Tuesday, February 17, 2009

To Garden or Not to Garden...???

I've been debating doing a garden in our backyard but...I don't have any idea where to start. I'm a little city girl at heart :) And those that know me are now laughing because I grew up in a town that is only about 50,000 people or so....I know not big but pretty big for Arkansas.

Here are a couple of questions I've been throwing around...
Do I till up a plot or just do a raised garden out of landscape timber and top soil? I'm going more towards the raised garden on this.

Would it be worth the time and money since we don't eat alot of veggies?

Here are the veggies we eat...
Mashed Potatoes and hashbrowns (I could prepare and freeze the hashbrowns)
Tomatoes for tomato sauce (would it be ok to freeze for a yr or so?)
Purple Hull Peas

Strawberries and Blackberries

Bananas and Oranges would definitely be out b/c of our climate but hum I wonder about an Apple tree...the kids would love that.

Also when do you start planting????

See I told you I was a little city girl that doesn't have a clue!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm trying to save and cut out as much as possible but don't know if this would be cost effective or not. I'm sure it probably would but want others opinions. HELP!


Alison said...

I love gardening, but our yard has so many roots from the dozens of trees that nothing I have put in any spot has ever produced much, if anything. But here's what I know...
1. Don't start until you know frost won't be an issue, same as planting flowers. If you want, you can plant seeds in pots and keep them by a window until they get to growing. In a month or so, you can carefully transplant them outdoors. Or for an easier method, buy them pre-potted.
2. I had Darin till a small plot for me...there's no way I could have done that myself. Might work the same by putting in your own. I just know that by tilling, they get the natural nurtients from your soil.
3. Make sure it will get plenty of sunshine, but not all day long b/c of scortching during the peak of the summer.
4. Put it in an open spot not surrounded by many trees (ie many roots). Too many roots makes the plant struggle to even grow much...my main problem.
5. It'll be worth your time regardless of whether you eat them much or not simply because the kids will love watching the growth take place.
6. Be faithful in watering them...sometimes several times a day. That may also play into what types of things you plant. I planted watermelon, pumpkin, corn, and strawberries. Watermelon needed a whole lot more water than I could manage to provide during the heat of summer. But again...a good thing to get the kids involved with. Fruits like watermelon guzzle water...others don't.
7. Something else to consider is planting things that will come up on their own year after year...my strawberries always come up. They only produce little ones, but they come up every year on their own. None of my others did. Not sure what else is a perrenial though.

It's a lot of fun to do, I'm sure even more so w/kiddos who can "help" take ownership in it. Plus, small or not, it's really cool to eat something that you planted and grew.

And all that from a born and raised in Dallas girl!

Amber said...

Girl, I am no help in this category. My thumbs are nowhere near green. We've tried to plant out here and we stink at it. Could be that I forget to water....huh.

Good luck though!

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I got nothing.


I'd love to garden, and I think I would do raised beds, but our climate is SO different than yours.

Kendra said...

If you don't want to commit yet, you can grow great grape or cherry tomatoes in a huge planter on your patio. I did, and it was perfect. Make a small plot for purple hull peas. But I wouldn't attempt berries. Too troublesome! But if you do it till it!

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

I am also a garden wannabe. My grandparents always had gardens and we did occasionally growing up. My suggestion is to start super small and see if you enjoy the work and the fruit of your labor. :) LOL (crackin' myself up)

Tomatoes are a great garden starter. You can get several large pots and keep 'em on a deck or patio. You can start from seed inside (now!) or buy seedlings in a couple of months.

I think you can freeze tomatoes (and sauce) if you blanch and peel them. Poke around on the blogosphere. You are bound to find an expert who will give you great advice.

Stephanie said...

I think if you planted strawberries and tomatoes it would meet your need and be worthwhile. You can do both in containers and they both can produce a good yield. I prefer to purchase plants instead of doing seeds, but that is just me. I know it isn't as cost effective, but I haven't had much success with seeds. I am in the process of beginning gardening series on my blog, so stay tuned ;)

Stephanie said...

Oh, and you can freeze tomatoes, even with the skin on. Just cut the tops and pop them in the freezer. When you unthaw (dethaw?) the skins will come right off! It's so easy, and homemade spaghetti sauce is so easy and delicious!

Vanessa {Bloom Right Here!} said...

I have thought about putting in a garden. We have plenty of land. The problem is the deer. There are soooo many out here that I am afraid they would eat everything that came up. Wouldn't be very cost effective to garden if I had to put up a fence to keep the critters out.

The Happy Housewife said...

We are doing a raised bed this year. Last year we tried to do too much and it bombed. This year we are just having a small bed and hope to learn from our mistakes.