I am getting ready to build a couple of 4 x 12 foot raised garden
boxes. Any pointers or suggestions. Mostly will be for tomatoes,
onions, garlic, and kitchen herbs ( cilantro, rosemary, oregano, etc
I live in north Texas, Dallas area
I just now saw your post, after I'd already posted my message. I did a
search on 'gardens' and found this newsgroup.. because we too are wanting to
do a veggie garden this year. Totally new to growing, we toyed with tomato
plants last year and had marginal success.. with our only knowledge being to
water and pull weeds.
Good luck on your efforts, as I'm in the Dallas area too.. and would
appreciate any advice you can give for this area.. when to plant what, etc.
<greyebeard> wrote in message
I'm in the area as well (Keller, north of Fort Worth), and this will
be my third year. I am a novice, by reasonable standards, but for
what it's worth...
- I don't have much luck with tomatoes during the hot part of the
season, but when the weather cools they do pretty well. I think the
blooms don't set well in the heat
- Since you're doing raised beds (as did I), don't use the local
soil... get a good start and buy some compost
- Don't use treated wood to make raised beds like I did
- Cucumbers grow like gangbusters here, and the taste is amazing if
you pick them small... I highly recommend them. Cantaloupes do
really well also, and they're pretty incredible off the vine as well
- You can build really inexpensive and effective structures to let
climbing plants (tomatoes, cukes, melons, beans) go vertical. It adds
an asthetic element to the garden as well
- Avoid synthetic pesticides. They kill the good bugs too, and the
bad bugs are the first to re-populate
- Avoid the temptation to plant too early. By the end of the month
we're probably safe. Last year I planted early, and we had a late
freeze... so I planted again, and we had a hail storm that killed my
- Don't over water. Water heavily less often rather than lightly
Also, if you're going to go organic (which I recommend), there is a
really good forum with lots of local advice at:
I started with a trench, filled it with baled hay, then added a 2ft
tall wooden box and back-filled it with the soil from the trench. Now
I just keep it topped off with compost as the hay rots and the soil
settles. It's working really well for me. I have a 10 ft trellis and have
had both Early Girl and Mortgage Lifter tomatoes top the trellis.
No matter what you do, it's hard to get too much organic material into the
soil (the more you add, the faster it will deplete) -- but try anyways!
You can check the sand / silt / adobe / loam / organic content of your
soil by putting a heaping handful in a quart canning jar along with enough
water to fill it. Give it a shake and let it settle for about a week.
Stuff will separate out into layers that you can measure with a tape ...
or just eyeball.
Check out this site: http://www.squarefootgardening.com /
I started 3 raised beds late last year but still got a decent crop,
not bad for a novice. This year I got an eariier start and things
are going like gangbusters. I suggest you try the 'soil' formula
mentioned on the web site: 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite,
1/3 compost....seems to be working great on my fourth bed that I
made a couple of months ago. Use lots of compost when planting each
You can get fancy and put in drip irrigation connected to a lawn
sprinkler valve controller with a pressure regulator off a faucet.
All I do is plant, fertilize and harvest. No weeding or hoeing.
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