Photo by Melody
Are you ready? It's time for our 14th annual photo contest! Enter your best pictures of the year, for a chance to win a calendar and annual subscription here. Hurry! Deadline for entries is October 21.

Beginner Vegetables: Preparing for my first "real" garden...advice needed

Communities > Forums > Beginner Vegetables
bookmark
Forum: Beginner VegetablesReplies: 49, Views: 459
Add to Bookmarks
-
AuthorContent
swing
Prosper, TX

July 19, 2007
1:52 PM

Post #3754260

I have always grown tomatoes in pots and beds and a couple onion plants from time to time but we recently moved and now i have room for a "real" garden.

the bed is approx 4' x 30' and had shrubs/flowers in it from the previous owner. i have cleaned it out and killed off all the grass that had invaded the bed now i am ready to prep.

i was planning on doing a 50/50 mix of compost and topsoil to get it ready and i want to have the following in my garden:

tomatoes, onions (scallions), jalapenos, yellow squash, okra, purple hulls and green beans. I would also love to have some strawberrys but that may be a seperate discussion. We are a small family of 4 so i dont need bushels of produce, just enough for our consumption.

sooooooooooo, the questions are:

1. what else should i add to the soil to prep the bed?
2. do i have enough room for all of the plants that i listed above and can they all work together in the same bed?
3. will i need to "rotate" the plants yearly?
4. what are some good fall crops to plant to get the garden kicked off?

i plan on being somewhat organic but using some chemicals does not bother me in the least. I have started a compost pile that i plan on using to "feed" the beds.

any and all suggestions are welcome.

p.s. yes, i plan on getting some books about gardening for my area (specifically neil sperry).

THANKS!
wildredmater
Dallas, TX

July 19, 2007
5:10 PM

Post #3755250

1. Mail your soil to your local county extension office for testing pH, mineral content, etc. Just do a google search for your county. For example in my county Texas A & M does the testing. I just mail them the soil sample with a SASE and a check. They'll mail back the results.

2. sure

3. yes, if you plant really close together. no, if you have rows spaced apart. just plant in-between rows next year for your rotation. plant white dutch clover in between the rows this year. In other words, plant veggies in rows but white dutch clover in the aisles. Next year, alternate with veggies planted in the aisles and clover in the rows.

4. white dutch clover

shameless plug: answer my post regarding...
Best Tomato (s) for North Texas
lcosden
Pawling, NY
(Zone 5b)

July 19, 2007
5:23 PM

Post #3755267

ah.. sorry but why white dutch clovers?? I'm also doing a new bed.. Just not as far along as Swing since we're in a new construction
ZenSojourner
Fairborn, OH
(Zone 8a)

July 19, 2007
9:30 PM

Post #3756263

White dutch clover between rows to act as soil stabilizer, living mulch, nitrogen fixer, and it'll take a fair amount of foot traffic.

Sojourner
lcosden
Pawling, NY
(Zone 5b)

July 19, 2007
9:44 PM

Post #3756319

I will move the bain of my DH's life from the front lawn to the veggie garden then.. Good to know. Thank you.
ZenSojourner
Fairborn, OH
(Zone 8a)

July 20, 2007
12:26 AM

Post #3756827

OMG! The bane of the lawn? No, those little clovers are not only feeding bees and fascinating children (even those of us on the far-wrong-side of 40), they're also feeding your lawn - for FREE!

I love having clover in my lawn.

Sojourner
kls_01
Champaign, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 20, 2007
1:44 AM

Post #3757134

Wow...ok, what's bain/bane and are you saying that regular old clover in the lawn is the same as white dutch clover?

Kristie
lcosden
Pawling, NY
(Zone 5b)

July 20, 2007
1:45 AM

Post #3757141

Apparantly so. My husband hates those.. He actually tries to pull all of those out.. Got to see if I can find any in the lawn before he does..

BTW, are the pink clovers helpful too?

This message was edited Jul 19, 2007 8:46 PM
kls_01
Champaign, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 20, 2007
1:52 AM

Post #3757176

interesting...

andycdn
Ottawa, ON
(Zone 4b)

July 20, 2007
1:57 AM

Post #3757199

I would suggest putting a barrier along your garden's edge to prevent the roots of grasses and weeds from invading. These are tough, persistent invaders that will keep trying to move into your garden, especially as you develop the fertility of your soil.

