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Raised vegetable beds & other ideas for kid friendly garden - advice for a novice please

(4 Posts)
hazbaz Wed 19-Mar-14 12:37:16

Hello - we are now coming up to our 3rd summer in our house & I'm determined to do something to the garden this year so would love some advice. Sorry about the essay, trying to give all useful info I can think of!

Nothing has happened to the garden since the house was built about 13 years ago - it's just poor lawn with lots of weeds and loads of stones, some builders junk etc...

The ground is pretty heavy clay and slopes from right to left although fairly straight front to back. It's north east facing and has been shaded by a massive conifer next door which is due to be cut down.

I would like some raised beds for veg in the sunny left hand side but clearly the soil needs "improving" - can I use manure if I want to grow veg? Should we build the beds this year & put sand & manure & let the worms get on with it so it's ok for next year?

On the right hand side my husband dug a bed which has hostas and strawberries in it - any ideas for easy plants to add a bit of height & interest) that are fairly tough (ie can cope with the odd mis-hit ball) but can cope with shade from the fence / house?

Also we'd like something to screen the bottom fence that will grow quite quickly and stay green - is laurel a good idea?

Thanks again if you got to the end if this wink

Raised veg beds - make (or buy_) the raised beds, put a thick layer of newspaper over the grass, pile manure/compost/topsoil/a bit of grit (on your clay) on top and plant into that. Potatoes are good for a first year. By magic the stuff will grow down through the newspaper, the newspaper will rot but kill the grass and weeds underneath it, and it will all meld together.

For your shady bed the world's your oyster if it's just a bit shady but not actually dark, but top of head hydrangeas, cranesbills, camellias.

Laurel is a good screening but gets pretty wide - fine if you have the space for it.

hazbaz Wed 19-Mar-14 22:44:36

Thanks for that - how wide might the laurel get, it's not a huge garden.....

Gooner123 Wed 19-Mar-14 23:12:22

Get starting on the raised beds soon as,scaffold boards are really good for this,just cut to size & screw together,or oak sleepers ( more expensive )but better,avoid any with oil or tar on.You can put a decent layer of manure/ compost on the bottom & fill up with decent top soil.Nothing to stop you growing some veg straight away.
Always a good idea to keep the beds narrow enough to be able to reach the centre from both sides,if you can avoid walking on the beds it will need minimal digging.

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