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therootedhearth Posted - Apr 26 2023 : 2:42:59 PM
New farmgirl and new gardener. Last year I did a small patch where I got a few veggies to add to our meals (largely tomatoes). This year I have thrown myself into it. Started seeds inside, built raised beds, read articles and watched videos. Welp, our last frost date is approaching and I am so anxious to move the plants outside. My goal for this year is to be able to make salsa and pickles from the garden. Anything else is just gravy.

I have this vision of a sea of dead plants with 'wasted' time and energy. I am trying to focus on the learning and growing but alas what it if I mess it up.

I would welcome advise, stories of your failed crops, or even just pictures of how far you have come to help me get over my anxiety. Thank you in advance.

Image of my raised beds waiting for plants with my floofer Simeon.

Graci- #8532
20   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Tumbleweed Posted - May 22 2023 : 2:18:43 PM
Hi Graci
The best thing you can do for your plants is to have good soil. Not sure if you are using soil from your local nursery or if you are filling your beds with soil from your property. You can have your soil tested at your Agriculture office. The cost here in Texas is about 12 to 15 dollars for a basic test. I found out with ours we needed 13 13 13 fertilizer. Last year our first try was a failure but this year we are actually see a great improvement.

The first picture is summer squash to the right and tomato, green pepper and jalapeño. Marigolds are in between for looks and pest repellent.

The second pic are potatos and the third pic is Hubby's corn and my green beans.

(funny how some vegetables are plurals and some are singulars)


When life gives you more than you can stand.....kneel !
Grateful, Thankful and Blessed!

msdoolittle Posted - May 07 2023 : 10:41:31 AM

What a crew! They are so cute.

Cindy, I love the sentence "to keep the cockatoos out"!!! I always wanted to go to Australia, just for the parrots alone! I am sure they can be a real pest, but man...they are so interesting and smart. (Probably gets them in a lot of trouble, I'd imagine!) Love your garden; very pretty. I need to get some shade things like that.

FarmGirl #1390
AussieChick Posted - May 04 2023 : 10:31:23 AM
Hi Graci - Welcome to the Sisterhood & welcome to the wonderful world of gardening. Starting a new garden certainly takes a lot of patience and persistence, but the benefits are definitely worth it. Even just the therapy of getting outside and getting dirt under your fingernails is good for the soul. We have only just moved back to the U.S in the past 12 months, so my gardening is fairly limited to pots at the moment, but I wanted to share with you a before and after shot of our vegetable/herb garden in Australia. It was very overgrown and basically non-existent when we moved in to our place, but with a lot of nurturing (& yes, lots of mulch), we slowly improved the soil and after a number of years, we were reaping the harvest. My hubby made 3 raised garden beds within the vegetable garden and we covered them with shade cloth to protect from the harsh Aussie summers & to keep the cockatoos out. We learnt that after they devastated our first garlic crop. A journal is a great idea for keeping track of your failures and successes each year. Keep persisting and you will have a green thumb before you know it!!

Farmgirl #6058
Farmgirl Sister of the Year 2021

"The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have".
MaryJanesNiece Posted - May 03 2023 : 7:15:54 PM
I love all your dogs Graci! They are so stinking cute. It's great that you can get a picture of them all sitting so pretty.

Jokamartell Posted - May 02 2023 : 7:06:19 PM
They are all adorable, Graci! :)

Karen :)

To quote one of my past preschoolers “Not one of those Karens, but a good Karen”! Haha
therootedhearth Posted - May 02 2023 : 08:16:31 AM
I so appreciate all of this advise! I hadn't even thought to journal. The plants have been planted and now we cross our fingers and learn as we go. Also, Winnie, he is a very handsome boy as are his siblings. I might have a problem lol.

Graci- #8532
MaryJanesNiece Posted - May 01 2023 : 3:20:27 PM
I so agree Amanda! I swear each year I think of one more thing I wish I had remembered to write down. And you really don't remember. The journal helps so much.

msdoolittle Posted - May 01 2023 : 10:45:50 AM
Thanks, ladies! :) I appreciate your comments.

And thank you, Krista, for mentioning a journal. YES. I have been keeping one since 2008. I make a note of varieties, where I planted what, and the weather for the year. I also note any pests I dealt with that were annoying for that year. In the back, I write down my favorite varieties and where I bought them. Trust me, you think you'll remember, but there will come a time when you won't and it's so frustrating!

FarmGirl #1390
Red Tractor Girl Posted - Apr 29 2023 : 1:28:16 PM
Graci, I love your beautiful dog and it looks like your set up will work well. I am not a gardener, but that others have shared here makes sense to me. I think one has to dive in and see what happens and then learn from that. Krista has a great idea about a journal too. Good luck this summer and I hope you get some abundant rewards for your hard work!

