My 2014 Garden Prep and Vlog Goals

Syntria(8a)January 17, 2014

Hello friends!

Been using GardenWeb for about a year, and I've never found a place that could answer every one of my questions so quickly. You guys are fantastic. I'm an avid gamer and I have a sizable following on my game-related channels on YouTube but I'm ready to get serious about my gardening efforts this year and my current followers, well, are more interested in seeing me garden in Farming Simulator 2013 then real life gardening. So, absolutely shameless advertising of my YouTube at (Its not a business, just my personal blog/vlog).

For the past ten years, I've been restricted to rental houses and apartments and only container gardening. I've been successful with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, kale, cantaloupe, and more in containers with drip systems and limited sun exposure. I'm also nursing some grape vines, lemon and lime trees as well in containers until spring comes around...

I've reached one of my life milestones this year. Buying a house. A house I can do what I want with, plant what I want, rip up the yard how I want. Its just...such an amazing feeling.

For the past month, I've been thinking about nothing but gardening, reading books, reading this forum, started my vlog as linked above, researching and drawing diagrams, and more.

Here's a list of my goals, in order of progression---any advice at all would be greatly appreciated. I know this is a broad subject.

Starting from Seeds - I have gone a little seed crazy, and I know that I'm being too ambitious. I have around 50 varieties of seeds from last year and this year, ranging from Tomatillos to Beets to Milkweed.

I'll be using a heatting pad, humidity dome, and 72 tray to get started today on Peppers, Tomatoes, Flowers (Butterfly/Bee attracting), Marigolds and Basil (for companion planting). Starting with Peppers and Tomatoes since they take the longest.

I have installed a growing 'room' out in my garage, which is still kind of cool. I have 2 T8 Bulbs putting out about 4200k lumien each. I hope it'll be sufficient in growing some solid starting plants.

In the spring, I want some root crops like parsnips, carrots, potatoes, onions, and beets and as it warms up tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, beans, and a few other varieties. I'm also going to try to grow Kales/Lettuces on the north side of the house where they only get an hour of morning sun---being Texas, its going to get real hot real quick. I've had great success growing Kale from seed, but everytime I grow lettuce I fail miserably.

I've read various debates on raised bed materials, between new pressure treated wood and Cedar and since I can afford it I think I'm going to go with cedar.

I'll be building on a slight slope in the backyard, so instead of 4x4 I'm thinking 2x6 going adjacent to the slope so its easier to keep them level---create a stair sort of effect.

I'm thinking I want around 12-24 sq feet to work with in the spring, and add a little more in the summer. I want to start a compost pile with leaves, grass, food scraps. I've never composted before.

All this is to say, I feel like I have a family here. I don't know any of you by name, and I've only spoken to a few of you privately in emails.

I want to grow as a gardener along with my crops, I want to be a vegetable academic, I want to be as helpful and valuable to this community as you have been to me. I want to save seeds and use the seed exchange, I want to be able to answer some of those off the wall questions that get posted here as the years go on.

There's not exactly a question here, though any guidance or tips on starting my first true backyard garden would greatly be appreciated. I'll be documenting my journey along the way on YouTube, which I'm sure is to be full of failures as well as successes.

Thank you. :)
~ Syntria / Christina
Arlington, TX

Here is a link that might be useful: My New YT Vlog about Gardening

This post was edited by Syntria on Fri, Jan 17, 14 at 13:58

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-I should not have replied to this-

This post was edited by ceth_k on Sat, Feb 15, 14 at 1:41

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:19PM
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Hello guys!

I just got some price quotes from a local bulk compost place, wanted to hear some feedback.

"Our Top Soil retails for $33.90 per cubic yard and Compost for $34.90. If you pick up there is an additional cost of $1.25 and delivery can vary both on the amount of material you purchase and your distance from our location. But $75.00 would be a good estimate. We do have a minimum of 4 yards of material for delivery.

