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Veg garden advice for a newbie, please!

(30 Posts)
RiverSparkleFairy Sun 11-Mar-18 17:32:16

I have never grown a vegetable in my life, except perhaps cress back in primary school. But we have a small spare patch of land, approx 10' by 4', and I want to grow some veg.
I was thinking green beans, carrots, onions & potatoes - but that's where the plan halts as I don't know how to proceed! Do I just buy the baby plants and plant them? Do I use 'seed potatoes'? Can I plant it all now?
Any advice very welcome - thank you!

RiverSparkleFairy Mon 12-Mar-18 10:00:20

Ok - I think I'll just buy a book grin
Maybe my questions are too basic for the Gardening section blush

ValleyOfLilies Mon 12-Mar-18 10:41:52

Hi, I'm new to growing too. I only started last year and was a bit late to grow everything I wanted.
I would suggest getting books from the library to begin with and only buy the ones you think you will look at often.
You can grow from seed or buy young plants to plant out.
If you look at the back of seed packets or at the details given about the plants (either online or in a shop) you should get the planting distances from there which will allow you to work out how much you can grow in the space you have available.
Yes you will need seed potatoes as far as I understand these should be free from disease which other potatoes may not be.
Hope that helps a little.

TERFragetteCity Mon 12-Mar-18 10:51:21

Carrots are so hard - honest don't bother unless you grow in large pots with the compost cut with sand.
Potatoes, buy some seed potatoes - start with first earlies, and plant in around two to three weeks, with the chitted shoots pointing up, around 6 inches under ground.
Beans, Runners can be sown, 2-3 at the base of a cane - tie the canes together at the top - sow around the middle to end of May.
In your first year, I'd recommend buying a few plants, a couple of pumpkins and a couple of courgettes, plant them out around mid may and you can pretty much leave them be just harvesting the courgettes when they are big enough.

Do those well in your first year, fill the gaps with flowers...and learn how to grow those and expand next year...

HolyShet Mon 12-Mar-18 11:33:50

I only do container based planting, though I think we might do a small raised bed this year

Enormous success with tomatoes; courgettes; cucumbers; salad leaves; beetroot and broad beans.

Carrots never work.

Trethew Mon 12-Mar-18 11:37:13

It’s tempting to grow spuds but they will take up a lot of your space. I’d be inclined to go for salad leaves, runner beans, French beans, carrots, beetroot, courgettes. All easy and will save you loads of money. Can sow all now, except beans and courgettes best started later

BeanFobbedOff Mon 12-Mar-18 11:43:46

Agree that carrots can be tricky - they're they're really prone to a fly which lays eggs in them, unless you cover them really REALLY well or grow them at height. Tbh, I'd not bother with them.

How much sun does your patch get? And what is the soil like?

averylongtimeago Mon 12-Mar-18 11:48:53

I've got more space than you and started growing my own veg a couple of years ago. It's well worth giving it a go!
First dig your patch over well and get rid off any weeds.

I would grow carrots- if you soil is very stony then the short rooted ones are best. Sow them in lines very thinly. When they come up, thin them out to about one once apart. When they are a bit bigger, thin them again to two or three inches apart - you can eat the thinnings.
Mixed salad leaves are good - again sow very thinly in rows. If you want to pick them as baby leaves they won't need thinning out. I sow a new row every couple of weeks so I have a continuous supply. There are lots of different seed mixes to try and you will save a fortune in bagged salad.
Runner beans growing up a wigwam of sticks, you can sow the seed yourself, but a dozen little plants are cheap to buy. Plenty of feed and water and pick them young.
A courgette plant and a couple of cherry tomatoes are also good.

Home grown spuds are delicious but doo take up a lot of space, you can grow them in sacks though.

Good luck!

averylongtimeago Mon 12-Mar-18 11:51:28

To stop carrot root fly I net mine. I also companion plant with onions (chives work well in a small space) nasturtiums and marigolds which deter pests and look good too.

RiverSparkleFairy Mon 12-Mar-18 17:55:16

Oh wow, thank you!! Lots of great advice. And carrots - who knew?!

Will read all the replies carefully and make notes!

TERFragetteCity Mon 12-Mar-18 18:08:12

To stop carrot root fly I net mine. I also companion plant with onions (chives work well in a small space) nasturtiums and marigolds which deter pests and look good too.

