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Garden Basics, Books and Tilth

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Recently this plea appeared on the "Ask The Oracle" App:


Question:  "Hello, I have not done any gardening since I was a child. My mom did all the planting and harvesting and I was the hard laborer for weeding and watering only. I have no idea where to start. Do not know how to even prepare a patch of yard. When do I plant? What do I plant? How do I plant? When to harvest? Was too scared of it to even try this spring. Please, I just want to know how to garden!"

Home-Started Mizuna Seedlings Freshly Planted and Mulched with Homemade Organic Compost in The Oracle's Garden!

Answer:  First off, NOW is a great time to start the first steps -- figuring out the right site and layout and developing your planting beds. Although there is far more information you need to build, plant and care for an entire garden than I can condense into one post, here are a few guidelines to get you started:
  • Start by picking a good site in full sun (at least 8 to 10 hours a day).  Make sure the site has decent soil and drainage (not contaminated, boggy, rocky or a former driveway, etc).
  • Have access to water, garden tool storage and materials (compost, etc) close at hand.
  • Start small and basic and work your way up to larger projects and spaces over time.
  • Use stakes and string line to mark out your garden bed or beds and get a feel for the space.  Veggie beds should not be much over 4 feet wide so you can reach into the middle easily.  Walkways should be at least 2 feet wide to allow a wheel barrow or cart, etc.
  • Remove sod and/or weeds and debris from the planting area when you start your beds.  Add some all purpose organic fertilizer (follow the application rates on the package) and compost to the soil and work it in with a garden spade and/or fork.  The poorer your native soil, the more compost you will need to add, but figure at least a 2 cubic foot bag per square yard of surface area to start.
  • If you have high-clay compacted soil you may want to add a little sand and decomposed peat; for sandy soil you should probably add a clay-based top-soil -- in either case you still need plenty of compost.
  • Start with a few easy crops first, such as lettuce, herbs and scallions and maybe a little summer squash and cherry tomatoes.  Don't be surprised or upset if they don't produce perfect veggies the first time you try -- you will get better with practice and time (and even the pro's have problems sometimes).
  • Get healthy starts from your local garden center, nursery or farmers' market, they will usually be selling what is in season to plant in your area.
  • Root crops such as radishes and carrots are best grown from seed, sow in rows 6 inches apart and thin to 1 inch spacing after your seedlings have put on thier first set of true leaves (the first leaves you see come out of the ground are the "seed leaves" and are very basic in shape -- the next set are "true leaves" and usually look like those of the mature plant), follow the sowing directions on the packet for depth.

Also, your local Tilth organization should have LOTS of free resources and materials available to help people gardening in your area, from beginners on up; including classes, online resources and printed materials tailored to your region.  Just search for "(your state and/or city) Tilth" on any search engine and you should be able to locate them.


There is nothing more helpful than a good collection of gardening books! There are TONS of wonderful gardening books out there on the market or even at your local library that can help put you on the right track for your specific needs.  Here are some good choices to get you going:
Vegetable Gardening for Beginners: Essential Tips and Basics on How to Plant and Grow Vegetable in Your Vegetable Garden Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$5.80
Vegetable Gardening Basics: Grow Your Own Vegetables and Save Money Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$5.67
Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$19.95  $14.75
The Grow Your Own Food Handbook: A Back to Basics Guide to Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Fruits and Vegetables Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$14.95  $11.36
The Kitchen Garden Book: The Complete Practical Guide to Kitchen Gardening, from Planning and Planting to Harvesting and Storing Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$16.99  $14.61
Western Garden Book of Edibles: The Complete A to Z Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetables, Herbs, and Fruits Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$25.95  $18.34
Rodale's Basic Organic Gardening Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$19.99
Garden Anywhere: How to Grow Gorgeous Container Gardens, Herb Gardens, Kitchen Gardens, and More - Without Spending a Fortune Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$24.95  $18.34
Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$23.99  $17.51
Starting Seeds: How to Grow Healthy, Productive Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers from Seed Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$8.95
Starting from Seed Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$9.95
Great Garden Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$19.99  $14.98
Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$19.99  $15.18
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$29.95  $22.02
The Organic Fruit and Vegetable Gardener's Year: A Seasonal Guide to Growing What You Eat Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$17.95  $13.82
The Gardener's A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$24.95  $18.34
What's Wrong with My Vegetable Garden? : 100% Organic Solutions for All Your Vegetables, from Artichokes to Zucchini Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$24.95  $18.34
The Veggie Gardener's Answer Book: Solutions to Every Problem You'll Ever Face Answers to Every Question You'll Ever Ask Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$14.95  $10.99
Edible Spots & Pots: Small-Space Gardens for Growing Vegetables and Herbs in Containers, Raised Beds, and More Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$23.99  $17.51
Raised Bed Gardening: 5 Books Bundle on Growing Vegetables in Raised Beds & Containers Vegetable Gardening Books, Growing Veggies, How To Grow Food Plants, Planting A Garden, Growing Food
$12.95




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2 comments:

  1. What is a "Tilth organization"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry I didn't notice your question before Lee. A Tilth organization is a localized gardening resource found in many areas where you can find information about many topics that you may have questions on regarding what does well in your specific area and what problems or issues are common and how best to address them. It's usually a non-profit or government subsidized platform of volunteers from the community and sometimes affiliated with an agricultural extension office or something like that.

      Delete

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