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Hi all. I am wanting to be a little more self sustaining so the plan is to start a big garden next year. I was wondering if anyone could recommend any books or websites that could help me get started and prepared for next year.
 

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Chicka-Js said:
Hi all. I am wanting to be a little more self sustaining so the plan is to start a big garden next year. I was wondering if anyone could recommend any books or websites that could help me get started and prepared for next year.
I have a Better Homes & Gardens gardening book I got at Barnes & Nobles. I love it!! Literally goes over everything! :)
 

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I don't stick with any particular site. I find a veg I want to plant then research the best methods to grow it for tips and ideas. Most of the time I don't even follow the tips and tricks lol. I usually end up just starting the seeds inside and transplanting once frost is done.
 

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A Round American Woman
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The first step is to choose a good site with good sun and not close to mature trees.

Next, start composting. Mark out the beds and lay cardboard, newspaper down in thick layers and cover with straw and wood chips. If you have any local sources for manure pile that on too. This will bring in the worms and they will do the work for you breaking up the soil beneath the piles. In the Fall till everything in and take a soil sample for testing to see if you are in need of any major nutrients. Then cover with a lighter cover of newspaper and straw for the winter.

Meanwhile decide on what you want to grow and read up on the needs of that particular plant. I love the book "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible" by Ed Smith. I still pull that one off the shelf. I like the OLD version of Square Foot Gardening. And I use the fertilizer recipe from Steve Solomon's "Gardening When it Counts", the recipe is online at Mother Earth News.

A lot of gardening is learning your micro climate. Learning your soil. You can read and follow what others say, but the recommendations of a gardener in Oregon won't be what you need in coastal South Carolina.

Also, what kind of wildlife do you have? Work on a good fence and be ready to put electric on it for the deer. Having a fence up and working BEFORE planting was one of my greatest life lessons in my garden. Where I am now my biggest issues are my own chickens and deer. Keep a good thick layer of clover in your lawn and you won't have issues with bunnies. Groundhogs are d*mn near impossible and the best thing to do is to shoot them and then be ready when the next one moves in.

If you plant it, they will come......
:D
 

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Apyl said:
I don't stick with any particular site. I find a veg I want to plant then research the best methods to grow it for tips and ideas. Most of the time I don't even follow the tips and tricks lol. I usually end up just starting the seeds inside and transplanting once frost is done.
Agreed. Don't stick with just one book. I rent gardening books from the library about 6 at a time. Knowing your own area is key. Where do you live? Some places already have ideal soil (unlike mine here is Salt Lake City, UT) But on the upside i don't have the pests like other places.

Some books are better about individual plants (companion planting, low or high nitrogen feeders) others are great general books (how to double dig, how to make your own rain barrels, general garden care, etc).

There's lot of different information so you'll still have to figure out what works for you. I learned that red seedless grapes do well here, went out and bought some and another site said not to plant them here. (Good thing I have two other grape plants that are doing well). This is my fourth gardening season on a 1600 sq foot plot with a drip system. Last year was my first fantastic year (the other two were ok) It took hundreds of hours though.

Now I'm getting off topic, oops! Start with lots of books, lots of sites, then pick your favorite plants and configure the plot to your needs. Post again if you need any more info/tips. I am a huge home garden advocate!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks I will. I'm in middle Tennessee. I have good sunny place picked out. I wanted to get all the info I can now so I can have a plan. That way I can do all I can to be prepared for next spring. I think I'm headed to the library. =]
 

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I really like "Storey's Basic Country Skills". It's not really just a gardening book, but for general homesteading info it's great! It really covers a lot of topics. I've had good luck with all of the Storey's books I've gotten. I don't remember the specific titles, but there were a lot of books on the McMurray Hatchery website that I really want to buy (and not just on chickens). They had some homesteading books and many others that looked good, but since I haven't gotten around to buying them yet I'm just telling you about these based on the description and the fact that they are on my "want to buy" list. But I do love books so I might be a bit over enthusiastic for you. :D But the 1st book I said, I would highly recommend.
 

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Might I suggest you start a compost pile now? That way, it'll definitely be ready for next year's garden! I didn't think about that part until it was a little late, so I ended up tilling the neighbor's old horse manure in. It works, but I would have loved compost to go with it. I really enjoy http://www.homesteadingtoday.com for homesteading advice/ideas. Also, on Facebook, I've "liked" Homestead Survival. They have a pretty interesting website and a bunch of DIY projects. For a while they would have specials on free ebooks on homesteading topics like canning and gardening. I haven't been on there to see if they are still doing that. :)
 

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Take a soil sample (in just a little ziplock bag) to the county extension office, and they will test it and see what your soil needs for a garden. We did, and we needed lime. No problem, went to the co-op, and bought a truckload of it, and broadcast it around. Easy peasy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks to everyone for all the great ideas. I will definitely go ahead and start my compost pile and take the soil to get it tested.
 
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