So I ended up with two 10x10 plots in two community gardens this summer. I am so excited! I started my seeds last weekend and all but one sunflower and all of my peppers have sprouted. I understand though that peppers take a little longer so I haven't given up hope on them quite yet. One of my plots is in a brand new community garden. And when I say brand new, I mean right now it is still a grassy vacant lot right now. I have been tossing some ideas around in my head about preparing this lot. I am leaning toward sheet mulching with cardboard, but then I don't have ready access to woodchips for mulching on top of them. Then there is fencing in my area. The rules say fence how you want but I don't even know where to start or how to install fencing. What kind of tools/supplies do I need? How difficult is it to fence in a 10x10 area?
The second plot is one that has been used in the past. So at least I am not coming into two totally raw plots. I was thinking about raised beds in the plots or maybe using wood pallets instead. I think that would be really neat. I just need someone who is willing to drive around and put pallets in the back of their car/truck. Oh brother I have a lot of work to do!
note on pepper seeds, they need heat to germinate. most seeds like cool but peppers need a lot of heat. if you have a bottom warmer or really warm spot put them there, otherwise put them in a sunny spot.
i've done that before with pallets and i think its a good way to go. straw can be a good substitution for wood chips if you cant get any. cut grass, leaves, and lawn clippings are also good.
posted 4 years ago
I found out today that one of the plots is slated for construction in the next year or two and it was suggested that I not try to put too much effort into planning as far as raised beds and permanent fencing goes. I think I will utilize that spot to grow tomatoes and watermelon alone. Then I will just cram intensively garden the other plot with the rest of what I have to plant. I really think that I am gonna try to go the pallet route, but I will have to see. Apparently there is a member there who voluntarily tills the whole lot. I know tilling isn't the best thing to do but I am the new kid on the block and I'm not going in there rattling any cages! LOL I also found out that there is a HUGE plant sale on mother's day weekend. I'll have to check and see if it falls on payday weekend as well! Nope it doesn't but that is ok it means I will spend less! Finally, my peppers are starting to sprout! YAY!!!
I'm not gonna lie, I am intimidated by the hard work on the front end, but I am building relationships right now that will hopefully lighten the load.
posted 4 years ago
Oh wow I just found out that one of the plots is twice the size I thought it was going to be. It is actually 18x18 instead of 9x9. I had a quasi welcome tour and the lady kept telling me I had an enormous amount of space for a first time gardener. What do you think? Should I bow out of the second area? Here is a bit more background. The 18x18 plot is in a well established CG. It is fenced and partially secured. I am the only new gardener this year so everyone else has been there for at least a few years. The largest amount of area belongs to the city arboretum and they do a demonstration garden every year. This means that even though the garden has gates, they are open to the public during the day. The welcome letter said to be prepared for people to pilfer but my tour guide told me that it really isn't that bad so we shall see what it really is. The plot was used before and I am inheriting several yellow raspberry bushes. The previous plot renters left fairly clean paths, beds and previously amended soil so I have minimal inputs to get the plants in the ground. To bad I still have almost a month to go before I can safely do that. Sigh... There is an enormous leaf pile that is open to the garden as mulch as well. I really got lucky I think.
I have all sorts of stuff sprouting in my living room right now. I have watermelon, beans, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, radish (Those don't look so hot), cucumbers, and sunflowers. I am waiting till I get my key and I will go plant my kale, onions, carrots and radishes outside. I have a question, are spent coffee grounds ok to put directly into the soil or should they be composted first? The coffee shop people offered me coffee grounds and if I take them, I want to use them correctly.
The other plot is unfenced entirely and still covered with grass. My daughter said she was thinking about maybe doing that plot for herself for donation to a summer program she used to participate in, but I think it might be a lot of work for her as she has never gardened and I don't want her to flake out in the middle of the project. The two plots are only about two blocks away from each other, but I do kind of think that having both of them is a recipe for failure. It will be way to easy to become overwhelmed. I'm really leaning towards not doing that one...
My intuition tells me the same as yours. It will be a lot of work to get from grass to garden and your plants want to get in the dirt.
Having other gardeners around is invaluable. Advice, camaraderie, people keeping an eye out for you, all this.
The more time you spend in your garden the more you will observe and learn. Having the two plots might spread you a little thin. In my experience, August is both the time when the thrill of a new garden fades a bit, when people like to go on vacation and when the weeds grow like gangbusters.
Follow your intuition.
And have fun! One of my little boys saidto me tonight as he was falling asleep "mama in the winter you missed your garden and now you are happy because it is spring and you love the hugel and the plants" He knows.
“Enough is as good as a feast"
posted 4 years ago
What a sweet story!
I think you might be right Matu I think I might be spreading myself a little to thin. I would also hate to take a plot that someone else could be using and not use it. I have just decided that I will contact them and free up the plot for someone else who can follow through. I really want to succeed at this whole gardening gig, so I am going to set myself up for success!
I forgot to mention a couple of things about my plot. The lady who gave me the tour, was very impressed that I have done a TON of research. I told her the plants I planned on growing and she said they were all good choices for a beginner. I even noticed several very large downed branches lying around the area and mentioned hugel beds and was given the go ahead to do that if I wanted to. I doubt I will though. How cool would that be though if I did do that?!!?
Additionaly I was told is that they have had a lot of trouble with late blight in the entire garden. It was suggested to me that when I plant out my tomatoes, that I mulch heavily to help keep the spores in the dirt and off the plants. I have some options here now since I am not doing the other garden. I have a ton of saved up cardboard, so I could put that down. OR my favorite coffee shop roasts their own beans and has offered me some of their burlap sacs. I could use those as well. What would you do? Either or both or none? I was also thinking about the enormous pile of leaves there, but I would think they might have the spores on them as well since they were raked up from the immediate area and inside the garden.
Another thing I wanted to use the burlap sacs for was for growing potatoes...in a laundry basket. I want to try air pruning. I figure most people don't know what a potato plant looks like so why would they walk away with a clothes basket full of dirt and leaves right? It's just the idea that the basket isn't secured to the ground and some one could just decide to walk off with it just because they can that makes me nervous about that.
Thanks for listening everyone, and thanks for the advice! I think I am going to turn this thread into my little beginner garden journal thread unless of course that moderators feel there is a better place than here for me to do that.
posted 4 years ago
I know I haven't been around in a while but I did get my garden started. I will attach some pictures. You will see that I am taking a permaculture approach to the weeds. I live and let mulch mostly. It was really hard work for me to get it started and as the season progresses, I see that I am most certainly not as organized as I wanted to be. Either way, I am progressing and that is the most important! Here are a few pics of my weedy garden.
Raspberry bushes I inherited.
Red romaine lettuce and dill that just showed up.
Onion plant left from last year that I let go to flower.
posted 4 years ago
More pics from my garden...
AMAZING strawberries from a patch that no one claims so they are fair game for everyone.
My 8 tomato plants along with some chard, kale, pepper plants and WEEDS!!!
Yard long beans starting to grow up.
posted 4 years ago
I love this picture
Onions I planted.
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b