New gardener

Columbia, SC

My wife and I have decided to try veggie, flower and herb gardening this year. I've done a few veggies in the past, but nothing to speak of. My wife knows nothing at all, but is very interested in herbs and flowers.
We bought a few good books from Barnes & Noble and have been studying diligently for the past few days. I suggested we find a forum, so here we are!
We live in a patio home in Columbia, SC. The soil is useless, so I'm building a raised bed. There is a retaining wall that provides room for potted plants, also.
Is there anyone on this forum close enough to us to relate to our region and help us with our questions?
Thanks so much!

Thumbnail by jgconnor
Lincoln, NE(Zone 5a)

Welcome aboard, JG! I'm a novice myself, but have learned so very much from all the friendly helpful folks here at DG. I hope you'll be as pleased as I have been.

I (obviously) am a good bit away from you, so probably won't be able to help much with geographically specific questions, but there are lots of people who will chime in with whatever question or problem you're having. So, when you're ready to start asking, I'm sure you'll find someone who can answer!

Happy gardening!

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

You might have better luck under the "U.S. Regional Gardening Forum," (perhaps Mid Atlantic). You will get to know lots of folks on your side of the country who will be able to give you the specific help you need. BTW, welcome to DG.

Libby, MT(Zone 4b)

JG............I'm no where near SC so can't help you with planting in your area. I agree with NatureLover1950. You can find people in your area by looking at the regional gardening forums.

JG, can you guess who's picture is on my mouse pad? Yep its good ole Barney Fife. I love him.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

jg, there are are lots of folks within 100 miles of Columbia. I am not a container or raised bed grower, but many of these folks are. On the other hand, I do have a good idea of vegetable cultivars that do well, in Aiken - Richland counties. So ask away. There is of course both a Georgia and a Carolina forum, but they are available only to susbscribers.

Columbia, SC

I guess I should have done a little more research before I chose a forum. Thanks anyway, y'all.

Cochise, AZ(Zone 8b)

You can also ask specific questions in this forum and people will help. Welcome to DG!!

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

JG, there is a Carlina Gardening Forum, but for specific questions, just choose the best for your needs. This is a great one if you have basic questions about growing veggies for the first time, for a little more info, try the Vegetable Gardening Forum. Container gardeners have a Forum, and on and on. All are full of people willing to help:)
Good luck!
margo, also in SC

Allentown, PA

What is advantage to having raised beds? And, how exactly do I make them? Yup, I'm a newbie...can you tell?

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5a)

There are lots of advantages to raised beds, and as far as I know, the main disadvantages are the time and $$$ needed to set them up. They're great when you have poor soil, because you can fill them with good-quality mixes and avoid the rocks, roots, clay, etc. that might plague you with in-ground beds. Drainage is also easy to ensure as well. They can be great if you have back or knee problems, because they're up off the ground and you don't need to bend down as far to reach them. Lots of people like the way they look; the different heights can provide visual interest even when they're not filled with green growing things, and you can easily make them complement your landscaping and provide a more polished look than an in-ground bed.

As far as making them, it sort of depends on what you're after. I think there was another poster here on DG (BronxBoy, maybe?) who was using some large, sturdy cardboard boxes in a pinch. You can buy kits from a lot of the garden supply magazines, or just acquire your own hardware and build them yourself. Mine were installed by a professional landscaper as part of a bigger project, and are 3 feet high and made out of painted masonry block. In hindsight, I would have them lower and narrower--I can't easily access all of the space, so they're not entirely usable as planned. But I have terrible soil, lots of construction debris and caliche, plus heavy clay, and these were far and away the best solution for us.

And, I'm sure others will have other reasons and solutions for you! :)

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

tucsonjill covered the subject very well, they are essentially the next step up after containers. Advantage they can be much bigger, disadvantage they are not mobile. Like containers they dry out, so irrigation is a must, On the other hand they don't flood during a thunderstorm. They are very good for a small garden, once you reach a 1/4 acre or so, traditional growing gains the advantage. I do a couple of acres without irrigation so needless to say I don't use them.

North Augusta, SC

Hi JG and welcome,
I love container gardening and I actually do both the containers and the traditional in the ground plantings. There are many, many types of containers suitable for this purpose if you, like me, are relatively novice.
I like the lidded bins that are sold at the big box stores.They're great for storing supplies and will keep things dry.
My motto is the front of the lot is for "show" and the back of the lot is for family, (veggies.)
I'm in SC too,so if you have any questions that I can help with, I'm a D-mail away.
Also, for quality plants and seeds, be sure to look at Garden Watchdog and see what the reviewers, gardeners, are raving or ranting about. They give great shopping suggestions.


This message was edited Mar 17, 2008 2:13 AM

Asheville, NC

jg, or those who asked about raised beds: I don't see much reference to it on this site (I am only in the freebie areas) but I really like the square foot gardening method. see or buy the book that is shown on the site. I am in the process of building my first two (4x8') and will take photos of my progress or lack thereof. But the main expense is the initial setup, not much thereafter.

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