Friday, February 19, 2010

Starting a veggie garden for the first time

So it's almost that time. I usually miss it (late winter/early spring) and then it is too late for my veggie garden. I have grown herbs (have some in my window right now) but I have never grown a vegetable.

I have two magazines and a load of websites I am compiling as it appears March is an important time to get things going.

Things to do:

1. Map out the space. We have a space in the back of the apartment that is probably about five feet wide and ten feet long. It seems sufficient for 5 vegetables which I have already chosen.
Anxieties: There is apparently some sort of compost pit out there already that the landlords used for waste foods that were given to a pig farmer. I don't look forward to finding or maintaining that. I also am worried about how much sun that space gets, but I think it will get the bare minimum of 6 hours once spring gets here.

2. Pick the veggies. I am going with peas, green beans, tomatoes (and possibly tomatillos), zucchini and cucumbers. I don't eat cucumbers but it is on a recommended list of first veggies to try.

3. Start the seeds indoors, which I think Mahoney's has a great resource here.

4. Prep the soil. Here's my biggest challenge. There is some kind of ground cover that needs to be removed. There's that weird pig waste thing that I am not even sure as to the location. There's issues of possibly having lead in your soil which requires samples and tests. I am considering creating 'raised beds' but they are a lot more expensive. I am daunted by the whole tilling and craziness of this part. Although Rosie might be into this especially if it involves renting a tiller. Gizmos have a strong appeal for her!

5. Composting. I want to compost at home. I have been composting but we take the what I will politely call "matter" to Whole Foods so that they can deal with it. Most composting options that are available are either expensive, labor-intensive, or a combination of both. I don't want to do worms (it's too cold and they'd have to live indoors). What I am thinking I want is a premade tumbler, but they are all upwards of $100. Seriously? Seriously. The best prices I have found (including ebay) is Costco for $74.99 including shipping. I am confident that is the one I will get.

6. Pests. Again, have no idea, but it seems like a big ass problem, whether it is raccoons, coyotes, birds, vermin or other microbes I don't know how best to control these issues. Allegedly, compost does a really good job of protecting your garden from pests, but I saw a variety of nets and such at the Depot which made this process seem daunting too.

7. Somewhere inside of me I hope to channel the spirit and green-thumb of my grandmother. Her gardens were wondrous. She could grow anything and bring any plant back from the brink of death. She talked to them, babied them, and this garden project is in no small way an homage to hers.

I could use advise. I could use assistance (my friends and local peeps).


Amber said...

If you are interested, Walmart has raised bed kits for around $20 I believe.

Check with your local sanitation department, a lot of them have cheap or free compost bins for residents. My local dept has tumbler bins for $30 if you are a resident.

There are a lot of veggies you can grow in containers of soil quality is an issue. is a good place to start, or just google container vegetable gardening for some great ideas.

Best of luck with your garden!

Dr G$ said...

Thank you so much for your help! :)