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Novice teenager's veg/fruit patch - any ideas?

(11 Posts)
LaineyW Fri 05-Jun-09 12:29:05

My DD (16, 17 in October) stated last night, after watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, that she'd like to try creating a veg patch when she's finished her GCSEs next week.

I did one about ten years ago but am v. lazy and it wasn't a success.

I've just dug a bed so we have a nice patch of 'empty' soil about 12ft x 10ft.

Can anyone give us some hints and tips as to

a) what to sew/grow at this time of year

b) what we need to do to the soil (it's quite fertile but riddled with bindweed which I just keep pulling out on a weekly basis)

She's never done any gardening in her life so will need simple, quick-growing stuff to maintain her interest I would think!

Thanks in advance

paranoidmother Fri 05-Jun-09 12:49:54

hmm would suggest things like salad as that grows quite quick and can be grown from seed. I would suggest popping to your local garden centre and seeing what they have in stock that is at the seedling stage to plant out. That way the garden will look like something is happening straight away.

We picked brussels sprouts for the DC's as they grow over ground and can be seen growing, although they do take 18months to grow.

cucumbers, tomatoes, spring onions

Don't forget to have something to scare away birds and rabbits.

LaineyW Sat 06-Jun-09 12:00:02

Thanks Paranoid.

I was the only person thankful for the rain yesterday as the bare patch now looks nice and dark and fertile!

paranoidmother Sat 06-Jun-09 12:06:58

good luck with it all. Sweetcorn is another one that is nice to grow and about the right time now. Grow it with Sunflowers as they attract bees and help it to polinate

DevilsAdvocaat Sat 06-Jun-09 12:15:06

radish and beets are quick growers too

missingtheaction Sun 07-Jun-09 11:13:45

Plant stuff she likes eating! don't plant stuff she doesn't like eating unless someone else in the house really likes it!

As others have said, raid garden centre for plants - if they are selling them now it's the right time for them to go in the ground. Buy packs of companion seeds - things with simple open flowers including pot marigolds (I think someone has a range of these at the garden centre) and just sprinkle them over the ground.

As it's quite a small patch invest in some soil improver at the garden centre and spread it over the ground, it will get dug in when the plants are planted - a couple of bags or maybe three - and some general purpose fertilizer like chicken pellets. If you grow tomatoes get some tomato food too. Follow instructions.

Dig out as much bindweed root as you can before you start, then expect to keep ripping it up as it regrows from the tiniest bit of leftover root and is currently bidding for world domination.

LaineyW Mon 08-Jun-09 14:56:33

Thanks everyone, I did think I might start a separate thread devoted to bindweed but decided it's probably been done before! I've had it in this garden since we moved in in 1992 and have never managed to get rid of it all - I just keep pulling it up as it appears and it's definitely got spindlier, but it still keeps growing and growing, damn its eyes.

I love it in the autumn when those first holey leaves appear and you know it's going to slink back underground and arm itself for next spring's onslaught.

snorkle Mon 08-Jun-09 20:14:40

stawberries seem fairly straightforward. You do need to cover with a net to stop the birds eating the fruit at harvest time & put some straw around them too to keep the slugs off, but they propagate themselves, so you can start with a few & end up with lots and they're very tasty!

snorkle Mon 08-Jun-09 20:15:42

that would be strawberries!

BlueChampagne Mon 15-Jun-09 13:15:20

Great idea LaineyW and I hope your daughter gets the bug. At least she'll find out more about seasonality and the work involved in producing food.

Huge commiserations on the bindweed - we have it on the allotment and I hate it.

Think you'll have to buy seedlings now for most things - church and school fetes might be cheaper than garden centre if you have one coming up. Also keep an eye on Freecycle as spare seedlings come up on there too.

You should be able to sow salad crops still though.

jumpyjan Mon 15-Jun-09 13:28:46

We have started up an allotment this year and are novices but have learnt a lot already. I would obviously clear the patch of weeds and dig it over a bit - you could chuck down some fertilizer, we are trying organic so used some chicken pellets (you can pick these up from a garden centre for about £5) and water it in a bit so it can break down.

Good things to grow would be:

Runner beans (think you can plant seeds straight into the ground this time of year). You just need to build a wigwam out of say 5 canes so they can climb up - v easy.

Courgettes - you could buy some plants from garden centre - 2/3 would give you lots of courgettes and they are v easy just need lots of watering.

Onions and potatoes are dead easy - just plonk them in.

Beetroot - again really easy. Buy a packet of seeds and sow in rows - you can eat the leaves in salads too.

Other things we are trying from seed are: leeks, carrots, basil, broccoli and kale.

I hope she enjoys it - we are complete allotment addicts now!

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