You can buy a plastic lawn barrier of 4" at most garden centres. I installed a 2x4 rim on my garden and stapled vinyl stair-runner to it, sank it down to 18" and back filled it. It kept out the grass, but nearby tree roots (cedars, of course) still found their way in.

This may sound like way more work than you want, but it pays off in the long run if you're serious about keeping your garden weed-free. Seeds are another matter -- that's just regular weeding.
lcosden
Pawling, NY
(Zone 5b)

July 20, 2007
2:29 AM

Post #3757323

Oh, I was going to raise mine.. There's good incline there.. So I was going to raise th bed in about 1.5 foot increments..
wildredmater
Dallas, TX

July 20, 2007
6:00 AM

Post #3757765

Yes, I agree with ZenSoujourner. Furthermore, White Dutch Clover attract ladybugs and bees. Ladybugs will eat aphids and other small pest insects. Bees will pollinate your crops so you get fruit. Any clover will do some good, but white dutch clover is the best because it makes lots of white flowers that produce the pollen that attracts the ladybugs and bees. Before the invention of cheap chemical fertilizers and insecticides for lawns, lawn grass seeds were mixed with white dutch clover seeds. The clover "fixes" nitrogen (makes the nitrogenous part of fertilizers) for free and attract ladybugs to maintain lawn health.

After WWII, this all changed as everybody bought cheap chemical fertilizers and insecticides to spray. "Chemlawn" replaced White Dutch Clover. Everybody forgot clover. Only old timers and really "green" people still know about the beneficial effects of clover used for crop rotation and lawn health maintenance.

This message was edited Jul 20, 2007 12:02 AM
kls_01
Champaign, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 20, 2007
3:10 PM

Post #3758581

interesting...I've read about green manures you plant after your garden is done like buckwheat and things...didn't know you could interplant clover. I've been pulling them out as weeds in the garden! *sigh

Kristie
lcosden
Pawling, NY
(Zone 5b)

July 20, 2007
3:41 PM

Post #3758722

Does that mean the pink clovers also fix nitrogen? Cuz we have both around here..
HaoQin
C Springs, TN
(Zone 6b)

July 20, 2007
6:08 PM

Post #3759564

It is interesting about the white clovers...I have been pulling the clovers off my garden too. About planting the clovers between the rows of vegetables...I'm wondering how do you make sure the clover stay between the rows of vegetables or you just let them go everywhere?

I have pink and white clovers in my yard too, I would like to know if the pink one also fix nitrogen.

Thanks!
ZenSojourner
Fairborn, OH
(Zone 8a)

July 21, 2007
5:13 AM

Post #3761420

All clovers fix nitrogen.

Sojourner
lcosden
Pawling, NY
(Zone 5b)

July 21, 2007
6:46 AM

Post #3761507

Awesome.. Cuz I think the pink ones are prettier. Is the white one used cuz it's better at fixing nitrogen? Why not use the pretty pink ones if both works??
ZenSojourner
Fairborn, OH
(Zone 8a)

August 7, 2007
6:52 AM

Post #3827430

The white ones do fix more nitrogen, and in addition they are hardier - take more foot traffic, handle bad weather (dry, cold, whatever) better.

Sojourner
lcosden
Pawling, NY
(Zone 5b)

August 9, 2007
1:12 AM

Post #3834680

Got cha. Will stick to the ugleir but better white clovers.. :)
kls_01
Champaign, IL
(Zone 5b)

August 9, 2007
2:47 PM

Post #3836079

are there clovers with yellow flowers? Small ones? I've noticed the clover in my yard seems to be getting little yellow flowers...but I know I have the white clover too, so I'm not sure what's going on...Never paid attention to the clover before

Kristie
lcosden
Pawling, NY
(Zone 5b)

August 10, 2007
2:55 AM

Post #3838792

Gee never seen yellow ones before..
kls_01
Champaign, IL
(Zone 5b)

August 10, 2007
3:04 PM

Post #3840167

lol...I haven't taken the time to really stop and inspect them(been too hot), so I could be wrong. I'll make a point to check and see next time I'm out...

