Gardening Dummy seeks help

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Lisa in WA, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    How big is a good size starter garden for a newby? I really want to grow enough tomatoes to can some spaghetti sauce and some plants for slicing tomatoes. Green peppers, zucchini, lettuce, green beans, brussels sprouts..are they okay for beginners? I'm known for killing house plants and Christmas poinsettias. I live in norht Idaho and I think my zone is 5.
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Many people who plant their first garden really get carried away. Trouble is the enthuasiam dwindles as the weeds get way out of hand. 30 tomato plants will produce enough to make you tired of the looks of tomatoes. If they don't there was some problem and in that case less would have been just as good. Paste tomatoes are better for freezing or canning because they have a lower percent of water in them. Same thing with zuchinni plants. Two plants is usually one too many for the average gardener. Unless you are growing sweet corn in your garden, 1000 square feet will work your bunns of if you keep up with the weeds and putting up the crop for winter.
     

  3. nogreaterjoy8

    nogreaterjoy8 Well-Known Member

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    Lisa, I think you are a little further north than I am, but don't know about your elevation. We are at 5500 feet, our last frost date is usually June 1st, and the first is usually end of September. I tell you all that so you can compare your conditions to ours, because we garden BIG.

    I second what Uncle Will said! Unless you have help, the patience of a saint, or the NEED to grow your own food - it is better to start small. When we first started, it was either garden big or get food stamps, so we managed the garden - but it was NOT fun at all.

    For making sauce, I usually figure about 1 plant of Roma tomatos per 5 quarts of thick tomato sauce. (for comparison -when we lived in Kentucky I could almost double that! But here I sometimes get only 4 quarts and sometimes as many as 7). I plant 50-75 plants per year. That is in addition to several other varieties for fresh eating, canning and drying. If you are starting from seeds, these need to be started within the next week - I started 1/4 three weeks ago and finished starting mine today.

    if you are going to can spaghetti sauce, and are planting green peppers for that purpose - I plant 1 green pepper plant per 10 roma plants. If you just like to eat them fresh, 1 is probably enough. need to be started soon if from seed.

    zuchini - 2 plants for us to eat fresh or fried, and 1 plant for us to dehydrate and add to soups at the last minute. But we are a strange family and like to eat raw zuchini in our salads or veggie trays. I started some in the greenhouse (will plant one and sell the excess) and will start one outside in about 3 weeks, and the last one about 3 weeks after that.

    green beans grow great here! Bush beans do better than pole beans for some reason, but your mileage may vary. These are a great starter because they get sown directly into the ground, and are easy to grow, harvest, and can. We usually do a 200 foot row and that is enough to can for a year, eat fresh (my kids will go eat them right off the plant for a snack!) and sell a bushel or so.

    Brussel Sprouts - love those! I do about 16 plants, and that gives us enough to eat once a month (it takes 2 quarts to feed us) all year. Again - in Kentucky I had much higher yield. Don't be too disapointed if you don't have much luck with them, though - it took me several years to figure it out. I started my seed 2 weeks ago and will put the plants out the middle of May, harvest the day before we are supposed to get heavy frost. They can well. You may need to cover with black plastic, and I have had good success using Wall-o-Water's with them.

    Hope that helped some!
     
  4. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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