What should I plant in my new garden?

Through some odd geographical errors and general human stupidity, I’ve recently annexed a 10’x20’ garden in my little plot of suburbia. (one step closer in my plans to take over the world!)

I have some limited experience with gardens in my childhood - but all I remember is the weeding. And weeding. Weeding in the hot sun, weeding in the high humidity, weeding until I closed my eyes and dreamed of weeds. That and putting little corn seeds in the dirt exactly 18" apart.

Up here in central Pennsylvania, my neighbors with gardens haven’t done anything to them yet, so it seems I’m a little early for planting. Though these packages of pea, lettuce, and broccoli seeds say they’re supposed to start early, so I think I’ll put them in tomorrow evening.

Right now there’s a towering brussel sprout plant left over from last year, as well as two chives plants running wild. And I just put a fence around the perimiter. All set and ready to go… I just have no idea what to plan and am feeling a bit intimidated.

Strawberries. Grow yourself some strawberries.

I remember the weeding and weeding and weeding, too, but I also remember the eating of strawberries while doing so, if you were the lucky one who got the strawberry section. As a responsible adult, though, you’ll probably wash them first. :wink:

Cucumbers and watermelons were good, too, but you couldn’t pick and eat those while you were weeding.

Strawberries. That’s perfect. Nothing would be cooler than to take a pint of strawberries in to work and show off, saying I grew 'em myself!

Ouch - looks like I’m a little late to put them in :eek: Best get cracking.

Congrats on your new patch of dirt.

Since it may be bit late to start your own seeds indoors, you may want to buy established plants from your local nursery (or the Evil Orange Empire). Tomatoes are a must-have, of course. You could put in some flowers that are good for cutting. You can also plan to put in some cool-weather plants later in the summer for a fall harvest, like lettuce and spinach.

Any good gardening book should have tips on cutting down on weeding. Mulching is imperative. I like the garden tool called “The Winged Weeder.”

Gardening for Dummies is actually a pretty good book for beginners.

Green Bean - I assume the “Evil Orange Empire” that you refer to is the Home Despot.

Actually, I planned to make a point to skip the tomatoes, since I really don’t do much with them anyway. When I break down to make spaghetti, I’m generally in a rush or feeling lazy, so canned sauces are ideal.

Late lettuce and spinach sounds like a good idea.

As for weeding machines, I may defer that until next year and just use my little three-prong hand cultivator in the meantime… but I’ll put it on my wish list.

If you’re just starting out, a basic “gardening encyclopedia” book will have lots of information. I garden organically, and can highly recommend any of the various Rodale publications.

You’re fine to start peas now (they don’t mind a mild frost) and lettuce will probably do okay as well. I like to stagger my lettuce plantings so I have a more regular supply, instead of trying to eat it all at once.

If you are dreading memories of weeding, I have only one word of advice…mulch. It will save you hours of time.

Good luck and have fun.

Mulch, boy, and your weed problems will be greatly reduced. Get yerself some newspaper and lay it down between the rows, and that’ll smother out a whole lotta weeds. Piling grass clippings or leaves or something around the base of the plants will smother out a whole lot more.

I read somewhere once that bare earth is an abomination, because it never occurs in natural, healthy, plant-supporting soil. I mulch like hell and only pull weeds about once a month or so, and my garden does just fine.

I don’t know what the weather’s like in PA, but here in Wisconsin it’s still a mite early to be plating stuff outside. It depends what you want to plant, but I’d wait untill the frost danger has passed.

If you want to have cut-flowers, try sunflowers. They’re tough bastards and cheery and delightful. Just be sure to plant them somewhere that they won’t shade your other plants.

If you’re into companion planting, you can put peas in among the sunflowers. They’ll climb up the stalks, and then you don’t have to put up a trelis.

If you’re looking for some cool-weather stuff to get in right away, I’d sugest radishes. They grow super-fast, and depending on your growing season, you might be able to plant something else in the radish plot 'round mid-summer.

Kohlrabi like cool weather, too. I don’t know if you have time to start them from seed; I always buy plants.

Beans and potatoes are pretty easy to grow, too.

Although, rabbits like beans. Rabbits would love lettuce and spinach, too. I don’t know how sturdy your fence is, or if you have a rabbit problem, but it’s soemthing to think about.

Good luck, and happy gardening.

Heh! You call it the “despot,” too? Yeah, that’s what I mean.

And even if you don’t personally love tomatoes, you can give them away and earn big brownie points.

The Winged Weeder isn’t a machine. It’s a v-shaped blade on a long handle. I just find it the handiest thing for general weeding. Your 3-prong cultivator will work just fine.

Thanks, RobinH and Lunatic13 for the mulching tip. I wouldn’t have thought of that. Newspaper with stones on top to keep from blowing away-- sounds like a good idea to cut back the weeds, but what happens when it rains?

Also - this big brussels sprout plant is leftover there from last year (about 2½’ tall). It has little seedlings around the base, and the top is green, though the leaves around it are all withered and it smells funny. I’m wondering if I should cut it off to let the seedlings pick up, or just let it go as-is.

I inherited a bunch of bamboo poles for the beans, so that’s taken care of. Otherwise the sunflower idea would have been pretty clever.

I like to lay down multiple sheets of newspaper and then cover them with wood-chip mulch (I get it free from the town conservation center.) When it rains, it gets wet. :slight_smile: The newspaper doesn’t show. At the end of the season, you can pull up the newspaper and chuck it on the compost pile.