Kristie
lcosden
Pawling, NY
(Zone 5b)

August 10, 2007
7:32 PM

Post #3841192

Maybe it's like an off white, eggshell color??
kls_01
Champaign, IL
(Zone 5b)

August 10, 2007
10:56 PM

Post #3842106

Ok, I've checked it out, and no, it is bright yellow and it is the clover. The flowers don't look like the regular clover flowers, but they look like little five or six petal simple flowers. Then, there were long seed pods that were maybe half an inch in length with red seeds inside(or they're little red bugs, but they didn't apprear to be moving and seemed to come from inside the seed pods). Oh, and the seed pods don't hang down, they stand straight up...

Maybe they're not clover, but the leaves look exactly like clover...except instead of growing in clumps they kinda bush out a little...If that makes sense...
shune
Burien, WA
(Zone 7b)

August 10, 2007
11:26 PM

Post #3842217

The clover-like stuff might be the invasive weed oxalis. Do the leaves have a reddist tint?
kls_01
Champaign, IL
(Zone 5b)

August 10, 2007
11:28 PM

Post #3842232

I don't think so...I'll have to check again. I will look up oxalis though and see if they resemble each other...

kls_01
Champaign, IL
(Zone 5b)

August 10, 2007
11:34 PM

Post #3842252

By job, I think you're right...I think its Oxalis corniculata...good thing I didn't plant a lot of these things in my garden, huh?

Kristie
andycdn
Ottawa, ON
(Zone 4b)

August 11, 2007
12:37 AM

Post #3842506

I agree that it's probably an oxalis. I have it here in my gardens, but for me it's a weed and hard to eradicate because, like so many weeds, it grows fast, produces seed before you know it and suddenly hundreds of babies are sprouting...

Check out this entry in PlantFiles, which is what I have:
http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/38376/
kls_01
Champaign, IL
(Zone 5b)

August 12, 2007
1:47 AM

Post #3846400

Yes, that is definately it, you're right! So far I've justseen it growing in the grass...along with many other weeds...
lcosden
Pawling, NY
(Zone 5b)

August 13, 2007
7:52 PM

Post #3852993

Hey I was just reading about the crimson clover the other day. Is that the same as the pinky-lavender colored one?? If not, how does it compare to the white clover??
ZenSojourner
Fairborn, OH
(Zone 8a)

September 3, 2007
2:23 PM

Post #3931409

Crimson clover is a commonly used forage grass. It has also been used for green cover crop. The flowers are quite large and distinctive, a deep, dark red - hence Crimson clover. This is a true clover (Trifolium) and is one of the few clovers that grows well in the south. It doesn't do well in lawns as it does not handle constant foot traffic well.

Crimson clover is distinct from red (or pink) clover, which is often found in lawns.

Thumbnail by ZenSojourner
Click the image for an enlarged view.

ZenSojourner
Fairborn, OH
(Zone 8a)

September 3, 2007
2:28 PM

Post #3931421

OK, I'm GOING to get this right! Sheesh!

White clover, also called Ladino or Dutch clover, is also a true clover. Dutch White Clover is a dwarf variety which stands up well to foot traffic and is commonly found in lawns. In fact, before the advent of lawn services, grass seed mix routinely included a significant percentage of Dutch white clover in order to feed the lawn from the nitrogen these plants pump out into the soil.

Note the pinkish tinge at the base of the flower - Dutch Clover does sometimes put out very pale pink flowers, which is often mistaken for true Red Clover (again, Red Clover is actually more pink and is different from the very distinctive tint of Crimson Clover).

Dutch clover is what you usually find in your lawn rather than the other type of white clover, Ladino Clover.

This message was edited Sep 3, 2007 9:35 AM

This message was edited Sep 3, 2007 10:29 AM

This message was edited Sep 3, 2007 10:30 AM

Thumbnail by ZenSojourner
Click the image for an enlarged view.

