Someone tell me its gonna be OK

Ronkonkoma, NY(Zone 6b)

I think I may just need a second opinion. I always bite off more than I can chew, jump in with both feet, etc.....BUT....is a 50' X 36' foot garden a little out of control? My wife seems to think I am nutz-o and is concerned about me finding time for the "other house projects" that I have going. .....wait a minute, there are other things out there besides gardening? Is this garden too big? Background-just bought the house in January, moved from the city to the burbs, huge backyard, wanted a garden for the last 15 years and boy am I starting one. Am a realy nuts?

Southern, CT(Zone 6a)

Wormboy, Your not nuts, but a smaller start would be much more manageable. A well tended, smaller garden could always be added to but a garden that is too big when you are starting out can get away from you. But I am telling you to: "Do as I say, not as I've done" Its so tempting to start big!
Welcome to the 'burbs! You've got some neighbors on this forum.
Dave(not DAVE)

Ronkonkoma, NY(Zone 6b)

Thanks Dave! I think in the back of my mind I just love the challenge. All those years in the city really made me swing the other way I guess. I'm originally from western MA, north of you! Been living the past six years in Brooklyn. So the garden bug has been multiplying in me for some time. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I haven't been so excited for something in a long time. I hope I can pull it off! Thanks

Wilmot, NH(Zone 4a)

what kind of garden? vegetable, perennial, annual, mixed?
My feeling is go for it!!
Just to think it through though: 50x36 Thats 1800 square feet - if you were doing a mixed garden , say shrubs, perennials the spacing would probably average around 2.5 square feet (4 square feet for shrubs, 18 inches for perennials) which would mean 288 plants. If it was all perennials it would be approximately 450 plants.
I think you know its a big committment, the sweat equity will save you a great deal of money - as long as the plant cost is tolerable- I think its great to think BIG!
in my past life I have fallen asleep many times on the LIRR and come to the end of the line in Ronkonkoma - I am envious of all the plants you can grow in that zone!! Welcome to the "rural" life!

Wilmot, NH(Zone 4a)

one more question: red sox or yankees?

Southern, CT(Zone 6a)

Dirty
He could be a Mets fan.
Now me on the other hand, I bleed pinstripes. I imagine that's not too popular in NH.
TODAY THEY PLAY EACH OTHER IN AN EXHIBITION GAME! It is Spring!
Dave

Woodbury, CT

You are not crazy, but you probably will need to do a lot of weeding this summer. That's the tedious part. Use a hoe between plants and rake up the weeds. It may be cheapest to use mostly annuals that self-seed and grow outwardly, and vegetables, the first year. Good luck; also RED sox.

New Haven, CT(Zone 6a)

Having just started gardening myself, I understand the desire to think big. Everyone here has told me that if I screw up, it's okay, things can be moved around--I'm actually getting all kinds of advice on a bed I'm expanding and, er, rethinking after some not-so-good decisions. But with a plot that big, you've probably got a variety of conditions (sun, shade, etc), so if you put something in the wrong spot, you can always swap it later...

I think the big thing is to try to plan it out ahead of time, at least a little bit. I've got a few books, which I could recommend if you're interested.

Oh, and I don't really care about baseball at all, but my husband is definitely a yankees fan, so I've ended up following suit, at least nominally, for the sake of convenience and having something to talk to him about all season.

elkland, PA(Zone 5b)

hellowormboy you are not nuts ,i know the feeling well i too am from Brooklyn lived there all my life now i live in the great state of pennsylvania my husband and i garden about 3000sqft just take it slow and easy my property was a old horse pasture so what we did was half vegetables half flowers on one side and the other half was planted with soil ammendents such as barley,winterrye then each growing season we rotate the crops so the soil ammends all around just rememberthat what you plant you have to take care of you may want to start out with a herb garden interplanted with your vegetable garden and plant flowers that are beneficial to the vegetablesa as well......goodluck......
ps. i am a yankees fan

