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> How is your green thumb? Gardening thread, How do I start a garden?
snowmonster123
post Jan 14 2009, 07:14 PM
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Ok I have to be honest with you but in a downturning economy I need a job so I decided to pick up gardening. I would like to grow and sell my own vegetables. No I am not asking you to be victims of buying and eating my rotten vegatables. I was just wondering how I should start a garden? Plus I would like to learn how to grow corn, potatoes, and wheat. I know not your typical garden but anyway I decided to give it a shot. Plus I no their might be others out their who would like gardening tips as well. So this thread is for general conversation on gardening.

This post has been edited by snowmonster123: Jan 14 2009, 07:47 PM


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Removed_Member_Bl1zzard_*
post Jan 14 2009, 08:08 PM
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QUOTE(snowmonster123 @ Jan 14 2009, 08:14 PM) *
Ok I have to be honest with you but in a downturning economy I need a job so I decided to pick up gardening. I would like to grow and sell my own vegetables. No I am not asking you to be victims of buying and eating my rotten vegatables. I was just wondering how I should start a garden? Plus I would like to learn how to grow corn, potatoes, and wheat. I know not your typical garden but anyway I decided to give it a shot. Plus I no their might be others out their who would like gardening tips as well. So this thread is for general conversation on gardening.


First off, find an area in your yard that has partial shade for potatoes and mostly sun for wheat and corn. If you're planning on growing enough corn to make a living you need a lot of land, but assuming this is more of a small time operation you just need a decent area. So, if you end up finding a garden space of say 100 square feet or so you should be good. That would be enough to pocket some cash when everything ripens up.

Once you have your garden, dig up all the sod. Don't throw it away though. Shake it off so most of the dirt is off it. Then put it in a pile with all the other compost you have, leaves, old veggie plants even grass clippings. No sticks or branches though.

Then, dig a trench in your garden about 2 feet down and maybe 4 feet wide by 10 feet long. Fill that trench about 6" full of the compost you have. Then put all the dirt back over the trench. This should turn all the soil over nicely and give a good base of compost. Do this again in the other half of your garden area. Then turn over all the rest of the soil that hasn't been turned over in the trenching process. By the time you're done there should be a nicely turned over patch of land for you to make a garden in. Rake it so it's pretty smooth and level. Since you turned the soil over and added compost under it the whole area should be raised about 4" or so above the rest of your yard. That will help drainage, though it's not the primary reason for turning everything over (which is helping to add nutrients to the soil, over the years you'll end up with a really, really nice thick layer of nutrient rich top-soil).

If you're planning on growing the three different crops, though I would recommend against wheat since it's a bit more complicated than growing and picking (you don't just go buy wheat at the store), you should probably segment the garden into three sections. Personally I would recommend instead of wheat you grow peppers or tomatoes (if you're growing tomatoes make sure there are no walnut trees in the vicinity). For potatoes, I believe they like shade, so give them the shadiest area of the garden you just made. If you have some 2X4's lying around or rocks or anything else that will look vaguely decent, make a neat edge around this area. The corn should be in the sunniest region and probably should have the largest area too.

Planting is pretty simple. The potatoes just plant, don't worry about space so much, they'll just grow and fill up your area reasonably well. Corn, on the other hand, requires a bit more effort. Take a hoe and draw a few furrows through the region, parallel to each other and maybe 18" apart, a little less if you'd prefer though I wouldn't go short of a foot. I don't know what the standard distance is, ask a pro. I would have about a 5X10 area for the corn, so basically, half the garden. Make the furrows parallel to the short side, so you'd have 6 rows 5 feet long or so. Plant the corn seeds in pairs about a foot apart. Maybe even in trios. That way, you can pick the strongest of two or three plants to let grow. If you're planting tomatoes or peppers plant them a couple feet apart, oh, and stake the tomatoes as they start growing, otherwise the stems will bend

All this is assuming you have about 100 square feet of garden available. I don't know your particular situation so adapt accordingly. If you have more specific questions I'd be happy to try to answer them.
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randyfawn
post Jan 14 2009, 09:35 PM
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Plant twice as much corn as you think you need, and half as much wheat.


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Removed_Member_wfreeck_*
post Jan 14 2009, 09:47 PM
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I personally love gardening, though I haven't touched vegetables. laugh.gif
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Maw
post Jan 15 2009, 08:00 AM
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I've only gardened for about the past 12 years, so take my advice knowing that. (not a pro by any means).

