Best fruit & veg to grow (from scratch) - small garden!

(19 Posts)
Windowbasket Sat 05-Jan-13 09:11:51

This year I am planning to try and be more self-sufficient in terms of growing our own fruit & veg. Our garden is small (not much grass space, border either side, patio area). Would like to plant a small apple tree that produces plentiful eating apples (am assuming it may take a couple of years to achieve this result?), raspberries (same again?), strawberries - plus cucumbers, peppers & lettuce (more if space would allow ..!). Not sure that we have room for a raised vegetable bed (in fact - we don't!). I suppose we could clear out some plants for the border area and use this. I'm a complete novice - have you guessed?! And so any tips or advice would be really welcome smile. Our garden is south facing, btw - so a real sun trap. We have a little conservatory/utility area at the back of the house so maybe this would be good for seedlings?

zumo Sat 05-Jan-13 18:53:25

I havent a clue but we have had good results with Spuds, very easy in the borders or a bucket, Tomatoes very easy in a grow bag, we bought an apple tree thats self pollinating its three different types on one root, got loads off it but be carefull how you prune it, had a Plum too but I killed it when I pruned it at the wrong time of year.
I am sure if you went to a local allotment they would give you a few tips

Windowbasket Sat 05-Jan-13 20:40:06

Good point Zumo re: the spuds and tomatoes. Your apple tree sounds lovely - was it quite big when you bought it? Wondering how long it takes a young tree to bear fruit?

zumo Mon 07-Jan-13 06:36:48

It was about 8 ft, it cost about £25 and had fruit the year after we planted it, just have a look on line and at a few good garden centers, if I was doing it again I would have them close to the wall and in a fan pattern like they used to do in stately homes walled gardens, as you get loads of apples, easy to keep and dosnt take too much space.

This site looks good
http://www.realenglishfruit.co.uk/content/treetraining.htm

vvviola Mon 07-Jan-13 07:12:14

I kill pretty much every plant I have ever had. So far this year (it's summer here now) from pots in our garden (rented house) we have eaten dwarf beans, lettuce, cucumber & courgette. The tomatoes are well on their way to being ripe.

Our weather is probably a bit more conducive to vegetable growing than the UK - but I reckon if they can survive my benign neglect, they can't be that hard to grow!

Grumpla Mon 07-Jan-13 07:27:43

I did a full veg patch the year before last and it was bloody hard work! I now only grow stuff that is a) lovely and b) expensive to buy. I can get a whole sack of spuds for a few quid at the farm shop - instead of having to dig, weed and earth up for months. But things like soft fruit are soooo expensive - so I now have a whole plot of raspberries, currants etc under planted with strawberries and they need very little maintenance. Rocket is very very easy and quick to grow, radishes ditto. Mixed salad etc can all be done in tubs, grobags etc.

If you've room for a couple of crowns of rhubarb they take a while to get going but are delicious.

Windowbasket Mon 07-Jan-13 10:18:13

Mmmm we love rhubarb & deffo want to make space for some. AGree re: the berries, I'm keen to grow as many as poss. Zumo, your apple tree sounds amazing. I had been thinking about growing up the wall too as it looks so lovely! Not sure if we have the right set-up for that but am going to check out your apple tree link now ...

I planted raspberry canes last spring and got plenty of fruit from both the summer and autumn varieties. My apple and plum tree are both espaliered but because of the epic rain I got no fruit at all from them last year.

This year I plan to get a cherry tree as I have a walled garden so can espalier it up a sunny spot.

I agree about growing the expensive stuff that tastes really good fresh. Except for the disaster that was last year I've often grown lettuces, herbs, tomatoes and courgettes. Beans are good - broad, runner and french.

I never bother with things like potatoes, carrots, cabbage or onions. They're all fairly tricky or labour intensive but cheap in the shops.

If you're fairly new to growing I would get seedlings rather than grow from seed for things like tomatoes and courgettes. Salad and herbs are easy to grow from seed and beans you just plant straight in the ground.

