Beginner Gardner Needs Your Advice...

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posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 08:35 PM
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Ok all you gardeners out there, it is time to get your gardening on!

I am a begginer and will have 5 tomato plants, 4 various pepper plants, 4 cucumber plants, 2 squash, 2 zucchini, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, and watermelon. I purchased 2 scoops of a mixed earth with manure and worm castings and placed it into a raised 6 layer bed. Placed straw on top.

Now comes the hard part, GROWING. I have always used Miracle Grow (MG) in the past in a tilled garden, now I read that MG is owned by Monsanto.


I tried to do some google research and saw that there are many various opinions on how best to fertilize a garden. So....I come to my ATS family for advice.

Do I fertilize with MG, or should the manure mix be enough? Does one even need fertilizer? What does it really do?

Going to be putting my babies in the ground this weekend. They were started in MG potting soil, so I guess I may have already flubbed there.


Thanks in advance for any advice.




posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 08:43 PM
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Worm castings are good, I use a 50/50 mix soil and worm castings, Ill throw some blood meal on top of the soil and water every now and than. Works wonders.

Best yield i ever got with the above.

Check ph levels weekly as well and adjust accordingly.
edit on 23-4-2013 by benrl because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 08:45 PM
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reply to post by benrl
 


Hmm....ph levels you say! I don't suppose my pool testing kit will work for that? Never heard of it. What level should it run?



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 08:48 PM
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Originally posted by Doodle19815
reply to post by benrl
 


Hmm....ph levels you say! I don't suppose my pool testing kit will work for that? Never heard of it. What level should it run?


keep it at 6-7, go to Homedepot and get a tester for the soil, two acidic and youll stunt growth, Lime juice to raise ph, sulfer products to lower.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 08:52 PM
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You might want to rethink four cucumber plants. Trust me on this. I'm still traumatized from my summer of 2011 cucumber extravaganza. Better learn to make pickles now!

Also we just use manure and turn it over into the soil. Then we fertilize again just before blooming, but it isn't manure for that, I can't remember what we use. I'll have to ask my stepfather (he's the one that picks up the supplies).
edit on 23-4-2013 by otherpotato because: Left out a detail



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 08:57 PM
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Good luck it's great your growing something yourself.

I was going to suggest you use as manure all the crap that appears here on ATS, but this will probably get deleted for that comment.




posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 08:58 PM
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reply to post by otherpotato
 


2 of the cucumber plants are for my neighbors. They asked if I would put them in my yard because they were afraid their outside dogs would dig them up. My only problem is, I am going to have to run them up my fence, (I think). I have yet to learn how to pickle.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 09:03 PM
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reply to post by Doodle19815
 


I think your raised beds sound like they have a nice medium in them. I'm a big believer in worm castings - I have my own worm farm in my kitchen. I also amend the soil in my garden with coir - which is shredded coconut husk, a truly renewable resource, as opposed to peat. It doesn't have any nutrients for the plants - like NONE at all, so it shouldn't be used as a main amendment, but it holds anywhere between 4 to 8 times its weight in water, which keeps my garden hydrated.

Another key ingredient I wholeheartedly believe in is mycorrhizae. Cool little fungus that attach themselves to the roots and help the plant process nutrients. I buy them from Amazon.com A little goes a very long way with these guys.

Always remember: ask 10 gardeners how to amend soil and you'll get 10 different answers. The fun of gardening is figuring out what's best for your soil and the way you garden. Practice makes... you want to practice more.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 09:26 PM
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Try using fox farms, it's a pretty good emulsion based fertilizer, a little bit will go a long way. Natural organic fertilizers and top soil



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 09:28 PM
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You may want to join www.abovetopsecret.com... its the 2013 Gardening thread. It's growing quite nicely. Would love you input over there.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 09:29 PM
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I myself am a beginner as well, I built a hydro system for the winter but after having my beefsteak tomatoes sprout, a couple days later it died. But one of my friends has made the same system and it works amazing for him. You can use PVC pipes for outside that way you will be able to plant more crops and they grow quicker and stronger. You should look into it as well, if not for your main source of growing, it can be a great learning experience from trying to grow non-traditionally.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 09:32 PM
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reply to post by Doodle19815
 


I don't care what's in Miracle Grow. I started growing my first plant ever this past Winter, and it was a Pepper Plant and NY isn't really the best place to grow peppers, especially in an apartment. They've grown to nearly 2 feet in 6 months, started sprouting flowers 5-6 days ago, flowers are falling off and you can tell they are starting to grow fruit. Maybe in the future I'll plant without Miracle Grow, but that baby works wonders.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 09:54 PM
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reply to post by Doodle19815
 


Haha oh good! And that is nice of you...

