nights where the temp dipped down into the 30's).  I had to cover everything!  If we get a "short summer" , the garden's doomed.


Date Posted: 6/21/2009 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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My garden is in a side yard too.  My back yard is just too shady, so I have three, four foot square raised beds for herbs & smaller plants, and a four foot strip alongside for bigger plants, like tomatoes.  I can sympathize with what Lucky7 says about the mint!  I have lemon balm doing that all over my garden!  At least they smell great when I yank thier litte roots out of the ground.

Some plants will just grow better in certain climates.   I live in North Texas, and summer comes early and stays late!  Some of my plants, like chives, rosemary and oregano will winter over, but it gets too hot too fast for a good tomato crop.  I try different varieties every year, but the only thing I have any success with is cherry tomatoes!

The lettuce grew fast and early, but here it is June, and it's already bolted and gone to seed.  Maybe I'll get a second crop out of it though.   I've also had great success with banana peppers.  I consistently get a good crop out of them.  There's nothing like walking out to the garden and picking the ingredients for your dinner or morning omelette.

Have you thought about planting a garlic bed, or experimenting with root veggies?  I think they do better in colder climes, although I do have a corner of my garden that's gone to garlic.