1st Garden Questions

Greetings!
I have always wanted a garden filled with fruits and veggies, but for the last 16 years, ever since I left my parent's home, I've been living in apartments and was unable to grow anything, as I didn't have room or land (not even a balcony!).
Thankfully, my situation has changed radically and now myself and my fiance are buying our first home. Right now, there is nothing in the (very sunny) yard but some scrub bushes in one corner. Between the chain link fence to the rear of the property and the alley there is a rectangular plot of land about 4'x10' which I was hoping to use for zuchinni, peppers (bell and jalepeno), the tomato plant (since there's only two of us we figure one plant will be plenty --same for the zukes) and the watermelon. My fiance wants to try watermelon! The yard itself is slightly sloped and faces north/south. Virtually all of it is sunny all the time, except for the front of the house which is in shade due to the house itself. The front yard is mostly sunny except where it butts up against the house, which is constantly shady.
We want to plant shade loving flowers up against the front of the house, and sun loving flowers (including some lilacs against the chain link fence on the one side, and roses on the other side, just to provide a bit of privacy) in the back. We're going to plant two raspberry plants on the fence on the other side of the rectangular plot, and plant the strawberries in the corner.
Our region is 4a. Will we still be able to plant if we don't move into our home until mid-June? That's the big question I have right now. I've never been in charge of my own garden and I don't know how late you can put plants in the ground.
There are already some chives growing along the path to our detached garage, I was considering planting some more herbs along the path, but I don't know which ones will thrive in full sun.
We also have a dog, a standard Poodle, and whatever we plant will need to be dog friendly (and able to deal with being stepped on, that's why the veggies are outside the fence, by the alley!). She has been known to eat socks, underwear and Kleenex and I don't doubt that she'll try to nibble on stuff outside!
I would be very grateful if I could get answers to these questions. Research online seems to say how to grow, but not when to plant, or what's dog safe.
The Camp Cook www.clanntartan.org
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You don't ask for much :)
Dog friendly - that's a new wrinkle for me. There are all kinds of application-stuff: peppers, deterrents that you can apply to the plants. Your pooch may chomp these once, but it seems unlikely it would go for the buffet repeatedly if you have put cayenne pepper on your plants! We aren't talking about covering the plants in the stuff, but a general dusting. I heard there was a groundhog deterrent that makes plants particularly unnappealing. And for plants you are really concerned about, try a localized cage - you can get small wire, dark green fencing that would blend into a lush garden area.
Now planting - you are talking very late in the season for long-season crops. You won't be able to get a 100-day crop to get to a harvest stage in 80 days (pulling numbers out of thin air, but the concept is sound). 100 days is what that plant will need. However - there are things you can do between now and then..
You can start some plants now/early June so transplant in Mid-June. Fall crops include: carrots, cabbage, peas, lettuce, green onions, mustard, kohlrabi, beets. I bet you can get some tomoatoes yet, but check the harvest dates carefully. The shorter dates will be your best bets this season. Watermelon.. You can always try but I think there's not enough time in the season for that. But again, you could try containers and protect the plant/s from early frosts and hope for the best. Maybe the bush varietes/smaller fruits would ripen more quickly than the standard variety.
How late is too late? In zone 5, I aim to put some plants in as late as August (see list above). Plants sown this late in the season will take longer to mature, produce smaller plants - but they will produce.
Congrats on your new place, and good luck with the garden!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 14 May 2008 14:10:15 -0500, Camp Kitchen

Check with your county extension service. They have information on what grows in your area. They can tell you what to plant and when to plant it. Locate yours here. http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html
What is more important than the hardiness zone are the frost dates, last frost in spring, first frost in fall. They tell you how long your growing season is. Check local nurseries and see what is available. Read the tags and ask questions.
--
Susan N.

"Moral indignation is in most cases two percent moral,
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 14 May 2008 14:10:15 -0500, Camp Kitchen

Adding to my previous post, check out this site. They have links for all kinds of information. http://www.victoryseeds.com /
--
Susan N.

"Moral indignation is in most cases two percent moral,
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.