Advice Needed! Community Garden/Organic Gardening Beginner Advice!

<p>In the midst of the current deep freeze and snowy tundra I got the call I have been waiting for literally years - after 3-4 years on a waiting list I was able to secure a garden plot at a very unique nature center in our area! SO EXCITED!</p>

<p>I have to pick up a contract, attend a couple of meetings, etc. I don't know the exact size of the plot, but I have seen them and they are manageable. The center requires organic gardening, provides water and compost. All plots are required to plant at (I think) 10% of their plot for donation to a local food bank. </p>

<p>My gardening skills leans more towards flower gardens. We have a large yard, so many flower gardens with perennials. My parents were avid gardeners so I grew up with yearly vegetable gardens of good size. My own yard has lots of shade so my gardening is limited to some potted vegetables and herbs on the sunny part of my deck. </p>

<p>Can anyone recommend some VERY BASIC websites, books or resources for simple organic gardening? Suggestions for a sensible first year vegetable garden?? My location is northern Ohio. I would lean towards tomatoes, peppers, herbs - what else is an "easy" grow???</p>

<p>So excited! I'm going to trudge through the snow and wicked winds today to pick up my contract so I can learn more about it - there IS light at the end of this frozen tunnel!!! :D </p>

<p>You can probably learn by experience what does and does not grow ask the current gardeners! I gave up on brussel sprouts in my garden for example because they got covered with aphids and it was too much trouble to figure out what organic solutions there might be to solve that problem. I put my emphasis on growing things I can’t find in the store (spicy lettuce varieties) and that are either very expensive or not as good in the stores (heirloom tomato). I don’t bother with things like zucchini, but if I were a fan of zucchin flowers I might. I think it’s fun to grow edible flowers - my favorite being nasturtiums. For laying out a garden a general approach - one of my favorites is Four Square gardening. Huh they have a website now: <a href=“”>;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;

<p>PBS has a radio program, “You Bet Your Garden,” hosted by organic gardening pro Mike McGrath. The website, which has archives of topics, is at <a href=“”>;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;

<p>I suggest you borrow some books on organic gardening from the library.</p>

<p>As for what to plant, I like to go for the veggies that are much better home grown than bought conventionally. Tomatoes are the top contender IMO, as I find it hard to put up with the “baseball” quality tomatoes available in most supermarkets. I buy a variety of small plants from a local nursery when it is planting time – I do not take the trouble with seeds, and love having a variety of tomato plants.</p>

<p>Enjoy! Organic gardening is an activity with zero downside, it seems to me – good for us psychologically, physically, etc., and good for mother earth. O:-) </p>

I recommend starting out with low risk plants. For easiness, one of the most dependable and low maintenance plants I have grown is rhubarb. No pests that I have discovered, and highly reliable. You may be able to get a starter plant from one of your new neighboring gardeners.</p>

<p>Here’s a link from Ohio’s extension service:</p>

<p><a href=“”>Site | OSU Extension;

<p>And here’s one from a county Master Gardner website. I don’t know what county you’re in, you can search for it on the extension site.</p>

<p><a href=“”></a></p>

<p>Master Gardeners are volunteers that are there to help you. They may have talks, plant clinics, and all sorts of online and paper resources to help you garden what’s best for your area. Good luck and happy planting!</p>

<p>Hopefully there’s also a list serve or online group for your community garden. That would be a great resource. My garden provides compost, but I always need more and sometimes go in on big truckloads with other community gardeners. </p>

<p>I signed the “contract” this afternoon - now I need to think of a short name for my garden since they label them. Since it took so long for me to get it, I was thinking “'Bout Thyme!” - haha , I wouldn’t do tht but I do need a catchy name!<br>
They have a horticulturalist on site who I met and seems very eager to help. She tried to show me my plot but it is buried under umpteen inches of snow right now!!!<br>
Thanks for the suggestions so far - I want to look into having my husband build a raised bed or two (must to be treated wood) - I like the looks of those and they are allowed as long as they meet their requirements.<br>
I’m so excited!!</p>

<p>Abasket, thought you might be interested in seeing this link.
<a href=“Garden Guides | Vegetables That Grow in Ohio”>;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;

<p>Are you USDA climate zone 5b? </p>

<p>Yep, 5B - that’s something I learned today ! I knew 5, but not “b”. </p>

<p>I’ve always enjoyed checking out companion planting charts. I see on Google images there are even some with pictures. </p>

<p>Oh and if you aren’t growing herbs - do that! They are so overpriced in the grocery store. I have a horrible shaded garden now, but I manage thyme, oregano, sage, parsley and basil without issues. They usually overwinter too. (Parsley not so much it’s not a perennial.) Some years I take my rosemary inside and don’t kill it. I managed last winter and am optimistic it will survive this one too.</p>

<p>I DO do herbs! In fact I think I will have to keep a small herb garden at home in addition to if I do herbs at the community garden because I’m too used to walking outside in the summer and snipping off what I need for dinner! Basil, parsley, oregano, chives are my typical. </p>