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Beginners help!

(8 Posts)
Meowlster Wed 27-Jul-16 19:51:44

We've lived in our house for a good few years now. When we moved in (from a flat) I was really excited, even thinking "I wish the garden were a little bigger". Now I really don't know what I'm doing, and it shows!
Tonight our youngest DC came and asked if we could start a veggie patch, and I know she'll love spending time pottering around, but I have no idea where to start, or what to do when..?
We have a reasonable size lawn, but the back is a bit mossy and on a slope. The top bit is always waterlogged, as the neighbours have had drainage put in. At the top on the slope we have a large rhubarb plant which always does well, and a border of about 1M, but that's mostly weeds. Elsewhere we've a holly which was slow when I planted it, but doing ok now, and lots of brambles along the border (also nettles, docks, and herbbaywillowflower (?) which I try with varying degrees of success to get rid of. There's also an Acer which seems to do well, and a couple of other plants including something which may be a lilac, and something else spiky, and a cherry tree which badly needs pruning, but I don't know when to do it.
The soil is heavy & clay, I think.
So where to start, can anyone recommend any books / websites? And when is the best time to plant veg? I'm guessing we'll have already missed the boat for this year with that, but probably plenty of other stuff we should be doing.
Thanks for any help!

EskSmith Thu 28-Jul-16 07:41:40

You could dig over the border and use that. All you need is a small patch. For this year I'd be tempted to just try a few things in pots, salad leaves, radishes and beetroot will still grow.
I can't recommend the vegetable and herb expert book by Dr Hessayon enough, we've been vegetable gardening for over 20 years and still consult it regularly, seems out of print on amazon etc but still copies available on eBay.

Kwirrell Thu 28-Jul-16 08:03:43

I would buy a grow bag for you veggies for this year, and see if the garden centres have any plug plants left. If the weather is good where you are lettuce seeds will still give you a small crop. You can also try some herbs in a pot which will grow this year. Lots of differs thymes, which will attract the bees and will grow in pots or poor soil.

RHS website is excellent. Amazon and Charity shops do lots of second gardening books.

Kwirrell Thu 28-Jul-16 08:05:07

If it is an Ornamental Cherry tree, it is pruned late August, but look on RHS site, as I think they need quite gentle pruning?

PurpleWithRed Thu 28-Jul-16 08:28:09

Does the border by the rhubarb get full sun or is it shady? You can grow lots of things at this time of year but there is absolutely no point in growing stuff DD doesn't like eating.

You could have a go with some potatoes - apart from anything else they are great for clearing the soil in a new patch. You need to look out for seed potatoes probably labelled as potatoes to grow indoors for Christmas (they need to have been specially treated to grow so late).

There are various options for how you go about it, some easier than others. You could do the whole weed-and-dig the bed over thing then plant the potatoes and keep it weeded. But as you may not be the most diligent gardener one cheat is to do a rough bit of weeding, cover the area with cardboard, punch holes in the cardboard and plant the potatoes through these, then cover the cardboard with a bit of earth or bought soil improver. The cardboard will keep the weeds down a bit and will gradually rot down into the soil and the potatoes will be happy.

It's not too late to try some dwarf french beans but you will need to do a bit of gardening to keep the weeds off those.

PeaceOfWildThings Thu 28-Jul-16 08:39:16

I'd go with the pots and gro bag idea, then get a couple of raised beds, one over the weeds, away from big shrubs, one either near the rhubarb, or on a mossy part. Dig out weeds, and keep the topsoil, dig out and break up some of the clay beneath, mix with sand (to improve drainage) and soil improver and a bag of manure, you can put grass sods and anything without seeds back in as deep as possible, to rot down, add the topsoil back and a few bads of compost, manure, topsoil, whatever you can get your hands on affordably... To further break down the clay, add potatoes to one of the raised beds. You could cover the other one in black plastic and leave it)(or use it as a compost heap for a few weeks, then cover, turn it every so often, and let it rot down ready for next season.)

funnyperson Fri 29-Jul-16 16:41:54

i know very little about veg however if your rhubarb is doing well that is really promising and i would be inclined to weed a rectangular patch around it and plant herbs which like wet such as meadowsweet, geum, iris and if your family like salads then salads and spinach all of which are hapo umpkinsge as dinand need good raw apy in damp soil. Some people find a raised bed made of sleepers 18 ins high useful for veg so you could construct one round the rhubarb.
leeks are fun to grow but need good drainage as do pumpkins and squashes

I think potatoes are hard to grow and its too late anyway

funnyperson Fri 29-Jul-16 16:42:55

sorry about the unintentional gobbledegook

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