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Posted: Mar/10/2008 11:36 AM PST
btw i posted this as a blog also...
I'm LOST. Gardening is something i've never really done before. i'm REALLY excited for this coming spring, because i'm not working and i'll have tons of time on my hands. well as much time as you can get with a 2 year old in tow, and our next little one due in september. but being pregnant doesn't make me invalid, and i need to find ways to get outside and enjoy the weather. I LOVE making things and so this year i intend to take up gardening. Now i just have to figure out where to start. i suppose i should make out a plan. i'm a good planner, and researcher. i'll have to get some tools-- i already asked my hubby for some for my birthday and mothers day- both are in may so not too late in the season. I already have one things figured out, i AM NOT starting from seeds. as cheap as it would be we had too much trouble with that last year. i attempted seedlings last year and had to leave for 3-4 days, they got too heated and dried up. i tried salvaging them, but they were too far gone. so we're starting from plants, preferably easy to tend plants--forgiving plants, as i don't ALWAYS make it out to water. i have at least 4 small bed areas that are marked off and sort of started. the previous owners of my home had garden beds, but not much in them. mostly just bushes and mulch. at least thats about all that survived the 2 year house vacancy. i desperately need to up heave the mulch still laid down and lay fresh mulch down. i also have this big rock area that i want to do something with. i think i might take out the brick border they had laid out and replace them with the rocks. i do have a brick home so the bricks match, but i prefer the rocks. we'll see. maybe i can have a rock garden, if i ever figure out what a rock garden is.. lol. i have a LOT of learning to do. I did figure out i live in ZONE 5. so there's something. at least i'll know if the plants i buy will last in my area. i think i might start with bulbs in some areas, and plants in others. but where to start what to choose. how do i make a plan? ugggg.
Posted: Mar/10/2008 11:48 AM PST
what i'm really wondering is where do you start when learning how to garden? Does anyone have any good advice? or books they read to help them start? i read some of the how-to articles here but they still left me with questions.
Posted: Mar/10/2008 11:58 AM PST
The best way to learn is by talking to other gardeners and starting here is the first step in the right direction. Just start asking your questions and we will try to answer them as best we can from our personal experience. Just remember - the only dumb questions are the ones that go unasked. So let us have it...
Location: West Michigan
Posted: Mar/10/2008 12:20 PM PST
Welcome to GG mrazik..you sure came to the right place. There's a lot of knowledge here. Waving a hand from your neighbor also in Michigan
Location: McFarland (Madison), Wisconsin
Posted: Mar/10/2008 4:40 PM PST
Welcome to GG from WI, mrazik! My son is now 13 (and a half as of Saturday, he'd be sure to remind me), but when he was just over 2, I started him gardening along with me. We've lived in a rented townhouse, very small rented apartment, and now have our own dirt and house, so I've experienced just about every challenge available when it comes to keeping interest going, both for myself and for our son.
Is there any way you could post some pictures of your gardening situation, so we could get an idea of what you have to work/play with? That'd be sure to get the creative process started. Otherwise, it's no problem, just will require that I close my eyes and imagine what your "play" ground looks like, makes typing a bit more difficult...
Anyhow, thanks for joining us, feel free to dig around a bit, and please don't worry about asking questions, we were all new here at one point as well!
Location: NE Ohio, deck chuckin' fool
Posted: Mar/10/2008 5:52 PM PST
Welcome to the forums! I'm in zone 5 in Ohio.
When my eldest son was little we had a very small strip of dirt to work in at our townhouse, but I managed to grow some pole beans there. He helped plant them and we watched them grow. It was fun. They're like a Jack and the Beanstalk thing, too.
Figure out where you have sun and shade and if you have sandy or clay soil for starters. Check some random threads here and see what might apply to your situation.
Maybe your little one can make a design out of some of the rocks and put a plant in the middle. If they're small enough for the 2 y.o. to move around.
Posted: Mar/10/2008 8:27 PM PST
Tip for in a couple of years...give the little one their OWN space. My son and I did this starting when he was 4. I gave him an area 4 foot square. I tilled and composted it then he planted it and weeded it and harvested it. I guided him thru the plnat/seed selection as to what would fit (watermellon and corn were defnately out - too big and I explained that to him) but ultimately HE made the fianl decisions. Then when I was in MY garden, he was in HIS. I did guide him to a cherry tomato plant so he would have something to eat. At first he didn't like tomatoes so he gave them away. Now he can't wait for them ripen fast enough. Here is a picture of his 2006 garden.
