My First Garden...Help! - Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen Blog at - 230348

Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen

My first! 
Apr. 3, 2011 6:58 pm 
Updated: May 2, 2011 12:16 pm
ok, I'm finally going to do it.  I'm going to have my first garden. I have a terrible brown thumb, but I am determined to grow my own fresh, organic herbs and veggies.  I need some help.  I am going to hit up the book stores and search the net, but I would also love the input of the AR community.  Here's my deal:

I live in the mountains of Northern California.  It does not rain from May through October.  My yard is rocky and on the edge of state forest property (read:deer, rabbits, etc).  I have a good size yard so size will not be a problem.

I am thinking about doing a raised bed surrounded by chicken wire on 2x4s with a hinged door.  I am interested in learning about organic feeding, composting, and garden layout.

In the herb garden I want: rosemary, chives, cilantro, basil, parsley, thyme, oregano.

In my garden, I want: carrots, radish, lettuce and other greens, zucchini, red bell pepper, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, pumpkin, strawberries.

I'm not sure how big I should make it.  Nor am I sure if I should plant things in specific spots near or away from certain things?

What kind of helpful advice do you have for a first-timer?
Apr. 3, 2011 7:15 pm
Raised beds is a good idea but costly. Visit the Rodale Press and Mother Earth News for solid advice and ideas for any aspect of food.
Apr. 3, 2011 7:31 pm
Mike, thanks for pointing out the helpful sites!
Apr. 3, 2011 8:29 pm
I started my raised vegetable garden last sprng with one 4' x 8'x 10" bed. That gave me enough room to plant 6 Tomatoes, 3 Peppers, 2 Cuccumbers and 2 Zuccini. Then this year I made another bed the same size for cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi swiss chard onions and romaine. has a garden planner that I used has information on companion planting for pest control and better yields
Apr. 3, 2011 9:04 pm
If you have any black walnut trees in your yard, plant things as far away from them as possible. Also, there is a great blog on here from Marvel's kitchen with gardening tips. If you have other specific ??'s, ask them on Recipe Buzz on the tab at the top of this page. There is always someone on there who will help!! Good luck. I know once you try your first fresh picked tomato and some fresh herbs, you will be hooked forever!!
Apr. 3, 2011 10:52 pm
I understand your climate since I live up the road from you in Seattle. We have 2 seasons:wet and dry. Start simple for your first garden; they say growing tomatoes are the biggest bang for your buck (and time and energy and sweat). Mulch, mulch during the summer to keep the soil moist. Good luck-lots of garden blogs on line.
Apr. 4, 2011 7:22 am
raised beds would be great for peppers and tomatoes, shelter them and keep them in a warm spot. Lettuce, radish carrots can be planted side by side in rows with good resluts. The cucs could be added in a row as well, they spread a fair bit so give them room. Zucs and pumpkin should be planted around the garden well spaced from each other and the cucs. If not they can cross pollinate and you will end up with orange zucs or elongated pumpkins. Plant them in hills, with 3 or 4 seeds per hill. Both need lots of water on a regular basis. As the zucs set on the plant, the more you pick, the more they produce. After the pumpkins show serveral fruit on the plants, 6-8 each, then remove new fruit as it starts. This will allow the original 6-8 to grow larger. Good luck and enjoy your garden-it is very rewarding and satisfying
Apr. 4, 2011 2:28 pm
You might want to dig a few feet and put wire screen down if you have burrowing critters (which I'm sure you do). Get your soil tested and amend asap. Lots of mulch also will help if it's a dry summer.
Apr. 4, 2011 5:11 pm
compost and organic material will help your soil bunches. I put strawberries, asparagus and my herbs in raised beds, but we usually put the tomatoes and everything else in the ground in rows or blocks. I would start small, so you don't get overwhelmed with weeding, watering, and tending. BTW...greenbeans are very prolific and are supergood for the soil, as they set the nitrogen in it. Have fun with it, and good luck!
Apr. 4, 2011 7:49 pm
thanks for all the tips, hints and links everyone! appreciate it very much!
May 2, 2011 12:16 pm
My Hubby can grow anything but discovered the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter. https://www.topsyturvy.com3?MID=820034 We have 10 of them and use them for peppers, tomatoes and will try strawberries this year. We grow all sizes and colors of tomatoes. You can cover it with loose wire mesh to keep out the grazing critters and they work REALLY well and keep vines in one location.
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About Me
I live in beautiful wine country, Northern California, on the edge of state forest. My husband and I are in our 30s and have the most amazing little 1 year old girl. I haven't had as much time in the kitchen since becoming a mom, but I love that she is getting old enough to enjoy my cooking! I enjoy riding my motorcycle and snowboarding, camping, classic and hard rock music, tattoos, singing, and *of course* fiddling in my kitchen! I love trying new recipes and have had fun as an Allrecipes Allstar in the Brand Ambassador program!
My favorite things to cook
Skillet dinners, chicken, vegetables, rice, pasta, cookies, brownies, quick breads, Italian, Asian, mac & cheese, mushroom or broccoli Alfredo, pie-especially apple, pear and chicken pot pie, pork in the crock pot for carnitas or BBQ pulled pork.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My parents have always had lots of food at family get-togethers! Such a selection of food that there's hardly room for plates at the table: nuts, cheeses, wings, beans, meats, veggies and many other side dishes, cakes, cookies, pies, etc-there's something for everyone! There's no excuse if you go hungry at one of our family functions. There's always good food, drinks, people and laughs :D
My cooking triumphs
It's nice to be able to throw things together on the fly without having to make a trip to the grocery store. Learning the methods of cooking have made it easier and my food tastes better. I never have dry chicken breasts, pork chops or burgers anymore! Dec 2012: I finally made fudge that set properly!
My cooking tragedies
Trying out new recipes that don't taste right or I don't care for. Or turning my back to do 10 things at once and burning something. Mistakes = lessons learned. Sometimes you have to do a little trial-and-error to get something how you like it. I'm still trying to perfect French loaf.
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