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Proposed garden layout. Comments & suggestions welcome (& asked for!)

Discussion in 'Fruits & Vegetables' started by nachoqtpie, May 3, 2011.

  1. May 3, 2011
    nachoqtpie

    nachoqtpie Deeply Rooted

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    So, my husband and I are fairly new to gardening. I've never had my own garden, but I did help my father (who didn't live with my mother) a few summers so I know a little bit. We did a bit of research and decided that raised beds would probably be the best way to go, so, we bought enough material to build 2 beds with the intention of getting some more on the 15th when we get paid again.
    We initially started when we first bought our house by putting in 2 apple and a self pollinating pear tree. This year we expanded and have planted a mulberry, kiwis, and 4 grapes. (We still have to put the raspberries in) One of the raised beds we put in, we put 12 strawberry plants. All of our beds will be 4'x8' made from pressure treated lumber, sides lined with thick plastic to prevent leeching, filled with a mixture of compost, dirt, and peat moss.
    AFTER putting the strawberries in, my husband and I decided that *maybe* we should sit down and figure out what else we wanted to put in our garden.

    We have a total of 10 beds planned for this year, hopefully we can get them all in! (If we don't, we will be leaving out carrots and onions/scallions) Next spring, we want to put in 6 more beds, 2 bee hives, and a chicken coop with about 6 chickens. (That should be enough for a family of 4, right?) We're in the middle of trying to pay off all of our debt, so, we're trying to spend as little as possible, but still get quality things that will last us for several years. (We ordered non-GMO seeds to get us started as well!)

    Please take a look at our plans for our small spot. (I can't remember if it's 1/4 or 1/3 of an acre right off the top of my head) They're not exactly to scale, I just kinda put things in where we are planning for them.

    I'm eager to hear any comments or suggestions on how we can improve, or any advice on where we have the plants set up.

    I would have included a pretty lil picture that I made, but, since I'm a new member it won't let me. LOL So if you could, please take a look at this URL for the picture.

    (clickable for full size)
    [​IMG]
  2. May 3, 2011
    wsmoak

    wsmoak Deeply Rooted

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    Such fun! We moved in a year ago and this is the first "big" year for the garden.

    I started out with a plan like yours to put in a bunch of 4x8 raised beds... but now, I have six permanent ones, and I'm probably going to take half of them apart after this season so I can move the boxes around where I want them. (I need some permanent ones, for example to keep the Jerusalem artichokes contained, and I want asparagus which is also a permanent planting.) I'm also building some 3x5, 4x4, and other size boxes. Not everything needs 4x8, though I understand the appeal of using 8' lumber.

    (To save money, visit the 'culls' box at Home Depot. You can get some good stuff there in short lengths -- we keep finding 3-4' 2x12 PT boards which we use to keep the firewood off the ground, and it's only $1-$2 each.)

    From experience this year... strawberries in a 4x8 bed are a pain in the rear. I'm moving mine to much narrower beds as soon as they're done this year. There's a reason strawberries are grown in *rows* commercially! (Caveat: these are ever bearers, so you have to go in every day or two and hunt for the berries. Bending over to the middle of a 4' bed is hard, but if it was only once for june-bearers perhaps it wouldn't be so bad.)

    So I'd say... start with a few boxes, and then see if you might not want the rest to be a little more free-form.

    -Wendy
  3. May 3, 2011
    AmyRey

    AmyRey Garden Ornament

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    I learned the hard way with my raised beds... peat moss is a soil acidifier. If your soil is already acidic, stay far far away from peat moss.
  4. May 3, 2011
    nachoqtpie

    nachoqtpie Deeply Rooted

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    how do we tell if our soil is acidic? Wow... I guess we REALLY have a lot to learn!! LOL
  5. May 3, 2011
    nachoqtpie

    nachoqtpie Deeply Rooted

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    That was another reason I put the Strawberries on the very end. I can sit on the far side in front of the blueberries and still reach into the middle of the bed! That way I'm not doing so much bending. :D

    I went out to check on the strawberries this morning and they're looking really good! Some of the plants I had my doubts on whether they would make it or not, but, they have all perked up and a couple have some new leaves starting to sprout! It simply amazes me that they can grow SO fast!
  6. May 3, 2011
    vfem

    vfem Garden Addicted

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    Just welcomed you in the other thread!