I think 100 square feet is incredibly small. I think I have over 300 square feet, and I still don't have enough room for corn. I plant tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini (takes up a lot of room), dill and cilantro, and catnip. My garden is tight and I need a lot more room than I have. My sister-in-law did 3 corn plants once, along with peppers, tomatoes, and pumpkins, and her garden was about 30 x 15.

I'm told that potatoes are incredibly easy to grow. I was told to just dig a hole and throw some peeling from your potatoes in there and then dig them up in the fall and you'll have more potatoes that you'll know what to do with. I've never tried it so this is all just hearsay.

Good luck and let us know how you do. It is VERY IMPORTANT to have the essential nutrients in your soil. Check for those online for specifics.


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jdc123
post Jan 15 2009, 09:15 AM
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Hey snowmonster! Nice to hear you'd like to start "growing" you own business. smile.gif I helped run a 10 acre orchard with a 1 acre garden we used to have in upstate NY, so I know a little about gardening, but so far from a pro it isn't funny. rolleyes.gif

For starters, this is going to be a LOT of work bro, so I hope you're up for it!
Step 1: Marketing- How do you intend to sell your vegetables and to whom? You could grow the finest tomatoes in the state but if you can't sell them, they are no good. So figure out if your local road has enough traffic to support a roadside stand, that's one option. Another is to find a local farmers market and sell them there. Usually once a week, most of them last from about May to September. From the sound of it, I don't think you'd have enough produce in a steady enough supply to justify paying for a spot. And you definitely wouldn't if your garden is only 10' by 10'. (You're kind of in a tight spot, I don't think you can support yourself on a 100ft garden, but anything bigger is going to be overwhelming just starting out.) But starting small is fine, just keep your expectations in line with that fact.

Step 2: What to grow- I'm going to be honest here; growing wheat is impossible to do in a small garden. Wheat is grown on a huge scale and harvested with combines, then shipped to refineries to be processed. It's just not logistically possible to grow in a garden. And corn is tough too, it takes a lot to make it happen. If you grow tomatoes from seeds, they need to be started inside the house first, and then transplanted outside. A better idea if you really want to grow 'em would be to buy tomato plants from a local nursery and start that way. And I think you said potatoes, but they're not easy either. If their not grown just right, they come out all small and weird looking. Fine to eat, but not very pretty to sell. So I'd recommend you start with some easier stuff, like Zucchini, green beans, peas, beets, and leaf lettuce (not head lettuce, i.e. iceburg). You want to give yourself the best chance at success, so grow stuff that has better odds of surviving!

Step 3: Seeds- If you want your plants to grow, don't buy seeds from Wal-mart! Here's some links to companies that I know of that have a huge selection seeds. It's easy to get overwhelmed, just stay focused and read the write-ups. They are very informative, with tons of info to glean.
http://gurneys.com/

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/


Step 3: Soil prep- See Bl1zzard's post above. wink.gif Whatever you decide to plant, make sure you know how to plant that vegetable the right way. Again, the product write ups are really helpful, and there is always Google! Proper spacing between seeds is very important, so make sure you plan ahead for that too.

There's a lot to learn all at once, but it's very rewarding to watch something you planted grow, and actually make food! I'm sure I left lots of info out, but you need me to help fill in the blanks, I'd be happy to help!





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Removed_Member_Bl1zzard_*
post Jan 15 2009, 09:37 AM
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QUOTE(Maw @ Jan 15 2009, 09:00 AM) *
I've only gardened for about the past 12 years, so take my advice knowing that. (not a pro by any means).

I think 100 square feet is incredibly small. I think I have over 300 square feet, and I still don't have enough room for corn. I plant tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini (takes up a lot of room), dill and cilantro, and catnip. My garden is tight and I need a lot more room than I have. My sister-in-law did 3 corn plants once, along with peppers, tomatoes, and pumpkins, and her garden was about 30 x 15.

I'm told that potatoes are incredibly easy to grow. I was told to just dig a hole and throw some peeling from your potatoes in there and then dig them up in the fall and you'll have more potatoes that you'll know what to do with. I've never tried it so this is all just hearsay.

