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Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

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Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  quiltbea on 3/13/2012, 1:51 pm

We seem to have quite a few new players this year who are just starting their garden beds. How about sharing some of your quick tips that might help them.

Cutworm collars: I stick 2 toothpicks into the soil, one on either side of the stem and right up against the stem, all all newly-transplanted crops. Defeats them every time. No mess with paper or tubes. Easy peasy.

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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  boog1 on 3/13/2012, 2:09 pm

dont get discuraged if something dosent grow to your expectations last year i planted carrots an they do worth chit but i'm planting them again this year.

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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  walshevak on 3/13/2012, 3:13 pm

Transplants from box stores or nurseries are ok, expecially the first year. You have a lot to absorb and starting seeds is fun but not essential. And a lot of stuff can be directly sowed into their spaces.

Wedding veil tulle over hoops saved a lot of bug and weed headaches for me last year. Kept blowing weed seeds out of the beds as well as flying bugs that lay eggs that hatch into evil worms.

Kay

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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  plantoid on 3/13/2012, 8:01 pm

Never use cold water direct from the tap to water your veg & flower transplants ....let it stand 24 hrs in open topped buckets to lose chlorine etc and get to the air temp that the plants will be at. .This way you do not shock the plants and cause a check in their growth.

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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  javaaddict on 3/13/2012, 8:20 pm

GREAT thread! Very Happy

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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  Chopper on 3/13/2012, 8:30 pm

Throw out any ideas about when a square will be through. It is done when it's done. Don't sweat it. Just know when it is, you can plant something else if there is still time.

Also, when you plant, for various reasons everything might not sprout. I simply add more seeds where there are missing sprouts and do not worry about it. Same with eaten sprouts. I had a couple of squares of beans get eaten by snails. Just stuck some more seeds in and did not worry about it - except took some pains to avoid snails. In other words, do not get too caught up in timing and perfection. Just enjoy the ride.

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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  quiltbea on 3/13/2012, 8:35 pm

I just thought of another that works well for me.

Use wire clothes hangers to shape into hoops over your blocks. With spring clothes pins you can cover the plants with plastic if more sun is needed, old bath towels to keep them warm on a frosty nite, row cover to fend off insects, or cheesecloth to shade crops like lettuce and spinach to get a longer season from them.



Above: Covering baby lettuce in the A-frame in mid-July.

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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  camprn on 3/13/2012, 8:42 pm

When setting transplants into the garden, dig a deep hole and place seedling into the hole up to the first leaves. Press the soil down around the transplants to make a small well about 4 or more inches wide and at least an inch deep. When you water the garden, the water will settle into the well and go directly where it is needed. Water at soil level. don't water the foliage.

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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  Unmutual on 3/13/2012, 8:58 pm

If you want the best chance at success:

1) Start composting.

2) Make sure your Mel's Mix is correct(seriously, don't skimp!)

3) Water enough(each plant needs roughly 1" of water(0.56 gallons) per week; more in hot weather. The bigger the plant, the more it needs also).

4) Go to your state's AgCenter website and look up the known and tested cultivars that grow in your area(it should also include planting dates, common problems, etc. Your AgCenter is a great place for local information. Unfortunately this is available to the US and Canada only, though I think Prince Charles may have started something similar in the UK). You can also talk with your local Extension Agent or Master Gardeners. They'll be more than happy to help you.

5) Plant what you and your family eat already.

6) Take pictures and keep notes so you know how each cultivar fared, what issues you may have had and how to correct it and to keep track of any garden pests that may pop up(dates, pictures, which cultivars they affected).


After you get the core garden and veggies planned out and you know you can get some food each and every year, then feel free to try other cultivars and other veggies. It's just a lot easier on the ego when you plant things that will grow. Just because they sell the plant or seed in the store(be it big box or mom-and-pop nurseries), that doesn't mean it will grow well in your area.

However, gardening is all about experimenting. It's just best to keep the experimenting to a minimum when starting out.

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Re: tip

Post  mschaef on 3/13/2012, 11:34 pm

If you have kids get them involved. I'm new to the website but have had a squarefoot garden for 3 years. This would be year 4. The first year my oldest son was 2 and he asked to grow pumpkins so we did. From 2 dwarf pumpkin plants we got about 20 pumpkins. Next year we did carving pumpkin two different batches cause we got the squash borer bug and had a total of 5 pumpkins. I did not know at the time that bugs could bore in to plants. Had the same problems with our pumpkin plants last year too. This year my son keeps asking when we are going to start our seeds and I feel bad cause we are going to be moving sometime later this year, husbands military, so we are not having a garden. My husband finally came around to the garden too he wasn't sure about it working but loved having he's own pepper plants. He even learn to pickle he pepper last year so he could enjoy them all winter. So to sum up get your family involved they will love how easy it is and you learn so much.

