Re: [DallasVegGardeners] Newbie Needs to Learn

From: Jack Dingler, j.
Sent on: Thursday, September 22, 2011 11:10 AM
Just about any basic gardening book is good for getting started.

For a starting gardener, some of the easiest crops in your list to grow in this area are:

Peas and beans.
Leaf lettuces

Out of that list you can plant the leafy crops now for winter growing. It doesn't usually get cold enough in this area to kill lettuce or spinach. If it snows, leave the snow on them for insulation.

Root vegetables can be a challenge in our heavy clay soils. In a raised bed, you can have any sort of soil you like, so that becoems less of an issue. On that note, potatoes are an easy crop. I grow them on occasion. They won't get as big in clay soil as they will in sandier soils, but the still taste good.

With trees, it's best to pick the tree less by type, than by recommendations for our zone. Many apple tree varieties need very cold winters to trigger them to bear fruit in the spring. Our hot summers can be brutal to many fruit trees bred for northern climes. And it gets too cold for many tropicals. I have an orange tree that sprouts back after every freeze, but never gets established well enough to bear fruit.

I'd see a local expert at a nursery for fruit tree recommendations.

You don't have okra on your list. That is one crop that loves our Texas summers. When everything else is dying, they thrive.

I tried a new melon this year called Sleeping Beauty. It did great in the heat with a soaker hose on a timer. The fruit was like a cantaloupe and very good. It had a problem with the end softening early and bugs taking advantage. I may have over watered a little. I can't be sure.

You experience in gardening is sure to be different, just like everyone else. :)

Experiment, have fun, and don't be discouraged by failures. Any given year I'll have a crop go bust on me while other's thrive, and the next year, the failure might turn around to be my big success. you never know. :)

But this is a good time as I mentioned to go with leafy crops. With leafy crops, you don't want much fertilizer. Too much nitrogen will make them bolt (flower), and then die.

Jack Dingler

Sep 22,[masked]:31:59 AM, [address removed] wrote:


This group (Dallas/DFW Backyard Vegetable Gardeners) looks very much like the "DFW Community Gardeners" group. My email below is probably redundant to some (if not all) of you. But I'm going to post it anyway. I apologize in advance if it is. :)

I know nothing about growing food. I want to learn. Is this the place for that?

I don't know how much of the stuff below can be grown in this area but, here's my wish list of some stuff I'd like to grow and eat:

- celery
- carrots
- radishes
- purple hulls
- field peas
- black eyed peas
- lettuce (and similar)
- spinach
- potatoes
- sweet potatoes
- peanuts
- water melon
- corn
- red delicious apple tree.

I can't think of anything else right now. :)

Can anyone with this group recommend a few good websites or books that teach a beginner the basics? I need to learn from "ground zero".

I have an average sized back yard. The area I can put some garden boxes is about 9'x20'.

I noticed there was a "Hands-On Organic Vegetable Gardening Class" back in August. I wish I could've attended that. But, I look forward to attending a future meetups like that.



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