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High Yield Gardening: Gardening against the odds? Help!

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kathy4836
Indiana, PA
(Zone 5a)

January 17, 2011
5:40 AM

Post #8314762

Hello everyone! I've sorta/kinda been a lurker for a long time. I'm a very very novice gardener. I have been trying, but I seem to not get much of a good crop of anything except onions and green beans! I'm hoping I can learn to do it right! I caught the gardening bug because my husband got congestive heart failure year before last and couldn't do the digging and planting himself and I had to do the work (he's not such a great gardener either! hehehe!) Who knew I'd enjoy it so much!

We have a small piece of property (64 X 150) with a 200 year old farmhouse in the middle of it. Mostly uphill, with heavy clay soil and two black walnut trees very close by. So, you see, the poor gardening results are not all my fault! LOL! I'm hoping to learn how to deal with all of that! I'm here for any advice and suggestions I can get. I'm interested in growing veggies, more than flowers,hence my interest in the 'Beginner vegetables' forum. If I can get the vegetable growing down, I might try flowers!

I have several raised gardens, one of them has strawberries in it. I'm hoping they come up again this year, although we've had problems with deer.. I planted garlic the week of Columbus day, and it's sleeping under the snow. I hope to see it coming up late in the spring. I also have one horseradish that has somehow managed to come up in spite of the heavy clay soil. That's pretty much where I am right now.

Kathy

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 17, 2011
6:45 AM

Post #8314883

Hi, Kathy, congratulations on coming out of "lurker" status!

It's hard to know where to start to help you out.

First problem I see is your heavy clay soil. You might want to try some raised beds. I, too, have red clay and have installed several raised beds that are 6" deep by 24' long.

Second problem - your walnut trees. I'm not sure - but I think they don't allow much of anything to grow beneath them.

Perhaps you local library has some vegetable gardening books you could borrow.

Organic Gardening has a helpful web site:

http://organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow

Try a search such as: Home Vegetable Gardening - followed by your State

Here's what I found when I typed: Home Vegetable Gardening NC

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/ag-06.html

Good luck, and check back often here at Dave's Garden
kathy4836
Indiana, PA
(Zone 5a)

January 17, 2011
8:02 AM

Post #8315025

Thank you Honeybee! I figured we'd have to go the raised garden route. Last year, I planted too many things and didn't know what the heck I was doing so, of course, it was a disaster. Not much return for all of the work - and money. I did get lots of bagged compost and topsoil that I added to my garden last year, so maybe that will have helped to improve the soil somewhat for this year.

This year, joining Dave's garden was my first step. I figured I could be talked through it here! Thank you for the links. I'm definitely going to check them out!

Kathy

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 17, 2011
9:47 AM

Post #8315243

Kathy - if you go to the Organic Gardening link, then click on the A-Z finder (top left) you'll see all kinds of vegetables listed and how to grow them.
KathyWid
Clover, SC

January 19, 2011
12:32 PM

Post #8319161

Kathy,
You might consider some vegetable container gardening. You can get excellent results with tomatoes and other veggies, too. Container gardening is fun and easy for novices. By growing tomatoes in containers you can control the soil. Here is a good link to get you started: http://www.tomatodirt.com/growing-tomatoes-in-pots.html. (One note -- keep tomatoes in containers well-watered.)

But be careful where you place the containers -- as far away from the walnut trees as possible. They are considered "bad companions" for tomatoes. Walnut tress tomato growth by producing juglone, a compound that can be toxic or stunt growth in tomatoes. Forewarned is forearmed!

Happy Gardening!
kathy4836
Indiana, PA
(Zone 5a)

January 19, 2011
4:22 PM

Post #8319559

Thank you Honeybee and KathyWid. I'm taking notes here! I did try some in pots last year, but I didn't water them enough. That's going to change. I've bookmarked the 'tomato dirt' website and will check out the Organic Gardening link. I've already got it on my list of 'watched' forums. What do you both think of Square Foot Gardening? My husband wants to try that.

I'm going to be hanging on Daves Garden a lot, I have a feeling. :-) I can't wait for spring!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 20, 2011
6:17 AM

Post #8320260

I tried the square foot gardening method in 2007, but went back to row-planting in 2008. I find it easier to reach the individual plants with the row method.

This season I'm changing my beds from 48" to 36" because I couldn't reach the middle row easily.
gmun
Chester Springs, PA

January 23, 2011
7:34 PM

Post #8326758

Hi Kathy,
I'm in Chester Springs, PA. I grew vegetables for the first time last year in containers and I must have had some beginners' luck because I got lots of tasty veggies. I got lots of buckets for $1 at the Christmas Tree Shops, drilled some holes in the bottom and grew cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers (tho' these didn't work at all), lettuce and some herbs in the buckets. I also got a couple of big plastic beverage containers (like the ones you fill with ice and keep drinks in on a patio in the summer - I'll post a photo) and grew zucchini in one of those. I used organic choice soil from miracle grow although I think if I'd known a bit more I would have been able to mix some soil myself and save a bit of money.

I learned LOADS on this website last summer and I think it's a fantastic place to ask questions and also to read other people's questions and answers. I paid to subscribe and I think it was money well spent because I have access to a wealth of information and best of all lots of collective experience - beats a gardening book hands down for me!

Later this year I'm going back home to Scotland after spending two years here - I live in an apartment on the 2nd floor (3rd floor American as we count ground,1,2, etc.) so I have no idea what I'm going to do after catching the gardening bug last year!

Good luck with your gardening this year - you will get answers to all your questions from people on here.

Here's a photo of my garden, I build the bamboo fencing (free from craigslist) to keep out deer.

Thumbnail by gmun
Click the image for an enlarged view.

gmun
Chester Springs, PA

January 23, 2011
7:38 PM

Post #8326762

and here's the zucchini in the drinks container-thing

I did get a few zucchini from the plant although with the limited space it only produced one at a time although they did grow to a good size but it was fine for me as I didn't have an alternative. But I was really just showing the container, I also got this at the Christmas Tree shop for $4.

Thumbnail by gmun
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Kindlekat
Washington, DC
(Zone 7a)

January 24, 2011
9:18 AM

Post #8327605

I too am a novice gardener. Last year I had GREAT success with ebuckets, developed right here on a DG forum. I chose this design because of the self-watering system, ease to make them, cost of making them was cheap, and the proven success others have had.

For what they are and how to put them together (it's easy! Really!) go here:
http://mckarion.wordpress.com/2009/11/29/frugal-gardner-self-watering-bucket/

For great books on the subject, check out "Bountiful Container" and "Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers: Using Ed's Amazing POTS System "

For more specific info and threads on these, refer to the Self-contained Box Gardens forum here in DG.
Have fun!

~Kristen

This message was edited Jan 24, 2011 12:20 PM

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Other High Yield Gardening Threads you might be interested in:

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How can you tell if you have enough space? sowersjoy 12 Mar 5, 2007 2:32 PM
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Container growing vs. raised bed growing yields silverglow 63 Dec 1, 2011 7:34 PM
Square Foot Gardening (SFG) construction pics 1_Lucky_Texan 55 May 20, 2013 7:02 AM


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