Bagged version on these material Top Soil $2.50 (40 lb bag) and Compost for $4.00 (2 cubic foot bag). "

With that being said, how should I make my bed? Doing 4x8 at 12'' high, so 64 cubic feet or about 2 cubic yards.

I was thinking of getting 1 cubic yard, plus a few cubic feet of peat moss, and then I'm not sure, pine furs? Sand? Something to increase drainage and keep it from compacting as well as a few amendments. Hmm.

Does that price sound good?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 11:11PM
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The price for the compost is around what I would expect to pay where I live - be sure to go and look at what you are buying. I would get the compost - the dirt at your house is probably better than what they mixed with their compost to make the soil mix. If you have a place to have them dump it (and store it out of the way), it might make more sense to get 4 or 5 yards delivered - it seems like you might be doing a lot of planting eventually.

If there is not much wrong with your existing soil I would make low raised beds by working 4 or 5 inches of compost into the top 8 inches of your soil. I would line it with bricks or block, it will be 6 inches + deep (which works well for me.) With that much area and the number of things that you want to grow, I would go with a few beds instead of just one large one - you will have less of the worked area used up for space between the plants.

I like your videos, it seems like you are having a lot of fun and is a good way to log progress. In your garden clean up video the plant with the new plants from its base is called a "hen and chicks" or similar. Congratulations on the house and engagement. Best wishes for the future.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 2:06AM
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dave_f1 SC, USDA Zone 8a(7b)

I think the price is reasonable. I'd also suggest you see what you are having delivered if you decide to go that route. Your beds really don;t need to be 1 ft deep for annuals/veggies, especially if you have a decent soil in the yard. Your 4x8 ft bed at 12" would be 32 ft3 (not 64, right?) or a little more than a yd3. 6-8 inch deep might be sufficient, so then you'd need less. May want to go with bagged if you'll have to pay alot for delivery.

Yes, a little crazy with the seeds this year. But if you enjoy watching those seedlings grow then that's great. You'll now have a better idea of when and how to start the different types, etc, etc. If you started them in mid-Jan, you may have some pretty large tomato plants before they're ready for outside in your area. That's probably an ok time to start your peppers though.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 4:04AM
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Syntria, congrats on your new home. It's great not to have anyone tell you what you can or can't do.

Raised beds are nice but not necessary. You can use compost one the top of the soil and leave space around it to walk and work. I just mound it up and leave the top flat. Some people like neat and tidy though. I don't like to leave a place for the slugs to live.

Go with as much space as you can to start. All of those little seeds make BIG plants.

Good luck and take great videos.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 5:11PM
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I just saw on another post that you are a SFG fan.I guess they tend to stay with wood or concrete beds. Please disregard my mounding idea.

I did see that you planed on putting your fruit trees south of your veggies. Is that still true? You will shade your SFG that way when your trees go to their full size. Just a reminder of that fact.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 6:52PM
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Can't tell you about the compost. I just wanted to welcome you to the wonderful and wacky world of gardening. Every year is a new learning experience.

It is like family here. Lots of good advice given here. Sometimes we don't always agree. :) Like family, I'm not around as much as I used to be, but still come here and give helpful advice or encouraging words when I can.

Happy gardening,

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 7:45AM
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Hi, I'm in Arlington also. I'm working on improving my 2nd veggie garden. I love your seedling/light set up. Right now I am using a bedroom window. This bipolar weather has me starting really late as far as seeds or planting. Good luck with your ambitious garden. Soooo many plants.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 8:10PM
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bman123(7b/8a DFW TX)

Hi Syntria,
I also live in the DFW area and have a whole new garden this year. As for soil- what is this bulk compost place you speak of? I ordered 5 cubic yards of Premium Soil Mix from Silver Creek Materials in Fort Worth. The mixture is 40% sand and 60% compost. Everything planted so far is doing great. I added cotton burr compost, chicken manure, and cow manure to each of the beds with the new soil to boost nutrients/nitrogen. Anyways, that Premium Soil Mix is $25 per cubic yard, and they can have it delivered that day. If you haven't built your beds already, I encourage you to check them out.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 4:01PM
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