Starting a Vegetable Garden

Updated on March 19, 2012
K.L. asks from Fort Stewart, GA
8 answers

I have a very small backyard and an even smaller space for a vegetable garden. I would like to start a vegetable garden in a space that is roughly about 5 feet by 5 feet (I have yet to actually measure it). I am thinking about creating a raised bed, but am not sure as of yet. Are there any websites that can help you plan a garden layout? Also, I am in southern Georgia and if you have any experience gardening in the area, any advice is greatly appreciated. I am new to gardening, and the knowledge that I do have is from California. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

A big thank you to everyone! I will be planning my garden and hopefully planting this weekend! We live in such warm weather that the last frost date has already passed. With all of the information that I have gotten from you all, the only thing I am concerned for is the Georgia heat and the pesky squirrels! I am sure you will hear more from me on the subject!

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answers from Austin on

What are you planning to use for the walls of the raised bed? I have seen concrete blocks, wood, and plastic edging. While you are thinking about how to build the raised bed you could plant a few things in containers, maybe starting with 3 tomato plants and 2 peppers. The garden center will probably sell them in the 4 inch size, and you could transplant them right away to bigger bucket-sized pots . Then you can set the pots in the garden to help plan the layout. The tomatoes and peppers always get bigger than I thought they would, so I try to plant small things in between, such as onions, radishes, spinach, cilantro, carrots, or marigolds(I heard they're supposed to repel bugs).

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answers from Seattle on

Just FYI if you are doing a raised bed you will want to make sure that you have EASY access on all sides. If you otherwise have lawn or want to have lawn around it I would make sure the lawnmower fits on all sides. I once put in a raised bed too close to the fence and it was a huge pain to trim the grass and weeds behind it.
Other than that, if this is your first year just pick some veggies that grow well and fast in your area for a successful start and do one of the more complicated layouts in a subsequent year when you have some more experience. I overdid it my first year and that wasn't very much fun, now I grow what I know will work great and add one new thing I really want to try each season.
It's fun and very educational if you have young kids.
Good luck!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Well, I'm in California and I literally just went to Home Depot last weekend and bought lumber to put together 3 raised garden beds. I'm planning on using compatible gardening - meaning you plant veggies, herbs and flowers next to each other that will help each other thrive. Like corn, pole beans and squash go together. And I am also going to set my boxes up probably like the square foot gardening method. All of the info on raised garden/compatible gardening I found online. I don't know the websites off hand though, sorry. I hope this helps, I'm new to gardening as well!

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answers from Louisville on

I'm not sure if this will help you, but there's a method called square foot gardening that is supposed to maximize your garden's capacity. You should be able to look it up online or possibly find the book explaining it in your local library. Best of luck and enjoy your garden!

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answers from St. Louis on

A raised bed would be best because you know you are starting with good soil. Soil is half your battle.

What you want to do is have enough room around the raised bed that you can walk around it. Then you just plant what you want around the edges. Taller stuff in the middle, shorter stuff like herbs around the edges.

I am sure if you google raised garden beds and your area in Georgia you will find a lot of ideas.

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answers from Washington DC on

i see you've already got the square foot gardening link here. it's awesome. i thought i'd outsmart it and make my beds bigger, and sure enough, the center 'squares' are very hard to plant, weed and harvest, so stick with the plan. 5 x 5 is perfect. next time i'm going to raise the beds higher, though, and spare my aging back! also, pick your material to build the beds carefully. after 4 years mine are starting to rot and crumble.
happy gardening!
:) khairete

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answers from Kansas City on
This was on TV, may still be, but they show you how to do it and it sounds like it would work for you.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Your California experience will work fine in GA. You just have to not grow the trees that can't stand freezing weather, like oranges. The long term plants that can't stand a freeze like artichokes will take some special care, but most people won't grow their own artichokes.

In California you plant to retin as much water as possible. In GA you will want the water to drain off because it can be too much and over whelming.

Call the agricultural extension service in Stewart and ask about their master gardening program. I'm sure you will have lots of people to ask for help.

BTW, if you have a small yard, you can grow vining fruit and vegetables on your fence and increase your gardening space tremendously. Boysenberries and blackberries grow wonderfully along a fence.

Good luck to you and yours.

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