New to board and gardening

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by countrymommy134, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. countrymommy134

    countrymommy134 Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    Hi there neighbors! I'm Christine, wife to Pete, and Moma to 3 so far. We are a homeschooling family in Northeast Texas. We love it here. We just moved to Kaufman about 7.5 months ago, and we are having to move again! Long story - but the short of it is that we are getting a better place with more land! We have 5.5 acres here and less than a month will have 10! PTL!!

    Anyway, our first goal (while unpacking) is to get a garden started. I've been told that we can start a garden year round in Texas.

    I'm not sure what size to start out with. This will be our first attempt at growing anything outside of the "bean in a paper cup" experiment.

    But, I've got 2 of my big kids to help and a DH that is WONDERFUL, so I'm ready for anything.

    We really want to make a garden big enough to produce a GOOD harvest for fresh veggies, canning and preserving the rest (a new skill I'll need to learn). So, my question is: how big is too big the first time around? What is a good size to start out with knowing that we will have lots of help for maintenance?

    I'm really looking forward to the boards!! Sounds like my kind of place - I get caught up on this type of board on Sonlight. :D
     
  2. duke3522

    duke3522 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    227
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    Hi countrymommy134,

    And welcome! :cool: :cool: This is a really nice place with lots of great folks. As for how big a garden, I think that it is best to start out small and work your way up. It also depends on what gardening meathod you want to use. I use raised beds and plant along the guidelines in the 'Square Foot Gardening' books. You can raise a lot of veggies in a very small area that way. Raised beds are just areas of raised soil. I use concrete blocks to hold my raised beds, but I have also just hoed soil into free form raised beds. Either way will work. Now my beds are pretty big, 4'x100', since I will be selling at a farmers market later this year. But I am sure you could get a excellent harvest out of a couple of 10' beds. I made my beds just wide enough so I don't have a problem reashing to the middle of the bed from either side. Also, you may want to look into growing any vining plant such as melons, and long vine tomatoes, on upright supports. They are much easier to take care of and harvest that way.

    Also, don't forget to use the search feature to find old threads about your gardening questions. Along the way just about everything has been talked over here. And let us know how things are going.

    Also remember that on garden is complete without a pumpkin or two :haha: .

    Grow Em Big!! :worship:


    Duke
     

  3. mamabear

    mamabear Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    652
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    NW AR
    Welcome, Christine, to the Gardening board as well as to Texas. I grew up in east Texas and now live in west Texas, which is as different as daylight and dark when it comes to gardening. You should find plenty of folks in your neck of the woods that are gardening and most of them will be proud to share their gardening knowledge with you.

    As far as size goes, gardening is one of those things that is kindof addictive. Years ago I started with a garden that was about 15' x 20' and it has grown and grown over the years. Depending on what methods you use, you can grow a lot of produce in a very small space. Intensive planting and square foot gardening, as well as vertical gardening all supply maximum output with minimal space. I do all of these as well as using the Ruth Stout method of gardening, heavily mulching with hay so I don't have to pick weeds all summer. :D

    Make a list of exactly what you want to plant. There are charts online that will show you output of particular vegetables, so you will know not to plant twenty zucchini plants or you will be able to supply four counties. (I, by the way, have never learned this because I will plant every seed I have :haha: ) This will pretty well decide a size for you. Pick a spot that receives lots of sun, and begin.

    Here is a website that may help you with some other questions, but don't hesitate to come back here. Folks here are great! http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/
    Happy dirty hands!! :D
    mamabear
     
  4. mamabear

    mamabear Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    652
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    NW AR
  5. countrymommy134

    countrymommy134 Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    mamabear,

    Actually, we've lived in Texas our entire lives - I'm 28 and DH is 32. He was in the military though, and has traveled the world! I've always just been in TExas! LOL

    About the intensive gardening, sq. ft. gardening and Ruth Stout methods; are there books on these? I know that I saw one on sq. ft. gardening at the 1/2 price book store yesterday - but I don't recognize the subtitles of the other methods.

