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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It was my plan this year to build a hoophouse, but the man who was supposed to build it started it and never came back. I've been kinda just waiting hoping he would show up and finish the job, but so far nothing.

This would be my first year ever really trying to start a garden, I was sooooo excited! We've grown some things indoor, but not the same. Now, here's my dilemma...I want to still plant BUT

1. I have waited so long and am a complete novice at this and am wondering if I'm too late (especially for the leafy greens that I was really looking forward to).

2. I have a couple of dairy goats so some type of goat proof fencing MUST be put up before I can get anything going. I can make a fence out of pallets but it still messes up my schedule a bit.

So for all you green thumbs out there (or not so green ;), please some words of encouragement :( I am kinda bummed that I haven't been able to get started yet. And what can I still plant and what am I too late for (supposing I get everything together by the end of the month) I just someone to get me going again. I know it's worth it, but a tad discouraged at this point.

Thank you in advance!!
 

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I guess for starters, where are you located? Where I'm at in Upper Michigan (above Wisconsin), we'll still be getting frost well into June so we don't plant anything outside until mid-June. I just started my seeds today. Meant to get it done sooner but didn't have time.
 

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I wouldn't think your to late to garden. Heck I havnt even started seeds yet since we have still been getting weather in the 30's some nights. I will probubly start some seeds next week, and may get the garden tilled next weekend. As for your hoop house, since it was already started could you maybe finnish it? Also if setting up a pallet fence messes up your schedule, do you have time to plant and take care of a garden? Just asking cause if the time isnt there it may be a waste . I would set up a fence around the area you want to garden and have at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
7chicks said:
I guess for starters, where are you located? Where I'm at in Upper Michigan (above Wisconsin), we'll still be getting frost well into June so we don't plant anything outside until mid-June. I just started my seeds today. Meant to get it done sooner but didn't have time.
I am In Maryland. The weather here has been sooooo unpredictable, which makes an already confused novice gardener even more so!! I think if I start planting by the end of the month I should be able to grow a few things but I was really trying to move towards our family being more self sufficient this year which for me meant growing tons of things in the garden! I just can't seem to get started and wasted too much time waiting around.

This is the pallet fence we built for the goats, I'm think I going to do something like this for the garden temporarily until I can get a hoophouse up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Apyl said:
I wouldn't think your to late to garden. Heck I havnt even started seeds yet since we have still been getting weather in the 30's some nights. I will probubly start some seeds next week, and may get the garden tilled next weekend. As for your hoop house, since it was already started could you maybe finnish it?
Also if setting up a pallet fence messes up your schedule, do you have time to plant and take care of a garden? Just asking cause if the time isnt there it may be a waste .
I would set up a fence around the area you want to garden and have at it

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I wanted to finish it, but there is a bit of gravel/cement on one side of the yard where some of the posts need to be placed and needs something stronger than a shovel to break through.

What I meant regarding time was that it messed up my planting schedule, not my personal schedule. I would have to get the materials, build it myself most likely. I live in the city and although I can find free pallets it's going to take me a bit to find them and get them here.

I think I will build a fence around the area for hoophouse and take it down when necessary.

Thanks!!
 

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A Round American Woman
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What you have is called Spring Fever. It isn't deadly, but it can lead to a lot of frustration and let downs.

Your best bet, since you don't have soil already prepared and a garden location is to garden on a small scale this year so you can get that Fever down to a manageable level. Then, spend this entire year working on improving that soil for next year!

You can pick your garden area and plant in containers so that you have greens and tomatoes etc. and work on the soil. Or you can prep a small area within your whole garden area and then plant in that space, while improving the soil in the other. Just because you turn the soil over, doesn't mean anything will grow. If you layer goat poo and straw and leaves, chopped stuff from around the house, peat moss etc in the garden area, then by this fall you can till all of that in, then cover everything again with more goat poo, leaves and straw and let that winter. NEXT Spring you can then prep the area for planting.

This will also give you time to do a soil sample test and see if your soil needs any additions of purchased fertilizer, but goat poo, straw and leaves will boost up those levels really well.

AND, it will give you a good idea if your pallet fence works for goats.

Go buy some good potting soil and some large pots for tomatoes, some window boxes for greens etc, or even just buy some bags of "garden soil" and turn your grass over, layer the purchased soil on top and plant away.

I have been gardening for 18 years now. My first garden was in my Mother's greenhouse and in a small corner of her garden. I was in Culinary School and wanted to grow herbs, so she let me pop them in the ground and I had pots in the greenhouse. After that I had a small backyard plot when we rented a house in Lancaster County and I grew small amounts of veg and a lot of herbs and flowers.