Ronkonkoma, NY(Zone 6b)

WOW, where do I start. First off, I am blown away by this site and how nice everyone is and willing to help. I feel like I instantly gained so many friends and we are all standing at the garden edge talking. Its such a nice feeling, hugs all around! Secondly, I tend to overanalyze everything to the millionth degree so I will be bouncing things off of all of you often. Just let me know if I am too much and I will try and chill a little bit.
In terms of baseball, I am originally from Mass (moved to NY five years ago), and practically cried in 1986, so I can never really root for a NY team either Mets or Yankees, that being said, I am also not a sports fan so I don't really bother too much, other than to pretend that I am a yankees fan when my brother is around because he is a die hard Red Sox fan through and through.
Here goes to answer eveyones questions. The garden is mainly a veggie garden, though I am trying to give myself a crash course in companion planting and IPM, so I am planting both annual and perrenial herbs and flowers throughout. My plan (tell me if I am nuts) is to never use a drop of pesticide, herbicide, or fertilizer. I have a compost pile and make everyone nuts at work saving the coffee grinds. So compost for fert (if my vegetarian beagle doesn't eat all the veggies first), companion planting and IPM for pest management and plant vigor. Well guys...do you think it will work? Or am I living in dream world?

Next, I made my garden plan in MS Excel. I would love to show it to anyone that will give me constructive criticism! Let me know how I can get it to you all if you want to see!

I placed my seed order yesterday, I am trying all heirloom plants.
Can't wait to hear what you all think!!!

Ronkonkoma, NY(Zone 6b)

Garden Plan - Can anyone open this or is there another way to post this plan?

Ronkonkoma, NY(Zone 6b)

Second Try, Here is the garden layout, legend to follow.

Thumbnail by Wormboy
Ronkonkoma, NY(Zone 6b)

And here is the legend. Sorry about the multiple posts, couldn't get it to put two images in.

Thumbnail by Wormboy
Ronkonkoma, NY(Zone 6b)

Umm, here it is bigger (i'm such a ditz)

Thumbnail by Wormboy
Ronkonkoma, NY(Zone 6b)

and the legend bigger. OK too many posts I know, sorry.

Thumbnail by Wormboy
elkland, PA(Zone 5b)

wormboy, it's me again just looking over you plans you seem to have everything covered just a few ideas from experience,are you going to put down anything between your rows to keep weeds at bay,? D.H and i put down wet newspapers piled on thick then covered with seed free hay ,or you choice of mulch.
also if i am reading right you have three spots for organo together remember oragano is an invasive plant the same goes for mint, parsely,and thyme,it can take over the whole garden.as far as organic gardening iv'e been doing it for years i do not know if you soak yourseeds before planting ,if you do i have a great seed tonic (let me know,its all natural) i am very happy for you ,to see that you do not use any chemicals it,s a great feeling to know what you are feeding your family especially these days with all the processed foods out there...remember what emerson said THE EARTH LAUGH FLOWERS!!!!!!! smile
cindilynn

Westford, MA(Zone 5b)

Do you have a fence around the garden? Silly question -- are deer a problem in your area? (Tell me one place not in the city they are not a problem!). Also woodchucks, skunks, etc. can make trouble in the garden.

Sorry I haven't looked at your plan in detail but...
With the size garden you have I would surely plant some blue berry bushes, strawberries, corn. You could consider growing cutting annuals. Many people make extra money selling cut flowers.

Also there are organic pesticides and fertilizers so it is possible to use earth friendly products and make your garden more productive and easy to care for. I also don't like using herbicides but have used Roundup to control poison ivy. The chemical constituents in Roundup decompose into harmless chemicals in 10 - 15 days.

Welcome to DavesGarden!