GlobalDisaster Mon 07-Jan-13 11:58:11

Maske sure the apple has a suitable pollinater nearby or choose a self pollinating one or you wont get fruit.

Windowbasket Mon 07-Jan-13 15:18:21

This is all brilliant advice - thank you so much!

Research your rootstock types for apples if you want something that doesn't get too big (M27?). You are recommended not to let apples fruit for the first couple of years.

Selks Thu 10-Jan-13 12:52:40

Perpetual spinach is brilliant and you can dot clumps of it in little gaps ditto lettuces and leeks. Runner beans can be grown on wires along a wall, as can peas, or up a wigwam of canes.
Tomatoes in pots, strawberries in gro bag or strawberry pot.

Don't forget herbs - clumps of chives, thyme, sage, rosemary etc can all be dotted about.

GlobalDisaster Thu 10-Jan-13 14:14:27

Courgettes are the easiest thing in the world to grow.Runner beans also. Don't fork out for special equiptment of feeds, no need.I'd grow a few salad potatoes in pots, the more unusual varieties.
Rainbow chard is easy and pretty too.
Difficult to grow are caulis, carrots,and onions ( really not worth the hassle)
Don't plant seeds too early and don't overwater or they rot. Dont bother with baby plants, a bit tender.
As a genersal rule of thumb, the bigger the seed the easier to grow.

ethelb Sun 20-Jan-13 09:47:08

Grow compact things that are expensuve to buy:
Pak choi
Beetroot
Lettuce (posh varieties eg raddiccio)
Rocket
Herbs
Fennel
Purple sprouting broc (big plants but high value)
Chard
Spinach
Heirloom carrots (as opposed to cheap normal onez)

And grow up
Beans
Peas
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Tomatillio
Asparagus pea

MissMarplesMaid Wed 23-Jan-13 20:23:45

We have a 30 foot by 30 foot garden so not huge. We have 2 pears, 3 apples and 3 peach trees all grown round the edge so that they dont eat into the garden. All are on dwarfing root stock.

Broad beans can give a good crop for a small ground space and eaten fresh are a real treat compared to the leathery beans of childhood.

For ease of growth go for autumn rather than summer raspberries all you have to do is cut the whole lot down after they have finished fruiting.

chillikat Wed 23-Jan-13 20:32:23

We've grown fruit and veg in pots in our back yard. We even have 2 apple trees in pots, though we don't get much fruit.

My top tip is to only grow things you like to eat!

Our main thing was chillis - we've grown 15+ varieties at once some years (pre baby).

I also love to grow mange tout - you get loads more to eat then with peas and there are some really pretty unusual varieties - I like the purple ones smile

I think brocolli was the biggest waste of time - you can have a baby quicker!

Have fun.

We've been growing our own for two years now. Autumn Treasure raspberries have amazing large sweet fruit and two harvests in sept and Nov.

Round courgettes grow best in pots. Minibrl compact tomato plants fruit a lot on a tiny bush.

I agree with salads, spinach and chard - rainbow chard looks beautiful in all its colours.

And personally there's nothing tastier than Charlotte new potatoes freshly dug and boiled with a little butter on. smile

HeathRobinson Thu 24-Jan-13 19:39:46

Tomatoes, small varieties of lettuce and runner beans for the fun of it. grin

I get my seeds from Real Seeds as they seem to specialise in seeds that a gardener might want, as opposed to a commercial grower.

Interesting varieties, too.

Tintingal Fri 15-Feb-13 09:33:27

Look on the RHS site to see what to plant and when - it has a "what to do in the garden this month" section. Remember, you can plant things like courgettes and salads in grow bags - then you can chuck them out at the end of the season. I would always grow tomatoes in grow bags as they seem to grow better - even outside. Beans are easy and can scramble up fences and canes....they also grow well on a "three sisters" site - courgettes/squash on the ground and corn and beans growing up. We also grow about 6 Brussel sprout plants so we can pick them for Christmas day. They're easy to grow and look good.

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