30.09.2021. By Garry Jollymore

How to start your urban garden Featured

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Many prepared and aware persons in North America enjoy a reasonably long vegetable-gardening season, starting as early as March and stretching on through late November. But success has as much to do with when you plant as it does what you plant. 

Have a Plan 

Consider four things in your plan: available time, available space, the size of your family and whether you plan to freeze or preserve what you grow. 

It’s best to start small the first year then go from there, a 10-foot-by-10-foot garden would be a small one for a family of four. Begin with a list of your favorite vegetables, but don’t be afraid to experiment as well. 

Next, consider your space. The ideal location has six or more hours of sunlight, good drainage and easy access to a water source. When it gets to be July or August, you want to have easy access to a hose and spigot, It’s a critical time for regular watering as the plants produce their fruits and vegetables.

If sunny spaces are limited, don’t despair. Simply choose a place that gets the most sun or grow plants in containers on a sunny patio.

Lettuce, and even tomatoes and peppers, will grow in some shade, you just won’t get as many.

Finally, sketch your garden layout in a loose-leaf notebook with page protectors for storing seed packets. For your garden layout, choose an appropriate planting approach. Traditional wide rows are easy to weed and mulch, while hill planting warms the ground temperature for heat-loving squash and melon vines. Then, there’s intensive planting, popularized by the square-foot method, which divides a raised bed into 1-foot planting squares. 

For those with limited garden space, a few strategies. For one, you can tightly plant onions between rows of lettuce. T
he fast-growing lettuce is gone by the time the slower maturing onions need more room.

As you learn you can also train vining plants to grow upward by adding trellises, but remember to orient the trellises east to west to avoid shading nearby crops.

Finally, succession planting allows gardeners to grow a warm-season crop such as green beans after harvesting a cool-season crop like spinach, or plant a new row of lettuce weekly for four weeks. Another option is planting varieties of the same vegetable that have different maturity dates (found on the back of the seed packets). For example, try three different edamame that mature at 70, 80 and 100 days.

Some plant varieties are especially suited for small gardens or containers. Look for plants and seeds with names that include words such as patio, pixie, tiny, baby or dwarf


Build a Raised Bed
A 4-by-8-foot, raised-bed garden is a good starting point for new gardeners, and you can always build two if you need more,

These large wooden frames sit atop the ground and are filled with soil and plants., they tend to warm and drain quicker, making them easier to start in early spring. Here are 10 steps for creating your own raised-bed garden: 

1. Location: Select a sunny location that drains well.

2. Frame: Build the frame with treated lumber, which lasts longer than the untreated variety. The 4-by-8-foot frame should be a minimum of 6 inches deep, but 12 inches or more is ideal for root growth. Reinforce the corners with metal corner braces available at the hardware store, Add one or two 4-foot crossbars for stability. Next, line the underside with cloth or newspapers to keep grass or weeds from entering the raised bed garden.

3. Soil: Fill the frame with a mix of topsoil and compost (leaf, mushroom or manure). A 2-to-1 ratio works well, Water the raised bed, and top off with more soil as it settles.

4. Planting: Use information on seed packets or plant tags of transplants as helpful guides for timing and spacing requirements. Add row markers to identify seeded areas.

5. Water: Make sure the garden gets one inch of water per week. Remember raised beds tend to dry out quicker, so watch for signs of dry soil and wilting plants, On the other hand, take care not to overwater, which also causes wilting.

6. Weeding: Keeping your garden free from weeds is essential. Use markers to help differentiate seedlings from unwanted weeds. Take photos or research seedling images online if you need help identifying them. 

7. Mulch: Once seedlings emerge or transplants are planted, add a layer of mulch to help control weeds and retain moisture and warmth. Newspaper can also work as mulch but needs to be tacked down.

8. Supports: Train sprawling plants like cucumbers to grow up wooden stakes or old tool handles by tying them with string, twine or stockings. Livestock fencing panels also work well.