Sue

Wilmot, NH(Zone 4a)

Boy! Thats some garden plan! I don't think I have ever seen a garden plan on excel before - but it worked beautifully. :)
My initial thoughts are along the same lines as cindilyn - you are planting some pretty vigorous plants in with the veggies, in addition to the ones she named I would be cautious about the bee balm. I LOVE it, I put it almost every garden I do, but you just have to be prepared to maintain it. You can definitely do organic all the way, if you are buying heirloom seeds you should know that those plants can be more at risk to disease and insect damage.
I moved to this rural part of new hampshire nine years ago - long island girl originally - and my first winter (which lasts about six months in NH) I spent the whole winter planning just like you have done. I read a ton, poured over plant and seed catalogues and when spring came I went hog wild outside, dragging an unwilling husband along for the ride. Two acres turned out to be to small for my ambitions...we just moved to eleven acres last summer! If I can do it, so can you - you certainly have a lot of energy!
If I could recommend a book - I really like postage stamp garden - I know I know, its not what you are doing...but it has a good section on companion plants, and maybe your garden doesn't have to be quite that big...
Go big Papi! Hit a homer against those yankees...oh yeah, too bad about johnny's shoulder - maybe you shouldn't have cut Samson's hair! ;^)

Fairmont, WV(Zone 6a)

Hi Wormboy! (love the name...I post as DrWorm on a non DG forum... any story behind the name?) and welcome to another MA native who understands the tragi-comic opera that is the Red Sox. I also lived on Lawn Giland for about 6 years, in Port Jeff Station. I think someone else on this forum is also from Ronkonkoma, we chatted about the LIRR once or twice. I now live in WV but I'm originally from Cape Ann and I lurk around here when I get homesick. It's a wicked good group of people. :)

I'm pretty new to gardening as well. (Same as you...new homeowner, have wanted a garden for 15 years.) The one thing that I've learned from some overzealous ideas on my part is that everything takes more time and effort than you think it will. I started out with what I thought was a ridiculously small veggie garden (12x20') and by the time I was done breaking the sod, tilling the soil, trucking in topsoil, turning in yards of compost, and actually putting in some plants, I was pooped! Not that being pooped was necessarily a bad thing--it was a good sort of tired at the end of the day, if you know what I mean--but I probably didn't do other things that I should have because I was out playing in my garden.

Of course, this year I have a one year old son and even more stuff to do at work, so I've increased the size of my front and veggie gardens and about quadrupled the number of my tomato plants and ordered a bunch of perennials for my front garden and I'm planting some trees along the edge of the property and if I'm not actually outside I'm checking out all the resources on DG. *sigh* A classic case of "do as I say, not as I do." :) However DG is full of happily obsessed gardeners who will support you 110%.

I also do (mostly) organic gardening (like Sue I do use roundup for the bad poison ivy on my property). It's completely feasible. "Fertilizer" just refers to some sort of nutrient enrichment which of course can come from totally organic sources like fish emulsion, etc. I don't use herbicides or pesticides, I just go out there and mulch, weed, or pick off bugs. Ivory soap spray is also effective against some creepy crawlies. I use physical barriers and organic deterrents for the 4 legged fiends. I've found the Soil and Pest forums to be very useful too. (And the tomato forum is FULL of obsessed tomatoholics like me, it's GREAT. :) )

I love your garden plan--I'm doing something similar to design my front garden except using pictures of flowers I downloaded. A fabulous way to procrastinate at work, too. :)

Cheers
pam

Westford, MA(Zone 5b)

Ok I looked at your planting list. Good you have corn in there! I heard that corn is difficult to grow without pesticides at least this was true for someone I knew who grew corn (I have no experience growing, just what I heard. You may want to investigate the issues).

