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My first raised bed garden for vegtables

Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

I've done container gardening, and did well with that, but found that keeping everything moist through our hot summer time temps, when everything is starting to mature, was very time consuming. We've since moved to a bigger home, with an awesome yard and decided to graduate to raised beds. Here are some pictures of my container garden, in a small 5' x 15' yard to a very large yard. The difference is I have a lot of room, so I made 3 beds, 3' x 9' each, enclosed with a 4' fence, and than we closed off an end section of yard with a chain link fence. Our yard borders a sanctuary for wild life, like in deer, and other critters, so protecting our groceries was very important, with out harming the animals who also need a place to live, but not be able to feast on a smorgasbord of our labor. This is my first attempt at raised beds, and I decided it couldn't be much different than containers. My problem with the smaller yard, and containers, were a lot of my cucumbers and squash developed a mold, after looking it up, my pots were sitting to close together, due to the limited space, and couldn't get enough air circulation, lesson learned, but a little late for the crop. This time I have a lot of space and able to use all my pots, in addition to the raised beds, and than the other side which is fenced in will be for corn, watermelons, and some cucumbers! I also am planting cantaloups, but haven't researched where to put them, am hoping to be able to plant in and around the corn, cukes, and watermelon. This is a first for me, and I'm open for suggestions, I know I've already started, my soil is good, but any advise is good advise, as I learn from it! As i progress with my garden, I know I'll have questions, and maybe need some guidance, but here is the start, and as "my garden grows" I'll continue to give updates on here. As I said, I did containers last year, the first time I grew anything, and this year I've decided I want to give it my all. I'm disabled, and this is a hobby for me, I don't want to sit and watch TV for the rest of my life, I love the out doors, and intend on doing what I can for as long as I can. The first picture's are of the container garden, and than I'll post picture's of the new garden in the next post! Give me some feed back if you have any, I know that I don't have all the answers, but in the next few post's I'll will ID what I have in each bed, and any other plantings I put in.

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Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

now here is the new garden, BTW, my hubby built me a shed and a green house, after he did the raised beds! The shed was started with his cap off his truck, he sat it on some support beams and built it in using old boardwalk wood, that a friend was replacing with new, and the green house was a big dog kennel that was on the property when we bought it, he framed it in, and added painters plastic to enclose it. The raised beds are from recycled wood also. We have a huge compost pile going in the back of the property, it looked to us like that was what it was used for before we got the property. To the left of all that you see in the picture's we have what you would call a dog run, fenced in, probably about 6'x 30', which is where I'm going to plant my corn, and add the watermelon, and maybe cantaloupe, and if I have some room, more cucumbers, and egg plant. This is the biggest garden I've ever took on, and I'm hoping for great results. My beds have already progressed since these picture's were taken, I'll post more recent picture's as soon as I can. I also do mosaic art, as in bowling balls, and stepping stone's so when I feel good, I'm outside which is the norm when it's warm out, and when it's cold and ugly, I'm inside working on my mosaics. I'll post some of my work in the next post, but I'll be posting the rest of my work in the mosaic section!
Thanks for looking, how are you doing this month with your gardens? Looking for more people with raised beds, and how your doing, all info is important! I learn from you:) Happy gardening, as it's March, and hopefully no more freezes here in sunny Florida, as I'm tired of putting my babies to bed under blankets!!

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Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

Just a glimpse of my mosaics! Look for more under the mosaic's thread!

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Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Hi Jamibad,
Your gardens are going to be great. Love the idea of re-purposing the kennel. I've seen them on other threads. I like the idea becasue we are bugged by rabbits so bad that last winter I didn't even plant vegies which for me is rare. We will have to invest the time and $ to built a really sturdy fence with a swing gate so my little tractor can get in to work the ground.
Thanks to our few cows we have large compost pile which I mix with peat moss and shreded wood chips for potting or garden.
Your mosaics are beautiful. Glad you are able to pursue your hobbies. Keeps us feeling young.
Hope you get good harvest from your gardens.
Bonnie

DeLand, FL(Zone 9b)

What a great space Jami!

Thanks for sharing what you're up to with all these pic's... That shed is a lot of creative fun and your mosaic work is excellent. Will I be seeing some of that on the shed too in the future?!!!

Your earlier gardens were beautiful too. Really a nice space to work with...
David

Wish I could snap my fingers and get rid of those rabbits for ya' Bonnie...

