Complete novice getting started

Hello folks! As the title suggests, I am totally new to the world of veg growing.  Over the winter I will be reading a lot while preparing a small section of the garden to grow some food.  I am not looking at self sufficiency, I am doing it just for fun and, to be honest, a bit of self therapy to clear the mind of mundane things. 

What I am wondering is if I get a cold frame or similar would I be able to get any salad over the winter months?  It would be a great morale  booster if I could get even a bit of lettuce and radishes.  Is this possible and any suggestions as to what may be best?



  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Hi Paddy. I don't grow lots of different veg and I don't normally bother with lettuce etc during the winter but I've just sown some lettuce and rocket (about ten days ago) in my little growhouse where I had my tomatoes. A cold frame should be ideal for getting lots of different crops going too. Mine have all germinated so I'm looking forward to having a small crop. Don't know how well they'll survive but fingers crossed.

    There are loads of very knowledgeable people here who'll give you great advice on what to do and how well it will work. image

  • XX Posts: 707

    Hi PaddyGT, you can grow winter leaves in a cold frame such as lambs lettuce, mustard, certain types of cress I think.  There's also a lettuce called Winter Gem, might be worth looking at on Google.  There's probably loads that you can sow now for early crops next year as well.

  • PaddygtPaddygt Posts: 17

    Thanks for the replies image

    That inspires me to give it a try no matter what happens it will be fun giving something a go right at the start.  Thanks for the info.

  • Just give it a go.  Gardening is very much learn as you go.  What works for some doesn't necessarily work for others as we all live in different parts of the country etc.

  • hollie hockhollie hock Posts: 3,294

    Hi Paddy, grew some veg here for the first time, all gone now but great fun and eat some veg that I grewimage

    I have coldframes that are empty at the moment so might try with some salad leaves


  • PaddygtPaddygt Posts: 17

    Thanks again for the replies. I hope to get to B&Q over the weekend for a cold frame and some bits and bobs.  For the price of a few packets of seed, it has to be worth a try.  Finished off the last of the cherry tomatoes today from an Aldi pre planted hanging basket.  I don't want to lose the pleasure of eating food, however small, from the garden, it is such a great feeling image

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,908

    Hi, Paddy,

    welome to the threads. I started off with just one veg bed in the back garden, you won't look back. Nothing better to clear the mind and it's ever so satisfying eating what you've grown.

    If you don't find what you want at B & Q there are some good sites on line where you can pick up a reasonable priced cold frame.

    I tend not to grow veg over winter but spend the time feeding the birds, buying seeds and planning where I'm going to plant what next season.

    Happy gardening...

  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,736
    Veg and other seeds have been for sale in also at 19p a packet, worth a look. But check sowing dates and expiry dates first.
  • No expertNo expert Posts: 415

    Great to see such enthusiasm. Have a go. Keep it simple for the first year with not too many different things. Expand as your experience allows. You will make mistakes, we all do, just remember them and don't make the same ones again. After all there are lots of other mistakes to make no point getting bogged down with the same few. Best of luck.

  • PaddygtPaddygt Posts: 17

    Oh, I am sure I will make lots of mistakes but life is so boring if you don't make mistakes.  Looking forward to growing as a gardener and member of this forum.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,882

    "life is so boring if you don't make mistakes."

    Just the right attitude for a gardener - welcome image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    It's how we learn - and we all had to start at some point with no knowledge at all.

    Believe it or not, even Verdun - at some point - knew nothing....

    but after his first birthday he was taking cuttings and sowing seed image

  • PaddygtPaddygt Posts: 17

    Been cutting the grass this afternoon and surface cleared the small plot I will be setting up.  It is not ideal, without moving house there is no ideal place.  The fence runs north to the left, south to the right.  A big tree in next door is at the fence and trees border their north edge.  this time of year, it will not get a lot of sun untill around four in the afternoon.  At least what warmth it will get is highest before the cold nights. It does get a bit in the morning though. The picture below was taken at 3:30.

    as I said, not ideal but if I can get something out of it I will be happy.  Lot of work to do but I suppose this is the time to do it and be ready for early spring.

    if you think it unworkable and that I am wasting my time, please shout now before I get the spade outimage Oh, the washing line will not be staying....



  • Tina_i_amTina_i_am Posts: 177

    'The Expert Vegetable Notebook' by Dr D G Hessayon might be worth a flick through, I think I picked mine up at Homebase.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    A quick question Paddy - where is the house in relation to the plot? Not sure I've picked you up correctly but if I stood where you've written 9 feet and looked towards the little shed/playhouse would I have my back to it, and do you mean that's north? The ideal place to me for a veg plot looks like the area next to the stepping stones/path, ie in the bottom left corner of your pic. Also, are you just wanting to grow veg or do you want ornamentals too? A couple more pix from different spots would really help if you can, as it just gives a better idea of what you're looking for, and a better idea of the whole plot. image

  • Fariygirl have a look at his blog


  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,736

    oh that's clever, I want to draw on the photos ive taken today. Sure I can figure it out. By the way good luck with the veg. Are you sure flowers won't be better (sorry, joking)


  • PaddygtPaddygt Posts: 17

    The 'playhouse' in the top left is a fairly large summer house, that is the problem with pictures, I know what it looks like around the camera but viewers will not.  Good point.  

    Yes, if you stood on the path looking at the summer house, you would have your back to the house, which is a bungalow and a couple of feet lower than where I am standing taking the pic So does not cast a shadow until late evening.

    I agree that where I was stood may be a better area but the lawn left of the path has to stay as it is.  The dogs and grand kids and she who must be obeyed have made that very clear lol.

    So, to confirm, if you stood looking at the fence, you would be facing east, making the fence west facing.

    As for flowers.  That is a secondary project.  The garden is boring and as part of a long term plan, I hope to create some borders, a rockery at the top of the garden and make the boring square of grass interesting.

    having said that, I have no idea how I am going to achieve it And it will be (very) long term.

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