9. Pests and Disease: Spend time daily in your garden, inspecting plants. Check the top and undersides of leaves for eggs, frass (insect excrement) and other clues. Some insects are beneficial, and many problem ones can be removed by hand if caught early.

10. Journal: Keep a notebook and store it in a mailbox in the garden. Record dates and notes about planting times, weather conditions, insect activity, harvest times, successes and failures. These notes are valuable for next season’s garden.

Plant This! 

Cool-season Crops (Spring & Fall)

Leaf lettuces 
are easier to grow than head lettuces and come in many different colors and textures. Directly sow seeds in the garden as early as March or April to ensure a sweet, productive crop.

Radishes are a very simple, fast-growing crop in a variety of colors. Watch them closely, so they don’t get too big and split, they are best harvested when small and tender.

Peas are an early garden treat. “Plant the seeds early in March or April, and give the vines a trellis to climb, Chicken wire or branches with string work well.

Beets thrive in cooler temperatures. Plant one crop of seeds in spring and another in late summer, 

Greens and kale are easy spring crops to grow. Many are highly ornamental and can be added to landscape beds and decorative containers.

Warm-season Crops (Summer)

 come in summer and winter varieties. Avoid insect problems by using transplants and delay planting until a little later in the season, ideally mid-June.

Tomatoes can be challenging but highly rewarding. Start with transplants, wait to plant them in warm weather, stake them and evenly water them throughout the season. Avoid disease problems by hand- or hose-watering the plants at their base and not the leaves.

Sweet corn is so desirable, but a challenge for pocket gardens. To ensure good pollination, plant corn in a block of two or three rows instead of a long, single row.

Eggplants are available in many varieties from Albino to Black Beauty to Little Fingers. “While they’re easy to grow, beetles can be a problem, monitor them closely.

Peppers are very popular for their variety of spices, colors, shapes and degrees of hotness. Remember to consistently water pepper plants to avoid thin walls.

Cucumbers are best grown on a trellis (except for bush varieties). Plant transplants later, ideally mid-June, to avoid pest problems, also try compact bush varieties for container gardens.

Green beans are best planted from seeds, but many gardeners make the mistake of planting the entire packet at once. Try spacing four plantings a week apart to extend the harvest.


Read 454 times Last modified on Thursday, 30 September 2021 22:51
Garry Jollymore


With my haste to get things started on this project I neglected to tell a bit about myself.

This project idea has already gone to many people whom I do not know and when I think about it, if a request came in for money from someone I did not know I would probably reply, "Go fund yourself."

With that in mind I will give you the bare bones.

I live in Halifax Nova Scotia was born here and resided here most of my life. 

I must interrupt the resume here to point out that many of you who have received my info are U.S. citizens and because this originates in Canada you may be thinking that this is a Canadian thing. That is not the case. The issue this project proposes to highlight has no borders.

I Graduated from Sidney Stephen high school Bedford Nova Scotia with honors.Went to St Mary's University Halifax. Pursued an English Lit degree with a minor in history. After 3 years did not graduate but took the first year first day advice form a respected professor he said, "You will learn many things here but the most important thing is that you are embarking on a life time of learning". That is what I have done.

I have had several small businesses and several jobs over the years. The most recent job was as a dealer at Casino Nova Scotia. I mention that job because you absolutely do not get a casino job if you fail the security checks or if you or family have a hint of criminal past.

For the last decade I have been a tour guide operating my own tour business then partnering in Van Tours of Nova Scotia and associating with Shore Excursions. A quick Google of my name will verify that I have a good reputation in that business.

This concept of "a life time of learning" has served me well both in my tour business from my interest in history books and for this project from an inexplicably fortuitous chain of books,lectures and videos that have come my way.

A more thorough resume will follow. I hope this is enough for now to put to rest any suspicion that this project might be a scam or the work of a shady character.

I am sincere about this project and will do whatever it takes to prove that so.