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Love your gardens

Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks everyone, I try to stay busy, but am starting to wonder if I'm hooked on gardening ! This is the first year I've been able to do a BIG garden, my hubby thinks I'm crazy, he get's in there when I need his help, but mainly I'm the one pulling the beds all together, he digs with the roto tiller, and I plant the seeds. OK, the new picture's I'm posting here are at the end of what I'm doing, I figure I have another 2 weeks of putting seed in, damp too the cold nights we've been having, what's up with that, I had to pull out every sheet, and spare material I had, the night of 3-13-13, I think it was, and cover all this stuff up, everything came out beautiful, didn't loose anything this time, but a few weeks ago when we had another freeze, I did loose 6 bean plants, and "maybe" 2 tomato plants, I left them in, and they look to be getting better, I waited a few days before I pulled the damaged limbs from them, but so far so good ! The picture's here are of the "finished shed", we painted the porch pole's, my DG says the paint color I chose is to " bright", but I like the look, kinda Keys, in a way, as I love the Florida Keys with a passion. He also surprised me when I woke up the other morning, he went out and cut the shed door into 2, like a barn door, the top can be open, and the bottom closed, so snakes crawl in, lol, if they did, it'd be the last time I sat foot in the shed. I also took better picture's of the green house, this is amazing, but the temps reach 100 or more in there during the day time, so I have a fan that i sit in the door way to blow in some cooler air, circulating the hot air! I have to figure out how to build a window into this greenhouse, I don't think I could utilize it during the summer here as it would get to hot!!! And than today, I started the last part of my 1st garden, finishing the perimeter, I have corn, and cucumbers going in here, egg plants, and some marigolds too, I read where they ward off some pest that like to go after cukes, and the cukes ward off some pest from the corn, and the egg plants grow well with cucumbers. They grow great together, so I'm going to give it a try. The corn here is going to be sweet corn bi-licious hybrid, it's a white and yellow corn, not my favorite, but a test to see if I can grow corn, the other fenced in garden is going to grow my favorite, a sweet corn, goes by the name of Sweet Opal Hybrid, an all white kernel corn. When I plant the corn in the other garden, I'll also be putting in bush beans , some head lettuce, and some watermelon, and at the end of the garden, cantaloupe! I think by than I'll have enough to eat, give away, and freeze for the next winter coming up. I'd sooner have my own than buy, and I think by than I'll have enough to take care of with out over doing it. My DH is already shaking his head, but when you have the room I say plant it with things you can eat, not all grass, and flowers, and water mongering bushes and trees, I knew when we looked at this house, it was meant to be our's. And in 2 months, we have transpired our landscaping into food!
So far , the deer are here, but keeping there distance, I see there poop everyday, when walking around the garden, they could jump in, but won't because they know they can't jump out, we have racoons, and a lot of other animals who just need a place to live seeing how Palm Coast keeps building, we're backed up to a preserve, so we have lot's of lady bugs, bee's, birds of all kinds, deer, and I think 2 bear, from what neighbors have told us. I love taking picture's of the wildlife as I see it, red headed wood peckers, hawks, a few deer at night, even though the picture's don't come out:(, I had a whole heard walking down the street 1 night, ran to get the camera, and couldn't get the flash up! Talk about being mad!
Anyway, enough of my rambling, I'm just so excited to be back with DG, and actually have something to talk about. I was last here in 2009, on Mosaics, and Florida Gardens, than we moved to Thailand for a year, and came back a year and a half ago, we first went into the town house, and than 2 months ago, Jan 2, 2013, we moved here.
Yes, we did a lot here in a few months, but this is as good as it get's when we're done, it's all about upkeep, nothing new other than a pool going in soon, than we are done, and the gardens will be our only up keep. I pray for healthy gardens,and for our health, to see us through many more years here, to enjoy what we have accomplished, Our wish for those who are also doing what they enjoy, may you have many prosperous years of gardening, and enjoying your hobby's, as we do!
I'll keep you all up to date on my garden, I am hoping for the best, and in the down time I'll be working on my mosaics, I get many joy's from working in the garden and than later in the evening or during bad weather working on my crafts, Thank God, I have an understanding hubby, but he has his own hobbies, and isn't one for the internet like I am:) Otherwise, I don't know what we would eat , as we share in the cooking! Just a quick laugh, as some days, I can be out there all day, and we wouldn't eat if it wouldn't be for him, and he's a great cook!
Thanks for reading , see you all tomorrow, or the next!

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Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

here is the new bed in the 1st garden, for the multi colored corn, and cucumbers, and some picture's of the 1st garden with the raised beds! These picture's show a little more than when I first posted this thread!

