So I'm new to gardening and I'm gonna be going to be spending some time @ the community garden @ my university. The guy I talked to about it said that most of the beds are currently out of use so I can plant stuff in them if I want.
I was wondering if any of you veteran gardeners have any advice on what stuff I should plant.
I suggest herbs like parsley or dill. They do not require a lot of attention. Another reason is that fresh herbs are usually quite expensive and you can save by growing your own.
Ur right, especially the fresh herbs, man they are expensive @ the store.
Grow what's in line the climatic conditions of the region. For instance even though you may want to grow bananas in Alaska you won't be successful! In saying that I see that you're located in California which allows you to grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
Follow the seasons - grow what's in season.
A major factor in the success of growing fruits and vegetables is the quality of the soil. I would focus on building up the soil so that the vegetables and fruits you select have the best medium in which to grow.
Grow fruits and vegetables that are productive i.e. give a significant harvest for the amount of work put in on the land used. Greens such as kale, chard are excellent choices as they can be continually picked and don't require that much room. Bok choy is a Chinese vegetable that grows quickly and can be harvested in six weeks given good conditions.
Here is the community garden I'm involved;
I write a series of food tips which I post on the above website;
We put in our winter crop a month ago and it's doing very well. A big part of this has been the building up of the soil over the past few years with the use of compost and mulch.
Hey, thanks for all the tips Peter! Just had a peek at your food tips. So cool! Loving the format, A is for avocado, B is for banana etc. Will definitely be reading through them.
The garden's I'm gonna be at are pretty underused, UCI isn't an agriculture school so few students are interested in it (hence the abundance of unused beds). I'm guessing the soils in pretty rough shape. Got any tips for telling if its any good, and/or how to build it up?
A piece of advice that I would give to any new gardener is not to get too ambitious too soon. Grow a few vegetables that are relatively easy to grow. From this experience you will gain knowledge. If you try to grow too much you may have a few failures and that could dent your confidence and put you off. All gardens have failures at one stage or another - it's part of the learning process.
Some vegetables that I think are relatively simple to grow are bok choy, Swiss chard, herbs, spring onion. These don't take up much room.
It would be ideal if you can get a few more people interested in participating in growing vegetables in the beds. One of the big advantages of participating in a community garden is the sharing of knowledge and ideas about gardening. Moreover more hands allow the workload to be shared.
You can improve the soil by applying compost and mulch - mulch to provide ground cover and decrease evaporation. In the community garden where I participate we use lucerne mulch which breaks down quickly and provides nutrients to the beds. We make our own compost. I would think that nearly all community gardens make their own compost.
Cool! Thanks again peter!
p.s. do u also garden @ home?
I do but as I live in a townhouse I have a limited amount of room. Moreover my backyard receives no sunlight for eight months of the year which rules out growing out any vegetables. I'm limited to my balcony where I mainly grow a few herbs.
I do have a major success in a papaya tree that is located in the common area in front of my townhouse. It's very productive and protected by the brick wall from the cooler weather in winter that the papaya doesn't like - they hate frost which can impact adversely on it and even kill it. I also have dragonfruit growing on my balcony and will be harvesting the fruit in a few weeks.
My situation is frustrating to me seeing that my father has an extensive vegetable garden - as well as many fruit trees. My father produces so much produce at times that he shares it with friends and neighbours. My parents live about 500km north of Sydney so I don't get to visit them as often as I would like.
Needless to say a major reason I joined my local community garden is so I can grow vegetables.
In the next few years I plan to move where I have a substantial block of land so that I can be self-sufficient in vegetable production. In the meantime I build up my knowledge and experience by participating in a community garden.
Dragon fruit doesn't take up much room. You can train it to grow in particularly directions.
It just happens that one of the fruits was flowering this morning - this last only a day or two, after which time flower dies away and the fruit develops fully.
Below is a picture of lemongrass and chillies I grow in pots. Both are easy to grow and grow well in pots. Chillies are especially productive. A few pots provides me with enough chillies for the year as well as surplus to give to my neighbours.
Mmm yes the chillies look really good, very plump and bright red. My mom eats alot of them and she always buys from the supermarket. They are usually very dry, many are green, and also very expensive :p I think I'll have a go growing some for her...
As for building the soil, 'The No Work Garden' is an excellent book! Basically she says to put 6 inches of hay, (not straw), on your soil at all times. This eliminates the need to water, fertilize or weed! I also have used rock dust and found the lettuce to easily have 10 times the nutrients than any farmer's market or store bought lettuce I have ever tried. You can find rock dust from a garden supply store or get it free from a rock quarry. Do not buy soil from home depot they use heavy metal laden soil fertilized with sewage. I started my soil with fine ground hard wood mulch, hay and forest floor soil and some home made compost. There are videos on youtube of folks growing potatoes right in pure hay.
yeah john kohler's always going on about the rock dust hahaha
thanks for the tips!