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new to gardening...simple question about planting

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new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  staciz on 4/12/2010, 1:20 pm

I have my raised bed and the soil all ready to go! But, I'm overwhelmed/confused about how to fill it up!

I have a 4x8 bed, which I (ok, my husband) built prior to getting the SFG book.

That's 32 squares to fill up and he suggests not using the same vegetable in any of the squares. I just don't feel like I need 32 different items, so I'm confused by that.

Does he mean to just not put 2 of the same vegetable NEXT to each other, or not to duplicate at all? I know he talks about staggering the harvest. Does that mean initially leaving some squares empty?

Also, I'd like to do a whole row of flowers at the side of my bed that faces that house. Is this a bad idea for any reason?

I'm sure I'll have more questions- and I promise, I did read the book! TIA!!

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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  timwardell on 4/12/2010, 4:14 pm

staciz said, "That's 32 squares to fill up and he suggests not using the same vegetable in any of the squares. I just don't feel like I need 32 different items, so I'm confused by that."

Who do you mean when you say he? Are you talking about your husband or Mel? If you're talking about your husband that's a discussion for the two of you. Smile If you're talking about Mel, he was simply suggesting you could plant 32 different crops if you wanted to. It isn't mandatory. The SFG police will not come to your door. You can plant all 32 squares with the same crop if you wanted to. You can also plant two of the same plants next to each other - or not. It's your call. Very Happy

Flowers are always a nice touch. However, I suggest annuals over perennials unless you are certain you want those same flowers growing in those same squares every year. Marigolds are a very popular choice. Flowers will help attract insects and some (like marigolds) even deter unwanted pest.

Best of luck and don't hesitate to ask any questions you have.
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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  staciz on 4/12/2010, 4:59 pm

thank you tim! I appreciate your help. When I said "he" I was referring to Mel. My husband did the manual labor, but his part is done and he doesn't care what I do with it now.

As someone who has NEVER gardened, the book has been so helpful, but on the other hand, I'm overwhelmed with choosing what to plant and where. I thought there was some soil strategy reason why he (Mel) says not to plant 2 of the same. Since it sounds like that is not the case, I know I will go ahead and plant duplicates.

If you have time and care to help a total newbie...here are the vegetables I'd like to grow. Any suggestions on where to place them in my 4x8 bed?

romaine lettuce
head lettuce
cucumbers
hot peppers (i have a seedling set just purchased yesterday called "6 alarm peppers", includes jalapeno, serrrano, etc.)
red peppers
yellow peppers
tomatos
onions
cilantro
chives
basil
oregano

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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  timwardell on 4/12/2010, 5:26 pm

Where are you located? Is the bed in full sun all day long? Does it run east/west or north/south? These are things to consider when contemplating a planting arrangement. Yes, determining what to plant where can be overwhelming. Some of - okay several of us here in the Forum - spend the cold days of winter with pencil and paper in hand, grids drawn out, and we plan, the make changes, plan some more, make more changes, and on and on and on. I probably changed my layout 7 times before planting. (It's a sickness. We need help but there is no cure.) Very Happy

I'll take a look at your list later tonight and I'm sure you'll receive help from some others. It's a friendly group here.
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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  staciz on 4/12/2010, 5:34 pm

Thanks!! I can see how it can be a "sickness". I really just decided to do this last week, and I'm already getting hooked!

The length of the bed runs East/West. The entire bed is in direct sun for 6 hours. The East side (probably 1/2) gets about 2 more hours total. The "front" of the bed (the long side that faces the house) is the South side. That is where I was planning to do a whole row of flowers. (new question...it is 8' wide, is that going to be only 8 flowers? I'd like to do Nasturtium which I've read should be placed 10-12" apart.

We are in Southern CA (near LA). Right now, it goes down to about 50-55 at night and our days are between 55-75.

Currently, in my "pencil plan", I have lettuce on the West side.(more shade there) My "vine" plants like tomato and cucumber on
the back (north) side. Other than that, I'm unsure!

Thanks again- all help is welcome and appreciated!

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Veggie placement

Post  jenjehle on 4/12/2010, 7:28 pm

Staciz,

Welcome to the forum! Sounds like you're going to have some real fun this summer!

First, it sounds as if you have the main things down with regards to tomatoes and cuks in the back; the trellis with nylon netting suggested in the book works great for both! This is only my 2nd year so hopefully more experienced SFG'ners will chime in to help you.

Really, I think most of this is just preference. Everyone tends to place things differently. Also, for some of us, where we put things can depend on rotation of plants from year to year. But, of course, this doesn't apply to you since this is your first year.

Personally, I like to put my herbs in the front, along with my lettuces. I tend to put peppers more in the middle.

Also, it will help people who are more visual if you can post a picture of your gardens. Some of us don't do well with descriptions Smile If you want to know how to upload a picture, there's a really good step by step in the "How to..." forum.

