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Time to tend/maintain different pieces of your garden

(11 Posts)
anna38anna Mon 24-Feb-14 11:05:25

Hi all,
Novice gardener here. We have moved back to our UK house after a few years abroad, and we're making a plan to inject some interest into what's now two large expanses of lawn and gravel drive/yard. (It was a new build 9 years ago). We've got about an acre of ground to develop and we're work on this bit by bit over the next 5 years. The planning is very exciting (raised beds, courtyard garden, pergola, herbaceous border…), but I don't want to bite off more than I can maintain. DH travels for work a lot, and we have 3 little ones (who are enthusiastic about helping but the eldest is only 8…). I work 30 hours (from home) and feel that I should have adequate time to potter about in the garden, but DH reminds me that I find it difficult to squeeze in everything currently on my plate. Trouble is, I have no idea how long anything takes in the garden, really. All I've done so far is plant hanging baskets and some troughs - very fun and easy. My parents and MIL have amazing gardens, acres of fruit and veg too, and I've helped there but don't have a real feel for what it takes to prepare/plant and then maintain. Can you give me an idea of what you think the following gardening 'projects' would require, in terms of hours needed to prepare/plant/maintain?

1) Tomatoes and other salad ingredients in a greenhouse (assume average quantities)

2) Herbaceous border (estimate 10 m x 1 m deep)

3) 3 Raised beds (3m x 1.5m) with selection of veg like potatoes, carrots, onions, broccoli, cabbage, peas, salad veg, and some strawberries, raspberries.

4) Fruit trees (apples, pears, plums, say a dozen in total)

Thanks for any advice you can offer. I've name changed recently so sorry you won't see much history for me, been on MN for about 5 years but new to Gardening.

Blackpuddingbertha Mon 24-Feb-14 22:11:30

I work the same as you do (4 days a week, based mostly at home), I have a similar sized garden with a 27m herbaceous border which I just about keep on top of then a 8m x 8m veg plot of various sized raised beds, an asparagus bed, a neglected orchard and a zillion pots. DDs are 6 & 7 and DH does nothing but mow the lawn. What you're proposing is very similar and should be perfectly doable. Small chunks of gardening are better in my opinion so that the work doesn't ever seem sooooooo big that it overwhelms you.

The amount of time depends on the time of year and your choice of planting. Spring is busy and a new garden always takes more effort to get it established. I find a couple of hours a week is an average though apart from in winter when I may just glance at the garden occasionally through the window

Good luck, it's very worth it!

anna38anna Mon 24-Feb-14 22:43:59

Ooh, thanks for your very encouraging reply! Yes, I figure if I break it down into a few projects I should be better able to see how much I'm taking on. Right, that's me off to buy a greenhouse grin

Hmm, well I think it might be a bit harder for a novice than for Bertha, and do you actually like gardening or do you just want a more interesting garden? Definitely take it in small chunks and expect everything to take a bit longer than you expect. Getting a big garden up and running is like the spinning plates trick.

anna38anna Wed 26-Feb-14 07:23:07

I like gardening a lot - not in high winds and rain, which we get a lot if around here - but I'll have to work around that.

I hope you are able to invest in a beautiful brick based greenhouse like the ones I lust after, but whatever you get make sure the shoulder height is good and high (i.e. you can grow tomatoes up against the side without them bending over too much at the top), and if you can get electricity and water to it your happiness will be triple fold!

I dreamed my greenhouse blew away and I needed a new one, but it hadn't sad

Blackpuddingbertha Wed 26-Feb-14 19:49:21

I'd love a greenhouse. My conservatory gets over run but DH has vetoed it.

I'm a novice too Lady but obviously sound like I know what I'm doing! grin All my gardening knowledge comes from being on here and through trial & error since moving to our current house. I can thoroughly recommend the potting shed thread Anna for inspiration and advice (from people who know stuff as well as aspiring gardeners like us!). I hadn't ever grown a single flower before I joined that thread, just had the veg plot. Just pop over there and say hello, everyone is very lovely and always keen to hear new gardening plans smile

Blackpuddingbertha Wed 26-Feb-14 19:50:49

This thread. Forgot it didn't have potting shed in the title this time.

anna38anna Thu 27-Feb-14 19:50:27

Great potting shed thread - I spotted it yesterday and realised that I can learn so much here and much more productive and uplifting than browsing Relationships .

Greenhouses, yes. I totally would love one of those brick based Victorian style ones some day. Since I was a little girl I love the cosiness and the smell of warm earth, could stay there all day (someone make those children some tea).

We actually looked into the idea of a greenhouse with solar panels (transparent ones) on the roof. We can't have panels on our house and it looked like a good way to offset some of the cost with energy savings. A company called Polysolar makes the glass. This year we'll have to get the groundwork done first, so that will probably use up our pounds and the greenhouse will probably have to wait.

I did pay a visit to Lidl on Saturday and bought some roses and various spring bulbs. And my MIL and I are bonding nicely over new gardening projects. Always nice to have a partner in crime - especially when they know loads about gardening smile

anna38anna Thu 27-Feb-14 19:56:06

Bertha, I quite like the sound of your overrun conservatory.

Lady, thanks for the tip about the shoulder height in the greenhouse. My Dad's been growing his tomatoes in a poly tunnel and I've seen this bent-over thing when they grow too tall for the curved sides.

Blackpuddingbertha Thu 27-Feb-14 21:04:50

Last year I grew cucamelons and masses of cucumbers in the conservatory. I had a two walls of green! In the Spring though it's like a miniature nursery with seedlings everywhere, windowsills, table, floor...I just leave a path through to the door. smile

Gardening is one of the few things that my MIL and I bond over too. I steal things from her garden all the time.

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