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Urban Homesteaders Message Board › Planting a Vegetable Garden?

Planting a Vegetable Garden?

user 39750612
Lausanne, CH
Post #: 2
I am very interested in learning to plant a garden with the hope of growing most my own veg/herbs. I have essentially no experience gardening, and was wondering if you do, and would like some help this spring! I am happy to help out and learn hands-on. I've been looking into hands-on gardening classes, but they are mostly way outside my budget, but if you know of any good classes or maybe community gardens where I could volunteer and learn please do let me know!

Kenmore, WA
Post #: 6
I've seen good classes offered at Seattle Tilth and City People's - never attended one, but they look informative and interesting! This will be my first year planting in-ground - I've been an apartment dweller and container farmer to this point, so I'm a little nervous about going into the soil!I would just recommend starting small, with a few of your favorites that grow well where you are. I use the Tilth books for lots of localized advice! Good luck!
Jirius I.
user 11430732
Group Organizer
Kenmore, WA
Post #: 20
I live in Kenmore on 1.5 acres & have been growing a garden for the 8 years I have been here & for 30 years before that in the area. I would love to teach and share my experience with anyone that wants to come on over. I have a passion for growing food, as well as for teaching. Call me any time during the day, during the week on my cell phone which is 206-841-9976.
Sara K.
Port Orchard, WA
Post #: 189
I actually set up a wonderful planter garden on our deck. I used the large size rubber maid totes - drilling drainage holes in the bottom. I chose bagged potting mix that has a water retention bead to make sure that the planters didn't dry out in the hottest part of the day. (Actually Used Miracle Grow with moisture beads).

I start all of my cooler weather plants now from PLANTS - not seeds. This includes cabbage, brussel sprouts, Broccoli, califlower, some lettuce, and my squash/pumpkins in sheltered planters. Typically I will not put more than 2 plants per container as they do get BIG. May first I will start my Heirloom Tomatoes, cucumbers, the rest of my squash/zucchini, sunflowers, sugar pumpkins, and all of my pepper plants- and all of my herbs (in seperate planters I do the herbs)

I also start my beans and snap peas now, but instead of using the totes I use a narrow planter of about the same depth and set up a home made string trellis for them to climb. this makes the plants healthier and makesit easier to continually harvest the beans/peas throughout the growing season.

The BIG advantages of doing a garden in containers is that the deer do not eat/destroy your garden and there is almost ZERO weeding to be done! The big downsides so far for me are that I have to be diligent about parasite control using an eco friendly insectasidal soap sprayed every 3-5 days and during the hottest part of the summer watering needs to be done 2 times a day. At the end of the growing season i will remove anyy spent plants from the planters,then dump the dirt into a pile on a piece of landscape cloth, then cover for the winter. Before startingthe garden the next year I will add compost and new fertilizer along with 2-10 new bags of new Miracle Grow soil that has the water beads. It allows me to stack the containers for the winter getting them off of my deck and to re-invigorate the soil I use so I dont have to completely replace it every year!!!

Will try to upload some pictures as well!!
Kenmore, WA
Post #: 14
Really good info for starting a container garden. From my own container gardening I've found that you do have to be pretty aware of water in the pots - I usually stick my finger in about an inch to see whether it's damp about an inch down. Rain often is enough water, but if we don't get rain for a few days they can dry out quickly.

You may also need to fertilize more than if you were planting in ground, since the plants may use up the nutrients in your potting soil, and the soil does not receive the benefits of other plants & organisms decomposing back into soil nutrient. I would recommend picking out a basic organic compost & fertilizer - no need to specialize for individual plants.

Also be aware that wherever your planters are, when you are watering the planters you are also watering whatever is below. So if your planters are on your deck without a drain tray, you are in effect watering your deck, and creating an area that is not only wet but protected (by the pot) from evaporation, which can encourage moisture ants and carpenter ants. We recently moved into a house and had carpenter ants all over our deck and could not find the nest - until we removed an old cedar planter box that was built onto the deck with no drainage for accumulated water and actually had a sprinkler head built into it!

This year the spring is coming late so don't worry too much about feeling like you've missed the window for planting! I'm just this week spreading compost in my garden to plant (some seeds and some starts). If you plant too soon (before the soil warms up) your seeds can rot before they germinate. Pots (especially dark colored and non-porous pots) retain heat well so you don't have to worry so much about this. Of course non-porous pots (plastic or glazed) can become too soggy with over-watering.

If you find that any of your plants have a disease, you should get rid of the plant and the soil. Last year I had fusarium wilt in my cabbages, and was able to catch it before it spread to other pots. But the seeds, soil and water can all be affected, so you need to eliminate all of them.

Happy growing!
kyle m.
user 14506918
Seattle, WA
Post #: 6
I had hopes of making a great garden. I'll be moving from our current house however, so my year long pile of compost won't be used to it's potential.

Also, I have lots of chicken poop if anyone wants manure. Some of it is aged and some needs to be. But if you're mulching now, it's a great time to mix it in with your soil and cover to let it break down another month or so.
A former member
Post #: 154
I am also moving from my current house, but not until the end of July. I will be putting some things in pots, but other things, I am growing in ground if they can be harvested before I move. We just put in turnips and radishes. I have lots of volunteer garlic from last year. I am going to try to move them into containers to come with us, I need to thin them out anyway. I have several things already in pots that I got before we found out we were going to be moving. I will be transferring them to larger pots and hopefully taking them all with us.
I am learning as I go though, used to have a garden in Boulder CO and this area is completely different. I also live in the forrest here, surrounded by 100+ft trees so we get very limited direct sunlight. The house I am moving to has 12 acres and quite a bit of it is open. I am hoping to finally have enough sun to grow tomatoes.
A former member
Post #: 1
I'm also starting a vegetable garden for the first time this year! I have never grown much of anything before, so all of this is very new to me. I lucked out, because the house I'm currently renting has some neglected raised beds, tomato cages, old plant flats, and a bunch of other stuff laying around. Currently have under fluorescent shop lights: two types of tomatos, tomatillos, peppers, peas, a bunch of herbs, chard, and lettuce. My onions from seeds failed, and so did my leeks. Most everything else is doing great. Peppers are difficult germinators. I'm fully expecting a lot of this to fail once it hits the garden, 'cause I'm not sure what I'm doing at all, but it's a fun adventure!

I have found a lot of good information from reading blogs by local gardening enthusiasts, or books by local gardeners. Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades by Steve Solomon is great. Urban Farm Handbook by Annette Cottrell is awesome. is wonderful reading.
Kenmore, WA
Post #: 15
Yes, Steve's book is fantastic - and hilarious. the sections about slugs are particularly amusing.
A former member
Post #: 60
We are doing our first raised garden beds this year. We have 2 4'x8' beds for veggies, and 1 4'x4' bed for herbs. I am also starting some apple and cherry trees from seed. We're also starting our first vermicomposting bin. We have had chickens for a couple years, and are just starting in rabbits this year, so we should have some wonderful compost from the chickens, and immediate fertilizer from the bunny berries. We are learning as we go, and having a lot of fun in the process.
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