Forum home Fruit & veg

Where to start...

I recently bought a property out in the countryside with rather large garden. I have no experience with gardening so i was hoping to get some tips about where to start.

The last few days i have been digging up weeds and clearing leaves etc just trying to make it look a bit tidier. Tomorrow i thought i could make a start where the previous owners used to grow their fruit and veg. This area is all overgrown and i have no idea where to start with it. Do i need to dig everything up and start over for next year i do i just have to trim things back, any advice would be greatly appreciated as i really have no clue what i'm doing haha

I will see if i can upload some pics tomorrow so you can see what I'm dealing with here.




  • Alan4711Alan4711 LincolnshirePosts: 1,657

    Hi Dan,I think your tidying up is spot on ,we moved here about 12 months ago and still things are shooting up all over the place that we didnt even know was in the garden,   so we photoed them and uploaded them here for info as we went , tidying and weeding can take a long time and thats what we did , we did plant the new fruit trees last year so were all ready to go with a fairly weed free garden and theres no pressure with time or mess to clear up, just deciding how we want OUR new look to be, its quite exiting starting a new garden look now the hard parts out of the way, drawing boards out just want to agree on the new look, and very important we enjoyed almost every second of it and the coffee flowed, now with this weather its coffee and a dram of whiskey in it. Good luck Dan Enjoyimage 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 16,789

    I agree and I think you need to tidy up and weed, take photos, see what happens next year, live with it a bit, then decide what changes you would like to make. You don't know what delights may be planted there yet.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Join your local gardening club/horticultural society... lovely people, knowledgeable about what does well locally, loads of help, advice and encouragement.

    You may wish to employ someone, if your garden is large, half a day a week may be enough. Depends on how fit you are, finances, time etc., but take advice on who. 

    I have a large garden and employ a "slash and burn" merchant as I call him, who will tackle anything with gusto, and someone else who is RHS trained and totally understands plants and when to do things. I still do loads to, and between us we hack it. 

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Alan, Why bother with  the coffee???

    Dan, yes do a general clean up first to see where you are, then decide on what will be the growth plan for next spring. My advice is always take it in small sections and if you are going to have a vegetable patch then dig it over roughly now and let winter work its magic breaking down the clods, a good raking and weeding in spring it is ready to sow.

    Check out where the hot and cool spots are, which way you face as that will mean a difference in what you plant. Draw out features you wish to build in, a bottle with a narrow neck full of dry sand lets you draw it out on the ground so you can see outlines. Have you shelter from prevailing winds, do you need it with hedging or trees? It is always best to also put a seat in the warmest place, sit down and look at what you have write up your plans thoughts ideas and alter them as you go, it is not a make over show all done in a day, take your time, when you are not enjoying it then give it a rest. Good luck and keep us informed.


  • image









    Thanks for all the replies so far. I popped out and took some pictures this morning, they are not very good but its the best i can do with an iphone. I had a look round the patch, the only fruit i could identify were a couple rows of raspberry bushes. Im not sure what that is in the 3rd photo down but theres a few of them, also that plant in the last picture is everywhere in my garden. It was growing just outside the front of the house and i dug it all out and put it to the skip but it really is just all over the place, can someone tell me what it is?

    There are about 4 or 5 compost bins round by the veg patch, what do i do with these, i presume i put all grass cuttings etc in here? then what?


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 16,789

    Looks like "Alchemilla Mollis", lovely with it's yellow flower sprays but can seed everywhere.

    Put all your grass cuttings, prunings, plant and uncooked veg waste in the bins. Best to use one at a time and rotate them. When rotted down dig into the garden or use as mulch. Do not put perennial weeds, such as bindweed or dandelion roots in the compost.

    Looks quite a jungle, but a lot will die down in winter. You can leave it for wildlife, or you can cut down the messiest bits. During winter read up about weeds and plants!

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • If you want to start from scratch i would

    1. Dig Out (not pull) out as much as possbile with roots and bin or tip it. don't both with a compost bin yet as if your not sure there pereninal weeds then they will just come back when the compost is spread.

    2. Cover the area with a thick sheet (not the thin weed protection stuff) or Tarpaline to block out the light:- pond liner or damp proof membrane. make sure you pin down or weigh it down with heavy stone/wood. You can use carpet but this can leak chemicals into the ground depending on age and what has been used to clean/treat carpets.

    3. Leave over the winter. Lift the covers start of spring and remove anthing thats still growing. i wouldn't recomand rotorvating it but turn it over with a fork then plant what you like in marked rows. once things start to grow in the rows anything that grows outside rows are isnt want you planted should be up rooted and binned. Rotorvating is good, but i would wait 2-3 years when most of the perninal weeds would have grown (outside your makered veg rows) and you have removed them. Rotorvating perninal weeds will cut them into bits and spread it even more will look good but next season there will be more.

    Start small, you look like you ave a few patches, if i was you i would clear them all, cover them all and then just use one at a time leave the others covered so nothing can grow. once you have worked one over and planted move on to the next one. take lots of pictures of progress as if you get a bit dishearted have a cupper tea and look back though the photos to see how far you have come. 

    Maybe plant somethings in a few pots or grow bags start of next year so you get a crop and have insperation.

    Good luck and please post some pictures of your progress.

  • Can I see flower beds and if so do you wish to renovate them. You could during the winter recut the edges of the beds, and by definition the rest is, or will be, lawn. The latter could do with a cut now, but not short. Just start to differentiate between grass and beds. You can then tidy the beds and wait to see what comes up in the Spring, with a little bit of advice from your new friends in the gardening club. Your grass will improve as you regularly mow ,weed and feed it next year. Shrubs may benefit from a prune, some light, some drastic. Again you will need advice, although most will grow back. Think long term about the basic structure and design. Don't rush, this looks like a 3 year project for you...image Have fun...

  • You could and should spend a lot of time getting rid of Alchemilla mollis - it's an absolute b****r. Don't worry about losing it; there will always be some left if you want a bit to keep in a zoo. The rest looks like a fabulous adventure. You will be able to strim back a lot of what appears to be rough grass just to tidy it, but don't go too far in just in case there's something interesting hiding there.

    Depending on how much help you have, try to identify things that must be done and do them and then pick a couple of small areas to clear and work outwards from (probably near the house). Be aware that there may be lots of bulbs, as well as other plants that die away to nothing.

    Good example of what a Christmas Tree can turn into after 30 years!


Sign In or Register to comment.