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Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

These pictures show the second fenced in garden, This is where I'll put most of the corn, more cucumbers, beans, and watermelon, down toward the back I'll put cantaloup, and if you can see towards the back of the fenced in area, that's where our compost pile is, I'd say it's at least 6' x 6' x 3' high, and it's getting pretty rich, just not as fast as I need it, as I'm still buying compost! Maybe I started out to big, but I have plenty here on the property to compost, and I haven't really studied up that much on compost, it's just really hard to turn, water and keep it with in the temperature it need's to be, to compost down to usable good smelling dirt:) Anyone have any idea's? I have read up on how to compost, I bought a container, nice looking, to sit on my counter, to collect coffee grounds, egg shells, tea bags, and any other items that make great compost, but when you follow the rule's, it can get to big to turn, as in all materials that can be used as compost, so I have slowed down, just filling the recycle containers we sit out for the garbage guys each week :(, I want to keep the stuff for my own use, but just don't have the time or man power to generate all we have into compost, isn't it amazing, what we throw away everyday? I wouldn't have to buy compost!!!! Ok, It's time to get to bed, I'm tired, but am ready for my new day in the garden, Always looking forward to it, I think I dream it, weird but true!

BTW, just some happy things: My DH shops for groceries, He takes care of our 3 children, a chiwawa(?sp) and 2 shih tzus, He goes to the doggy park everyday with them, NO, he doesn't do laundry, I Do, We both cook, We both clean the house, But he is a gentleman, and is always wanting to help me in the garden's, I just use the gardens as my therapy, I have degenerative bone disease, I have a plate in my cervical spine C-3 through C-7, and my lower back is going the same route, my hands look like a person who is in their 70"s, BUT, I'm loving life, and as long as I can do this, I'm going to do this, I just love playing in the dirt!
God Bless!!

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Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

This is a small pool, for the dogs, lol, but I'll be putting an above ground pool in, for water therapy for both myself and DH, the doggy's have their own pool, and believe me, they get in it, and love it!! This is my Shit Zue, Whiskey, he's the one that usually lays around in the pool, my Chawawa(sp?) Chico,get's in , get's wet and get's out, to fast usually to grab the camera, and than my other shit zue, Dakota, she also like's to get in, but very rarely, so here again, no picture's, but, Whiskey is my Brat dog, at 18 months old, he has no fear of anything, and follows Chico's every move, he is like a shadow, what Chico does, he does! I just had to add something about my family here , they are dogs, but they are treated as our children, we love them, and my DH spoil's them more than I do, but that's because I'm in the gardens most days, and he is with the kids!!!

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Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

Chico, Dakota, and Whiskey, the Brat dog!!

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Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

Dakota, Whiskey, looking better than his "wet " self, and Chico, with his favorite toy ! OK, no more pic's of my kids on this Thread, they'll be on the pet threads, but I just had to put them up here, as I'm so happy for what I have in my life, and feel blessed to be able to grow a nice garden, have a great hubby, and 3 beautiful pets, I call kids! LOL! Thanks for looking, and yes, I want to keep this thread geared towards the growth of my first raised bed garden, and what ever else come's up from the dirt as I plant it! See you all on the sunny side of tomorrow afternoon! May we have a little rain!

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DeLand, FL(Zone 9b)

You do have a great jumpstart going and really tidy;...and everything looks great! Thanks for sharing all the great pics and info. and the kids all look healthy and Happy!

Happy Gardening,

David

Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

WOW........................you sure have been busy!!!!! My top soil is being delivered tomorrow AM and then I can get "serious" about gardening. I have a couple wooden pallets I plan to use as raised beds for some veg - easy to get a straight row!!! The tomatoes & beans are going into the flower garden this year to see how they do. So I'll have them in 4 places, each gets different sun.

Wish I had that GH!!!!

Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks David and Q, your comments are very much appreciated, Today I started in the other bed, behind the far fence, the bed garden is finished for now, I'll go back and plant some more multi colored corn, ( I have 24 seeds in the block) I planted sweet bi-licious hybrid from 'Burpee', and saved some room in the bed for additional corn, to be planted about 4 weeks from now, ( I haven't ever bought or traded seed yet, need to start doing it, but I'm just use to going to Lowe's and looking at their seed rack, picking out what looks good, and than planting it)Next year I'll do what I've been learning here at DG, and that's ordering seed from catalogs, after reading up on what others order for my area here in central Florida. Today I started 2 hills for my corn seed in the far garden,this time I planted another Burpee type, sweet white called "sweet opal hybrid", I have 2 hills finished with 26 seeds in each row, the most back breaking planting I've done so far , and I still have 1 or 2 more hills to go, this bed is much bigger than the multi colored corn I planted. I love white corn better, but decided to try a few multi, just to see which grows best here in my soil. When I say it was the hardest of all my planting, I mean it! Even though the beds were tilled almost 2 weeks ago, it was still hard on me, to get the soil amended, and create the hills for my plantings, I swear I never seen so much dirt, but I was getting rid of the old and adding new, 2 rows took me 4 hours, and that was brutal. I was a little rushed as , while I was working I could see the rain clouds moving in, and I wanted this done before the rain came, at least most of the corn, anyway, as I was cleaning up for the day, Yeah!!! It started to rain, not a lot, but it was enough to make me smile, and I'm praying for more, I hear we may have a good chance of rain for the next 3 days, may God bless us here in Flagler County, ,and give us rain!!!! I do need to get the other rows of corn in, but oh darn, I can do it in between the rain drops! lol ! My Dh is starting to think I'm possessed! Everyday, I wake up, eat my cereal, and head for the gardens, never to be seen again till lunch, and he swears I'm not eating lunch, but I am, he's just not noticing, and he's made us dinner the last 3 days now, today was the best, corn beef and cabbage, with mashed potatoes! I started the corn beef this am before going out to the garden, he finished that, and peeled the potatoes for mashed, and did the cabbage. He did well!!!! ( he did ask me what to put into the potatoes while mashing them, he knew butter for sure, but I also use a little mayo for the creaminess, and the taste. When I came in from the garden he was just finishing up! For me, a great big long shower to ease my neck muscles, and when I came out from the shower, dinner was served! What a great day, good gardening, rain, and a long hot shower and the best, great food, prepared by my better half! I am so relaxed, it's just a matter of time before I'm sound asleep! I know you looked at the time as I write this, but I did sit here and read some of my favorite items before skipping to my own thread, there just isn't enough time in my day to do everything I want to do, I'm hyper, but I know I still need to slow down before bed. If it rains I can finish some of my crafts I've started and put on hold till the main part of the garden is done. Than it's just maintenance, the hard part is done, and I have about a week of gardening, than can sit back and relax. My green house is coming alive with my seedlings, but these are all for later planting, don't want everything coming in at once, need to space it all out. I look forward to taking it easy after the hard part of the garden is finished, next year it'll be much easier as the beds will have been built, and the soil amended from this year, not as much to do as it was this year, starting from scratch! I hope it all pays off!
And how was your day?


And how was your day?

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Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

My picture's aren't in order, there were a few steps missing! But I did a hill, than went back and did the 2nd, that planted the seed, and than threw a thin layer of mulch on the hills, not sure if I needed to , but better safe than sorry!

Have a great evening/day everyone! Jami

DeLand, FL(Zone 9b)

Thats a nice looking growing bed!

Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

OK, I see a crisis, I think !! I put in my cucumbers, and squash, they had been in there seed containers longer than they should have been, it was always to cold to get them into the garden, I did start them rather early, I'd say some time around January, as we were having such awesome weather. They just went to the garden a week ago, but today while looking at my plantings I see something I don't like, it doesn't look good, I think I'm getting a mildewy problem already, and if this is the case, what do I do, I can pull them, as I have some new plantings started in the green house. Look at my picture's and tell me what you think, or is this normal. Sure doesn't look normal!!!!
the first 4 picture's are of the cucumbers, they have a silvery substance starting to grow on them, am I panicking for nothing, they also look a little dried up, they've been in the ground for around 6 days now, and the last picture is of one of my squash plants, all of a sudden it has little hole's in the leaves! I looked and saw no little varmits, or other thingings that can be eating the holes into the squash, what is going on, it's too soon to be having problems! I'm crying right now, anxious to set this madness right! Help!!!!

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Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

opps, sorry the last 3 pics are of squash, the first 2 are the cucumbers, but they all have the same silver stuff going on, the last pic is a squash that has holes in the leaves! It's hard seeing the picture's till you up load them, sorry for the mix up, no matter, there is a problem, and as a gardener, you know your plants, but like me, not always sure of the health issue! Thanks for any feed back!

Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

Being root bound & then transplanted should not bother them. I'd move the mulch away from around the stem. Instead of the mulch try using shredded or even just sheets of newspaper around the vineing plants.

DeLand, FL(Zone 9b)

I'm having the same problem with my Asian Melons...? I think its the bouncing-ball weather patterns we've been having into March for one thing... I'm going to start some new fresh seedlings of some things now that the weather seems to have made up its mind!

Orlando, FL(Zone 9b)

great ideas Jamibad! i love your garden, so useful and full of purpose.
good luck with your new veggies. your raised beds should work wonders

Whiskey looks so relaxed in the pool

Qwilter, is there a reason for using shredded or sheets of paper for mulching melons? i'm curious since i have cantaloupes and any help is appreciated

nice way to put it David: "bouncing-ball weather". i think it messed up a lot of the plants.

Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

It keeps the fruits from sitting in the dirt so offers a bit of protection from bugs & keeps them a bit cooler. Used to put newspaper under the zucchini & cukes also for the same reasons.

