A Beginner's Guide to Vegetable Gardening

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by Daniel Mosquin, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Tony Maniezzo, the horticulturist responsible for UBC Botanical Garden's Food Garden has written the following article he'd like to share with you:

    A Beginner's Guide to Vegetable Gardening

    Comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome!
     
  2. Spirros

    Spirros Member

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    I thought his article was quite helpful; I just started gardening last year so Ive been trying to find any various pieces of information to help me in my "quest" of sorts. Only hindrance I have is that I dont have the ground to work with, so Ive had to work mainly with pots, which, while still fun and productive, seems to not be as great as being able to actually be in the dirt. Are there any good sources for growing vegetables in containers or even about what varieties would be good to be grown as such?
     
  3. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    You don't mention much about spacing of rows and plants, and crowding is probably one of the common mistakes made by beginners. Also, in place of a raised bed, gardening in rows can be different in different areas depending on soil and climate. I grew up in the deep south gardening in sandy soil-- we planted everything in the valleys between rows to enhance moisture. When I moved to NC, I had to learn to plant on top of the rows to keep roots from rotting in the heavy clay soil. Now that I am back in the deep south, I have a garden in a wet area and have to plant on hills again.

    Skeet
     
  4. LifeStudent

    LifeStudent Member

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    In that article 'raised beds' were suggested. Is it logical to assume that the bed should be high enough to work on without bending, or is low to the ground beneficial?

    peace - LS
     
  5. Artemisia

    Artemisia Member

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    This is a nice summary. However I was surprised to read:

    # Hand irrigation is least effective (but is better than nothing).
    # Use sprinklers or set up a drip irrigation system

    I find hand irrigation with a hose and spray attachment works very effectively. It takes more time than a sprinkler, but it is far more efficient in the use of water (an important consideration these days). I consider it a time to commune with and pay attention to the plants... notice any problems, etc. I tried soaker hoses and found them a real pain and felt that with my soil, even though I keep adding organic matter, the water wasn't spreading enough. I know they work well for some people though.

    Just my perspective. Useful little guide though to help people who are starting out.

    A.
     
  6. exiled armadillo

    exiled armadillo Member

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    I read this article and it sounds like a great help in knowing what to start with. I gardened in containers in Vancouver for a few years, then I moved to Nelson and got a patch of land and most gardeners out here tell me that they don't really plant their crops until the long weekend in May.

    I am assuming they mean summer crops, but do you know when I would start my early crops or start sewing my seed out here?

    thank you,
     
  7. Tony Maniezzo

    Tony Maniezzo Active Member UBC Botanical Garden

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    It really depends how gung ho you are. I start my cool season crops the first week of March. This year due to the unseasonably cool weather it has not been a great advantage, most seedlings are moving very slowly and i'm afraid the warm weather will hit them all at once they will bolt. if your beds are ready now get sowing, its still not too late for spring crops like spinach, peas and mustards.....enjoy and good luck
     
  8. Karen86322

    Karen86322 Member

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    A hint for new gardeners: have fun and see what will grow in your area....surprise your neighbors with new and different produce!

    I started out a couple years ago gardening in Camp Verde, Arizona. We have very little humidity here (usually only about 5%) and so watering is a BIG deal here. I have sprinklers installed throughout my garden that covers most of my garden with the big winds aren't blowing. My garden is elevated 6' above our main yard, is 16" deep and we had it filled with river sand (18 truck loads)--mulch, bone meal, peatmoss, straw, fertilizer added as necessary. (Our soil here on top of our hill is Calichi--white clay).
    I usually hand water the areas that do not get water on a particularly windy day. My neighbor's yard is about 4' higher than mine and is loaded with assorted weeds that blow into my garden through a pig wire fence, so weeding is also a BIG thing for me. (I've planted morning glories and sweet peas at the bottom of our joint fence and hope they will block some of the weed seeds from blowing into my garden).

    My garden is 35' by 120' and I have it loaded with goodies. I planted my onions, chives, garlic, leeks, scallions, and peas early in March and also planted Chioggia beets (striped) and Detroit Beets and they are doing great. I've planted my red, white, yellow, orange and purple carrots and am looking forward to tasting the varieties I planted. I started my cukes, Luffa sponges, watermelon and Vine peaches indoors in peat pots in Novemer.

    Because I participate in the summer in our local Verde Valley Farmer's Market, I have decided this year to plant unusual crops, like the striped beets and multi colored carrots. I also planted Chinese cucumbers (1 foot long by 1" in diameter) that grow on a trellis. I've planted: Luffa sponges, Chinese pea pods, sugar snap peas, Vine peaches (supposed to taste somewhat like a mango?), various watermelon plants (Black Diamond, Sugar Babies, Carolina Gray's, Crimson sweets) and want to build some boxes so I can grow "square" watermelons before these plants put on any flowers and "baby watermelons" (so have my work cut out for me in that area); planted white egg plant, butternut squash, acorn squash, white summer squash, black zucchini, yellow crookneck, yellow plumb tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, Yukon gold potatos (also planted the leeks above and will give away a recipe for a great potato and leek soup), bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, sweet banana pepper, asparagus, seedless blackberries, choke cherries, seedless grapes--white, red and black; fig trees, hazelnut trees, apricot, Bartlett pear, black tartarian cherry trees, a variety of apple trees--golden delicious, red delicious and Granny Smith, nectarine, Elberta peach and red haven peach, gooseberries, elderberries, rhubarb, strawberries, horseraddish, blueberries (and they're doing great!), Honeyberries, Jeruselem Artichokes, Blue Globe Artichokes, pole beens, yard long beens, pickling cukes, tomatillos and corn!

