Re: Beginner garden, Zone 8a, need tips

snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Not Much) wrote in message

Sure. if you start in august, you will be growing mostly fall greens, and those are
a) the most nutritious of all veggies and b) in most cases you can let them go to seed and collect seeds for future crops

Yes, staggered seeding for plants with a short harvest season (such as lettuce), but maybe only two or three plantings for longer harvest veggies such as zucchini or chard. Get a chart with planting and harvesting times for your area, and pick only what you can eat. In Dallas, you can have winter greens throughout the winter, no problem. Just make sure everything is in the ground by october.

Use all of your kitchen scraps, all of your leaves, and all of your grass clippings as fertilizer and mulch. In a place like Dallas, mulching should save you a lot of water money. If you have already established plants, consider five or six inches of mulch around them.

If you start this august, and the soil is more or less prepared, I suggest (tomatoes will be for next spring):
1) soil test at your local extension service 2) start with relatively easy veggies such as lettuce, chard, collard, or various salad greens (it will be difficult to mulch greens, except relatively large plants such as collard or chard... direct seed the rest, if the plants are thick enough they will mulch themselves some). As the weather grows cooler (october) you can try planting some arugula or other mustards. 3) get a herb patch going as it gives a lot for little effort. I would start with oregano, thyme and sage, perhaps rosemary, given the zone.
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On 1 Jul 2003 10:17:27 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Not Much) wrote:

<snip>
You don't want much, do you? :-) For a fall garden, look up "cool weather crops". Even Dallas winters aren't ideal for tomatoes. There are few plants that will produce measured quantities at appropriate times. "Staggered planting" is good for some greens and herbs, but when tomato season happens, there are a lot of tomatoes. And zucchini.
Truly frugal use of a garden pretty much involves canning and preserving, or trading ripe veg now for battery-jumping later. It certainly is cheaper to buy $1.50-worth of bean seeds and grow your own than pay (last time I looked) $1.79/lb for them in the grocery store.
Gardening has a longish learning curve. No one can tell you exactly what to plant, when, what the yield is going to be, and what to do with it. It *is* a wonderfully rewarding endeavor on any scale.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Not Much) writes:

You basically have three choices for long-term storage: freezing, canning, or drying (and some root crops like potatoes can just be kept in the basement for a while). Vegetables vary in how well each method works. A good book for explaining all the methods, and telling you which ones work best for each vegetable, is _Stocking Up_ from Rodale Press.
As far as frugality goes, drying is probably the cheapest. You can get a dehydrator for $20 or less (or just use your oven), and then all you need are some jars or tins to put the dried food in and a dark place to keep them. Canning would be the next cheapest; you need a pressure canner, jars, lids, and some know-how. Freezing is the most expensive, since you'll need a freezer and freezer bags or containers, but you may be able to pick up a cheap freezer at an auction or estate sale.

Definitely. I've been picking turnips, lettuce (several kinds), swiss chard, and peas for over a month now. It got too hot and dry for radishes, and the peas will probably be done for in a couple weeks, but beans and other things will be coming on by then, and I'll have peas again in the fall. There aren't many individual varieties that will bear all season, but you can definitely be picking something every day all season. In fact, since some plants take longer to mature than others, and different plants like different weather, it mostly just works out that way.

Raised beds might not be the most 'frugal' way to go, but I'll let others with experience at that chime in here. If you have to purchase soil and lumber or other edging for your beds, you'll surely spend more than someone who just works up a plot of ground. But you might be ahead in the long run, if you never have to buy/rent a tiller.
--
Aaron
snipped-for-privacy@esc.pike.il.us
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Aaron Baugher wrote:

Consider used lumber such as that reclaimed from old pallets. Just avoid the ones soaked in oils or with obvious chemical spills. A 42x48 pallet will yield 3 2x4's of a decent length.Often the lumber in a pallet is hardwood and that is a plus.
I'm sure others will have additional tips. Bill
--
I do not post my address to news groups.


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On Wed, 02 Jul 2003 17:48:21 -0400, Noydb

We don't have a source of free pallets, and couldn't afford to buy enough lumber or cement blocks.
We're using old tires (free!) for raised beds. So far, we're very happy with it, it is working very well for us.
Examples can be seen at:
http://www.tirecrafting.com/03gardengrow/03gardengrow.htm
Pat
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wrote:

I have seen old boats used before, they look cool in the right situation. Len
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I read "square foot gardening" about 2 years ago.
If you follow even HALF of the advice in there, your garden will be rockin' in just maybe 2 seasons. (hopefully getting better every season--so far so good)
gardening is the ONLY activity that I am invoved with that i just cannot be angry with. no stress at all, even when stuff goes wrong!
later john
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    This should get you started. Don't forget herbs. My house in far North Dallas has more mint, lemon balm, rosemary, oregano, & sage growing that we can eat Oops almost forgot mexican mint marigold(tarragon substitute)
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/vegvar.html http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/home/hmguide.pdf http://extension-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers / http://extension-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/publications/NCVEGLIST.html
    Bright lights swiss chard, & any kind of kale, ambrosia melons & walking onions all are very happy in my square foot organic garden.
    Starting in August will be a challenge to keep stuff from burning up in the daytime.
    bob     
Not Much wrote:

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