Can't get near my new garden bed. The dirt is way too squishy..................and that is a COLD wind blowin' out there today.

Orlando, FL(Zone 9b)

it is uncomfortable out there today, but i can imagine tomorrow and Wednesday! brr!

thanks for the info. i forgot to ask: is the paper is better than mulch? i have plenty of paper that otherwise gets recycled. (sorry for temporarily stealing your thread Jamibad) hehe

Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

Q, I'm going to try that, putting newspaper around the vegetables trunks, I use to use it as a mulch, but haven't lately, I have plenty of trees against the line of my property, I'll be raking them up for a good compost, I already bagged quite a few, but will use them next year, I have a big compost pile, but I'm already half wat through it, so will buy my compost the rest of this year, and work on growing the compost for use next year.
Q and Coast, yes, it is awful outside, today I went around about 6-7:30pm, and put blankets on my beds again, when is this nasty weather gona quit!!! Between the wind, and the cold, I'd think we were living up north! I am so over the worrying about my pitiful little plantings being beat up by the wind and the chilly weather. I have a green house, and the plants I could get inside are all cuddled up, but the one's in the ground are left to their own devices, I did put some sheets, and what ever I could get my hands on, over them, even though they aren't calling for frost, at least the covers will hold some heat in. I read a lot about"hot boxes", I think that's what their called, next year I'll be sure to raise my raised beds another 6", and than be able to staple some plastic over the tops when the weather gets like this, create a green house effect! Much easier than what I'm doing now! And when Lowe's and HD's does their winter sales, I'm going to buy the frost mats that they haven't sold( last year I remember them on sale to get rid of the merchandise) I'm going to buy them up, to be used next year! I remember last year they had them on sale for $7.00 something, this winter they were selling them for $12 or so, I don't quite remember, but know they'll be cheaper if they haven't sold them. I'm just over the ups and downs of Florida weather!!!! Who needs a gym membership, when all you do is lift and move your plants to keep them safe!! I know I don't! Hope you all have an easy 2 nights on your plantings, we all are in the hype moad for getting things up and growing, the weather has led us to believe it was time, and now this, ugggggggggggggggg! Go away you cold monster!!!!!!!!

Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

just a quick note, I wasn't raking "trees", I raked up the leaves, for use in my compost! After I read what I wrote, it sounded funny, as I was raking up the trees! LOL,

Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

For my small plants, I upend buckets over them on the COLD nites. Lg cardboard boxes are also good for larger plants. Free from most stores and fold flat for storage. Also you can rake piles of leaves and put those around the young plants in the garden. That trick worked in MD so should also work here. My neighbors could never figure out how I had vegetables in the ground so early.

Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

Qwilter, I did just that this morning, up ended all my empty pots, and have them sitting besides the plant there going over tonight. Freeze, are you kidding me. I feel like I've been there done that, too many time's. It's getting old now, I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle. I moved as much stuff into the green house as I could, and than rounded up all the sheets, curtains, plastic I have and am ready to start covering everything around 5-6 tonight. Keep what ever warmth there is, in the ground. I spent 2 hours outside this morning, uncovering things I had covered last night, and now with the freeze we're going to get, a step further was taken, getting everything moved back to the green house.( I have a little red wagon for hauling stuff around the yard ) and I'm so thankful my DH built it for me, and as quick as he did. I have extra room in the shed, but didn't need to put anything in there. Maybe my palms I have in pots will get moved in, as I have 2 on my back lanai. There so big and hard to move, I was going to put them in the ground, now I'm glad I didn't, I can just move them inside.
So what else is everyone doing to protect their gardens ? Next year I'm going to have DH mount some thin pvc poles over the raised gardens, I saw this at Lowes when I was there last, than I can put the frost sheets over the pvc and create a warm place for my plants. Plus if I need to give my plants some shade I'll already have the poles in place.

Anyway, everyone have a great day, try to stay warm, and keep those plants safe! Jami

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DeLand, FL(Zone 9b)

If its true that the wind will stay between 10-15 tonight,...it will help us all a bit if it only hits the mid 30's,....It usually helps to keep the frost down...

Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

My friends used their old swing set to make a GH. Draped it with plastic. Works very nicely.

Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

Quote from Qwilter :
My friends used their old swing set to make a GH. Draped it with plastic. Works very nicely.



What a great idea! I have an old one in my yard and was thinking of what to do with it....

Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

Then in the nice weather, hang plants from it.......................vines can grow up the sides............
Darn, I need a swing set!!!!

Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

Qwilter...you have my head spinning with ideas for it. My hubby is gonna kill me when I put him to work! LOL ;-)

Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

Hello to all, I've been busy in the garden, and starting to see some progress! Being my first raised bed garden, and also, an in the ground garden on the other side of the yard which was started for corn only, I read about the 3 sister style of gardening, so in that part of the garden I'll be putting in some cucumbers, beans, and squash, and along the fence, watermelon, things are beginning to take shape. I managed to handle the last cold spell we had, nothing was lost due to the cold temps, 34 degrees here in Flagler, I put a heater in my green house, and in the am checked the inside temps, it showed a toasty 64 degree's, better than the outside temps, for sure! It's funny, the more I read on here from everyone's experience, the more I think I'd do some things differently, But, so far so good for the first time. I went to my favorite store today, and purchased a lot of things I needed, didn't know anything about these things till I started reading about them, I bought a meter to measure the wetness of my soil around the roots of my veggie's, it works, as I tried it in different places, very dry in the middle of the lawn, damp in my bed's, and than directly into my bird bath, lol, measured top red line of wet!!!Being a beginner I decided to be on the safe side, last year with my container garden, I ended up with over watered plants, and had mold, and lot's of blossom rot, I think it's called, my poor squash looked so good, and I got a few nice pieces, but because I was watering to much, things went down hill. This time, I'm not taking any chances, I'm a beginner, and I'll do what it takes, any advice I can get is good advise. I also bought a very good soil testing kit, I got the colored coded capsules to measure the different aspects of my soil,( nitrogen, potash, and phosphorus) I has originally bought a metered one, got it home, tried it, than read all the reviews on the one I bought, Bad, Bad, Bad Reviews, packed it back up, and returned it today for the kit I got, plus, was able to buy 2 plants for the yard ( a confederate jasmine and an oleander) , with the money I had returned for the soil meter. Yeah for me! I'm learning, slowly, but it's an on going process, and I feel very good about the process of it all, dreamed of a day when I could have the time and energy to do something like this, and only want the best for the out come, plenty of good stuff for me and my DH to eat healthy, and some to give to my friends and neighbors who can't , for what ever reason, produce their own garden. I also bought some blood meal, bone meal, fish emulsion, and some neem oil. I have seven dust, but have read great things about the neem oil, so I got soem, just in case. These are things I never knew, and because of belonging to DG, and reading everyone's threads, each and everyone on here who have the knowledge, you all have been a blessing by sharing what you know. Hopefully I can be an inspiration to someone who is just starting out, by posting my ups and downs of a first time raised bed gardener. I did do a little of my container garden on here back in 2010, but I was more into my mosaic art, as I really didn't have much of a yard for gardening, which is why I started out with the containers. Now, I'm excited. I can't wait to see the transformation of my yard, I have all I could want with the DH building my shed, and GH, now the real work begins. Thanks to everyone !!! You've all been a big help, and too many names to mention! I just know this site is invaluable to a beginner like me!

Question Time:

I'm still a little confused about some things. I mulched my gardens, so when I add certain things to the soil to feed, or even like compost, do I move the mulch out of the way, I know not to put anything directly on the stem/stalks, but I watched a few videos, and the one's I saw, they didn't have a mulched bed, just dug up the soil added the amendments, and chopped it into the soil, my verbage may be in-correct (sp too), but would really like some feed back on this.

Next question, at this time I water in the mornings, because of the size of my 2 gardens, I've thought about soaker hoses, but it's a little late for them this year, I am on a budget and can't afford them either, would it be OK to hook the hose to a sprinkler and water from overhead? I've always heard this is bad for the foliage, causes mildew and other damaging diseases, so I've been watering each and every plant as I walk the hose through the garden, very time consuming, but will keep doing it, if over head watering is bad. Another question related to watering, when is the best time to water and for how long. Most plants don't like soggy feet, I know for certain squash, but what about other vegetables? When their all grouped together, (I did companion planting), they're all going to get the same amount of water, so I think this is all good. Another question on watering, what's the latest part of the day to water? My DH said not in the evening as it causes mildew. But what if the ground is dry? We have such hot days here, it sucks the moisture out of the soil. Doesn't it? I used garden soil, lots of compost, dried leaves, cow manure, and some top soil to do my raised beds, but the area where I have my corn is "in the ground". I dug a trench, using some of the original soil and the above mentioned items, turning all the amendments together and than refilled the trench and created a mound, which is where I planted the corn, cucumbers, beans and some squash. That would seem to me to dry out quicker through out the day, and would need a drink sometime in the late afternoon. This soil was tilled a few times prior to us doing the trench, all the big stuff dug out of the soil, grass clumps, rocks, what ever seemed to be yuck, was tossed to the tree line, I measured a depth after it was tilled and filled back in to be about 24" deep, all soft , you can dig your hand in and pull a nice hand full of soil out. So would it stay moist all day, till the next? I know, to much info for what I'm asking, Right? I just have a hard time explaining things, and do my best to give the right information, for the answer I need.