Posted: Mar/11/2008 6:52 AM PST
Wonderful mama to let your child have his own space and the sign is a big boost. The young fellow next door did some tilling for me one time and just for fun I put a little sign in that area that said Neils Garden. I left it for the season. LB
Posted: Mar/12/2008 5:59 PM PST
WOW lotsa responses!! YEA! at the moment pictures are out. unfortunately my camera broke last month and we haven't replaced it yet--hoping to soon though. i'll try to dig up some pictures i've already taken though, maybe i have some with the garden plots in it and never noticed, probably b/c the focus was my darling daughter. i do remember taking some pictures of the house when i first moved in though, so hopefully i have SOMETHING. but let see. as for describing them, i have NO IDEA what kind of dirt we have here. i grew up on a farm and all i know is black dirt is good, mine's not black! when i was digging last spring i know the plot was very difficult to dig, packed hard but i wouldn't call it clay- i know what clay looks like. btw i'm ALSO in west Michigan! lol.
it's VERY square-we live in town. i think i have about 1/4 acre, maybe less. my back yard is completely fenced-privacy style. i have 2 full grown trees one in the far left corner, one smack dab in the middle of my yard. both have a border around them. the center one i want to put some flowers around. it's not a extreemly full tree, i'd say about 2-3 ft of shade all around, but because it's solitary the shade moves, so i would call it a partial sun area. the other tree has a TON of rocks around it. big rocks, all the way from the base of the trunck to about 3 ft out in a circle. i dont plan on doing anything there. if you put your back to that tree and look at the house, right up against the house there is a VERY shady spot..i'm not sure how big. it's form an open square with the house, porch, and fence.
*** i posted a couple of pics on my page, but as i'd thought they're supposed to be of my daughter so try to look past her.. lol.
at the end of my porch is a small rectangle plot, already bordered with brick. fyi almost ALL of my little plots are bordered with brick. ALL of my trees are bordered with bricks as well. so last year i did manage to tear out that plastic stuff you put down to keep out weeds, as well as take out all of the mulch in the plot at the end of my porch. if i had to guess i'd say it's about 2 ft deep and approx 6ft long, maybe longer. i put some gladiolia bulbs there last year, i got some blooms, and quite a few came up. unfortunatly i'd planted QUITE a few more than what sprouted. i think all in all i put down 20 bulbs, and only like 10 popped up. i also planted some other bulbs, but none of those came up at all and i don't remember what they are. the only other plot i have is along the garage wall. i wouldn't have seen it except that a dog dug it up. oops. it had mulch down and that tarp stuff. that tarp stuff is plaguing me! if i'd put it down i'd have no room to complain. but i didn't the former owners did. i personally don't care for it, because i want flowers!!!
ok so i believe i covered the back yard. the only thing i think i forgot to mention is a stump, an extremely low almost flat stump kinda off to the side.
(i wish it was taller, i could have made it into a little seat. lol.) and we have a teether ball pole, with ball kind of next to the centered tree. but there's really nothing i want to put in that area so not a big deal. i have no hills in my back yard. very flat. and mostly green.
well i have a plot that starts in front of my porch and basically wraps around to the side and continues along my house. BUT this is also where all those rocks are. on the side of my house there is a plot that is about 2 ft deep filled with rocks. not little crystal like rocks -i've seen that before, very pretty. nope these are just round big rocks. PERFECT for making garden borders. which is my plan for them.
oh yea. bones. (a word i picked up here!!!) i also have 3 bushes in the front. smaller ones. man. this is hard. i need pictures! lol.
ok like i said i'm working on getting some pics up. maybe i can get my hubby to take some with his phone and send them to me.
some idea's i've been running through my head: red mulch. it's almost like standard out here. i live in a smallish town and almost EVERYONE who uses mulch uses this red colored mulch. i love the look. but i'm also on a slight budget so it might not be something i can do this year.
where do you go to find plants? by this i mean if i want to do some research where would i start? are there any good websites where i can search plants by zone? i really want to start with some spring blooms, but i also want to add in some things that will bloom later too. annuals need to be replanted every year right? and perennials come back every year?
Posted: Mar/12/2008 6:53 PM PST
Annual go thru their entire life cycle ino year. They sprout, bloom, set seeds and die.
Bi-annuals sprout and grow leaves the first year. Then the second year they bloom, set seeds and die.
Perenials sprout and grow leaves the first year. Then they will bloom and set seeds for many consecutive years.
The first thing you will want to know is your ZONE. This is information that is mapped out by the USDA according to what your areas average hot and cold temperatures are. When you go to the flower centers and look at the plant tags they will tell this plant is for zones 5 to 8 (for example) and you are in zone 4 it will probaly not survive your first winter. To find this information go to
Then you need to figure out how much sun the plants area will get. Full sun means 8 or more hours of direct sun each day. Part sun is 4 to 8 hours. Full shade less than 4 hours.
Also consider how much moisture is in the planting area. If you plant something that is drought tollerant in a boggy area it will root rot. And on the note, if it a bog plant and you plant it in a dry area, it will require a LOT of watering to survive.
Then you can start looking for plants. There are many catalog sites on the internet that you can search. I have many in my favorites and will work on sharing those here this weekend. You can also read the seed packets at Wal-mart, Menards etc. where they sell seeds. Even if you want plants later, the seeds packets will give you this info now for doing research. You can also go to your local garden centers and ask for help. They will be more aware of what does well in your area.
Also keep in mind a plants MATURE size. IF a plant is sold as a baby in the nursery the tag will say "Plant plants 18 inches apart" (for example). If you get home and plant 6 of them and they look lost, That is ok. They will fill in as they grow. If you over plant to make things look full as babies you will have crowding issues later.
Also watch for vines that would need supports to grow up on. And tall plants often need suport to prevent wind damage.
Have I overwhelmed you yet?