Good luck and let us know how you do. It is VERY IMPORTANT to have the essential nutrients in your soil. Check for those online for specifics.


I fully agree that 100 square feet is small. But I have no idea what size area he has so I just picked a nice number. Potatoes are absurdly easy to grow, but not quite as easy to grow well. I know just planting a potato in the ground will work, it will grow and potatoes will be harvestable. I usually buy the plants from the local greenhouse though, they grow and look much better. Pretty cheap too.



This post has been edited by Bl1zzard: Jan 15 2009, 09:38 AM
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snowmonster123
post Jan 15 2009, 11:44 AM
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QUOTE(Bl1zzard @ Jan 14 2009, 10:08 PM) *
First off, find an area in your yard that has partial shade for potatoes and mostly sun for wheat and corn. If you're planning on growing enough corn to make a living you need a lot of land, but assuming this is more of a small time operation you just need a decent area. So, if you end up finding a garden space of say 100 square feet or so you should be good. That would be enough to pocket some cash when everything ripens up.

Once you have your garden, dig up all the sod. Don't throw it away though. Shake it off so most of the dirt is off it. Then put it in a pile with all the other compost you have, leaves, old veggie plants even grass clippings. No sticks or branches though.

Then, dig a trench in your garden about 2 feet down and maybe 4 feet wide by 10 feet long. Fill that trench about 6" full of the compost you have. Then put all the dirt back over the trench. This should turn all the soil over nicely and give a good base of compost. Do this again in the other half of your garden area. Then turn over all the rest of the soil that hasn't been turned over in the trenching process. By the time you're done there should be a nicely turned over patch of land for you to make a garden in. Rake it so it's pretty smooth and level. Since you turned the soil over and added compost under it the whole area should be raised about 4" or so above the rest of your yard. That will help drainage, though it's not the primary reason for turning everything over (which is helping to add nutrients to the soil, over the years you'll end up with a really, really nice thick layer of nutrient rich top-soil).

If you're planning on growing the three different crops, though I would recommend against wheat since it's a bit more complicated than growing and picking (you don't just go buy wheat at the store), you should probably segment the garden into three sections. Personally I would recommend instead of wheat you grow peppers or tomatoes (if you're growing tomatoes make sure there are no walnut trees in the vicinity). For potatoes, I believe they like shade, so give them the shadiest area of the garden you just made. If you have some 2X4's lying around or rocks or anything else that will look vaguely decent, make a neat edge around this area. The corn should be in the sunniest region and probably should have the largest area too.

Planting is pretty simple. The potatoes just plant, don't worry about space so much, they'll just grow and fill up your area reasonably well. Corn, on the other hand, requires a bit more effort. Take a hoe and draw a few furrows through the region, parallel to each other and maybe 18" apart, a little less if you'd prefer though I wouldn't go short of a foot. I don't know what the standard distance is, ask a pro. I would have about a 5X10 area for the corn, so basically, half the garden. Make the furrows parallel to the short side, so you'd have 6 rows 5 feet long or so. Plant the corn seeds in pairs about a foot apart. Maybe even in trios. That way, you can pick the strongest of two or three plants to let grow. If you're planting tomatoes or peppers plant them a couple feet apart, oh, and stake the tomatoes as they start growing, otherwise the stems will bend

All this is assuming you have about 100 square feet of garden available. I don't know your particular situation so adapt accordingly. If you have more specific questions I'd be happy to try to answer them.



I read somewhere that for corn your soil needs a ph of around 6 or so. What would be the best way of finding the ph of the soil and adjusting it?


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snowmonster123
post Jan 15 2009, 11:47 AM
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QUOTE(Bl1zzard @ Jan 15 2009, 11:37 AM) *
I fully agree that 100 square feet is small. But I have no idea what size area he has so I just picked a nice number. Potatoes are absurdly easy to grow, but not quite as easy to grow well. I know just planting a potato in the ground will work, it will grow and potatoes will be harvestable. I usually buy the plants from the local greenhouse though, they grow and look much better. Pretty cheap too.



I am going to go out and measure but it is kind of cold right now. I did get away with clearing some left over leaves early but my nose started turning into an icicle so I will probably measure this weekend.


