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new kid on the cabbage patch

(10 Posts)
Levanna Tue 02-Nov-04 00:54:30

I've at last got a garden and would love to grow veg. Could anyone advise me regarding the best way to go about starting out? Which would be the ideal vegetables for a novice, how to prepare the soil (garden was previously fully flagged for some years so I would imagine the soil is quite 'dead' IYKWIM), and how to go about creating a compost. It's a south facing garden, lots of light, though oop north, so fairly cold and wet!
TIA

Avalon Tue 02-Nov-04 00:56:46

Have you dug it over yet?

mammya Tue 02-Nov-04 08:37:50

I recommend you buy Kitchen Garden magazine, lots of useful info and it tells you what things you need to be doing every months. AS for compost, most councils sell composting bins for not very much. HTH

princesspeahead Tue 02-Nov-04 09:22:13

levanna, I hate to say this but there is a new book out called "delia's kitchen garden" (yup, good ol delia smith!). It is co-written by gay search who is v good on veg, and it basically tells you how to go about doing a veg garden from scratch, good info about what to plant when, crop rotation, good varieties to plant etc. And a nice format, it goes through the year, setting out when you should plant your brussels to get some for xmas etc. I haven't got it but I had a good old nose through it in whsmith the other day. It is definitely worth putting on your xmas list.

miam Tue 02-Nov-04 09:28:03

We have a little area that is grassed over at the moment. No-one ever uses it, so we thought it would be more useful to dig it up so that the children could have a go at growing veggies (very educational!). I know NOTHING about any of this, so could someone tell me if this is the right time to prepare the ground, and if so how do I do this?? Or is it too late and I should leave it until spring? Many thanks. x

anorak Tue 02-Nov-04 09:29:59

miam, if you dig it over now the winter frosts help to break up any large clods of earth, then in the spring you just hoe it down into a fine tilth and get planting.

Levanna Tue 02-Nov-04 21:48:17

Avalon, I have dug it over, several times as it's all I could think to do with it so far , it's probably the most well tended patch of mud (and has been for some months!) for miles around. miam, we're hoping to involve our DD's as a kind of educational experience also, DD1 took the returning of stray worms to the mud patch very seriously over the summer (?) months . I'll probably invest in kitchen garden magazine, and yes, Delia too, thanks for the suggestions, they sound like just what I need, particularly the 'when to do what' aspect. I have several friends who will glean a lot of amusement from a Delia Smith book residing on my bookcase, given my reputation as a bit of a can't cook/won't cook type!

Avalon Wed 03-Nov-04 00:58:11

Get yourself a compost bin - try your Council - make one if you're handy. My bin cost £15 via a Council offer (to cut down on dustbin waste) and it came with a free kitchen bin. Site your bin on soil. I compost vegetable peelings, tea bags, egg shells, banana skins, wood ash (from the bonfire), grass mowings, and nettles. You need tougher stuff like straw, torn up eggboxes, used kitchen towel to balance the softer stuff. I don't use kitchen towel with chemicals on it - just those I've used to mop up a spill. Leaves at this time of year can be used instead of straw etc. Bag some up and save them for the summer.

If you've got a lot of leaves, you could make a leafmould bin using 4 posts and some chickenwire. Wet the leaves. Otherwise just stick some in a black bag, wet them, tie up the bag and leave it for a year or two. Got to be in this for the longterm!

Avalon Mon 15-Nov-04 01:21:59

Levanna - you could plant some onion sets to overwinter. Ready about June/July. And if you want it to look pretty, what about a few flower bulbs round the edges?

throckenholt Mon 15-Nov-04 08:31:45

sweetcorn is good and easy - make sure you plant it in a block rather than rows - helps the pollination.

And runner beans are easy too.

Onion sets are easier than seeds.

Peas are lovely - get the early ones - less maggots.

Corgettes are easy too if you like them - only need one or two plants for loads.

Tomatoes.

Soil - basically dig over in winter, incorporate as much compost/manure as you can. Maybe leave one area that you don't compost and put in plants that don't like it too rich, then compost that next year ready for the new rotation.

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