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how to start a vegetable garden
mini greenhouses
yellow squash
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cat litter
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quandary
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How To Start A Vegetable Garden - 30 Day Challenge - Plants That Wander - I Need Your Help
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How To Start A Vegetable Garden  -  30 Day Challenge  -  Plants That Wander  -  I Need Your Help

Welcome to Day 11 of the 30 Day Challenge: How to Start a Vegetable Garden. Recently, we discussed how to make mini greenhouses from plastic milk jugs and how to care for your seedlings.

If you missed any of the articles in this series, check out my Street Articles profile for a link to my website. Links to all of the articles and blogs are listed there.

Decisions Decisions

Today, I am in a quandary. I have 8 packages of seeds that are what I call vine plants. From all of my research so far, these plants spread far and wide as they grow and therefore require a lot of space. Problem - I don't have a lot of space.

So, the decision I have to make is, do I plant some of these vegetables in my raised bed garden, in my containers, or in a small section of land that has some quality top soil, but would need compost, etc. mixed in to make good gardening soil?

The Vegetables

Before I ask for your advice, lets discuss the vegetables in question.

Yellow Squash and Zucchini - These plants are already started and are ready to be planted in either a bigger pod or their permanent home. I tried growing these last year in containers, and they did not do well at all. The plants were small and pollination was a problem since I only had one of eat. Needless to say, I only got 2 yellow squash and no zucchini from our plants last year. This year, I want to plant 4 of each. My thought was to place them in my raised bed in a square (one on each corner) so that pollination of the male and female plants could occur easier and therefore my plants would produce better. However, if these plants spread, are they going to take over my entire raised bed? I hope not!

Pickling Cucumbers (2 varieties) - I was going to plant these in my extra large cat litter container with a trellis for them to grow up. But that was before I saw a blog which discussed growing cucumbers (and zucchini) up a leaning trellis (at a 45 degree angle) and placing lettuce beneath. Now, I'm not sure which way to grow these cucumbers.

Green Beans - I've heard of people growing them with only supports (like tomatoes) or growing them up trellises. I'm not sure which is better. I also cannot decide if they would do okay growing up a small trellis in a large pot, or if they need to grow up a larger trellis in the raised bed.

Peas - I'm in the same place with the peas as the green beans. Raised bed? Or Large Pot?

Watermelon and Cantaloupe - I've heard these take a lot of room to grow. I have a large flower bed in the front of my house with mostly decorative bushes. I was thinking of planting these between the rows of bushes, in full sun so they have lots of room to grow. I don't think they will distract from the look of the bed, and the bushes will not provide much shade. But, the soil there is quality top soil with mulch on top. I'm hoping to just put good compost in the hole where I plant the seeds, then use liquid fertilizer to feed them instead of messing up this area to mix in compost. Do you think it would work?

Advice?

If any of you have experience or ideas on how to best grow these plants, please let me know. I've got to make a decision and move forward this week. I'd appreciate your expert (or even novice) advice!

30 Day Challenge

Who is doing this challenge with me? How are your seeds doing? Have they sprouted yet? Please post your garden update here or on my blog. I'd love to see what you've learned so far through this process. See you tomorrow!


Street Talk

C4rmen  

I know where to come when we start getting into our own 'edible garden' at home. Thanks AJ for such good reading.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks for visiting, C4rmen. Been busy with the garden this week, so more articles to come soon!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

:)

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

:)

