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New to gardening

Hello! I've never done any gardening before and have recently moved into a place which is overgrown with weeds and bushes at the front of the property, wondered if I could get some advice on the following: -the best way to get rid of weeds - just pull them all out or use weed killer? (there is no grass just concrete) -there is a small concrete flower bed full of soil and overgrown flowers and weeds, would I need to buy new soil and start over to plant new flowers? Certain kind of soil? -I know nothing about flowers and plants! Can you mix colourful flowers with plants such as strawberry and chives in the same flowerbed? Sorry for the overload! Thanks


  • PassionatePassionate Posts: 225

    Hi, Newtothisgardening, you have come to the right site for information, hints and tips, there's plenty of them here, lots of very helpful people.

    Long before you think of what to plant - might I suggest you buy a spray weed killer and spray  those weeds growing out of the concrete but any weeds growing near your bushes and in the flower bed do not spray weed killer anywhere near them. weeds near them  need to be dug out, dig deep to get roots as well . Maybe the bushes could be cut back a little to look more tidy until you have more time.

    I would renew as much of the original soil in your bed as possible with new stuff, ordinary compost in bags from the garden centre will do and perhaps a couple of bags of grit could be mixed in to assist with drainage. 

    You can grow veg and flowers together in the same plot but if as u say lack experience I would firstly check out what flowers,plants and veg your neighbours in the street are growing this will give you a clue about the type of soil you have and what grows well in it, then spend time reading up or on line about those and other plants and veg and types of soil and ask questions whenever you get the chance, which ones grow well which don't this will save you loads of money and time in the long run, buying the wrong things.

    Keep in touch with this forum. Good luck.

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    Use something like Pathclear for the weeds in the concrete. Dig out the weeds in the soil bed and refresh the soil with added new compost as suggested. You can then decide whether to plant it up with annuals (bit late for this year but the garden  centre may still have some) or perennials which can be planted at any time. And yes, you can mix and match flowers and veg in the same bed.

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Thanks so much for your helpful advice passionate and hogweed! Feel a lot less overwhelmed now and know exactly where to start. I will cut back the bush as you suggested until I decide what to do with it! It will take a lot of cutting back too. Going to do before and after pics not sure if there's somewhere to display them! ???? I've decided on a few plants and flowers, can I plant them in the new soil straight away once I have tidied everything up? And how often do you usually water them, once a week?

    Thanks again!
  • PassionatePassionate Posts: 225

    Hi Newtothis gardening, its safe to buy plants if you know what type of soil you have, u can buy a soil tester or maybe ask a nearby gardener- i have been gardening for a few years, but whenever I buy a plant I always look for information on how to care for it, either on line or in a gardening book. The plant label will give you clues such as if it likes shade or full sun, but u need more info about soil type (if it likes acid soil or neural type soil ) plants won't live for long in the wrong soil. If the plant needs full sun I water twice or three times a week, if in shade perhaps once a week, some plants begin to hang over when they are getting thirsty but if the soil is hard that's a clue that it's dry, also I learned its best to water the base of the plant rather than the leaves - stop watering to check if water is sinking into soil then water some more. Being new to gardening try to assess if the plant is easy to look after  if it seems too fussy you may get disheartend if it dies, you could ask at the place your buying from for advice. Hope all this info isn't too much, but I wished someone would have told me when I was starting out I would have saved a lot of time and trouble. Good luck.

  • Thanks verdun! image

    And thanks again passionate! I didn't realise about the soil so very useful to know - now I understand more what you were saying about adding grit to the soil. Was hoping to just buy some flowers I like and plant the straight away but I will make sure to do a bit of research on what soil they all grow best in. Ha yes I definitely don't want anything too fussy! I don't have a lot of space so may get some big pots too and keep a few flowers/plants in them - have you done this at all?
  • PassionatePassionate Posts: 225

    Yes I have plants in pot, they can be moved around for shade as well as sunny areas, they need to be off the floor to drain after watering, so a few pebbles or "pot feet" are good. Remember pots are hard work because the plants depend on you for water and feed, whereas plants in the ground will find food and water from the soil so Last longer between care. 

    I always put grit or small stones (bought in bags) around the plant on the top of the compost in pots, this helps to keep soil moist, deters weeds and shows the plant of better. Deadheading spent flowers can make the the plants produce more for longer too.  image

  • Thanks for your advice Passionate, I have been tidying up the garden and so far have removed all bushes and weeds but not yet sprayed weed killer on the concrete (need to buy some.)

    Currently just doing a soil ph test, when digging to get soil from lower down i found so many (I think they're bulbs) deep in the soil, I guess I just pick all these out and throw them away? Can't believe how many there are! I will buy new compost and mix in as suggested, wondered if this would affect the ph of the soil? Please could someone reccommend me a brand/type of compost as there are so many I found it hard to choose.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,586

    first of all Welcome on board.

    My first suggestion is that you find someone with a bit of knowledge to establish if there is anything there that isn't a weed,( don't throw baby out with the bathwater) then carry on to get rid of them as suggested above.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,168
    Newtothisgardening wrote (see)
    ... Currently just doing a soil ph test, when digging to get soil from lower down i found so many (I think they're bulbs) deep in the soil, I guess I just pick all these out and throw them away? ...

    I wouldn't throw them away until you know what they are - I'd leave them there and wait for them to flower in the spring - they could be daffodils, tulips, crocuses ...
    all of them so welcome in early spring when nothing much else is in flower.

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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