I would highly recommend not putting the mint, greek oregano or bee balm in the ground directly. These are hard to control (as another poster mentioned about the Bee balm). The warning is even more important for Mint and greek oregano. You can use a 'pot sunken in ground method' for these if you want. So the spreading nature will be contained. Can't be said enough -- Mint and Greek Oregano are very difficult to control from spreading.

elkland, PA(Zone 5b)

wormboy: i grow corn have been for nearly 3 years now,never used pesticides with it i interplanted sunflowers within the corn rows worked well saves space,looks pretty too also growing vegetables that like shade(lettuce)try growing it in the shade of the corn plants works well i also plant marigolds near and around my tomatoes, cabbage,brocolli and peppers keeps certain bugs away guess they do not like the smell...............cindilynn

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

Hey wormboy - you might find this site helpful too. http://www.organicgardening.com/

Also, don't forget about vertical gardening. That adds even more space! You are literally two minutes from me...if you ever need help..give me a yell!

Ronkonkoma, NY(Zone 6b)

WOW, where do I start, such great feedback. Heres my attempt to get all of you in:
Cinilyn-I plan to use shredded oak leaves in between my rows and on my garden paths. I have been told that I may need to lime a little extra each year to account for the acidity. In terms of soaking seeds, yes I plan to follow the seed directions if they call for soaking. I have not yet heard of soaking in a tonic. I am interested, tell me more. In terms of organic, I'm not like a big nature nut necessarily, it just doesn't make sense to me to use toxins if you don't need to. Nature uses only natural ones! In terms of keeping those invasive plants at bay, hmmm, still pondering that. Had thought I might make raised beds just for these, though I like the idea of mobility so considering the sunken pot thingy. Don't know yet. Oh, and did you plangt the sunflowers for IPM or just cause they are so pretty? Thanks for the tips
Sedum - I am putting up a fence six inches down, 4.5' up. I know that deer can jump higher than the stratisphere, its more for keeping the rodents and my vegetarian beagle out. The wife wants berries, but I thought I already had more than enough on my plate right now. Maybe next year. In terms of corn and pests, I read something about applying some type of oil to the base of the silk, something natural, I need to read more. But I think there are ways out there to keep the nasties at bay.
Dirty-Excel just seemed natural for this. And since I use it eveyday at work I am used to it. Plus it makes it so easy to make things to scale. Glad you like it, its been my labor! Your NH thing you got going sounds great. I lived in NH for a year after college, Nashua. A great brew pub there. Anyway, thanks for the book reference and the words of encouragement.
Pam -The name was given to me by my brother-in-laws wife. She is....well....a little ecentric, and when she heard I was an environmental consultant she asked, "what do you do dig for worms or something" and every since I was dubbed worm boy. Which I don't ming, and I do grow worms so it is fitting! It sounds like you and I have the same problem with prioritizing other things up there with the garden. I have a real tough time, in dutch with the wife presenlty for doing yardwork last night instead of finishing painting the bedroom like I said I would. I just get the calling sometimes and can't ignore it. I know the hard work is coming, but I love to work, so bring it on. The only thing I am really concerned about is giving enough time to make things fair for my wife (I don't mind letting things slide!). I guess we will work it out in time. I will check out the forums for pests. Thanks
Anita- thanks for the link, I will check it out. And thanks for the extra pair of hands offer, I appreciate it. In terms of vertical, I was actually conisering throwing something in for the cuckes and the peas. Anyone have any sinple rustic ideas?

Southern, CT(Zone 6a)

Wormboy, You have to be one of the most energetic, ambitous and well planned gardeners around. Its fun just to read your enthusiasm!
Dave

Ronkonkoma, NY(Zone 6b)

Thanks Dave,
What I hope is that you read between the lines well and it really isn't overzealous, unrealistic, in over my head, doomed to be divorced, swallowed by leaves, tangled in weeds, and ultimately buried under my own compost pile (the way I want to go). Before I found you guys I was starting to wonder if maybe I was just a little too far out of reality and into my plants and outdoor work, but now I know I at least have good company! Really though, I can't say enough how I appreciate everyone taking the time to welcome me here and to listen to my manic banter. It really helps to get the feedback.

