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Old 03-15-2008, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Denver
2,970 posts, read 6,562,129 times
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Hello gardeners!

My boyfriend and I are the new proud owners of a large urban garden plot (approximately 50 feet by 30 feet). We live in Denver and are currently cleaning up the site as it has been untouched for the past two years and was a former manly flower garden.

We want to plant tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers, zucchini, squash, lots of herbs, and either some melons or pumpkins. We are going to start seedlings here this weekend, and the planting begins around the end of April.

Any tips or suggestions? We have to till the soil once we get the plot cleaned up. How long do we have to wait between tilling and planting?

Thanks for your responses in advance! I am so excited to be able to grow my own stuff!
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Old 03-15-2008, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Boise-Metro, ID
1,378 posts, read 5,902,897 times
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Since you're using a till to work the soil I'd mix in some manure with it to add extra nutrients. Chicken or steer manure is fine. If it's store bought I believe you can plant right away, but if it's the real deal you'll want to wait a week or so as I believe it can burn your plants. Someone else might want to pipe in to correct me as I'm not 100% sure. I think store bought product is put through a sterilization process that eliminates the burning of your plants??

Also, melon could be tough to grow for you if you don't have a long hot growing season. I grow cantaloupe here in Boise and sometimes I have good seasons, sometime not so great. It really needs hot weather for it to flourish and yield fruit. We get in the 90's and 100's, not so sure Denver is hot enough, but.....you are higher up so it's possible that could play a factor but I really think it's the heat that they like. Not sure how your garden is set up.....but if you're garden was situated with a fence or wall is behind it, that would generate more heat from the sun reflecting on it and might help out if your bed was close enough to it.
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Old 03-15-2008, 12:55 PM
 
Location: The Woods
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Don't till or turn the soil when wet (or really dry either). Turning it by hand does less damage to the soil than a roto tiller. Test the soil for what it has with nutrients and pH first before adding anything.
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Old 03-15-2008, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Denver
2,970 posts, read 6,562,129 times
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Thanks! And keep the suggestions, tips, ideas coming!!

by the way.....I meant mainly a flower garden, not a "manly" flower garden. (though doesn't that sound intriguing??)
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Old 03-15-2008, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,193 posts, read 25,874,780 times
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I had an urban garden in NY, fresh from the land fill, and had to add plenty of nutrients, turn it and then plant it. I found some rather large rocks, and in particular one in the centre. I used it as a central focus for the balance of the garden and a bench of sorts which then was the ending and starting point for a path.

I suggest checking the natural pH and getting a good balance, seeing what areas are well lighted, which may be more shaded during the sunny periods of the day and planting accordingly and planting with shade and non-shade vegetables in mind.

I had one section solely for herbs, another for nightshades and the other half for various height vegetables, interspersing with ground covering and low height flowers, many of which were natural pesticides.

By the second year, I was in vegetable heaven.

Good luck and most of all enjoy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
Don't till or turn the soil when wet (or really dry either). Turning it by hand does less damage to the soil than a roto tiller. Test the soil for what it has with nutrients and pH first before adding anything.
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Old 03-15-2008, 07:55 PM
 
Location: The Woods
17,898 posts, read 24,357,978 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandsGal View Post
Thanks! And keep the suggestions, tips, ideas coming!!

by the way.....I meant mainly a flower garden, not a "manly" flower garden. (though doesn't that sound intriguing??)
You may want to read about companion planting. For example, grow basil around your tomato plants, they both seem to grow better that way. THe subject can get complex though so you'll have to read detailed guides on it...some plants don't grow well near each other. Some plants help keep insect pests away, like marigolds. Makes planning the garden a bit complex at times but I have noticed results...

Also rotate from year to year. For example, rotate peas with corn, as the peas put some nitrogen back into the soil which corn depletes. Always rotate potatoes to reduce disease problems. Not sure you'll be growing these plants, but as examples...

"Green manure" or cover crops turned under before going to seed can put a lot of nutrients into the soil, once a section of the garden is done for the year, assuming there's enough time in the growing season to do so. I'm not familiar with the growing season in Denver so can't comment on it.

But you may already know all of this...
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:34 AM
 
3,367 posts, read 10,548,678 times
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'Layer gardening', 'no-till' or 'lasagna gardening' can be a really good and easy way to get started quickly;

Lasagna Gardening 101

Also, on my allotment, I used old packing cases to make about 12 raised beds (about 4x4 foot square and 1 foot high) and did the old fashioned Three Sisters mix of corn, beans, squash
The Three Sisters* Garden- Corn, Beans, Squash which for some ancient reason works so well together.

Planting squash or melons helps to shade the soil around the other tall growers I guess.

There were some helpful suggestions on this forum, on the same subject a little while ago - here
Beginning a New Veggie Garden

Last edited by southdown; 03-16-2008 at 08:59 AM..
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Old 03-16-2008, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Silver Springs, FL
23,417 posts, read 34,443,579 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torrie View Post
Since you're using a till to work the soil I'd mix in some manure with it to add extra nutrients. Chicken or steer manure is fine. If it's store bought I believe you can plant right away, but if it's the real deal you'll want to wait a week or so as I believe it can burn your plants. Someone else might want to pipe in to correct me as I'm not 100% sure. I think store bought product is put through a sterilization process that eliminates the burning of your plants??.
yes, you are correct in that. I was going to pipe up about companion gardening, which is what I do, but that has been well covered already.
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:36 PM
 
16,481 posts, read 22,967,319 times
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Some veggies you do not want to start early, they are best planted directly into the soil of your garden. Ziccinni is a plant that unless you plan on freezing a lot of it or eat a ton of it you do not want to have too many plants, maybe 2. Unless you have a long growing season you want to buy good stocky tomato plants and not plant by seed.
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:41 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,193 posts, read 25,874,780 times
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I nearly laughed on the limitations to place on Zucchini growing. The first year I had my urban garden I probably planted half a dozen. We had zucchini coming out of our ears, and the kids grew to loathe it. Even now more than 25 years later, they tease me about that crop.

Tomatoes, too, are probably easier to bring to maturity if bought in infancy but not seed. I had two growths from plants by mulching after the first harvest and had fruit until early Autumn.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokencrayola View Post
Some veggies you do not want to start early, they are best planted directly into the soil of your garden. Ziccinni is a plant that unless you plan on freezing a lot of it or eat a ton of it you do not want to have too many plants, maybe 2. Unless you have a long growing season you want to buy good stocky tomato plants and not plant by seed.
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