Yes which is why for a beginner, they are a pain in the arse.

averylongtimeago Mon 12-Mar-18 18:53:35

I use something like this. Nasturtiums are really really easy to grow - poke a couple of seeds in the ground in a few weeks, and up they come. Ditto marigolds.

The wonderful taste of carrots fresh from the garden is soooo worth it.

cloudtree Tue 13-Mar-18 16:45:01

Carrots are definitely not worth the bother. They take so long to produce anything decent and you really need sandy soil. I am not bothering with carrots or parsnips this year. Yield isn't good enough and they're very cheap to buy.

potatoes on the other hand are well worth the bother, very easy and produce loads.

Harebellmeadow Wed 14-Mar-18 22:06:31

I can recommend the Giant Bijou Mange Tout seeds from the Real Seed Company. (Basically everything they have is great but for beginners/kids I can recommend this pea for endless sugar snap peas all summer).

They can be planted in the autumn, but also now, also in early summer. You also have a staggered crop so not a tubful at a time but enough for a family meal, depending on how many plants you have. They grow tall and have beautiful flowers and make delicious peas. Grow in a not too sunny spot and you have less work. I have also learnt to plan seedlings in a plastic bottle with the ends cut off, it stops the slugs getting to them.

Also have had success with beans, once the seedlings are protected from slugs.

Harebellmeadow Wed 14-Mar-18 22:08:22

And potatoes are really fun to grow too. Not much skill required if you are just growing for fun or practice.

AssignedPuuurfectAtBirth Wed 14-Mar-18 22:22:44

Lots of advice to be given, but start with Carol Klein's veg book. She's fab

Consider putting in raised beds, it makes growing so much easier. You can but kits or just use boards or sleepers. Makes it easier to contril depth. And snails.

Agree about carrots, waste of time and tricky

Grow things that are unusual varieties, expensive or you love. Carrots take up a lot of space for three quid's worth of produce.

Salad is so worth it. You will never buy a crappy salad bag again. Look at Suttons for varieties, especially the spicy ones. Same for spinach.

Courgettes are really easy and the results are impressive.
Hanging basket tomatoes are good, depending on where in the UK you are. If in S England, great, if N Scotland, don't do it without a greenhouse, but you need to be sowing indoors now. Or cheat and but small plants in a few months.

Peas are great too, especially if you have young kids. As are strawberries, but again, they take up a lots of space for not a lots of yield.

Good luck

AssignedPuuurfectAtBirth Wed 14-Mar-18 22:24:18

Sorry about typos blush

Harebellmeadow Wed 14-Mar-18 22:49:18

You could also grow your own quinoa - see the Real Seed Company again. 😆 apparently good yields with minimal work for an expensive crop. What’s not to like?

Cathpot Thu 15-Mar-18 19:53:47

I love those giant sugar snaps as well harebelleadow! Peas are great because they grow upwards so don’t take up too much space and the flowers are pretty. Something in the garden eats all my pea seeds unless I start them off in the greenhouse and resist planting them out until they are about 20cm. Can I jump in and ask a stupid question? Which way up are people using the cut off bottles to protect them? Is it like a cloche with a hole in the top or like a funnel?

BeanFobbedOff Thu 15-Mar-18 20:34:00

Hole at the top, Cathpot !

Cathpot Thu 15-Mar-18 20:47:03

Thanks- can you IMAGINE the garden based embarrassment...

Harebellmeadow Thu 15-Mar-18 21:12:38

I spent all spring the last war experimenting with cutoff bottles - I find it best if the bottle is dug in a little, 1-2cm, and for ease I also cut the top off so the peas can grow better through it. Salt and stones around the bottle too. I read that salted Vaseline is excellent and will try that this year.
Oh, and this year I will use tall, narrow bottles, the 1l rather than 30/50cl ones.
The peas that survive are really lovely and unfussy and delicious.

Harebellmeadow Thu 15-Mar-18 21:13:26

*the last year
No digging for victory required so far thankfully.

TERFragetteCity Thu 15-Mar-18 21:17:52

You could also grow your own quinoa - see the Real Seed Company again. 😆 apparently good yields with minimal work for an expensive crop. What’s not to like?

The bug infestation of the seeds heads that come with it?

Harebellmeadow Thu 15-Mar-18 21:51:29

Yuk. Didn’t know about the bug infestation. Makes sense then why organic quinoa is so expensive. I obviously have no experience of non-local crop growing 🤓

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