    I'm a book nut - if there is a book on it, I want it!! Course I rarely read for anything other than knowledge - but I like to do something right the first time! LOLOL

    I might run by the bookstore later today! :)

    Thank you all so much!!! and thanks for the links!!
     
  6. countrymommy134

    countrymommy134 Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    mamabear,

    I looked up the ruth stout stuff and the sq. ft. gardening. Is there a way to mix the two? I love the idea of smaller beds and no weeding. Or maybe Mel mentions mulch gardening in his book as well????
     
  7. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,800
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    South of DFW,TX zone 8a
    I'm west of you about 30 miles or so. Are you going to remain in Kaufman or move away? If you stay you are in a good area for gardening but will need to manage the black clay well with organic matter or you might fall into the cracks in dry weather.
    Now is the time for beans, blackeyed peas, squash, tomato and pepper transplants. Corn too if you have the room available. Melons will do prety well if you have some of the sandy type land on that side of the Trinity. I have blackland. Wait a couple of more weeks to plant okra.
    Come July and most things will dry out. You can have spring and fall gradens with no problem. If near a creek, river or woods the coons will be a problem with sweet corn.
    Feel free to pm me if I can be of further assistance.

    also anothe good forum is at

    www.gardenweb.com

    This has forums such as Texas gardening, heirloom, tomato, hot pepper, etc.
    Ed
     
  8. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    510
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Ten Acres--Yeee Haw!!!

    Don't try to do it all at once.

    Great Books, all probably available used on Amazon or Half.com:

    Any books by Eliot Coleman
    Any books by Gene Logsdon
    Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew
    Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza
    Weedless Gardening by Lee Reich
    Growing Your Own Vegetables by John Jeavons
    Many, Many books by Rodale Publishing
    Any books by Joel Salatin
    Any books by Andy Lee

    Now, run out and get a mess of baby chickens, and a few rabbits and in time, you will have the best fertilizer in the world. I am a strong proponent of using organic methods for the garden. Over time, it works better, and it builds good health for all concerned. Pesticides have been linked to degenerative diseases such as Parkinsons.

    Stay in touch here, Welcome Aboard, and happy gardening!! :p :p :p
     
  9. mamabear

    mamabear Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    652
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    NW AR
    Hi Countrymommy,
    As far as mixing the methods, I take what I can use from each one and just do it all. :rolleyes: No one's ever told me different and it seems to work. With the square foot gardening or the intensive gardening, you are just putting plants closer than what is normally recommended. Then you start adding posts and wire for some of those plants to grow on, such as beans, peas, cucumbers, any vining plants, and you have vertical gardening. Then you come in with the mulch and put it thickly around the plants and throughout the garden and you have the Ruth Stout method.
    I use it all, and with the hot west Texas sun and no rain, it works wonderfully. The best part is the lack of weeding. :D

    I also cook the same way that I garden. Throw in a little of this, a dash of that, maybe a pinch of something else... :rolleyes:

    mamabear
     
  10. countrymommy134

    countrymommy134 Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    Whiterock, yes we will still be near Kaufman. It is really sandy soil around here. Not too much black clay - as far as I know.

    We won't be near a creek. It seems to be mostly pasture around us - lots of cows!!

    I'm so looking forward to this!!! :)

    We just sold our camper because we knew we weren't going to have the time to fix it (leaks, canvas, etc.) or to camp in it while we are trying to get our land going. So, now we have some money for starting our little homestead! We still have a tent and lots of camping gear - we can "rough it" if we really want to go camping! :)
     
  11. countrymommy134

    countrymommy134 Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    Awesome Mamabear!!! As for the cooking - I'd like to find a way to do it more frugally! I'm bad about those "gourmet" recipes with all kinds of weird ingredients. I love them, DH loves them, DKids love them, but they are EXPENSIVE! Maybe a little of this and a lot of that will be just the ticket to help our grocery bill go down!!

    Thank you for all your help!!! I've found a Ruth STout book at the library to browse through while we pack!!