Then, 11 years ago, we moved to the Country, and I gardened on a massive scale. I learned the best lesson, start small and work your way up.

6 years ago we moved to this house, and the garden that was here before me was still showing through the meadow grasses. You could make out the outline, and I estimate it was about 75 feet wide by 125-150 feet long. Which is probably why my basement shows signs of having a canning kitchen and I have a lovely 15x15 root cellar.

But my soil is horrid and lifeless. I have been working diligently on soil improvement for the past 5 years, and I immediately put in 16 100 square foot beds. I overwhelmed myself from the get go. I also got sick and wasn't able to a- go out into the sun because of medication and b-suffered pain with every movement. So my garden suffered and I have been struggling to get it back.

Last year I scaled back to ONE garden bed. I had a second that I started strawberries in, but I only grew one bed that I knew I could manage. I let everything go fallow and then last fall I prepped 6 beds for this year. I put in garlic last fall, I had the strawberries going and that leaves me with only 4 beds for planting.

I have it down to manageable levels, the other beds are still there, and they are now being covered with leaves, chicken poo, straw, newspaper etc. I want to add a blueberry bed and a red raspberry bed next year, and I now have beds for perennial flowers and herbs. 1600 square feet of vegetables was just too much for me.

In your area, you can have greens, beets, peas, onions, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale in the ground right now. Your local greenhouses probably have started plants that you can pick up because it is late to start those from seed. Around Memorial day you can add warm season crops as long as the weather forcast looks good. We have a cold front here right now, and EVERYTHING I have growing has to come inside tonight and the next night. I will be covering my strawberries, they are covered with blooms, and I'm glad I didn't get carried away and plant all my tomatoes (my Mother's neighbor did) since they won't live through 25-degrees.

Good Luck, work on keeping it small, and always be prepping that soil for next year!! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Roslyn, you hit it right on the nose!! Thanks for your honesty and advice. I am going crazy here wanting to do everything to sustain my family organically but don't have the means or know how right now and it's driving me crazy!!!

I needed someone to tell me exactly what you told me. Although I wasn't planning to plant on a grand scale like you, I probably would bite off more than I could chew out of sheer excitement and eagerness. I have grown some veggies with aquaponics, but really wanted to do raised beds outside this year. I am still going to shoot for it, but I will start small and see how it goes.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences in such detail. It really helped me put some things in perspective. I must admit thoughI'm still not 100% cured ;) !!
 

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I am In Maryland. The weather here has been sooooo unpredictable, which makes an already confused novice gardener even more so!! I think if I start planting by the end of the month I should be able to grow a few things but I was really trying to move towards our family being more self sufficient this year which for me meant growing tons of things in the garden! I just can't seem to get started and wasted too much time waiting around.

This is the pallet fence we built for the goats, I'm think I going to do something like this for the garden temporarily until I can get a hoophouse up.
Hi neighbor!! Which county are you in? I'm in Cecil. Rule of thumb for planting around here is May 15. By then the soil is warming up and the frost danger is over, although this has been a very cold spring so it probably wouldn't hurt to wait a couple weeks. Last night it was well below freezing here at my place. Many times people try to get a jump on spring and plant early. It never works out. If the frost doesn't get them the ground is too cold and plants just go dormant. Stuff planted a few weeks later will pass them up and produce earlier as well as larger yield over the growing season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
TopTop said:
Hi neighbor!! Which county are you in? I'm in Cecil. Rule of thumb for planting around here is May 15. By then the soil is warming up and the frost danger is over, although this has been a very cold spring so it probably wouldn't hurt to wait a couple weeks. Last night it was well below freezing here at my place. Many times people try to get a jump on spring and plant early. It never works out. If the frost doesn't get them the ground is too cold and plants just go dormant. Stuff planted a few weeks later will pass them up and produce earlier as well as larger yield over the growing season.
Hello to you too neighbor, what good news!! We live in Baltimore, technically in the city but really close to county line. I don't feel so "late" now. There is still hope, yay! I actually went out yesterday determined to get that greenhouse together and plan to work on getting the frame up this week. We'll see how that goes.

Everything happens for a reason for sure, because I would have been one of those trying to get a jump start in cold ground had the greenhouse been up. Blessing in disguise...thanks!
 

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I just finished my last Master Gardeners class today. Now the real education begins! Look into a Master Gardening class in your county. It's one of the best things I ever did and I put it off for 20 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Energyvet said:
I just finished my last Master Gardeners class today. Now the real education begins! Look into a Master Gardening class on your county. It's one of the best things I ever did and I put it off for 20 years.
Thanks! I will look into it. I have six kids and am in school part time, so......putting it off for 20 years, yeah I could see that ;)
 

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But think what you could teach your kids.

