Beginning a vegetable garden

Where can I get advice about starting my 1st, small vegetable garden?- It might have to be a container garden, as our SFL soil is terrible. Are there any helpful sites?
  8 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 06, 2016
    My advice to you is to go to your local nursery or extension service that will give you the best advice.If there are certain vegetables you would like to grow start researching based on your zone.If your soil is that poor you will have to amend it to breakdown the problem, however this will take time.
  • Linda Linda on Jan 06, 2016
    The easiest and best way to start, if you don't know about gardening, is to gather up some containers from yard sales or thrift shops. The Dollar Store or Dollar Tree is another inexpensive place to look. Get some potting soil and some small plants and learn as you go along. Start small, and in the meantime, start making compost from all of you fall leaves, grass clippings and peelings from you veggies and fruits. This should go on your future garden space. There are a lot of books and blogs for beginner gardeners on the internet. One plant at a time and you will learn!!
  • Dfm Dfm on Jan 07, 2016
    1...know your zone...up in Iowa I'm now a 5a...according to the revised zone map. 2...are you a garden nibbler? or do you want enough produce to can, dehydrate or freeze? there is a concept called square foot gardening....I'll let you look it up....that can be done in a raised bed. you can also do a bag method... lay a bag of garden soil on the ground, cut a 4 inch "x" in the middle for peppers or tomatoes - that's one plant per bag. can you get 50 gallon barrels in your area? i can get them fairly inexpensively...5-10$ each.. you can cut them in half lengthwise with a jig saw. take 4 concrete blocks, or log chunks or big rocks or railway ties for each half to hold them in place and to keep them correct side up. . on the half that doesn't have the fill hole--make a hole with a hole saw for water drainage. cover hole(s) with old rag, piece fine screen, chunk of landscapers fabric, old sock. something water will run thru but will keep the dirt in. fill with dirt of you choice. i use equal parts pearlite, compost, peat moss or coir, and top soil. well blended of coarse. add slow release fertilizer, or add fertilizer such as compost tea. oh and if you are in a fairly warm area ie hotter than he--, and little rain area- add moisture retaining crystals. just one more thing....if you are not into running a string trimmer...get a roll of landscape plastic...the stuff i get here goes on sale on the's 4 ft wide by 25 ft. even if you go with pots or 5 gal. buckets or made for commercial growers grow bags...roll it out, set your potted plants out on it. stake it down with landscape staples. cut extra length off. give you self about 4 inches on all sides so the 2 mower wheels ore on the plastic and the discharge chute sends clippings away from the pots/plants. why weed when you might not have to?
    • See 2 previous
    • Polly Zieper Polly Zieper on Jan 15, 2016
      You're all great people to take time out of your day to help each other and us newbies!I don't need to freeze, can or sell, I'd just love to grow enough to have fresh salad veggies and side dishes every night, both for financial reasons and as a learning experience for my 7 yr old.I can't work due to being disabled and I think it would be good for my frame of mind to be productive in a very tangible way. thanks, everyone
  • Linda B Linda B on Jan 07, 2016
    As a retired Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator -- still a volunteer -- in North Carolina, I can really endorse your local Extension office. Here's a great basic gardening handout from NC Extension, but you can just go to and type your questions in the search window. This is 24 information-packed pages, and ALL the information is research-based (one of Extension's strengths, since there's a world of misinformation and old wives' tales out there). If you rely heavily on Extension, I can promise that the info will be vetted, not based on opinion or anecdote.
  • Judy Borman Judy Borman on Jan 07, 2016
    How exciting to be putting in your first garden! All of the advice you have already received is good. Add to that: make a list of the vegetables your family eats, record how much sun your proposed garden area gets in a day and when, research raised garden beds if your soil really is that bad, and because it's your first garden you should talk to your local nursery about starting seedlings rather than starting your own plants from seed. Good luck!
  • Ms. Mike Cuevas Ms. Mike Cuevas on Jan 07, 2016
    Check on line with the Empress of Dirt. Keeps you out of the cold while you learn what you need to know. Check out Burpee, too! Good luck.
  • Jen Jen on Jan 07, 2016
    As a master gardener I can tell you its all about the soil!!! You can grow in can even leave the soil in a bag...Just do it! Use a kids plastic pool if you need to! And your extension office they would love to help!
  • Lorraine Lorraine on Jan 08, 2016
    The University of FL has extension offices in all FL counties that offer a wealth of information and have Master Gardeners to answer questions. They can also test the PH of your soil which is important. Spend some time looking around the web site Your county will also have a site with the county name just after the has tags. Orange county is I also recommend a book called Month to Month Gardening in Florida by Tom MacCubbin. You will need to amend the soil in FL. We are lucky to have a mushroom farm close by and I am able to buy compost for $10 a truck load. If you have something in your area take advantage of it. You might want to start small with some raised gardens that are filled with good garden soil or make some grow boxes out of Rubbermaid containers. Do a search for grow boxes on YouTube and you fill find lots of options. I have been gardening central FL since 2006 and love getting the fresh produce. Good luck.
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