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My first garden. PLEASE HELP.  RSS feed

 
M Paradise
Posts: 2
Location: Atlanta, Georgia. U.S
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  my poor little strawberry plants are going to die if i don't take quick action.  I caught a sale and got 2 Bonnie strawberry plants and two Bonnie cherry tomato plants. 2 weeks ago.     I've been stuck trying to figure out the proper planting techniques. i want to use planters and miracle grow (also on sale) but from what I've seen online I think I need way more strawberry plants for that. I think I need 18" of space per plant. please tell me anything you can.  I have a bunch of various seed packets ( peas, carrots, all beans, all melons, corn, flowers ) but I can never seem to plant any thing. This year I really want a garden but its hard to know what to do first. I want a raised garden on my outdoor deck. I have 5 pallets as the base and some bricks made with notches for 2x4's.  I need to figure out what to plant and how so I don,t miss the growing time again.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 
Henri Lentonen
Posts: 73
Location: Finland
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I Dont know what is the right word for this, but if you have time and space, it is usually good to pregrow the plants indoors first.

Then you can start the season already even of it is cold outside. It is good to use also little artificial light, it does nyt have to be strong but to adjust the photoperiod to 20 hours of light per day with timer.

Dont Grow them Too long indoors as with little soil space, it might trigger the bloom phase in Many plants already and you Dont want that, but you want them Grow good roots and Stem first. That is why it is good to use extra light, as photoperiod is the other one Main trigger for plants to switch into bloom phase.

Of the plants Grow Too Big and Too much roots just put them in bigger pot before the plant thinks, that it Has very limited space and starts flowering.

It is good also to use fan so they develop strong stems. Of there is no artificial Wind for the plants, they could get killed outdoors When they have not good Stem as the Wind breaks down their weak stem.

Remember to raise your soil PH for example with wood ash, as soil acidification is very problem for many plants couse of the Acid rain. Good to use seaweed formula to promote resistance to diseases and overall Growth.
 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
118
forest garden urban
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I think the first thing anyone here would suggest is to get rid of that Miracle Grow. For a whole host of reasons including the fact that it's nothing but a collection of salts that poison the soil at the same time that it provides the plants with the equivalent of a sugar water and fast food diet. There are a lot of high quality potting soil recipes on this site that will provide complete nutrition for your plants without adding toxins to your environment. Something as simple as compost mixed with perlite or vermiculite will give you much better results over the long term.

Now as for spacing on your strawberry plants, I wouldn't worry to much if you have too much space for strawberries. They reproduce by growing baby plants on runners. Any extra space in your planter will quickly be filled with new plants. If you've ever seen a strawberry planter, traditionally the top planting spot gets three plants and the rest of the spots are filled over time by these runners. If you look at the spacing, you'll also see they're all much closer than 18 inches apart.

Tomato plants are going to want their own space, as much as you can give them. A common way for people to grow them is in five gallon buckets, to give you an idea of where to start.

As for recommendations on planting times and suggestions for your raised bed, a lot will depend on your individual climate. If you can update your profile or include another post with more information about where you're located (growing zone and general climate, at least) we can give you better information. To give you an idea of how much difference it can make, I just posted this week about wild blackberries ripening. A member in France responded with surprise because they won't have any until August.

For building your raised bed, you might consider putting some kind of liner down before you build the bed. Otherwise you will probably cause some staining of masonry or even rotting of wood. You can fill the raised bed with the same kind of organic potting mix that you use in the planters. In  most climates I would also suggest that you plan on some mulch. Not only will it keep weed seeds (such as thistle) from germinating in your new garden, it will help regulate your soil moisture.

I have to go to work, now. If someone doesn't post a more complete soil recipe by the time I get home, I'll hunt one down for you in the morning. Feel free to add more specific questions to this thread in the meantime.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
Posts: 1011
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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For when to plant look in gardenate. Don't grow strawberries in your veggie patch they are perennial and it is not practiacal to have perennials and annuals in the same bed. If seeds are too old they won't sprout at least not onions. Don't overhink the whole thing, simply start doing! What could go wrong? Some seeds which don't sprout - so you sow a second time, that's it!
 