Reply
  about 7 years ago

AJ Your creeping veggies need space for a good high production, I grow Gem squash on trellises and get a fair crop, but not a good crop. A lot of the others poles with string support works well. Cucumbers always do well on a string support as do beans and peas. My preference in beans is the bush type rather than the climber, a trick we used when planting on the farm was to plant them a little closer than recommended and to folio feed regularly. I panted by the hectare and production was unbelievable with the folio feeding, also they grow as fast if not faster than weeds and because of their density never had a weed problem. Water melon need space and to be honest I rather bought what we wanted for our own use and saved the space. Squash and pumpkin have been grown on trellises but production is definitely less than if grown in their natural way, not the most space saving plants. I have more experience growing veggies in bigger open areas where space was not an issue and honestly runner plants shoot supportive roots as they run and this aids the plant with nutrient uptake etc, so Kevin's suggestion of folio feed is probably an outstanding one to aid the plant to get all it needs. I think certain plants like the squash etc need to be considered in a different manner, what production can you get from the area it uses in comparison to using that same area for other more productive plants. After all you are planting to reap and in a small space, so production should be a consideration.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Great information here, Rob. The watermelon and cantaloupe were my daughter's picks, I would not have chosen then if not for her pleading eyes (I couldn't say no!). I think I'm going to plant my squash and zucchini on one side of the bed in sets of 4 or 6 (I got lots of plants from my seeds!). If they start getting too big, I'm going to add a piece of lattice between them and try to grow them up it. I want to try and build string supports to grow my green beans and peas up. I wasn't aware cucumbers could go up a string support as well, I was afraid they might be too heavy. I hear what you're saying about production vs. space - depending on how we do this year with the squashes will determine if I even try it next year. But I love my zucchini, so I've gotta try. Thanks for all the help and I'll keep you posted!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

the tendency today is to grow cucumbers in green houses where the plant is attached to a string which is raised as it grows. They will not climb by themselves but one continues to lift the string. They do much better than lying on soil where bruising and other things happen to them.

  
  about 7 years ago
  

Interesting, Rob. I would never have figured that one out. Now, to find out the "how to do this" part of that equation. Have you ever heard of people growing cucumbers in one of those upside down planters? I was considering trying that with my upside down strawberry planter since I didn't get enough strawberry plants to use that this year.

  
  about 7 years ago

AJ we had what I call elevated cucumbers this year, planted in a pot and the pot elevated so that the cucumbers hang down, It worked perfectly. Just some pots had to be raised to accommodated longer plants.

  
  about 7 years ago

There's nothing quite like a cantaloup you thump and it lets go gently in the afternoon sun. As in fully ripened! Consumed immediately. I'm with your daughter on the cantaloup.

  
  about 7 years ago
  

Oh, what a great idea! I could grow the cucumbers over the side of the deck then, just need to make sure I weigh down the pot so the weight of the cucumbers doesn't make it tip over. Rob, you are a wealth of information. Keep it up :)

  
  about 7 years ago
  

Haha. Cynthia, I couldn't deny her - she's an adorable little 6 year old and she's so eager to watch all the plants grow. I'm curious how long her excitement for the garden will last - at some point she's going to get bored of it, but when? Hopefully never!

  
  about 7 years ago

Half an article here Rob. Where's the rest?! What a well of knowledge you are!

  
  about 7 years ago

Hi AJ...First I'll say you're doing a great job and giving good information here...OK...I do a lot of gardening so here are my thoughts. Squashes...They will spread a good 4 feet wide but if they run together a little no harm done. Raised beds are fine.. I got one each in my raised bed now and planted about 3' apart...Never tried one on trellis... Cucumbers are fine on upright trellis. I just staked mine that way....Green Beans and peas....same as cucumbers...I use tomato stakes, not baskets...hammer a few of them in the ground each side of plants and run some string between them for everything to climb on....I would favor a raised bed over pots on all the above... All your melons will be fine in your flower bed as long as hey get the needed sun....with your good soil liquid fertilizer is just fine... Tip...check out "micro nutrients" to add to your project..these are elements, not fertilizer like miracle grow, that you mix and spray directly on your plants...good for all plants...vegetables and yard decor........Hope I haven't talked to much..

