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I'm determined to grow my own veg, I move into my new house this week and want to get some things in the soil, what do I grow!?

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Hey Tabitha! Great to see you on HOMEGROWN.  When figuring out what to plant, it's important to consider a number of factors.  Are you looking to grow just vegetables, or some flower beds, too? How big is your property? What are your specific climate conditions and length of growing season? Have you tested soil health? Are you looking to plant an organic garden? How much time can you devote to your plants?


There are lots of resources on HOMEGROWN to get started.  The Newbies and Urban Gardeners groups have a lot of information for beginning growers.  There are many, many discussions and HOMEGROWN101s on planting and growing that are chock full of insights and information from our master green thumbs!


Good luck with your garden!

The first thing you'll want to do is get your soil tested. That will really help you be successful!
Is the house a new house or an older house? Older houses tend to have lovely things already planted.

My advice? Start small, and before you go to the trouble of planting a lot, start the winter off by getting it fertile and ready for spring. We rent, and when I put our first garden in, the soil in the area was not good soil. My garden did NOT do well. There are some things you should just know before you plant, that you can't really know until you've lived in a spot for a while.

  1. Plant in rows the direction the wind blows. Our wind blows directionally up and down river. I didn't realize this, or that it mattered until my second year, and had to re structure the entire garden. This is an important detail because open pollinators are greatly helped by wind. Imagine it like you have your rows in a shoulder to shoulder line up (like a police station line up) the wind blowing front to back on that row of people would only blow on "one person" so to speak. If you imagine your rows lined up like a classroom to leave class, and the wind comes through the door. If everyone had baby powder in their hair (pollen), the baby powder would spread from kid to kid in the front to back line more easily than it will from the shoulder to shoulder line.
    Garden Layout2011 winddirection
  2. My plants hardly grew with the soil I started out with. It was such a waste of energy on my part... So last winter, I put all my chicken bedding into the garden and let them scratch it all in. I also used rabbit manure to add to the garden. (only rabbit manure can be added straight to your garden once you've planted) Now I use my goat and rabbit manure to mulch my plants. My soil has done a complete turn around just using those things to get it nutrient rich. If you can, I highly recommend even just one rabbit on premise simply for the amount of poo you can get. A dwarf sized rabbit will not eat a lot (and will eat clippings from the very plants it's helping) but will still produce you a good amount of great soil enriching material. (poop)
  3. You need time to figure out where you sunny spots are. My garden area is in a spot that gets partial shade in the day. By watching it, and paying attention to that, I was able to plant cooler climate plants (like kale and lettuce) in the shadier spots, and more heat loving plants in the spots that got the most sun of the day. This allowed me to have the cool climate plants well into the summer when they would have otherwise bolted from the heat.

My vote is to take your time. If you really want to plant things now, plant some easy winter plants like Kale. Now is also the time to get next year's garlic in the ground. Other than that? Wait.

Rachel - that's an informative graphic! Did you create it?

Rachel - that's really impressive! Thanks for the great tips.

Tabitha - There's a site growveg.org that has a tool to plan your garden, covering everything from space/layout, season, climate, etc. I plan to give it a shot for next spring.

Thank you! Yes, I that's my garden layout from this year after I re arranged my rows to fit with the wind direction. I drew my garden out on paper, with the shade/sun areas mapped out, and then scanned the image in. Then I used Picnik.com to block my plantings, and in this post,http://digitalgardenjournal.blogspot.com/2011/09/garden-20011-layou... you can see that the numbers coincide with what I planted and where. I'm keeping a garden journal on line. :) I just added the arrows and notes for Tabitha to be able to see what I was talking about.

On a different note, when I said rabbit manure is the only manure that can be directly applied to a garden, I meant between rabbit and chickens. Chicken manure needs to "cool" (sit for a couple months) to neutralize it. Otherwise,i it's too nitrogen rich, and can burn your plants. Goat, Sheep and rabbit all have PH neutral manure that can be sewn directly into soil and will start to aid in building your soil immediately.

HOMEGROWN.org said:
Rachel - that's an informative graphic! Did you create it?

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