M Paradise
Posts: 2
Location: Atlanta, Georgia. U.S
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Thanks guys. I tried to  take all your advice - honestly I'm not exactly sure what some of it was about but I'm still researching to figure out what it means.  I had never heard  of Gardenate so big thanks for that tip.  Found out I am in zone 8a.  I am originally from a major city and did not grow up with gardening on my mind so please excuse my ignorance.  Last year I tried to plant some wild flowers - only weeds grew. But I didn't know they were weeds so I was pretty happy and super proud till all the born and raised country people saw them and said they were weeds.(they still laugh about that ) By that time I was so proud of my "soon to be flowers" that I was in complete denial and refused to dig them up.  I just kept watering them and talking to them.  Finally after accepting they were just weeds I was pretty bummed But I'm back on the horse.    That is also one of the reasons I decided to use planters and pots so that my dirt would be weed free.  I noticed some organic soil at the local gardening store ($8-12/bag) since the miracle grow is  not recommended should I try this? I am determined to plant them asap as they are no longer standing up straight (kinda slumped down).  I got the mulch - (Viagro red) but now I'm thinking that pretty red color though decorative is probably not good for my dreams of an organic lifestyle. does it matter? should I have gotten the black mulch instead?
 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
118
forest garden urban
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Any colored mulch is going to be done with dyes. A wood mulch without dyes will describe itself by wood kind. Hardwood, cypress, cedar ect. Organic soil is a great option. If it says garden soil your would probably still do well to mix in something that will keep the soil from compacting. In the ground there are insects, worms, and micro organisms continually moving through the soil that keep it light an airy for the plant roots. You don't have that happening in a container (except sometimes if it the container sits directly on soil) If it's on a deck, even your planter bed will just be a larger container. That's why garden centers carry both garden soil and potting soil. Often the biggest difference is the potting soil has vermiculite or perlite. The same garden centers that carry the soil usually carry large bags of the soil amendments. Both vermiculite and perlite are rocks that have been heated to such a high temperature that the rock popped like a kernel of corn from the moisture trapped inside turning to high pressure steam.

Here's a link to an garden program from the UK. It's not permaculture, but full of clear explanations and useful tricks. He tends to focus on ornamental gardens, but the information he gives applies to all kinds of plants. It's a great beginners guide to gardening in general. I highly recommend the whole series, if you enjoy watching videos. Just remember he's in a much colder climate. Often you can directly seed things that he's planted in the greenhouse. This link is his vegetable garden episode. 


Edit: If you're not familiar with vegetable names from the UK - courgette = zucchini, marrow = zuchinni matured to winter squash. aubergine = eggplant, broad bean = fava bean
 
Walt Chase
Posts: 91
Location: ALASKA
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While two strawberry plants wont give you much in the way of a harvest, it is a start.  Go ahead and plant them in your planters.  I've grown them in hanging baskets and had good success.  They will put out runners later on in the season, you can pinch those off and root them and you will soon have more strawberry plants than you know what to do with.  Your cherry tomato plants will grow quite well in something like a five gallon bucket with drainage holes in the bottom.  I would suggest that you add some perlite to any commercial potting mix.  In my experience they are too dense and don't drain as well as I would like.  Wont take a whole lot (couple of cups full in a five gallon bucket), but is a good addition.  I'll also go ahead and say this I've used Miracle Grow in the past.  It is easy to get a salt build up in your soil from that type fertilizer and do more harm than good.  There are much better options available.  Research other methods and materials and learn how to garden.  There are commercially available organic alternatives to something like miracle grow.  Most will come in liquid form and are generally available at a hydroponic shop or well stocked garden/nursery center.  We all have to start somewhere and I applaud you for beginning.  I grew up in a gardening family and have had my own for my entire adult life.  I've used commercial fertilizers for years and years with good success.  That said, several years ago I was exposed to more organic methods of fertilization and gardening.  It was an easy transition for me as I had so much gardening experience already.  Now instead of a bag of 10-10-10 I use natural fertilizers, seed meals, rock phosphate, lime, bone meal, kelp and the like.  I have my garden soil tested each fall and run the results through Organicalc that is available on grow abundant gardens .com.  It is a pay to use service, but gives remarkable results and in my opinion worth every penny.
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
Posts: 782
Location: USDA Zone 8a
54
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting toxin-ectomy
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I recently put together some information I thought would be helpful for beginners.  Maybe this will help:

Beginner Basics - Seed, Soil, Sunlight and Water

Here is some info  to get you started:

"These vegetables are usually direct seeded:  Beans, beets, carrots, corn, cucumbers, garlic, lettuce, micro greens, muskmelons, okra, parsnips, peas, pumpkins, radishes, rutabaga, salsify, squash, turnips, and watermelon.

These are some vegetables that are transplants:  Basil, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, chives, collards, eggplant, endive, escarole, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, mustard, okra, onions, parsley, peppers, tomatoes and watermelon.

Then there are a handful of vegetables that aren't usually grown from seed at all.  Plants started from other than seed:  Artichokes by root divisions, Asparagus by 1-year old roots, Garlic/Shallots by cloves, Horseradish by root cuttings, Onions by sets, Potatoes by using seed potatoes, Rhubarb by root crowns, and Sweet Potatoes by slips."

Everyone has given you great advise.

Best wishes for your first garden.
 
Maureen Atsali
pollinator
Posts: 363
Location: Western Kenya
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Getting advice and learning new skills is awesome, but in the end I think gardening is best learned by doing.  Don't be afraid of doing something wrong, just jump in and start, and have fun.  A lot of gardening is experimental... What will grow in my soil?  How far can I push outside of my zone?  Can these plants co exist happily?  I have been gardening all of my life and every season I have an impressive list of failures and mistakes.  That's how I learn and improve!  Last year I killed off alllll my husband's mature sugarcane.  Luckily, it grows again from the roots.  Ooops.  So go get your hands dirty.  Get those seeds in some dirt.  Stick some plants in pots.  Observe!  Make some notes so you can improve next time.  Happy growing!
 
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