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General Advice for a Relative Veg Newbie - Am I too late?


Over the years I have grown various fruit and vegetables as one off crops, (runner beans, potato's, carrots, strawberries, etc) albeit mainly in tubs.

I have had mixed results, as I have largely had a give it a try and see what happens approach, not really following any plan or specific advice.

This year is the first year that I have created a "Veg Patch". I started very enthusiastically, and created a few raised beds, then the winter really took hold and I've been unable to spend much time doing much due to the weather. To add to my difficulties, due to work commitments I have not been able to get any seeds started undercover, as I had planned.

My concern is that as it is now mid April, I may have missed a significant portion of the growing season and that it may be too late to plant some of the seeds that I have bought and intended to use this year.

I'm hoping that given the cold/wet/snowy weather we've had through late winter, that I am not too far behind, and would not have gained too much by planting earlier. Is it true that later planted veg can catch up with any earlier planted veg a little?

Any advice or pointers from any experienced veg growers would be much appreciated.



  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,302
    Yes, it's definitely true that later planted veg can catch up.  I don't have a greenhouse so I direct sow most of my veg (not courgettes or runner beans, which I'll start off on the windowsill in the next few days).  I've only just (yesterday) sown the first things in the ground - half a row of sugar peas.  The soil hasn't been warm enough up to now, here in the Pennines.   :)
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • GlenjjonesGlenjjones Posts: 141

    Thanks. I don't have a greenhouse or cold frame either. I'm hoping to get some seeds direct sown this week, and think I will also sow some on windowsills as backup. hopefully, after such a wet, cold & snowy winter, I'm hoping for a sunny, summer to spend any spare time I can find out in the garden and veg plot. I just hope I can get the plants to grow.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,881
    I've not sown anything direct in the ground yet this season.  I'll be sowing some mange tout peas, Swiss chard, beetroot, radish and lettuce very soon ... possibly some broccoli too.  I've bought some lettuce plants from the GC to put in under cloches.  
    I've sown tomatoes and courgettes indoors in the last few days and they're on the dining room windowsill ... they won't go out into the garden until the end of May ... and I'll be sowing sweetcorn indoors  later this month ... they won't go into the ground until early June so I'll keep them indoors while I've got windowsill space and then put in a mini greenhouse against the house wall ... but you can sow sweetcorn direct into the soil in early June, especially if you get a variety such as Swift which is designed for the UK climate.
    Plenty of time to sow French beans and Runner beans too ... so no, you haven't left it too late ............  B)

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • GlenjjonesGlenjjones Posts: 141

    Thanks. I was pretty hopeful that I could "Catch Up" but its always good to hear from experienced growers. I've found the weather recently really frustrating, as I have limited inside space (mainly due to my shed needing a god sort out), and been unable to get out for any sustained periods. I'll be trying a few vegetables this year that I've not grown before, so no doubt I'll be on here regularly for advice and tips.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,881
    If you can get hold of an old window frame and glass (skip diving or a friendly builder is the usual source ... mind your fingers on the glass) you can make yourself a temporary cold frame with a few bricks/lumps of wood.  At this time of year you just need to lay the windowframe on the bricks ... no need to fix anything. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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