Next question, where do I get worm castings? lol ! I've read so much information on here and other sites, I think I'm going to have an exploding brain soon! I did find worms in my compost, but what are castings? worm poop? where do I get it? BTW, not a lot of worms in my compost, but a few here and there when we're turning it. My DS use to tell me when I'd take him fishing and he'd be tearing the worms in half and I'd ask him what he was doing " mom, you have to make 2 worms out of one, they grow back if you don't use them, and you have more than you started with to " I don't know how true this is, I never fished, only took the DS when he wanted to go, but while tossing the compost, I've often wondered if I happen to cut 1 in half, will it make more worms? Not that I'm going to do that, I don't harm anything, and always try to save a living entity, no matter if it's a bug, spider, snake or plant. I have a hard time thinning my seedlings when their growing.

On a last note, yesterday was an interesting day in the garden! I had, what I think was a Monarch Butterfly just flitting around, at least an hour while I was watching "him", I even came in the house and got my camera, went out and filmed him on video, ,and managed to get a few picture's as he settled on different things in the raised bed garden. I even caught him in flight, in a picture:). Than while I was surveying my plantings, I found a caterpillar, I didn't look him up yet in the bug files, I did the butterfly, but I picked him up and put him in the woods. I didn't see any others, he happened to be in a potted sweet pea plant. He was a fast moving one, he was very lively, I had to take several picture's before I could get one where he wasn't shaded by a leaf, or pea pod. I was quite surprised he was as active as he was. When I went to pick him up, using a small garden tool, lol, he rolled up into a ball, and ended up getting under a piece of mulch, and it took some time to roll him out, and onto my garden spoon to get him out of the pot to take him to the woods. I think I spent an hour between him and the butterfly. I love filming the wild life in my yard, as we live on a border of a nature preserve, That's another thread I'd love to start, surely there is one already, I have great pictures since moving here and would love to share. I also added a birdbath to my raised garden area. I just finished it, was a discarded item my DH seen and picked up for me, now it's a beautiful piece, worthy of mention on the mosaic thread, my old DG home, and for Trash to Treasure, another of my favorite threads!
OK folks, I've had my say for tonight, Thanks to all who have read this the whole way through, I hope someone can answer my questions, and also hope that maybe someone is reading this who wants to do a raised bed garden and doesn't know where to start, as one newbie to another, "just do it" !

Happy Easter to All, May You All have a Joyful and Blessed Day ! God Bless!

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Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

I also wanted to post updated picture's of the gardens so far. I went back to the beginning of this thread, and looked at what I already put on here, an am so amazed at the progress my DH and I have done so far. Amazing! I was looking at the tree line behind our property in the first pictures I posted, and the trees were still pretty bare, and in the new picture's they are a little more greener than than. I still have 3 more rows to get finished, 1 row of corn, and the watermelon need to go in along the fence, this is the "in-ground garden" on the other side of the yard, from the raised beds, in these picture's. The first picture in the back ground is 2 rows of corn, to the right of that, 2 more rows are going in, with the help of some friends, and my DH, I'm trying to keep up with everything, and my a few of my friends are wanting to help, for obvious reasons,lol, and in the front of the picture are 2 squash, one on each end, and in the middle cucumber plants. I'll do a half a row beside these plants, as this is one of the entrances to this part of the garden, and the gate swings in, so I only have a half of a row here to finish. The second picture is of the outside of the fence, I put a bagavilla in here, a "very little one" hope it grows fast, lol, some morning glory's to climb the fence, and some marigolds to keep the bugs at bay. The 3rd picture is a row of cucumbers, back along the first 2 rows of corn, and where I'll be putting corn seed in, I wasn't sure which was to be planted first, but these cucumbers had to get into the ground, and than the freeze came, I had them covered, that's the sheet beside them earlier in the day as I was preparing for the frost. Today, I don't think they'll make it, looking rough around the edges, but I have more in the Gh, so they can be replaced if they don't make it. The corn will go into this row with the cucumbers, and the next 2 rows of corn will be to the left, of this row, with bush beans as a companion plant. Marigolds will be inter-planted through out this whole area. Also, watermelon will go in to the left also, but my picture's don't show that area yet. Everything has been tilled more than once, the soil has been ready, I just need to get it done!

