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Veg patch prep advice?

Hello all,

I am trying to be prepared and keep on top of the garden (new place this summer) and eager to grow stuff. This is still very new to me so I am reading as much as possible so I dont make any school girl errors! Back in November I weeded the veg patch and covered with material, pruned trees, raked the grass of leaves regularly etc and basically just left the garden over the last month. I still need to clean the green house (will def do this week!!) I am going to rake more leaves again and tidy up flower beds & borders.

I have finally ordered some onion and potato sets and some spring onion seeds!! I have read about chitting but is there any more advice people can give me about what else I can do to prepare? Do I do anything with the veg patch, add compost or turn over soil? Is there any handy equipment I need? Any advice or tips very welcome please!!



  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286

    It would be best to prepare in the Autumn, but having said that I grew both onions and potatoes for the first time last year with minimal prep. It will depend on your soil, whether it has been cultivated before etc. Mine had not been touched before but I still got some good crops.

    If you have a weed free and previously cultivated plot I would recommend now adding compost and then when the ground is dry enough running a cultivator over it to break it up ready for planting.

    Potatoes like lots of manure, so you could put some in the trenches as you plant them.Onions like the soil quite friable.

    In all though do what you can, I found just getting on and growing stuff helped an awful lot with my soil. I then did a much more thorough prep for this year last Autumn, double digging and adding huge amounts of manure etc.

  • Thanks Gemmaimage

    I think the chap who lived here before us used the plot regularly to grow things so I didnt really have to do too much, the soil is quite soft, easy to dig over. I may decide to grow the potatoes in bags to use the space on the patch for other veg. Would you recommend ordering any other seed at the moment or is it too early? I have a greenhouse so need to decide what I am growing in the soil and what to grow in the greenhouse?

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,569

    How big an area is your veg patch?

    Is it big enough to divide into three for a three year rotation of crops?

    For my onion patch, I fork in well rotted manure(a barrow per sq metre)This can be done any time before planting.

    Then add calcified seaweed a handful per sq metre, same  of blood fish and bone just before planting. Then it needs to be kept weed free and well watered.  I don't grow onions in the same place more than once every three years. this is to try and reduce the chances of onion rot, which can take hold if you grow the onions in the same place every year.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,569

    If the garden is too wet or cold at the moment, spend some time perusing seed catalogues, and order your seeds. Potatoes and onion sets are now in the garden centres.

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286

    Definitely the right time to order seeds, seed potatoes, etc. I'll be doing my ordering over the next couple of weeks. Once you have the seed packets you can plan it out a bit more with the planting times. 

    It will be handy to know your last frost date as some things must be sown/set/planted outside after the last frost. It varies across the country but there are websites that give maps or you can type in your location and get the last frost date. If the greenhouse is kept frost free, then you can get started earlier on some of those. image

    One tip I wish I had known last year was to also look at the harvest times of crops, as well as planting times, when planning. It is easy to put the rows in one after another at the recommended planting time. What happens is some are sown early but harvested late, so I ended up with rows of parsnips still in the ground right where I wanted to dig for next years potatoes! We live and learn. image

    Do add some organic material this year and dig it in though, they say you can't take out what you don't put in, so if it has been cultivated in the past, it will still need a bit more organic material to keep it going.

  • Thanks guys thats such good advice!! I have used Thompson & Morgan so far to order sets & seeds.

    I should say 'garden patch' not plot, its not huge so dont think I could divide it if I want to grow more than spuds and onions. I do have more room when I get confident to use up more of the garden for veg though if needed in the future.

    I am trying to find an actual gardening group or club in our area so I can actually go and speak to people and get tips but there doesnt seem to be any around here - plenty of allotments but no actual clubs to go to, but saying that the advice on here is great image

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