Ask a Question forum: My first garden a 4x4

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Jan 4, 2017 8:56 PM CST
Leafy greens 4x4 wanting to do kale and collards to start with. I'm planning checkers board style. I'm in need of advice. Would love to keep it simple
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Raises cows
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Jan 4, 2017 9:39 PM CST Admin

Greens will do great in a raised bed like that. Are you looking for ideas of specific varieties to try out? Or what other kinds of advice are you looking for?

Also, where are you located?
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
Jan 4, 2017 9:41 PM CST
Hi Fingertips! Welcome to NGA

Not sure what kinds of advice you would like. What varieties to plant? How and when to start seeds? What growing conditions they need? Spacing of plants?

When you say "4x4" and "I'm planning checkers board style", I'm guessing you mean an outdoor raised bed and "square foot gardening" style. BTW, I like your name for it better than "SFG"!

I'll take advantage of that ambiguity, if you don't mind, and offer my own peculiar opinion about what-to-grow, that might not even be wanted.

How can you grow leafy greens but NOT grow my own favorite green, Bok Choy? Or Chinese cabbage or cold-hardy tatsoi?

Confused (wink) Confused

Maybe you just like kale and collards!

You can sow Bok Choy thickly and then eat 1/2 of the seedlings as "micro-greens" , then later eat half of what's left as baby-size plants, then let the final 1/4 grow big. Salad, soup, stir-fries, pickling or braising all work with Bok Choy. You can even sun-dry the extra-big, old, tough leaves and save them for high-vitamin winter soups.

I've never grown kale or collards (and not yet knowingly eaten any!) So I can't say the Bok Choy or Napa or Michihli taste better, but they do grow fast and pretty easily.

Seriously, though, I don't know anything about growing kale or collards. But I have plenty of opinions about my faves.

Oh, yes! If you say where you are growing, advice can be more relevant. Like what part of what state, so we can know your climate. If you put that "growing location" into your Profile, it will appear in the upper right corner of your posts, and this question won't come up every time.

If you were wondering about plant spacing, bear in mind that most suggestions on seed packets assume that you're just growing "in the ground" in average soil. If the soil in your raised beds is rich, well-drained and fertile, you can plant them somewhat closer together. As in "SFG", if a seed packet says "plant every 9 inches in rows 20 inches apart", but you have great, rich, loose soil, you can plant them in a 9" X 9" array, or maybe even 8" x 8".

And also, almost THE most important thing for a raised vegetable bed is getting plenty of sun. You've already cured any drainage problems, and the soil in your 4'x4' bed is probably much better than the soil in the average "back 40".

[Last edited by RickCorey - Jan 4, 2017 9:47 PM (+)]
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Jan 5, 2017 8:04 AM CST
Collards is right up my alley.
Buy the yates non bolting.
?😕? Or there could be some new non-bolting varity out there ?
Yates will try to bolt. If you keep picking the buds off they will finally stop budding and start growing leaves again. Use buds in stir fry.
Depending where you live. They grow yr round. Start some now indoors. Spring is allmost hear !!!
Frost dont bother them or kale.
I dont care for kale. Its got a green flavor it imparts to soups or stew. Collards are neutral.
Better buy some BT. The cabbage looper worms LOVES them greens.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jan 5, 2017 8:48 AM CST
Philipwonel said:Collards is right up my alley.
I dont care for kale. Its got a green flavor it imparts to soups or stew.

Personally, I prefer kale, and don't much like collards.

I also am a fan of rutabaga greens.... I plant a bunch of turnips, in case the rutabaga do poorly, but. I prefer my turnips raw, and the turnip greens not at all.... Except when that's all I got....

Really don't have any advice re the checkerboard pattern... Seems too finicky for my style of gardening.... Where I just scatter seeds like other people sow grass seeds.

In the early spring, consider sowing some tree spinach (chenopodium giganteum).

I really value food that I can treat like a weed....
And.... The songbirds are very happy with the stands that I allowed to go to seed!
[Last edited by stone - Jan 5, 2017 8:49 AM (+)]
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Jan 5, 2017 10:41 AM CST
And if you're looking for suggestions on just how to build that raised bed, there was a nice discussion of creating raised beds here:
The thread "Price of raised beds?" in Ask a Question forum
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.

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