LTilton
Glen Ellyn, IL
(Zone 5b)

September 3, 2007
2:32 PM

Post #3931431

Another weed with yellow flowers that's harder to distinguish from clover is black medic. It is a legume like clover, with a taproot from which the stems radiate out. Unlike the seed pod of oxalis, its seeds are black in a cluster at the end of the flower stem.

http://ipm.ppws.vt.edu/scott/weed_id/medlu.htm


ZenSojourner
Fairborn, OH
(Zone 8a)

September 3, 2007
3:27 PM

Post #3931633

And finally, Red (or pink) Clover. Also a true clover, this is sometimes found in our lawns. It's not as hardy as Dutch (white) clover (you don't usually find the other type of white clover, Ladino, in the lawn), and from what I can remember (don't have my cover crop book handy, it is several states away in storage) doesn't fix as much nitrogen as either of the white clovers.

Yellow sweet clover is a legume, but is not a "true" clover. Both yellow and red clovers are considered to be somewhat invasive.

Thumbnail by ZenSojourner
Click the image for an enlarged view.

lcosden
Pawling, NY
(Zone 5b)

September 4, 2007
6:00 PM

Post #3936458

So I'm guessing that white dutch clover is the ones to leave in the lawns then. Cuz I'd like to have more grass and fewer other stuff like clovers.. Don't want the red (pink) clover to spread...
ZenSojourner
Fairborn, OH
(Zone 8a)

September 5, 2007
2:40 AM

Post #3938320

WHite dutch clover is the choice for lawns because of (1) it's nitrogen fixing (2) it'll take traffic (3) it won't take over your garden (4) it's a miniature, seldom getting over 6" even if you never mow - the others get 12" to 18" tall without mowing.

Sojourner
lcosden
Pawling, NY
(Zone 5b)

September 5, 2007
1:37 PM

Post #3939445

That's good to know.. I will take out all the pink and red ones in the yard then.. Keeping my fingers crosses that I don't see any yellows either..
CapeCodGardener
Mid-Cape, MA
(Zone 7a)

September 6, 2007
1:18 AM

Post #3942047

This is a great thread--so informative, thank you. My natural inclination was to leave the pretty white flowering plant in my lawn, which turns out to be White Dutch Clover--well, I am just too lazy to get rid of it. Now I feel justified--THANK you. I heard from a friend that you have to watch out for bees if you like to walk bare-foot in grass with clover (which to me is the whole IDEA of grass) but I've never found this to be a problem.
ZenSojourner
Fairborn, OH
(Zone 8a)

September 11, 2007
9:03 PM

Post #3963721

Unfortunately, due to the bee die-off of unknown origins, it is unlikely that walking barefoot in the lawn is going to be a problem (due to potential bee sting) for some time.

I am extremely grateful that my landlord does not weed-n-feed this lawn because it's full of white Dutch clover. For the first time in 10 years, I regularly see bees - where regularly has come to mean several times a season rather than seeing a dozen or so bees every day. It wasn't always this way - I remember when leaving a can of pop out or lemonade or anything sweet would attract bees like crazy. Now all you see are wasps, which are, IMNSHO, much less desireable than honeybees.

I saw a bee land near my garden a few weeks ago (and come to think of it, that's the last honeybee I've seen for awhile). It landed on the sidewalk and proceeded to crawl around in circles, clearly in extreme distress. The only thing I could think to do was guide it into the grass as gently as possible. It was dead in 15 minutes, never ceasing that endless endless desperate circling until it just dropped dead from exhaustion.

Please, please, please, leave the white dutch clover in the lawn and feed the few bees we have left. Also, if you don't weed-n-feed, you will have more lightning bugs. I'm old enough to remember going out in the yard on a summer's night and the lightning bugs were just EVERYWHERE! The weed killer kills them too, and butterflies - both directly (by poisoning) and indirectly (by killing all the things their larvae need to eat). We are killing all the magical things just so we can have a "uniform" lawn that looks just like everybody else's.

It just breaks my heart to know that my son and his children will never know what it's like to see things like butterflies, bees, and lightening bugs in the kinds of numbers I remember.

When's the last time you saw a luna moth? As a child, I could go outside almost any summer night and spot at least one. It's been not just years, but DECADES now, since I've seen one.

Sojourner
gerapan
panama
Panama

January 21, 2008
10:24 PM

Post #4434598

Hi everyone...