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Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

And this is the most recent pictures of the raised bed gardens!
1st picture, Lettuce, peas, and a cucumber plant or two
2nd picture, Squash and cucumber
3rd picture, corn
4th picture, bed #1 tomato, lettuce radish, and spring onions
5th picture, bed #2 tomato, swwet peas, sugar snap peas, and bush beans

Have a great Easter, God Bless!

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Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

and bed #3, egg plant, hot peppers, sweet peppers, tomato, and cabbage, which is going to come out, The cabbage and tomato's don't grow well together, I didn't know that!



Have a Great Easter, and God Bless!

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DeLand, FL(Zone 9b)

Happy Easter Morning Jami!

You really do have a lot of new beds to tend and it sounds like your soil has been amended well. You'll be getting so many good answers to your questions. These are some thoughts from me regarding some of your questions and hope they are helpful:...

I water any time my plants need it regardless of the time of day. Watering things like Tomatos and the Cucurbits (Squash, Melons, Cucumbers etc.) I try to water early and during the day, as our Sun dries the leaves rapidly during the day.

Those black soaker hoses that feel rough and let water seep out of them are really inexpensive at Big Lots and can still be snaked right over the top of the mulch and they work great. A roll of inexpensive heavy wire or old metal coat hangers can be cut into long pins to keep them in place.(I have devised a movable raised sprinkler system I will photograph and describe for you that may be helpful and works great for me in some situations)

I apply granular fertilizers lightly in my soil when amending it, and more around each plant on the surface when planting them. It is important to not let these fertilizers touch the stem area or set on the leaves. It is perfectly fine to apply granular or time-released fertilizers right on top of the mulch any time needed. This also includes Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate) bone meal, lime etc. They will all hose in and work their way down through the soil with every rain or watering.

When I first bought this property it was so dry and sandy I rarely saw an Earthworm. Now I can rarely dig without hitting several anywhere? ( The chickens love them and the Earthworms love the chicken poop!) The more you add organic materials and especially things like Chicken, Cow, Horse manures the worms will appear and will naturally leave their castings as they loosen the soil around your plants in their daily travels!

Thats enough from me now...Ha!

Happy Gardening and everything looks great! Can you send us a closeup of the mosaics detail on your Birdbath?

David

This message was edited Mar 31, 2013 6:38 AM

Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks David for a quick and informative response ! Our soil was very dry and sandy looking here also. The front yard in barely green, and the back yard has good and bad spots. I don't know if I plan on doing anything this year to make the grass come back or putting down sod, a ;ot of money has been put into the gardens so far this year. Plus, after looking at your picture's, I love what you've done, the pathways, flowers and ground cover that are native to our soil here in Florida look a lot more natural, have very little need for water, and I think I'm going to do something similar to what you've done. That would be done in the front yard of course as it is a total desolate area similar to a desert with nothing but red ants living in the soil. We keep chasing them with red ant killer, but they just move to a new home! The back yard is going to get some more flowers, vines to climb the garden fences, and some tropical plants like banana trees, elephant ears, anything that is growing behind us in the woods. That's my husband specialty, he has a knack for making the landscape look like we're living in the keys somewhere. I really wish it was all done NOW, But I know in time it will look as wonderful as what you've done!

My birdbath, here's the story on that, short one of course, my DH picked it up along the street out of someone's trash, brought it home, and here are the before and after pictures! I have a good camera, so you can see some of the details in the dish , the base was painted because of the way it was, to many ridges and uneven design work for anything to stick to it, and be grouted. Paint was the better alternative. I'm unsure as to if I want to mosaic the pedestal of the birdbath, or leave it as is. It's to flashy as it is, and I think it would be to much for the eye all at once! Enjoy the picture's!!

BTW, can you tell me where to get these plants, I went to Lowes, and couldn't find a one of them, it was so busy, that I couldn't ask anyone where to look, and decided maybe I'd go to a nursery, and get better advice and service. OR, maybe from the internet somewhere! Beside's you and some others on here, I have seen some beautiful plants I want to use in my gardens. Here's my little list : amaranth, love,lies and bleeding, hot biscuts, tower red and golden purslane. (Not sure if I spelled all correctly)
One other question where does everyone buy there vegetable seeds around our area? I bought all my seeds through Lowes, most are burpee seed, but have since read something that it's better to buy from a certified seed seller! Is there a catalog or again, somewhere on line to get next year's seed, as I will use what I have this year, but never again. Thanks again! Jami

Hope your having a wonderful Easter today,
Sunrise Service was beautiful here, just 2 blocks from the beach, now going to put the ham in. Friends are coming today, all our children live in Tampa, New York and Pa. Pretty spread out, so we have our home grown family here! lol

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Flagler Beach, FL(Zone 9b)

here are a few more, I thought I had better close-up, it's so hard to see the little thumbnails till I up load them to here.

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