Don't get me wrong,here. I am not a master gardener. I don't consider myself very knowledgeable about it.Actually,I think I am fairly ignorant about the subject! All I am doing is passing along what I,a newbie,has learned. Some of you are on the same page as I am,others are WAY WAY ahead of me. Either way,I appreciate your thoughts and comments. I learn something new every day.
One of the first things you need to decide is what kind of garden you want. Row?Raised bed? Square foot? Container? Check online,ask gardening friends,read books. Do research. What would work best for you? Last year,after a few feeble attempts at row gardening,we decided to try square foot. It was our most successful attempt to date. If square foot gardening is something you are interested in,I suggest checking out www.squarefootgardening.com . I looked through this website to learn more about it,and I liked what I found out. This then led to the purchase of "All New Square Foot Gardening Grow More in Less Space!" by Mel Bartholomew.He gives all the specifics in this book.It's mandatory if you want to give square foot a whirl.
Another book that has been quite helpful is "Country Wisdom & Know How-Everything You Need To Know To Live Off the Land" by the editors of Storey Books. This helped me learn much about gardening and veggies and fruits.
So you know what kind of garden you want. Now you have to decide what you want to grow. Make a list of the veggies and fruits you eat on a regular basis and start from there. Once your basic list is made,you then need to decide if you want to just eat as you harvest,if you want to do some canning, sell at a Farmer's Market or roadside. My suggestion: start with eating as you harvest and maybe canning. Don't think about selling yet. My Dear Friend Michelle gave me the best advice about gardening I ever had:start small.Don't go overboard because you will be overwhelmed and get burnt out. I now impart these words of wisdom to you-START SMALL!
Aside from the regular garden,I have a kitchen garden. This was because I wanted to do some canning,and I wanted fresh herbs to do it with. When Rick and I finally had our list done,it looked like a lot of food:
Sugar Pie Pumpkins
Jack O'Lantern Pumpkins
Heirloom Rutgers Tomatoes
Red and Black Raspberry Bushes
We also have growing from previous years grapes and lavender.
We only planted so much of each,however.We did not want a ton of food,and canning was a new experience for me. This year,we are going to double our garden,so we need to make more boxes and make more mix. Thankfully,we have quite of bit of compost,though it does need to be sifted for rocks and whatnot. This year, I am considering a dye garden. Our neighbor has alpacas,and I believe that she sells raw alpaca yarn. I would like to get into using natural plants for dying purposes.
So you know what you want to grow. Now you have to decide what variety of each you want. There is no such thing as just corn,or peas,or cukes,etc. There are several varieties of each. Some are hybrids,meaning they are cross bred,I believe.Some are heirlooms,which mean the seeds are the same as they were hundreds of years ago. Heirlooms tend to be the most preferable,though they can be more expensive. Rick and I sat down and looked over the seed website and read up on each veggie,and figured out what we wanted by whether or not it sounded appealing. Some were heirlooms. Some were not.
So...you know what kind of garden set up you want,what kind of veggies/fruits you want.Now you have to figure out how to start your seeds. I knew NOTHING about this at all last year. Next time I will tell you what I learned!