    I have a spice garden with: chives, oregano, sage, cilantro, basil, thyme, lavender, rosemary and dill.

    I also planted a variety of sunflowers (4 kinds including Tiny's that only grow 16" tall), Hollyhocks, flowering shamrocks, morning glories, sweetpeas, tulips, daffodils, bachelor buttons, zenias, snapdragons, African daisys, Shasta daisys, Carnations, Chrysanthemums and a bunch of other flowers I just planted for later on this summer. That way, when I'm up there pulling weeds, using my hula-hoe or electric cultivator (battery operated) or hoe or shovel or bare hands, I can enjoy all my flowers as well as check out how the other plants are doing. Believe me, I get down and dirty!!!

    Gardening for me is a real joy and a time to commune with nature, including the little bugs that need to eat too. I even fed the wild pigs (Havalina) last Fall after the garden was done when they found the the few left over watermelons we could not use or weren't ready to sell when the farmer's market ended in October last year.

    Part of the reward too was selling $1800 worth of produce at the Farmer's Market last year and meeting some fantastic people who live in our area.

    I love watching things grow, yes, even the weeds, because it means I can spend time in my garden and enjoy the lovely view of the valley and mountains. So much better than being a Couch Potato! By the way, I'm 61 years old, female and have Fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis...and this is good therapy for me.

    So go out there are do some gardening!!!!
     
  9. james eagle

    james eagle Member

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    (This response was actually meant to be sent to Karen86322 because I clicked on the icon at the lower right corner of her response to A Beginners Guide to Vegetable Gardening which then said Quick Reply. After writing the following section I discovered that it was added as another response to "The Beginners Guide..." instead of sending a message to her. I put this in as a subsequent edit to explain why I refer to her large garden in Arizona. Other people may find the ideas useful too. Clicking on a forum members name takes you to their personal profile, where options to send a personal message are available, I discovered later.)I enjoyed reading your description of your large garden with the various vegetables,fruit and flowers. I've been filling my mothers 1/4 acre property with about 30 fruit trees and lots of vegetables. Because the local water company (east-bay area of San Francisco) wants us to conserve water this year because of low rain and water storage, I'm installing short 1"x6" PVC pipes in the ground that I route a drip system into. I drill a hole through the pipes about 1" from the top and put the 1/4" drip tubing through it. Drip tubing is available with emitters embedded in the tubing every 6 or 12 inches so you position the emitters inside the pipes and the water enters the soil about 4" underground which reduces water evaporation and surface weeds. I use a big drill with a ground auger about 1 and 1/2" inches diameter to make the holes for the pipes and they stick up about 2" above ground. Make sure your drill is powerful enough for this type of work, I had to use my lifetime warranty to get a replacement drill when I first tried to use a typical 1/2" chuck corded electric drill which started to put smoke out. Typical emitters in this tubing deliver 1/2 gallon per hour each. You may want to do surface watering for a while at first to make sure that roots have grown down to the 4" depth before watering through the pipes only. I've found a salvage business where I buy a lot of the pipe inexpensively. You can saw it to short lengths with a carborendum blade in a skill saw or ratcheting type PVC pipe cutter. Perhaps you will find these ideas useful. When planting trees I put pipes down to the bottom of large holes I dig and fill with planting mix so as to facilitate deep root growth. Since planting mix will compact and slump over the years, I start the tree sometimes in a bed so it starts 12" or more above the surrounding level so the trees trunk doesn't slump to a level where pooling water would harm the tree. Just about anything grows slowly in clay so I always do big planting excavations if planting in regular ground. Tip- horse stables usually have large amounts of fresh manure which cause my zuchini to grow almost explosively.(Don't use manure for tree planting) A 6"x1" zuchini fruit sometimes become 14"x5" 3 days later if the weather is warm.( if properly pollinated) See Glass Brains response to my thread inquiry about hand pollinating zuchini to reduce the % of aborts if you are interested. ( in the fruit and vegetables forum posted 6/23/08 titled zuchini fertilization) My E-mail address is jameseagle2006@yahoo.com if you have any comments or questions.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2008
  10. Pharmerphil

    Pharmerphil Member

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    Daniel, I think that is a very good article for the beginner.
    I do agree with Artemesia about the irragation bit and believe that using a sprinkler though should be left to situations where time is limited for a good hand watering, and NEVER use a sprinkler in the evening.
    That being said, The author remained focused on the Beginners aspect, and did not wander off on a tangent with all the (should, coulds or what will happen If's)
    After all, beginners have alot to learn, and as we all know, No one will ever...know it all
     
  11. NorthVanNick

    NorthVanNick Member

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    Sorry but why not sprinkle in the evening?
     
  12. JanR

    JanR Active Member

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    Leaving the foliage damp overnight tends to encourages diseases, like mildew etc. Watering in the morning is better.
     
  13. luvvinit707

    luvvinit707 Member

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    Wow great article I've learned alot and am thinking of starting a new garden of fruit and vegetables......
    nothing beats home grown:)
     

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