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Old 04-08-2008, 05:30 PM   #1
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New Gardener. Help!!

Hey all!

So today was, by far, THE nicest day of the year up in Glastonbury Connecticut. I got out of school and just took a nap near a fountain in the center of town... so nice!

Anyways... I'm really looking forward to all spring and summer have to bring (gastronomically) and, after looking through this forum, I've got an urge to start my own herb garden!

I'm a COMPLETE novice at this and ive never grown anything in my life but i think itd be really rewarding to grow some of my own herbs, veggies, and fruits out in the backyard.

Does anyone have any tips or guides for me? I'm very intimidated haha

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Old 04-08-2008, 05:45 PM   #2
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Don't be intimidated. Gardening is a wonderful thing to pursue. Start small. You might want to do "container" gardening with a few herbs. As you gain experience and see success you will be encouraged to do more.

Go to your local garden center and talk to the folks there and explain that you are a novice and ask for recommendations on easy things to grow.

You might also check your area university extension service. Lots of good, and free, advice can be found there.

Lastly, there's always the library.

Happy gardening. Have fun!
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:51 PM   #3
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Drummer, I STRONGLY urge you to buy plants, rather than start most things from seed.

I grow everything - herbs, vegs, flowers - in containers because I live on a ledge with just enough topsoil to hold down a lawn. The best part is that I have very little to weed, and turning over soil, and adding more, is easy. The hard part is watering every day to avoid wilt.

Katie's advice is sound - start with things that you like, that are easy to grow. Corn is not easy for the backyard gardener, but tomatoes, beans (I grow beans from seed), peppers and eggplants are very easy.

Melons, squashes, and pumpkins take more room.

Lots of sun is key.

If you are interested in growing specific things, maybe we could help with more detail.

Lee
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:12 PM   #4
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Wow thanks guys, this is all very helpful!

In response to specific things id like to grow: Chile peppers, bell peppers, herbs like... basil, thyme, cilantro, and rosemary. (is there anything else i could do?) The thing is, I tried these in pots on my deck last summer and they all ended up failing miserably. I would water them when they looked dry and they had plenty plenty plenty of sun... but for some reason, all of the herbs died, and my tomatoes turned out hard on the outside and mushy and tasteless on the inside. Any suggestions?

Thanks again!
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:17 PM   #5
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Well, larger pots, with rocks on the bottom, and holes for drainage work well.

The herbs do well with partial shade, half day or more. Tomatoes and peppers like full sun.

And water at least once a day. I don't know the answer about the tomatoes, but it may be the variety you chose? I've had some mediocre cherry and grape tomatoes, but I've never had a bad slicing tomoto.

As Katie suggested, ask at a gardening center what are the best-tasting tomatoes they carry.

Good luck, Drummer!

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Old 04-08-2008, 08:32 PM   #6
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I'm not a gardener either, especially indoors, so I decided to try the AeroGarden to grow herbs indoors since I don't have to do much of anything. Great success so far. I'm now setting up some grow lites next to it to try other plants.

Outside I went to the local nursery and bought 3" pots of Tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and cucumbers. I replanted in the backyard where it is sunny most of the day. So far they are growing like weeds (next to my weeds). The tomatoes I'm actually growing in an "upside down" planter on the patio.

Last year was slightly successful, but I have to remember to "water" the plants and fertilize occasionally. Minor details I hope to do better this year. One year I got so excited when I grew corn down the side of the yard. It grew and I had corn!!

Try it, you'll like it.
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:43 PM   #7
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Actually, most popular culinary herbs grow naturally on hillsides around the Mediterranean and need quite a lot of sun. My herb garden is in the middle of my backyard and gets direct sun for about 10-12 hours each day. This picture is from a few years ago:

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Old 04-09-2008, 06:54 AM   #8
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Wow, beautiful garden, GG!

My herbs have to be in pots, and I've found that they do FAR better out of the direct afternoon sun.

Lee
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummercook
The thing is, I tried these in pots on my deck last summer and they all ended up failing miserably. I would water them when they looked dry and they had plenty plenty plenty of sun... but for some reason, all of the herbs died,
I'm not a container vegetable gardener...but would offer these ideas: Get your pots off of the deck/patio...If space permits put them in the yard on the ground. If space does not permit you to do this, then try to raise the pots up 12" + off of the deck/patio surface. Lastly, try bigger pots.

Luck!
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummercook View Post
Wow thanks guys, this is all very helpful!

In response to specific things id like to grow: Chile peppers, bell peppers, herbs like... basil, thyme, cilantro, and rosemary. (is there anything else i could do?) The thing is, I tried these in pots on my deck last summer and they all ended up failing miserably. I would water them when they looked dry and they had plenty plenty plenty of sun... but for some reason, all of the herbs died, and my tomatoes turned out hard on the outside and mushy and tasteless on the inside. Any suggestions?

Thanks again!
Where are you located? And what kind of pots did you use? Clay pots look nice, but unless they are soaked in water for several hours before planting, they suck moisture out of the potting soil.

Did they have enough drainage? I keep broken pot pieces and use those to cover the hole in the bottom of containers, to prevent soil from blocking the hole and keeping excess water from draining out. If they can't drain properly, the roots will rot.

If you let the plants go too long without water, the soil dries out and then added water just runs down the insides of the pot and doesn't get to the roots.

HTH.
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