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Anyone have any advice for a first time vegetable garden?
I recently started my own vegetable garden in my backyard.  I composted soil and have 5 pea pod plants, 1 tomato plant and 1 red pepper plant.  It's nothing sustainable but it's just enough for me to learn how to grow food.  Anyone have any useful advice that may help me on my herbalism voyage?
One tip, you don't need tons of fertilizers, timed watering systems, and other fancy things. Compost (or even just cut plants, but this takes more time to deliver nutrients) is all you need for plants that want lots of nutrients. But many plants don't need great soil (peas, for example. They do fine in poor soil and enrich it. Rhubarb too.). As for watering, mulching and light shade can help cut down on water use a lot. Water when it's cool, not mid-day. Invest in hardy plants.

If you have any decent amount of space, I would recommend putting in perennial plants and cultivating them, rather than just having a garden. If you live in wetter, milder regions, you can do this pretty easily. But if you live in areas that have harsh weather, you'll want to establish hardy trees/bushes first, then use those to plant around.

If you plant rows of crops, don't leave a lot of space in between. For bushy things like potatoes or beans, it's not a problem. But for things like carrots or beets, I would look for a shallow-rooted plant to put in between the rows, in order to discourage weeds. Something like fenugreek, for example. They have very shallow roots, fix nitrogen, benefit from being in a garden type area that is watered regularly, and are also a tasty herb/spice.

And I guess some things I wish I would have looked into when I first started gardening are regional pests and sun requirements. Where I live it's not easy to grow brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc. because they get eaten so quickly by a kind of larva. And, although this doesn't apply to lots of garden vegetables, some plants really can't handle being in full sun. So if your garden is a plot in the middle of a yard, you might need to use fabric or companion planting for some plants.

The most recent thing I'm learning is that it's super important to raise plants that fit in your area. Growing exotic shit (or even stuff that may like it just a few hundred miles away) takes way more work than the types of plants that would naturally live where you are. That said, you can improve your environment some. This is one area where permaculture is really useful. The less work you have to put into your plants, the happier they'll be.
You might want to consider raiding local dumpsters that sell plants. Agway, Tractor Supply, etc, are throwing out crates of veggie plants the past week. I have found and planted hundreds of plants this way that are populating our garden.

I also found hundreds of seed packets behind Tractor Supply last year.

Also, depending on where you live, there might be an immense amount of wild edibles in forests, roadsides, and between the cracks in their sidewalks. Even lawns likely have lots of wild edibles. My personal favorites are sheep and wood sorrel and purslane.

If you've got the green thumb for cloning, you can take cuttings from plants you find or from stores you don't want to support or buy from, but have plants you want.

Good luck!
(Sun, 30 Jul 2017 02:07:42 +0000, 02:07 AM)ZFG Wrote: If you've got the green thumb for cloning, you can take cuttings from plants from stores

This is fun to do. Just browse around a greenhouse with a jacket with pockets and it helps to have a ziplock to retain moisture. Just go around cutting off a few nodes of something you like and taking it.
Anyone done any balcony cultivation? I have a pretty small balcony, but I'd like to grow some stuff on it. If someone has any tips for a newbie, please share!
Is it The Apartment Farmer by Duane G. Newcomb? I'll try to look for it at the library.

The balcony is on the north-western corner. Most of the surface is north. It's quite small though. And in Norway, so take that into account, hah.

Amusing side-note: tried searching for the book at the biggest national second-hand site, and got this instead: — it's a tad out of my price range!

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