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks Kevin! I need to learn about these micro nutrients, they sound like they will be fantastic for my garden. I had some organic liquid "fertilizer" I used to spray on my plants last year, I wonder if it's the same...I need to dig out the container and check. Thanks for the tip on the distance to plant my squashes - it looks like my wandering plants are going to take over the raised bed this year. The rest of my fruits and veggies will have to be containers I think. For the tomato stakes - you use the poles not the cages, correct? I want to try this. As for the melons, front yard it is! I don't think I have any space for them anywhere else :) I appreciate all the tips, Kevin. Keep them coming as you are helping me a lot!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Hi AJ..Micro nutrients contain trace elements like boron, copper, zinc, and others and sprayed directly on plant foliage..get better absorption that way... Most fertilizers basically only contain "NPK" and maybe a few trace elements. Only takes about a tablespoon per gallon and applied every 3-4 weeks...good for all your vegetables and any yard plants and shrubs. ...I much prefer stakes over baskets....I use to use the baskets for tomatoes but they just don't seem to provide the support needed and the stakes were just easier to use for me. ..I use heavy cotton or sisal twine to loosely tie and train the plants up the stake during the growing season..same thing with the pole beans, etc. Place several stakes as needed where your pole beans are and crisscross the twine between the poles for the vines to train up on.....I may make a Squidoo lens with pics in a few weeks on my garden....Did get my sugar baby mellows planted...:)

  
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Kevin. Great information, I'm going to try this! I'm so excited to see how my garden grows. I'd love to see a lens on Squidoo with pics - let me know if you do it and I'll link over to it from my website. Very cool that your sugar babies are planted! I just bought my mulch for my front bed yesterday - so I'll probably plant my sugar babies and cantaloupe seeds in biodegradable pots to start, so they don't get buried by the mulch.

  
  about 7 years ago

"lens on Squidoo with pics"....I'll let you know about the lens AJ....want the garden to grow a little more before I start...couple more weeks maybe....I'll be glad to give you some links back to your pages...My lens will be mostly just for fun....Your have done a beautiful job on your web pages...very nice

  
  about 7 years ago

Kevin, you and Rob and AJ make such a great team. Glad you guys have all hooked up so helpfully. I'm learning a lot just reading the comments! AJ I think you're enthusiasm is infectious. I'm not surprised you're lining up loyal followers along side your beans! lol

  
  about 7 years ago

Hi AJ, You're as bad as us when it comes to trying to fit too much in too little space. Things like watermelon really do need to stretch their legs! My husband is usually the 'sensible' one although we often have a pumpkin growing across the lawn and then we can't mow that bit! ;-) I saw a fantastic idea at the garden centre recently. They had a timber brick pallet (our houses here predominately brick and they're delivered on these square pallets). The pallet had been lined with black plastic and propped up against a fence on it's end. It was filled with dirt and then holes cut in the plastic between the timber slats in which they'd planted lettuce, parsley and probably other things too. It looked great, was effective, easy to harvest, and made good use of vertical space. Think of all the air space that 's not being currently used!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Heather. I'm trying to figure out how and where to do the upright pallet gardens. I'm sure there's a how to video out there somewhere, I'll add it to my website once I find it (copyrights permitting of course). Expect an article in the future on this topic for those of you out there who are also interested in this. We're using the upside down planters for our tomatoes and maybe cucumbers (haven't decided there) to use more of that air space. Only concern is finding the strongest place to hang them as they can get quite heavy when in production mode. Any yes, Heather, I'm afraid we might have bitten off more than we can chew. So to speak :)

Reply
  about 7 years ago

AJ, Good way to generate feedback! As long as you don't do mint or bamboo, all your ideas are likely workable. blessings, Cynthia P.S. If you do mint or bamboo? Put it in a pot as far from your garden as possible... :-)

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Cynthia. I think I'm just going to have to pick one and move forward, learn from it, and try something different next year. That's the best way to learn I think. I'm staying away from mint and bamboo - I hear it's insane to control!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Definitely! Learning to garden is not a one harvest thing.

  
  about 7 years ago

Lots of good info here, AJ--but you left out the part about how do I start my garden and not blow it off for a few days, to return and find that everything's dead. Perhaps I need a personal-garden-trainer to keep after me about it every day of the summer. Maybe I'm just not the gardener type--I always thought the most important thing about summer was finding a nice place for swimming... Fine article, though!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Haha! You sound like me, Christopher. I've under-watered many a plant in the heat of the summer. Which is why I'm researching self irrigation systems - using old plastic containers to slowly release the water as the plants need it. More info to come on that.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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