    First you are more then likely to have acidic soil, its a NC clay thing. Plus you are near the coast. Definitely test it... but seeing how HUGE growing blueberries and azaleas is by the coast, its because of the acidic soil. Lime will help with that.

    I too am doing the raised beds. I have a couple of different sizes for odd ball things, like perennials (berries mainly). Wsmoak hit the nail on the head, bending over for strawberries daily is draining when you have everbearing berries.... an 4x8 bed would kill your back. I have an 8'x 2 1/2' bed and a 8'x 1 1/2' bed built from scraps. I also plant my garlic in those beds between the berries in the fall. Onions and garlic do not do well here in the spring and need to be fall planted to actually form bulbs. Preferrably in raised beds too... they hate our natural clay soil.

    I saw you wanted to put bell peppers and hot peppers together.... I had heard 1 too many times that cross pollination not only wrecks the seeds with peppers, but planting hot next to sweet will get all your peppers hot. I have NOT tried it to say from experience, but I heard it enough I don't risk it. Same with corn, cross pollination wrecks the corn between kinds. (This is not true of all veggies or fruits though, usually cross pollination only wrecks the storable seeds and not what you eat that season. These are just the exceptions to the rule.)

    I really do love your layout though.... and I have to say I was WAY jealous to see kiwi! Did you just plant that? Was it already there? Or is that just still in plan phase? I've been thinking of doing them too, but being I need a female and a male vine, I would probably go with 3 vines... I have NO WHERE left to put them. Hahahaha

    Can't wait to see the pictures of what you already have going. :)
  7. May 3, 2011
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    A military family with a commitment for a long stay . . ? That must be really helpful. I hope you have lots of fun in your new home!

    I have decided not to think in terms of permanent beds; instead, I'll think of permanent paths. See, the paths are for me, anyway.

    Admittedly, I don't have much in the way of permanent plantings. With mostly annual gardening, there's a lot of soil cultivation each year. I suppose that walking on those beds at that time amounts to some kind of claim of ownership but . . . I always apologize to the earthworms, soil microbes . . . and then get my big #13's out of there!

    I'm hopelessly behind preparing for the gardening year but we are still having frosts ~ just about every morning. I'm a little concerned that it may snow again!! :rolleyes: Anyway, I am hoping for a warm June with the usual July heat but - I'm wondering what your gardening climate will allow.

    Steve
  8. May 3, 2011
    nachoqtpie

    nachoqtpie Deeply Rooted

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    The only things that were planted here when we bought the house were the Crepe Myrtle (Which I'd never seen and fell in love with.. LOL) and the rose bush (Which is BEHIND the bushes!)

    We planted the kiwi this weekend on our fence line, so I'm hoping that it will do okay! I tried to convince the hubby to go with arbors... but.. he was a no go and I don't think that they would exactly look right considering they would be arbors to nowhere... LOL

    So... we should nix the peat moss then. Good thing it wasn't a whole heaping amount! LOL We but 14 cubic feet of compost (from Lowes) into the bed and probably about 1 cubic foot of peat.

    So... I should plant the peppers separate from the bells... okay! We might end up putting the peppers (both hot and sweet) in buckets. Sam is really the only one that likes peppers. Kids can't stand them, and I'm not a huge fan of them either. LOL

    OH!! I forgot to add one thing to the drawing... the compost!! We have one stationary bin right now, which is where the "missing bed" is, and we plan on getting a 55 gallon drum and making a tumbler as well!
  9. May 3, 2011
    nachoqtpie

    nachoqtpie Deeply Rooted

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    Steve....
    We are out of the frost here. My neighbors and a couple of friends already have their gardens in the ground. We're a bit behind! :p The high for today is 81 with a low of 55 and rain this evening.

    My husband is getting ready to get out (someday soon... hopefully... LOL) and we've decided that we like the area and want to stay. So, it makes it a little easier!
  10. May 3, 2011
    wsmoak

    wsmoak Deeply Rooted

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    Find your local agricultural extension agent.

    I just (finally! after a year!) managed to stop by while mine was open and got little paper bags with instructions on how to sample and mix soil for the tests. It will be $10, and not only will I get the basic results, but if I tell them what crop is to be planted, they will provide instructions on how to amend the soil for best results.

    This is your tax money at work, make use of it. :)

    -Wendy

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