Feel free to ask all the questions you'd like!! I'm sure you'll get lots of pointers There's lots of experience here on these boards! I've learned so much.



Last edited by jenjehle on 4/13/2010, 12:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  Wyldflower on 4/12/2010, 7:36 pm

I tend to want to plant like Jenny... herbs and lettuces to the front. I'd also be a little cautious about the oregano. It's a perennial that LOVES to spread, so you may want that in a separate spot (maybe just in a pot).

One website - Gardener's Supply - has an interactive function where you can design your square foot garden with their Kitchen Garden Planner. I find it helpful. Oh.... and there's NOTHING wrong with planting your flowers across the front. The book has descriptions of various plants, including flowers, near the back. Many of the flowers, like dwarf marigolds and pansies can be planted four to a square.
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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  timwardell on 4/12/2010, 10:06 pm

@staciz wrote:
The length of the bed runs East/West. The entire bed is in direct sun for 6 hours. The East side (probably 1/2) gets about 2 more hours total. The "front" of the bed (the long side that faces the house) is the South side. That is where I was planning to do a whole row of flowers. (new question...it is 8' wide, is that going to be only 8 flowers? I'd like to do Nasturtium which I've read should be placed 10-12" apart.
I'm planting Nasturtiums this year for the first time and am placing them 1 per square. However, I also have dwarf snapdragons, stock, and marigolds that are 2 and/or 4 per square. So to answer your question, yes, that would be only 8 flowers if you plant Nasturtiums. 32 if you plant marigolds, or dwarf snapdragons.
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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  staciz on 4/13/2010, 1:00 am

Thanks again everyone. I rearranged some things and put my lettuce in front, but still behind my flowers. I will also take the oregano advice and put it in it's own pot!

Tim, are you planting the nasturtium from seeds? Where did you get them?

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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 4/13/2010, 7:14 am

Hi,
You asked for help on layout. Your sorting of what goes where sounds good. Marigolds, nasturtiums and onions should help with bugs. I have tried grouping plants and spreading them out. I like grouping the plants it makes it easier to find food at harvest time. Nasturtiums should be easy to find. I bought some from Walmart on the cheap rack and from Dollar General, again on the cheap rack. Happy gardening.

Patty from Yorktown
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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  mckr3441 on 4/13/2010, 12:28 pm

When it comes to planning, not only am I visual, I'm also forgetful. So this is what is hanging on the door in the kitchen:



First I write what I think I want in each square. When I get the seeds I tape them up so I know I have them. Then I move them around as time goes on and I scratch out the name I wrote in the first place and replace with the new idea. This way I can put the seed packet/envelope back in the right place when done planting


I make a lot of adjustments! In the case of flowers, I just put flower packets in the spot not necessarily meaning THAT flower, just "flowers". The pictures help me see things quickly.
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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  timwardell on 4/13/2010, 3:55 pm

@staciz wrote:Tim, are you planting the nasturtium from seeds? Where did you get them?
I planted seeds last month. Got them from Lowe's. I have two varieties - on is a bush type that gets about 8"-12" tall. The other is a vining type that could reach 6 feet. I'm trying them for the first time because I've heard the leaves and flower petals are edible and they are great companions for cucumbers and melons because they deter pest - including the squash vine borer moths (which destroyed my cukes and melons last year).
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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  Wild Bill on 4/13/2010, 4:08 pm

If you want to do some companion planting, keep the following in mind.

Plant all your peppers adjacent to each other.

Plant your tomaotes adjacent to your peppers.

Plant your cucumbers and onions adjacent.

Place your lettuce adjacent to the cucumbers.

and you can mix in the basil between the peppers and tomatoes here and there as well.

I also like to plant some borage near my tomatoes and peppers to help improve flavor and bring beneficial insects.

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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  martha on 4/13/2010, 8:41 pm

nasturtiums are edible - a little peppery for me. Has anyone tried pansies? My experience is that different colors have different flavors.
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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  happyfrog on 4/14/2010, 8:16 am

i like nasturtiums - better than radishes actually - and look real pretty on salads.

dfidn't know about pansies - will have to research that one - i love eating flowers! Smile

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Re: new to gardening...simple question about planting

Post  littlesapphire on 4/14/2010, 9:38 pm

I've had pansies before. The ones I had were really mild flavored, tasted almost like roses.
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Nasturtiums

Post  HappyFeet on 4/24/2010, 10:44 pm

We had Nasturtiums in a corner flower bed by our walkway one year. Fond memories, filled out nicely...and a bonus, a Bunny had her 7 babies in a nest in them! Was fun watching them run around the yard. You can soak the seeds for 24 hours and "nick" them to get them started. They will do well even in dryer soils....better even!

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