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Never planted veggies or fruits - need advice

A few things ...

I'm starting my FIRST veggie garden (and hopefully some fruit) next spring. Really excited. I have a (give or take) 7' x 7' space. Last year, I busted my butt putting down planking (interlocking wood pieces) so that I could put 2 chairs and a firepit on it rather than sitting them in the grass. I never ended up using it and don't think I will. So since its an unused, sunny spot I thought it'd be perfect for a vegetable garden. 

I was going to make TWO small raised beds with a space in the middle to walk down. I was going to enclosed it with green vinyl fencing on posts (saw someone throwing out wood fencing yesterday and wished I had remembered to go back and grab it! I think it would have worked perfectly for this project as I've seen animals eat through the vinyl stuff.)

Anyway, I kinda wanted to leave the planking stuff there (I really spent a darn long time putting it down) and wondered if I could *line* the bottom of the raised beds (btw, what *height* should the raised beds be? And what soil would you recommend?) and sit the two beds ON the planking (again, the raised beds would be lined so that the soil isn't (hopefully) sitting ON the planking.

So can I leave the planking and do the raised bed with a liner (filled in with soil of course). Or must I (sigh) remove the planking to expose the dirt that I took 35 hours to cover last summer. I'm pretty sure all these veggies and fruits have to be replanted in the spring anyway? None of them (tomatoes, eggplant, onion, strawberries, raspberries are perrenials, are they? Well maybe the raspberries?)

Any advice is appreciated!


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 14,657

    Lots of questions here first. 

    New York can be very hot in summer. Are you exposed to many animals,deer etc.? Why do you need to fence it?

    What is the soil under the decking like.?  Can you not plant straight into the soil.? Fences will shade what is a  very small area. You may have room for a few tomatoes and eggplant bushes ,but not much else. You will need to remove the decking,I think it will just cause problems. Or you could grow in large pots stood on the decking, but you will need to spend more time watering pots than if you grow into the soil. In such a small space I wouldn't bother with onions. A courgette(zucchini) plant would take up a quarter of that space and be a better option.

    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    Hello New G and welcome. Can you upload some photos of the area? That would help us to advise you.image

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,921

    unless the soil underneath is contaminated with something nasty I wouldn't put a bottom on the raised bed, they only need to be a max height of 18 inches - any taller and you have to start watering loads (especially in a New York summer!)

    strawbs and rasps are both perennial so they can be planted now and they'll fruit next year

  • FB, yes lots of questions lol. I am as new a newbie as you can get! And I don't like making mistakes so I want to get the garden all planned out. Since its only me I'm planting for, I think my allotted space will be enough (probably one of each plant). One tomato, one eggplant, etc. Do you think I could grow any carrots or celery or onion? I love those three but don't know anything about them.

    Hi Art, yes, I will upload photos. Should have done it. Thought it about it lol.

    So Treehugger, yes the NY/NJ area gets very HOT summers - and the area I'm thinking for my garden gets LOTS of sun (am I correct in assuming that lots of sun is a "good" thing?) So I can leave the strawberry and raspberry plants in the ground over the winter?

    Thank you everyone!

  • LizzybusyLizzybusy Posts: 87


    Don't line the raised beds and remove the decking - otherwise you won't get worms in the beds and you really should have worms!


    Depends how many people you are growing for (tomato plants etc.). I have 15 plants for 2 but we love tomatoes & eat them every day. I wouldn't do strawberries - have you ever been to a pick-your-own farm? You have to visit a lot of plants to get a decent number - but go ahead if you are happy to just eat a few at a time! They also take up a lot of room for this small yield. Beans or peas are a good idea as they grow upwards rather than take up a lot of ground space. Grow what you like to eat rather than what's easy - no good growing carrots if you hate them. Also look up about rotating crops and pests and diseases so you maximise your crops.



    Good luck and enjoy.


  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    I grow strawberries in large pots and they provide enough for meimage

  • Invicta2Invicta2 Posts: 663

    Are American Raspberry species tolerant of hot sun? In Britain our Raspberry varieties have been developed from the European raspberry which is a woodland plant which does not like too much Sun [ it thrives in the cooler parts or our country}. You should check up on this before you plant any Raspberries. 

  • Thanks, Lizzy. I know you're right (about removing the planks). I guess I just keep thinking of all the hours I spent ripping out the grass, lining the spot and then painstakingly putting down the planking - to end up using it not ONCE last year. Ugh! Well, after the winter we had, its looking pretty horrible anyway so no big loss - and at least the ground beneath will be ready to go as all the grass and weeds beneath are gone and it is just soil

    Hi Art, good idea. I'll just put the strawberries in a container. Can they be kept over the winter? Here in the NY/NJ area of the US we get bad winters. Would I take the container inside? Is full sun the best options? Any advice would be appreciated!

    Hi Invicta, my brother has a raspberry plant and it grows every year. Since it was his now (ex) wife who planted it, I'm not sure what kind it is.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 63,928

    I think you're starting at the wrong end so to speakimageimage

    Let us know what your conditions are, and we can suggest things that will grow well in those conditions - or ask people who live in your neighbourhood what grows well in their gardens image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    I second thatimage

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