elkland, PA(Zone 5b)

hi worm boy shredded oak leaf is good but maybe you could try putting down the wet newspaper underneath, it will attract the worms as it decomposes which makes the soil nice and rich,i plant the sunflowers as ipm plants and we also harvest the seed to fill my bird feeders and they are my little girls favorite flower,as far as the tonic goes i have used this for a long time it never failed yet: SEED- STARTER -TONIC
1 tsp. of baby shampoo
1 tsp. of Epsom salts
1 qt. of weak tea water(i use chamomile)


mix the shampoo and the Epsom salts in the tea.Then bundle up your seeds in cheesecloth or the toes of old pantyhose(one seed type per bundle).Drop the bundles into the liquid and put the container in the fridge to soak 24 hours take out then plant.

weak tea mix- soak a used tea bag in a mix of 1 gallon of warm water and/2 tsp of mild liquid dish soap until mix is light brown.

p.s. Don't forget to label the seed bundles before putting them in the container ...I know ..grin...i forgot to one time....that was interesting when planting time came ha ha ha.
this mix really works i don't how but it does.

did not realize this is getting real long sorry , the critters that you are thinking of under neath the silk of the corn i do believe are flea beetles i will talk more about them later after i look something up.................happy gardening cindilynn

elkland, PA(Zone 5b)

wormboy found something on the net you may like go to www.farminfo .org its a resource for small farms,tells about all different plants and problems they might face,pretty good stuff see what you think .........let me know
cindilynn

groveland, FL(Zone 9b)

wormboy...congrats on your new indeavor! i or we for one or two would not think you crazy at all since we have well over 1/2 acer of gardens as well as another 1/2 just starting. however, i wanted to mention one thing to you about your veggie garden. it's really important to understand that the ph is so important to successfully growing veggies. most like about 5.5-6.5.(i for one don't do it because i live in a farming area so the little land we have we would rather do in flower and tree gardens). at this point it's a little late to condition your soil by liming it because that really should be done in fall. i'm a master gardener in my area and expereince has shown me it's really the number one problem with new veggie gardens. you may want to consider some raised bedding so that you may fill them with soil that will assure you are successful. ipm is a great concept....but remember all the critters we get here so if you have to use anything make sure it won't kill you or the plants! sometimes those lady bugs show up just a bit late! also, just a note....make sure you bring a soil sample into your local extention in the fall so that you can condition your soil for next years veggie garden. good luck! and make sure you let us know how it's going!

Moon Twp, PA(Zone 6a)

Wormboy

- First: suggest you don't wait for the wife's berries. They won't produce this year, nor next depending on the type, but they will get a good start! Got to keep her on your side too! The little effort it will take this year to dig and place them will be well worth it! Berries, just like fruit trees, need placing as soon as you can after moving in, IMO.

- Second, You might want to consider the Three Sisters Plantings. http://www.nativetech.org/cornhusk/threesisters.html and http://www.carnegiemnh.org/exhibits/north-south-east-west/iroquois/three_sisters.html

Like you, I wanted my own place desperately! Finally got it, late 2002. Was 46, after waiting my whole life!! Hadn't been a garden on the plot for yrs, but it still had rich, composted soil that turned easily. Yep! Just came in from measuring my garden: 12' x36'... Whole place is only 50' x 150', but at least it is mine!!

~ Suzi :)

Millbury, MA(Zone 5a)

You have no idea how much I love hearing that someone else is NOT using herbicides, pesticides, etc.; however, you may really need an organic fertilizer. My soil has many, many problems and a lack of nutrients is just one of them. If you check the suppliers mentioned on this site, you're sure to find some that stock some good organic fertilizers.

Fairmont, WV(Zone 6a)

Hey Wormboy, how's the enthusiasm coming along? :) (Thought of you because I'm in the doghouse with DH for spending a little too much time on my garden lately...)

