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What are some good resources for someone who has !! Zero Experience !! to start growing foods in my back yard? Like I need to be told what activities I need to do to prepare (determine how big my plot's gonna be? till it up somehow? what methods I need to take with a low budget?)

and like, say it's gonna take me 2 weeks to get ready to plant, then given my climate & season what should plant then? (asking for a resource not necessarily for the answer)

@emsenn you're busy with important things but if you have time to offer me some advice that'd be neat since I know gardening is one of them

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Thank you to everyone who replied to my thread, and thank you to the people who still reply! It's been a lot of help and encouragement

If you are like me and looking for some advice or encouragement to start growing food at home, check out the replies.

If you have more suggestions, please offer them!

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@68km plan the spot, see how much sun it gets, dig in the soil to see what it's like reckon how moist it stays, read about different veggies, pick ones that match that sound good.

Assuming it has grass you'll need to remove all that and refill it back in with soil.

@68km this is about the bare minimum. oh - check growing seasons roughly, just make sure it'll produce before it ends and you should be fine, climates all fucked up anyway

@68km This is one of several resources you will need. When to plant is partly dependent on what USDA plant hardiness zone you're in. You can find that info at

Most states have a state university devoted to agriculture. If anyone there is working, they should be able to point you to local gardening resources.

@68km check your "zone" it's a rough estimate of what grows well in your area but don't worry about it too much you should plan to have a bunch of learning failures your first year. (your location has specific features relevant to plants that you don't know yet!)

you'll want to start plants from seed about a month before you put them in the ground - egg cartons are ok but tend to dry out. Plastic takeout containers are ok, poke holes in the bottom. Seed starting trays aren't super expensive and are ideal. Keep the seedlings moist until they sprout, then put them outside during the day, inside at night until it doesn't freeze at night any more, then you can keep them outside all night.

You start them in trays to help them outgrow the weeds that will sprout next to them even after you dig up the soil. You can buy seedlings instead if this seems like a lot of work or something goes wrong with your seedlings.

@68km starting "late" is fine, only farmers need to think about getting plants in the ground the very first minute it's possible, you can start some peppers in the middle of summer and you'll get some peppers just fine.

@68km as far as "how big your plot" since you have to rip up the grass, do it a couple square feet at a time cos that's hard work, rip up a bit, plant, put down mulch of some kind, rip up, plant, stop when the garden is as big as you can take care of, cos you'll have to continually be weeding, harvesting, watering etc what you already have. How much work that will be is an unknown right now.

@68km is a great tracker for what to plant when. You just need to know your climate zone. Also one of the best (and soothing) gardening channels on the tube is Charles Dowding. He's a gem

@68km my dad.

I... you know, I'm just going to call him and ask him, write down what he suggests, and share it.

He's the type of gardener who considers grass a weed, uses the ENTIRE back yard for the garden, and got us through several years of not having money because of all sorts of things...

I remember when he taught some spanish speaking kids in the neighborhood of Eugene Oregon how to plant onions, because they were interested in what he was doing in the back yard, so he showed them... and he speaks a bit of spanish... well no he reads spanish, he doesn't speak very often because he doesn't have anyone to speak with... but anyway.
Next day they show up at the front door with a clay pot and an onion plant in it, to show him, and he laughs because they had the seedling upside down, but it would still work.

Also, my dad's knowledge of gardening should be shared.

I'll do that.

@mjd this is the kind of thing I wanted! I dream of removing my grass but don't know if I'll live here long term and face an angry landlord. For this year I'll use a manageably small patch to learn.

@68km @mjd removing all the grass at once can lead to topsoil erosion before your new plantings can catch it

@emsenn yeah like I said just a dream, I wouldn't be so drastic. I already have some moss patches I try to encourage, and of course clover's interspersed. @mjd

@68km @mjd I hate how landlords and HOAs and stuff mandate "pretty" landscaping because it makes it hard to do traditional land management on the micro to bring an area into being beautiful

@emsenn @68km and on that matter -

My mom gets the front yard (: Roses, other flowers, a shade tree - though they did need to remove a tree in the past few years because it was causing some issues, but I believe another tree has gone into it's place - just smaller.

@emsenn @68km He "considers" it a weed. There is still grass; it's used for the areas between the plantings; additionally he uses some of the methods of the indigenous peoples of north america to avoid erosion. Beans planted around corn, to be able to climb up the corn stalk, that sort of thing.

Additionally he tills the soil with his rototiller each year, and composts regularly.

Erosion is a concern even without grass in Oregon - there's this thing called "rain." They have some of it where he lives.

@mjd Damn that was a patronizing response to "don't remove all the grass /at once/" @68km

@emsenn no please! I considered it a response to my own "i dream of removing literally all the grass in my yard" which was admittedly hyperbolic @mjd

@emsenn @68km hey one of the things I try to do here is make sure if I screw up when I post, folks know I am trying to listen and adjust. Sometimes ... well, communication via text is different than in person. You can't see the other person's gestures, facial expressions, how they're moving when you speak... so much nonverbal communication is lost.

Sometimes I have to fix that by explanation of where I was coming from.

So, not your bad (:

@emsenn @68km it wasn't supposed to be - but I did just wake up from a nap and have a bit of the flu, so apologies if it came off like that.

I was just trying to say he understands the erosion thing and takes it into account.

Your comment is correct and planning is necessary - and study of the way the plants react, etc. But that gives you something to do during the time when you can't put plants in the ground (:

@68km Ok, so I called my parents and talked to my dad about it; and he is ... a bit "well others have written better things than I could" but he'll write some things down for me in the coming ... period of time.

He did offer up the following 2 things:

Bob Flowerdew, a British organic gardener, who's been on the BBC and has written several books: also has a website here:

He has an article on Wikipedia as well with some other bits, but I'd think looking over his reading list would be a good start.

"The veggie gardener's answer book : solutions to every problem you'll ever face : answers to every question you'll ever ask" - which you can get at Amazon, but I also found a copy available to borrow at

@68km @starkatt this thread would also answer your question about gardening for a beginner.

@68km In addition to what everyone else has said - start a compost pile now. That can be as simple as throwing organic material on the ground in the corner of your yard and letting it rot. You'll see advice online about what to avoid, ratios, turning it regularly, keeping it moist, etc - all that will make it rot faster, but it's going to rot either way. You don't have to worry about all that if you don't want to

Veggie scraps, egg shells, dead leaves, cardboard and paper (without wax or similar), almost anything plant-based as long as it's not cooked or salted. Throw it all in a pile and let it turn into dirt

@68km tangential: gardening inside, via sprouting. I am growing two meals a week. Start with alfalfa seeds. Many resources online, here’s the first that popped up...

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