Archive for the ‘Starting a Garden’ Category

Starting a Garden For Beginners

October 25, 2012 1:05 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Susan asks…

Starting a Garden for beginners?

Starting a Garden – I want to start a simple garden. Just to see if it might be something I can keep up with and enjoy. What is a good vegetable or fruit to start with and good advice on when, where, and how to plant.

Martin Boyle answers:

Starting a Garden with what you have now, the soil. You need to evaluate it for texture and structure.
Http://gardening.about.com/od/amendingsoil/Amending_the_Soil_in_Your_Garden_Making_Great_Soil.htm
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07235.html

Trees might be slightly long term as they don’t produce a crop for several years. But herb and other culinary plants are great for starting a garden they might just spike your interest if you also like to cook.
If you are more interested in starting a garden in a mixed use cottage style inter-plant flowers and edibles. Plant what you like to eat like parsley, tarragon, oregano, rosemary & thyme. Include lavender for cooking. It is a member of the mint family and is close to rosemary, sage, and thyme. It is best used with fennel, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, and savory.

When starting a garden, always keep beds small enough to reach with out walking in them. Compacted earth is not root friendly. 3-4 feet is as wide as a bed should go unless you can reach in from both sides. So keep herbs near where you can harvest easily then place taller interesting plants behind or between. Vary the shape, texture, and heights when starting a garden so the eye is drawn along. Plants can be mounds, spike-like punctuation points, or trailing. Grey leaves like sun as do fuzzy ones while golden and delicate greens do best with shelter for noon light is a rule of thumb.
You can grow simple plots in raised beds so they are easier to work in. If you don’t want straight lines lay out a 75 -100 hose to try out outlines for the proposed site. Pick an area in as much sun as you can since most plant you will start with probably want full sun.
Look at books in your library about starting a garden and web site’s like these.
Cottage gardening  : by Gail Harland
The Northwest Cottage Garden by S. Andrew Schulman
http://www.mainecottagegarden.com/
http://www.the-landscape-design-site.com/gardenstyles/cottage.html
http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/englishcottageherbgarden.htm

Buying roses is not hard. Look for three good canes larger than a pencil. Anything less than three is not worth buying. More is ok but not necessary.
My favorite rose breeders are Dr. Griffith Buck, Tom Carruth, David Austin, and Ralph Moore. Look at Carruth’s ‘Night Owl’ ‘Ebb Tide’ ‘Raven’ ‘Midnight Blue’ for dark roses. Two great companions with roses are lilies and clematis.
Http://www.weeksroses.com/
Oriental lilies like the Madonna lily, or Lilium henryi are very fragrant, blooming mid summer, in many pale colors to grow with dark roses. Next pick a clematis like ‘Etoile Violette’ or ‘Helios’ to climb the rose or a trellis on the wall.
Http://www.joycreek.com/
An easy way to start is to plant bulbs in groups between plants so you get early and late flowers.
Http://www.vanengelen.com/

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Martin Boyle
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