Winnie #3109
Red Tractor Girl
Farm Sister of the Year 2014-2015
FGOTM- October 2018
MaryJanesNiece Posted - Apr 28 2023 : 2:51:08 PM
Graci, I love your garden set up. I agree with Amanda as well. Do not be afraid to fail. It will happen at some point in time when it comes to gardening. It does suck when it happens, but you learn from it. Keep a journal of what you plant (even the specific kind), where you plant it, when you plan it, and how much of each you planted. Then also document how each one turned out. So the following year you can look back and see what worked for you and what didn't. This will help you see what needs to be changed. And start with a smaller garden until you feel more comfortable to expand. When I first started I had 1 garden box this year I am building one more for a total of 5 now. And I agree that the fences make great climbers for any plant that needs to climb! Good luck with your garden! You will do great!

nndairy Posted - Apr 28 2023 : 1:13:14 PM
I don't have any experience with raised beds but I agree with Amanda - don't be afraid to try and fail. It's the best way to learn! I think you're going to greatly enjoy your garden. It looks like you're off to a fantastic start.

Farmgirl Sister #4701
September 2014 Farmgirl of the Month

"The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment" - Yogi teabag
therootedhearth Posted - Apr 27 2023 : 6:37:08 PM
@msdoolittle I so appreciate that insight! Also, your garden is lovely. I am so glad you mentioned the mulch.. I almost forgot!

Graci- #8532
YellowRose Posted - Apr 27 2023 : 12:10:14 PM
Amanda, I would love to walk through your garden. It's beautiful.

Hugs, Sara "FarmGirl Sister" #6034 Aug 2014
FGOTM Sept 2015 & Feb 2019

Lord put your arm around my shoulders & your hand over my mouth.
msdoolittle Posted - Apr 27 2023 : 10:58:22 AM

There it is...didn't upload earlier.

FarmGirl #1390
msdoolittle Posted - Apr 27 2023 : 10:56:12 AM
People always tell me I have a green thumb and I say, no, I have just killed a lot of plants. Meaning: I figured out what NOT to do! Even doing this for 25 years, I still mess stuff up and that's okay! Gardening is a lifelong passion of mine, despite any setbacks. They will only make you a better gardener, I promise. See it as an education, not a waste of time.

Like others said, raised beds do dry out faster. I would recommend using mulch to help slow down evaporation. Where I live, pine needles are plentiful, so that's what I use, but shredded hardwood mulch is great, also. Plus, mulch eventually breaks down and builds your soil. Harden off seedlings before you plant them. There are lots of great videos out there for that. Use vertical gardening when you can to increase production. Looks like you have a nice fence around your beds, and I'd take full advantage of that, esp. with tomatoes and cukes. Have some old sheets/blankets ready in the event you need to cover plants. A last frost date is only an average, and there's usually going to be one or two more frosts. Be prepared if that happens. You can use overturned pots or buckets in addition to a blanket to help. (I personally use a combo of plastic sheeting and blankets for most things and pots for more sensitive plants)

I started out with a tiny off the patio garden when I was 19 and now I have a whole yard, which we have re-done SEVERAL times, due to various issues. Finally got a good design and expanded the front more. I'll try to attach a pic of last years' garden. It looks better this year, since it's filled in more.

FarmGirl #1390
YellowRose Posted - Apr 27 2023 : 07:58:21 AM
Nice raised beds and fence. If planting more than one kind of plant in a bed group them together that have the same water & fertilizer needs.

Hugs, Sara "FarmGirl Sister" #6034 Aug 2014
FGOTM Sept 2015 & Feb 2019

Lord put your arm around my shoulders & your hand over my mouth.
windypines Posted - Apr 27 2023 : 03:47:33 AM
make sure to harden your plants off. Gradually get them used to being outside in the sun and wind. Good luck.

Farming in WI

FGOTM June2019

Jokamartell Posted - Apr 26 2023 : 5:37:23 PM
My hubby is the one who gets things to grow in our garden. I agree with Andrea that raised beds dry out faster. My advice is to grow things you will definitely eat or preserve and to pick easy to grow veggies. I have great luck with squash and pumpkins as well as green beans. :)

Karen :)

To quote one of my past preschoolers “Not one of those Karens, but a good Karen”! Haha
Audra Rose Posted - Apr 26 2023 : 4:32:13 PM
You will be fine! The hardest part for me is waiting for the weather to be warm enough. I have onion sets and will be putting them in. I think I had them too close last year, they weren't very big. My carrots were tiny too. But my squash spread out everywhere!

Farmgirl Sister #6754
AndreaPA Posted - Apr 26 2023 : 3:00:23 PM
Nice set up! I have zero luck starting plants indoors. I buy tomato and pepper plants. I don't have the right set up for it so I won't try again until I have a heat mat or heat lights or something that might work.
I have raised beds and they tend to dry out faster so just watch for that.
Best of luck to you with your garden. Sounds (and looks) like you are off to a great start.

Farmgirl# 8166

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