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Preparation of vegetable patches

sadly my neighbour passed away in the New Year and I have offered to maintain the 2 vegetable patches in his garden for his wife.  They are both about 6foot long by 4 foot wide. To prep the soil would it be ok to put comfrey on there or is this too much at this stage? Cheaper than buying loads of mulch maybe?


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,945
    Hello Louise,  that's good of you to help your neighbour's wife.
    Are you planning on growing anything this year, or just keeping them tidy ?
    We have quite a few veg experts on here (not me l'm afraid !), l think you grow comfrey in the autumn to dig in in the Spring,  but l'm not sure.
    Are there any compost bins in the garden? 
    I wish you well  :)
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645
    I would pull up or hoik out any obvious weeds, especially with deep roots then rake level and spread cardboard across all of it.   If the soil below is dry, water the cardboard and then hold it down by piling on well-rotted garden compost if you have it, well-rotted manure, topsoil, spent potting compost or whatever you can get your hands on.

    Comfrey is a good fertiliser for flowering and fruiting plants.  Nettles have a high nitrogen content and make a great "tea" for leafy plants.  You could scatter comfrey leaves on the cardboard to rot down under the compost layer.   

    Plant seedlings, plug plants, bigger plants straight into the compost layer at the usual distances.  The cardboard will help suppress weeds and retain moisture.  plant roots will penetrate it quite easily and it will be broken down and worked in by all sorts of micro-organisms in the soil. 

    What are you thinking of planting?

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • @Obelixx
    This is great advice thank you - really excited to start on it today. I am looking to go the whole hog and plant beans, kale, cucumber, courgettes, tomatoes (but think will leave them in the green house), purple artichokes (my seedlings are coming on a treat), aubergines, carrots, radishes. I think I have bought so many seeds!  Given this I think I need to plan out given the heights and spacing.  

    I will definitely follow your advice and see where I get. There is a lot of soil about in the garden so will add that as top soil mixed up.  Can you please have a look at my post on common comfrey as there is loads of that in the woods and will use that if it is that. Could I also use nettles as mulch or don't that break down as quickly? Thanks again @Obelixx

  • @AnniD
    Hi there and thank you for your post. please see my response to @Obelixx. I am going for it - there will be successes and some failures but excited to start as something I have always wanted to do and what a time to do it :( 

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645
    Patience!  It is way too early to be putting out courgettes, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, aubergines as they are tender and won't like the frosts that can continue into May.

    Nettles are best used as a tea as using them as a mulch before they are completely dried out and dead will lead them to regrow and spread.  If you want to save on making the smelly tea you need to lay them out in the sun to dry for a week or so without rain.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,945
    No problem @louise.colley  :)
    I assumed that you meant you had the seeds of aubergines, courgettes etc. ready to go as opposed to the plants. I think aubergine seeds need an early start 
    My only other advice would be don't follow the seed packet sowing advice too slavishly - some things say "sow March to May" which is a heck of a time and a big difference in weather (usually!). Be guided by the forecast and looking out of the window.
    I look forward to seeing how you get on, and you know the place to come to for advice, please don't hesitate.
  • @AnniD
    Thanks both. Don't worry - I've worked out what can be planted outdoors and when. I will let you know how I get on and thanks for the advice. Much appreciated given I'm a new starter :) stay safe Louise
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,614
    Get a nice warm compost bin/heap going.

  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,464
    I don't know where you are, Louise, but my (runner) beans are already sown in compost in trays - but only just.  With not much space at your disposal, there's a way of growing 24 plants in one square yard if that's of interest?
  • @nick615
    Wow that is amazing. I was going to sow these start of April but will do today actually. These look amazing and thanks for the tip - will definitely take it up as there is circle about 1 metre diameter and will put one of these in that I think. Is this up canes in a tippee style? Thanks again, Louise

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