I have some great pickle recipes, some of which do not require traditional canning (one is a terrific refrigerator pickle that is reminiscent of Claussen pickles). I'll probably add a bunch of canning recipes to the Food forum this summer once I get started. You should definitely try pickling. It's a good start to canning and that's a good skill to have.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 10:02 PM
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Miracle Gro is not organic fertilizer. I would suggest looking into organic agriculture. You will find the benefits for you and the earth to be numerous, opposed to negatively detrimental effects of chemical fertilizers. Once you look into it, you'll find organic alternatives to be inexpensive and not difficult to obtain.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 10:51 PM
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reply to post by Doodle19815
 


Depending on how good your soil and manure are it should probably be good for awhile, just till in some compost/manure before the winter and let it break down over the months every year.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 01:44 AM
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When you get your soil into proper condition the need for any fertilizers, manure, worm castings, PH tests, disappears. Just add organic material to the top of the soil and let it break down. You can still plant right away, but you may have to supplement with the above products in the very beginning.

When the organic material breaks down it adds all the necessary nutrients to the soil, and naturally keeps the PH levels properly balanced. And earthworms almost right away will come up to the surface, eat the organic material and then deposit free worm castings in the soil.

Anything like grass clippings, leaves, old straw or hay, kitchen vegetable scraps, will work. Just make sure you do not use walnut leaves, as they contain a chemical which acts like an herbicide. And do not till this stuff under. Tilling it under will tie up all the nitrogen in the soil in order to break down the material. But, if you leave it on top of the soil, it breaks down and you're left with the best soil you could ask for. While it's breaking down it makes a great mulch, preserving moisture and keeping the soil soft and friable.

After doing this for a couple of years you will have barely any weeds at all, and when you part the top layer of mulch to plant your seeds in the soil, you will notice just how dark and rich your soil has become. You'll never have to buy potting soil or anything of the sort ever again.

If you would like some more inspiration for the mulch method of gardening, I highly recommend watching the following video. It will inspire you for sure!

www.youtube.com...



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 01:48 AM
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reply to post by Doodle19815
 


hi there. I use horse manure and it is free from the stables. best thing I have used on the garden. flowers and lawn (especially the lawn = two big dogs running about) grow well and are 'restored' very quickly.

with my pot plants, I put some horse manure at the bottom of the pot, then add the soil and add plant/seedling. I have tomatoes, capsicum in at the moment... they grow well and very quickly.

I am such a stooge and try not to pay money for garden stuff. good luck with it.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 01:51 AM
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oh and afterthought...

I companion plant so with my tomatoes and capsicum, I have got marigolds growing. the flowers are not that pleasant and bugs do not like the smell and so you have less bugs eating your vegies.

good too not to use pesticides or chemicals... I don't use poisons around the garden at all.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 06:07 AM
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Marigolds and composted manure.

There is a farmer across the street from my neighborhood. He farms red Georgia clay and has a beautiful, prolific garden. As near as I can tell, he turns the soil in very early spring and let's it sit, then he adds bone and/or blood meal, hoes his rows and sows his seeds. It seems pretty maintenance free with a fantastic yield....biggest threat is deer.

Good luck to you OP, and be fore-warned... gardening is a lot like gambling, the most dangerous thing is to hit the jackpot the first time.
You'll be hooked for life.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 06:16 AM
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reply to post by Doodle19815
 


Manure mix with the worm castings should be fine for a start. I mainly use Seasol growing mix, or Blood and Bone as fertilizer, along with your straw that provides good cover if the soil or the temperatures are still a little on the cool side. The one I buy is a concentrate that is mixed with water and just used with your normal watering can. The beauty of Seasol is it can be used for your normal garden plants too, as long as the mix isn't too strong. If it is, it tends to 'burn' the roots, and can be detrimental to their growth.

How big are your beds? It seems like an awful lot to cram in if you only have a little space or only a few beds, vegies will grow out, especially tomatoes, so keep in mind not to pack them too closely.


Lastly, it sounds like your soil is clay based, this is also good for growth. Soil alkalinity will have an effect, but generally you will see crops struggling if the soil is either side of the 7-8pH level.





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