Where to begin

MariasPatchMarch 5, 2011

Hello! Ive just recently decided to start my very own vegetable and fruit patch. I have been researching online for ideas and tips and thankfully stumbled upon this site. While it has excited me it has also terrified me! LOL. Very confused now on how much goes into this whole process. Jargon that Ive never heard and individual spring/summer/fall plans and such have made me wonder how I can gently ease my way into this adventure.

I was hoping that some of you would be able to enlighten me on what it takes to just start this off. The materials I will absolutely need. How many vegetables should I try to start with without biting off more then I can chew. I was hoping to start off with one veggie at a time, slowly adding to my patch. Or is it better to plant bunches of them?

Also, are the dates on the back of seed packets accurate for the best time to plant?

Any help would be so much appriciated. Much thanks.

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Start with a couple tomato plants. Learn all you can from reading RELIABLE websites, books etc. Good luck :)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 9:34AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'm assuming you're talking about growing in containers, even though you said 'patch', as in a garden patch. If you're serious about wanting to become a gardener, I think the best advice is to learn everything you can. Knowledge is king, and it empowers you - gives you the confidence to move forward. Gardening without a good working knowledge of how plants react to various conditions is like the Christmas present so often joked about - you know, the one fathers and husbands are always trying to put together without the benefit of reading the instructions? ;o)

Trial & error is one way of approaching gardening, but progress is always slow. While it's good to try things and learn from our errors, it makes better sense to avoid the errors. IOW, learn what TO do, not what NOT to do. Taking the time to look before you leap can be counted on to make the leaps less painful; not that leaping into gardening should be expected to be painful.

I think it's very important for container gardeners to understand how water behaves in containers, which is radically different from how it behaves in the earth. This difference sets up the idea that container culture is set quite apart from growing in the gardens, and many practices that work very well in gardens should be left in the garden and not exported to container culture.

If in fact you are thinking of getting into growing in containers, the link I left below will always serve you well. Even if you decide not to use one of the soil recipes offered toward the thread's end, the information there will help you to understand some of the things you're undoubtedly going to see in your gardening travels.

I wish you the best of luck, and want you to know that if I see anywhere I think I can help, I'll offer it. If you think there is anything I can help you with - please don't hesitate to ask.


Here is a link that might be useful: About container soils and how water behaves in containers

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 10:03AM
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I second everything tapla said, and I'll add the fact that tapla, or Al, is a highly knowledgeable, very well respected member of this forum, and of the gardening community in general. You can't go wrong if you stick with his advice! :-)

Knowledge is truly the key to gardening success, and with that success comes enjoyment! You'll run into a lot of old wive's tales, fallacy, and misinformation about gardening in your research travels on the internet... and it's important to take it all with a grain of salt and a lot of common sense.

Like any other industry, the gardening industry thrives on profit, and not necessarily on the success of gardeners. Repeat business doesn't happen if you have no need to buy a replacement plant or whatever items are being hawked.

For myself, the turning point toward growing success came with the reading of the information contained in Al's link above. Once I understood that growing in the ground and growing within containers was vastly different, and I learned how plants grow and what they require, and their relationship to soils, water, and all the other factors in growing, and I applied that knowledge, I saw the excellent results first hand!

So, I agree... learn a little bit about the basic science of plants and growing before you dive in... you'll be so glad you did! :-)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 3:59PM
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