My latest bit of obsessive behavior...got up at 5 am this morning to start several hundred seeds before I went to work.

pam

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

way to go Pam

Fairmont, WV(Zone 6a)

The BOTANIST with whom I work thinks I'm obsessive. *sigh* Speaking of said botanist, he brought in a voodoo lily corm (?) which just bloomed. Wow!!! I'll try to post a picture...too bad I can't post the smell...

pam

Ronkonkoma, NY(Zone 6b)

Well gang, here's an update. I took yesteday off from work (to cram some more work into the weekend) and got a bunch done. Here is what I have concluded: there is most definetly a section of hell where all you do it put up fence for an eternity! My god that is tough to do. Not that I would ever try to sell myself as the rancher type, but wow, pulling like mad and the fence looks like I just wipped it up after a few beers. Well, my friend and I got it all up and got it in place as best we could. Even managed to build the gate and get it hung. I will try and post some pics soon. Oh...and my seeds came by UPS yesterday!!! I am so pumped. I think tonight I will finish tilling and maybe install my soaker hoses after I lay things out a little. Anyone have any particular tips on using these things, I have heard many people swear by them, but haven't heard any details. Mor info later, post getting long and I don't want Dave to yell at me! :-)

Fairmont, WV(Zone 6a)

HA
I think you and I are leading parallel lives...my fence definitely looks a little on the overly casual side. (I did worms professionally for a while, too. On Long Island, no less.) Personally I think there is a section of hell reserved only for the turning over and tilling of clay soil...you could throw POTS with the stuff in my yard. Hopefully you won't have that problem, living on the sandbar that you do. :)

pam

Ronkonkoma, NY(Zone 6b)

Pam,
Clay, yikes, I guess I should be counting my blessings. I spend the better part of three hours tilling last night after work. I'm down two tines so its a bit of a handicap, but I'm getting there. Kicking out all the stones and gnawing away at those roots. One, maybe two more passes and I think I will be in good shape. I want to get some seeds in the ground. Anyone in 6 start planting yet? I noticed a frost on the ground this morning while walking the Smeagster.

Ronkonkoma, NY(Zone 6b)

Almost forgot, do you all think its a good idea to try to stick the blue/ras berries in the garden somewhere, or should I make a separate bed somewhere? How about sun/shade preferrence? Thanks

elkland, PA(Zone 5b)

Hi wormboy: i am in 6a in saylorsburg pa i did not start planting in the garden just starting to clean up, mend the fence ,and till the garden,going to try to make my rows and lay down newspaper and straw between them this weekend, I'm going to wait one more week before planting, as far as the berries are concerned i like to make a berry patch away from the main garden,keep in mind berries attract the birds,and birds like corn,we have a overload of really big black crows this way ,and i find if i keep a separate patch i can control the birds better too,i have my blueberries on one side, strawberries on the other and i trained the raspberries brambles to grow on a trellis down the middle of the patch,and i have two elderberry bushes in the front, my berries get 6 hours of sun a day they seem to be doing fine, well good luck keep in touch.
cindilynn

Fairmont, WV(Zone 6a)

Here in WV 6a (last frost date May 15) one of my friends planted their lettuce and spinach two weeks ago (!) but he's concerned he might have been a little premature. They would probably be fine in LI now, though. Definitely not tomatoes, peppers, cukes, that sort of thing. I second what cindilynn said about berry bushes...it might be more convenient to keep them (and the birds) away from your veggies (you will probably want to net your bushes if you want to eat any of the berries yourself :) ). Also, blueberries like a very acid soil which might differ from the requirements of other plants in your garden. I asked about berries in the fruit forum a little while ago, here's the thread: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/583380/ If the thread link didn't work just go to www.noursefarms.com, they came highly recommended to me. :)

Back to what passes for work these days, :)
pam

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

I think Dave plants out Tomatoes..etc, but in wall-o-waters with success now. I've ordered some to give it a shot.

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