New home. New gardener.

lmw0336March 23, 2012

Hi, I'm Michael and I am posting for the first time. I'm a young and ignorant man but i do love plants and have been reading a few books on vegetable gardening to try to learn a bit more! My girlfriend and I just moved into a home in Atlanta that we're renting and we've also been given full autonomy with our yard. So I have researched the easier basics: how many of each type of plant a two-person home would need, soil conditions, doubling-digging vs no-till vs lasagna i said, i know the *easier* basics. The biggest obstacles that I am coming to now is designing the plots and plot size. How big? How many rows? How to allign all of the rows keeping in mind the needs of the different spacings for the different neighboring plants? And also keeping in mind the recession spacings? Ahhh!

I really like the idea of providing enough for the two of us to not have to go to the store for these things. Am I being too ambitious for it being my first time gardening?

Here is what we would like to grow:

Tomatoes: 5 plants

Okra: 1-2 dozen.

lettuce: 2-5

corn: (probably in its own 4 X 4 or 5 X 5 plot)

cucumber: 4 plants

bok choy: 4-6 plants

beets: 25-40 plants

carrots: 30 plants?

peas: 20-40

summer squash: 5-6 plants.


peppers: 5-6 plants

cabbage: 5-10

radishes: 15-30

2 kale

6 chard.

What size plot(s),smallest possible, would you all intuit(as seasoned veterans) as a reasonable and accommodating size? Or what should i group with what in the different plots?

Thanks so much for reading! And if you find yourself with a few free odd moments available to reply any comments or suggestions, we would really appreciate it!

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I'd say you could easily fit all that into a 10' x 30' bed. 6 swiss chard plants won't make one meal of greens (at least not all at once), plant the whole package. If you use it in salads as part of the mix, you might be alright.
Depending on timing, you may be able to replant where you harvest something else. For example, where the lettuce come out plant more carrots.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 3:01PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)


stick with raised beds, no-dig method, the ideal bed size about 6 meters longs and 1 meter wide.

check our bale garden presentation:


Here is a link that might be useful: lens straw bale garden

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 3:45PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Good news! In Atlanta you won't have all of that in the ground at the same time. Tomatoes, corn, okra, cucs, squash, peppers all like the heat, but the other stuff you listed tend to curl up and die in summer, so tends to be in the spring and fall. So your bed doesn't have to be so big as to accomedate your whole list at once. It is likely too late this year for you to grow peas... Unless did you mean cowpeas? Those like summer also. Actually, I hope someone from more in your area chimes in, because I don't know if this year it might be getting late for the other cool weather spring crops...

Anyhow, I can't really intuit the space you will need, I always figure mine out by multiplying the spacing needed with number of plants I intend to grow for each type. Then I add in a little extra just to be able to keep things tidy. And I think 6 chard plants is plenty for 2, that's usually what I grew, but maybe we eat smaller portions of them than JohnDear. Or harvest it when it is bigger? Come to think of it, chard would stay inthe bed spring through to frost. Well, good luck!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 4:11PM
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Ha Ha Yes sunnibel7 I DO like my chard small... No bigger than the palm of my hand... IMO better flavor and tenderness. I also don't take off all the leaves at once. I go through my bed and select only the right sized ones. The too big ones get a trip to the compost pile. I find a small grocery bag full (or sack to you southerners) cooks down to a bowlful.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 5:14PM
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lonmower(zone8 Western Oregon)

New to the neighborhood?
Go for walks in the evening. Check out who else is gardening in your hood. They will probably be out tending their garden and you can say something like: "Hi, we're new to the neighborhood. I like your garden...etc. etc." Ask them a lot of questions. There might even be a community garden nearby. Go to the nearest one and check out what everyone is growing and ask a lot of questions.
Think smaller rather than bigger. Small efforts by beginning gardeners have more chance for success.
My M.I.L. lives in Marietta and we moved as far West as we could until we hit the ocean. haha

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 7:10PM
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For ease of gardening, you can't beat raised beds. Don't make them any wider than you can reach across to the middle. Bok choy grows better in cooler weather, and most of your others will grow in the summer. Tomatoes will need room. Consult your local Georgia Master Gardeners for free advice specific to your area.

You can find information on my blog as well. I have some information and photos of square foot gardening in raised beds.

Here is a link that might be useful: What's Growing On?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 7:48PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Aha! So that's it! Now Michael will have to consider at what size to harvest the chard!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 8:19PM
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