I started a "container" vegie garden but need advise on:

Best "over all " fertilizer...and what is good for Tomatoes?---

Thank you...I am in Panama so I guess am Zone 10 with an average of 86 degrees all year long.

Gera
doccat5
Fredericksburg, VA
(Zone 7b)

January 21, 2008
11:00 PM

Post #4434750

Swing, your squash will have a tendency to sprawl so put it on or toward the end. The tomatoes and peppers will do nicely together. Onions can be inter planted with the beans and pick your okra when it's still fingerling size. Otherwise it is pretty tough and tasteless. Also use radishes between your plantings, it will help you see where you've already planted and help draw off pests. Just pull up the diseased radishes and destroy. :0
horseman_tanker
Hawthorne, NV

February 3, 2008
11:51 AM

Post #4489418

howdy swing. how did your veggie garden do? you never said anything else, and you posted last summer. hope it turned out well.
Lady4JC
Allentown, PA

February 3, 2008
8:09 PM

Post #4490954

I'll be starting for first "real" garden this spring also, in southeast PA. So, any pointers for that area are welcome. I'm just now starting the planning so I'm a real newbie. I have lots of bunnies and critters in my yard and would appreciate pointers on how to keep them from eating my goodies. Someone suggested planting onions and garlic around the perimiter...true? When having soil tested, what do I need to know to tell the testers? Thanks.
doccat5
Fredericksburg, VA
(Zone 7b)

February 3, 2008
8:14 PM

Post #4490961

You can get yourself a soil test from your local extension office. I'm not sure what is costs in PA but is $7 in VA. They send it to the labs at the landbank college and will send you back the results. That will give you a good idea of what amendments you need to add if any. To get a " good" test. Use a clean trowel or spoon. Get dirt from different areas of your property, clean the trowel/spoon in between digging. Put is all in the container and ship it off. If you don't understand the results talk to your local extension agent for information. :)
horseman_tanker
Hawthorne, NV

February 4, 2008
3:16 PM

Post #4494052

heya Lady my suggestion is surround your garden with a good fence, we have jackrabbits in nevada and they go under and over to get to veggies as well as mice and other varmits. enjoy your garden every day if you can just be in it and enjoy it. so much fun and can be darn rewarding.
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 4, 2008
6:04 PM

Post #4494722

Great thread, I'm starting a new garden this year and anything helps.
14
Debary, FL

February 9, 2008
2:59 PM

Post #4515449

Well I just built the box for a garden myself.

I am looking forward to it but need lots of help of how to do it.

Please Help.

Thanks
patterntracy
Hyde Park, MA

March 10, 2008
6:04 PM

Post #4646650

Great thread! I've got my raised beds done and ready for a (hopefully) much better organized and tended garden this year; I'm loving all this advice. Anyway, my question now is: where do I get the clover? If half the world is viewing it as a weed, can I actually buy seeds for it? It's strange, clover was something I saw all the time as a child, but I don't seem to see it now; maybe I'm just not noticing. Anyway, it certainly doesn't pop up in my lawn, so I need another source!
doccat5
Fredericksburg, VA
(Zone 7b)

March 10, 2008
9:38 PM

Post #4647538

Any farm and garden center should sell white clover. Or check some of the nurseries on the web, Gurney's and Burpees are 2 that immediately spring to mind.
Lady4JC
Allentown, PA

March 11, 2008
6:00 PM

Post #4650922

OK, I'm definitely buying white dutch clover. I had lots of it in the yard of my apartment, which attracted lots o' bunnies too.

Any suggestions on how to and/or what kind of fence to put around garden?

Spring is so-o-o close here in southeastern PA...I can't wait!

Thanks!

You cannot post until you register and login.


Other Beginner Vegetables Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Welcome to the Beginner Vegetables forum! dave 24 Mar 24, 2013 6:54 PM
Tomato problems jkehl 40 Oct 15, 2010 1:06 PM
starting a vegie garden wilflower 28 May 24, 2012 2:38 PM
Nasturtiums and squash? Terry 41 Mar 24, 2007 8:07 PM
Bees Please jkehl 95 Apr 7, 2013 7:37 AM


We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2014 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.
 

Hope for America