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Newbie Gardener - new garden

Hi all, I’m excited to join this forum. I’ve recently moved into a place with a garden (first garden)  and would love to get some advice.

The soil has been covered for the past four years by the previous tenant with this plastic grass type material. I would love to begin removing it and wondered if the soil would have to be tended to in a particular way if it’s been covered for so long?

As I am a new Gardner and don’t want to take too much on too quickly I was going to remove it in parts over the coming months/year.   Unless there are any other ideas for covering it or managing it in such a way. The idea is I would like to grow veg and plants. 

Also,  I am in the south of England and the soil is very chalky. 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

 Here is my for photo :-)


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,688
    Hi , and welcome to the Forum. 
    Good news on removing that awful stuff. My guess is that the ground underneath will be compacted and pretty devoid of life ( earthworms etc ) 
    Work out what you want to do with it,  lawn, veg, borders etc , whatever suits you, and break the area down into workable chunks. 
    If you can get hold of rotted manure and dig that in, that would help immeasurably. 
    I can't quite work out what happening with the tree. Is it dead ,with half of it covered in ivy?
  • jodhidjodhid Posts: 4
    Helllo, thanks very much for the welcome. Okay, great yes I can get some rotted manure and I’ll make a plan for the area. Do you think the soil would need some months to reach a better condition before planting?

    Yes well spotted the tree is dead with ivy growing up it. I’m not sure what happened to the tree.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,688
    Ivy in  a dead tree is great for wildlife but I'm  concerned about about the weight all being on one side. There's a risk of the tree splitting in two but birds might well be nesting already.
  • jodhidjodhid Posts: 4
    Yes right, there aren’t any birds yet but apparently there was last year. Would reducing its size before they turn up be advisable? 
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,688
    I think remove some from the outside edge to reduce the strain on the fork in the tree trunk.
  • koyukanokoyukano Posts: 72
    Hi Jodhid, I have just moved into a new house and same as you this will be my first garden, I've made some raised beds and will be growing veg in these and luckily have a greenhouse, good luck with the gardening this summer and upload some pics of how the progress with the garden goes! 

  • jodhidjodhid Posts: 4
     That’s great to hear Peter. It sounds like you have some good things on the go. I will definitely share some pics. Do you have any of yours before and at current?
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 3,738
    @jodhid Welcome to the forum. I expect you are planning to remove that dead tree as soon as possible? What is the overall size of your "garden"?
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,286
    Jodhid -  Thinking we might be moving from our house, I covered the veg patch with builder's (black) polythene to prevent it becoming full of weeds.  Some 18 months later, as the move looked less likely, I decided to return some of it to cultivation.  Thinking I'd find loads of slugs enjoying the peace and quiet, I was surprised to find none at all and attempts at growing crops proved very sub standard.  I assume I'd more or less killed the soil temporarily, so I reduced my cultivated area and grassed the rest over, but I think you may find your longer period might take some time to recover.
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