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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  GWN on 3/13/2012, 11:37 pm

I had a tendency over the years to start out gangbusters and loose steam with gardening.
I have subsequently found if I try to do something in the garden every day, no matter how small, it keeps me focused on the garden, but if the tasks are small somedays it maintains my interest. PLUS by doing something every day, you can quickly see if there is a problem that needs to be dealt with, early.

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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  walshevak on 3/14/2012, 6:20 am

@mschaef wrote:If you have kids get them involved. I'm new to the website but have had a squarefoot garden for 3 years. This would be year 4. The first year my oldest son was 2 and he asked to grow pumpkins so we did. From 2 dwarf pumpkin plants we got about 20 pumpkins. Next year we did carving pumpkin two different batches cause we got the squash borer bug and had a total of 5 pumpkins. I did not know at the time that bugs could bore in to plants. Had the same problems with our pumpkin plants last year too. This year my son keeps asking when we are going to start our seeds and I feel bad cause we are going to be moving sometime later this year, husbands military, so we are not having a garden. My husband finally came around to the garden too he wasn't sure about it working but loved having he's own pepper plants. He even learn to pickle he pepper last year so he could enjoy them all winter. So to sum up get your family involved they will love how easy it is and you learn so much.

Do you know where and when you are being sent and do you have a sponsor yet? Depending on timing, If the sponsor is in anyway interested in gardening, perhaps you can get 2 large pots of pumpkins started for your son. Would be a great welcome to your new home. And it's time to start learning the weather patterns of the new place. Who knows, you might get a great fall garden.

Kay

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Watering

Post  CharlesB on 3/14/2012, 7:37 am

New gardeners have a tendency to over/under water. Something you can do to take some of the guess work out of it is stick a wooden dowel, wooden barbecue skewer, etc. in to the ground. When wondering if you need to water pull it out, looking at it and feeling it. If that stick is moist in any way you probably don't need to water. Once the stick is dry, soak em.

I still find this to be helpful at times for me to gauge under ground moisture levels. Works great for potted plants as well.

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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  llama momma on 3/14/2012, 7:57 am

Lightweight critter cages are wonderful. So far it had given protection from cats, bunnies, deer, etc. Too much sun add a light blanket for shade. Too much rain, lightweight plastic preserves precious Mel's mix from a washout. One inch diameter chicken wire keeps out the birds but lets in little garden frogs. Drawback - I don't find it aesthetically pleasing but willing to give up looks since it performs so well. Very Happy

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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  mschaef on 3/14/2012, 5:31 pm

[quote="walshevak"]
@mschaef wrote:If you have kids get them involved. I'm new to the website but have had a squarefoot garden for 3 years. This would be year 4. The first year my oldest son was 2 and he asked to grow pumpkins so we did. From 2 dwarf pumpkin plants we got about 20 pumpkins. Next year we did carving pumpkin two different batches cause we got the squash borer bug and had a total of 5 pumpkins. I did not know at the time that bugs could bore in to plants. Had the same problems with our pumpkin plants last year too. This year my son keeps asking when we are going to start our seeds and I feel bad cause we are going to be moving sometime later this year, husbands military, so we are not having a garden. My husband finally came around to the garden too he wasn't sure about it working but loved having he's own pepper plants. He even learn to pickle he pepper last year so he could enjoy them all winter. So to sum up get your family involved they will love how easy it is and you learn so much.

Do you know where and when you are being sent and do you have a sponsor yet? Depending on timing, If the sponsor is in anyway interested in gardening, perhaps you can get 2 large pots of pumpkins started for your son. Would be a great welcome to your new home. And it's time to start learning the weather patterns of the new place. Who knows, you might get a great fall garden.
Kay/(quote)

Kay, no we have no clue on when or where we will be going just that it will be sometime this year


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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

Post  quiltbea on 3/15/2012, 12:00 pm

Keep a small scissors in your pocket at all times so when you're visiting your garden, you can clip away any small weed, any tomato sucker, thin any crop or deadhead any flower in your raised beds.

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Re: Share your quick tips with the new gardeners.

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