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bubbles
post Jan 15 2009, 12:09 PM
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QUOTE(snowmonster123 @ Jan 15 2009, 10:47 AM) *
I am going to go out and measure but it is kind of cold right now. I did get away with clearing some left over leaves early but my nose started turning into an icicle so I will probably measure this weekend.



Do you own your land?


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jdrenken
post Jan 15 2009, 12:22 PM
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QUOTE(snowmonster123 @ Jan 15 2009, 11:44 AM) *
I read somewhere that for corn your soil needs a ph of around 6 or so. What would be the best way of finding the ph of the soil and adjusting it?



Your local farmer co-op or agriculture office should have this capability to test your ph. If you don't know where to find one, you can also get kits from lowes, farm store like farm & fleet, or home depot.


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snowmonster123
post Jan 15 2009, 12:34 PM
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QUOTE(bubbles @ Jan 15 2009, 02:09 PM) *
Do you own your land?


Well I am only 20 and still live with my parents. My mom just doesn't want me to make my dad upset with anything I do. My dad like all dads is pretty easy to get permission from.


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Removed_Member_Bl1zzard_*
post Jan 15 2009, 01:30 PM
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QUOTE(snowmonster123 @ Jan 15 2009, 12:47 PM) *
I am going to go out and measure but it is kind of cold right now. I did get away with clearing some left over leaves early but my nose started turning into an icicle so I will probably measure this weekend.


You won't be able to actually do any digging or such until the end of winter when the ground stops being frozen.

As someone said above you can get a pH test kit from most hardware stores, they're cheap. Also, if you bring a sample of soil to your local gardening supply store they'll probably test it for you for free. Unless you have a walnut tree around the pH is probably fine.
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snowmonster123
post Jan 16 2009, 09:14 AM
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Should I use any fetilizer for corn? If so what kind?


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Removed_Member_Bl1zzard_*
post Jan 16 2009, 09:27 AM
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QUOTE(snowmonster123 @ Jan 16 2009, 10:14 AM) *
Should I use any fetilizer for corn? If so what kind?


If, once you turn all the soil over it's fairly nice, fine, black top-soil then you probably don't need any. If it is a more clay-like soil, more brownish and thick, then you might want to. Whatever fertilizer you get, I really don't know specific brands much, make sure it has nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. Those are the three nutrients that you really need to have. And I guess Magnesium and whatever else you get from limestone, plants need that too. The rest of what they need, the plants get from the water and air. I could be mistaken but, and it does makes sense, I think leafy veggies require more nitrogen heavy diets, so you'd probably want to find a fertilizer with a higher content of nitrogen. I'm sure at a store they just sell a standard garden fertilizer that should work fine. Over the span of a couple years, if you turn over the soil like I say and put a layer of compost under it, you won't need fertilizer any more. You'll have a thick layer of excellent soil to use, full of nutrients.

If you do plant tomatoes, make sure to shake powdered pesticide over the plant at some point. Otherwise those darn tomato worms will eat the plants. Quickly.

This post has been edited by Bl1zzard: Jan 16 2009, 09:28 AM
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jdrenken
post Jan 16 2009, 09:32 AM
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QUOTE(snowmonster123 @ Jan 16 2009, 09:14 AM) *
Should I use any fetilizer for corn? If so what kind?


My suggestion would be to wait until you get the ph results back before you place any fertilizer or the like in your soil. Another thing to take into consideration is you need to cover the seedlings up with something as I've experienced birds eating my seeds on occasion. See if you can get some chicken wire from a farm supply store to "barricade" your garden from rabbits and small animals.

If you plant bell peppers, make sure you get different colors as they help with meal presentation. Same thing with tomatoes...not to mention the yellows are less acidic. As for corn, picture how you will eat more of...ears or shaved. If you eat more ears of corn, nothing beats grilled corn. Soak them in water with their husk on for roughly 30 minutes. Brush the kernels and husk with butter, tie with cooking string and place on the grill for 30 minutes. Because you only soaked them in the water, they'll keep the nutrients while cooking and burst when you bite into them. Freeze shaved corn and you'll never eat corn from a can again.

Grilled cabbage is awesome too! Cut a large head of cabbage in half, place a stick of butter in the middle, wrap in foil both sides to trap the butter. Grill for roughly 1 hour and season...mmm.

We had 10 tomato plants one year and made salsa with jalapenos & chili peppers, stewed, and Italian tomatoes. I can't wait to move into the country again.


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