Industriousness, discipline, horticulture, self reliance, botany and "what a cool parent I have!" Best one of all. It's only a 4 month course.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Energyvet said:
But think what you could teach your kids.

Industriousness, discipline, horticulture, self reliance, botany and "what a cool parent I have!" Best one of all. It's only a 4 month course.

:)
You are absolutely right! That is one of the main reasons I got the chickens, goats, etc.... for the education of my kids and to enrich their lives through these things physically, mentally and spiritually. If I have the resources and the time I will definitely jump on it. But I have a bee stewardship class I really want to take this fall, so as far as the "extracurricular" activities go I have to plan far in advance and not overload my schedule or else nothing gets done!! Thanks for the words of encouragement!!
 

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Energyvet said:
I just finished my last Master Gardeners class today. Now the real education begins! Look into a Master Gardening class in your county. It's one of the best things I ever did and I put it off for 20 years.
Wow! Congrats! I would love to take take these courses some day!
 

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You're definitely not too late to plant! I just barely hardened off my tomatoes here in Salt Lake City, UT. Start working that soil in the early evenings after it has warmed a little, saturate it and get your spade in it! Plant things like some bush beans and vining beans like black eyed peas (they produce quickly) as well as other favorites you have.

I have a 1600 square foot veggie garden in my backyard that produces very well. Work on the hoop house throughout the summer but do get the fence up so your goats don't get the garden.

Good luck, start slow as the others have said but get going on it! You might not have everything planted that you want but you definitely should have time to get some in, you have good soil up there and shouldn't need too much in amendments unless you live in a brand new house with "brought in" top soil. Good compost goes a long way too!

I'm a mother to four (6-1 years old) and we enjoy working in the garden together at least 12 hours a week! I'm amazed at what we get done; they even have their own set of garden tools and help all the time. Get some library books about gardening in your area too and talk to the local nurseries if you need to. Good luck with your homestead!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
MamaHen said:
You're definitely not too late to plant! I just barely hardened off my tomatoes here in Salt Lake City, UT. Start working that soil in the early evenings after it has warmed a little, saturate it and get your spade in it! Plant things like some bush beans and vining beans like black eyed peas (they produce quickly) as well as other favorites you have.

I have a 1600 square foot veggie garden in my backyard that produces very well. Work on the hoop house throughout the summer but do get the fence up so your goats don't get the garden.

Good luck, start slow as the others have said but get going on it! You might not have everything planted that you want but you definitely should have time to get some in, you have good soil up there and shouldn't need too much in amendments unless you live in a brand new house with "brought in" top soil. Good compost goes a long way too!

I'm a mother to four (6-1 years old) and we enjoy working in the garden together at least 12 hours a week! I'm amazed at what we get done; they even have their own set of garden tools and help all the time. Get some library books about gardening in your area too and talk to the local nurseries if you need to. Good luck with your homestead!
Thanks so much!!! I am looking forward to spending time outside with my kids gardening. I think we would all have a blast. With the goats and chickens, it kind of begs for a little garden to make the homestead complete! I feel much better about getting off to a late start after everyone's kind words. And hey, a late start is better than none at all!!

If any if you are will to share pics of your gardens and how they are set up I would looooove to see them. When I graduate to your level :) I'll post pics of mine.
 

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A Round American Woman
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My garden design is simple, and designed for the slope. I have 4 foot by 25 foot beds, making each one an even 100 square feet. This makes it easy to plot out how many plants per bed and how much added fertilizer etc. My photos are from about 5-ish weeks ago when I was starting to work things.

The beds I'm using this year are in the first photo. My garlic bed, and then my planting of the potatoes.

I have grass between each bed and it's a real bi$ch to mow, but since I'm on a slope, if I take away the grass then mulch would just slide, or my feet would slide.

The wires in the garlic bed are there to support the row cover. This photo was taken about 7-10 days after deer came through and ate the garlic greens to the ground. I covered with row cover (agrabon) and after a good hard rain it bounced back. You should see it now! It's huge!

I garden with Square foot style in mind, but not with the little grid patterns, I have modified square foot style and row style to suit my own needs. What works for you will be the best.

I'll get more photos, the fence goes hot this weekend, so the plants will be going in. You can just see my baby strawberry plants in the first photo, to the left of the shovel and buckets ( I LOVE my buckets, they have so many uses). They are now tall, lush and filled with blooms and a few baby berries. The variety is a new one, NorthEastern.

I planted one 25 foot row of potatoes, half Yukon Gold and half Red Norland.
 

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