First time grower and in need of advice!

Hello all. I have been lurking here on and off for some time but this year I have decided it's time to grow my own. I'd like to grow carrots, spuds, tomatoes, chillis, beans and peas but I really don't have a clue and don't know where to start! My garden is all paved and SW facing. I was thinking of having a raised bed (but not sure what size it needs to be) plus one of those small plastic greenhouse thingys and growing spuds in large gorilla buckets. I have a small windowsill propigator thingy to get seeds started indoors. Please help! I have bought a couple of books but it's all gobbledegook to me at the moment.


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 14,225

    Will you be lifting any paving to make the raised bed? How had you planned  to build it? It will have to be deep enough and have drainage, preferably that doesn't run out all over the paving. Hard to advise on size without knowing how much space you have to play with. You can grow carrots, spuds, tomatoes, French beans, dwarf runner beans like Hestia in big pots. Tomatoes can be started in the windowsill propagater soon, so long as you can keep them warm enough when small plants. Or buy small plants in May, pot up and put in greenhouse thingy until frosts are over. Spuds plant outside around Easter or a bit later (it's early this year). Sow bean seeds in May, or plant out after frosts are over if you sow them in the greenhouse thingy. Carrots sow direct in earth when it says so on the packet, thin them out when young plants. Chillis, don't know, not a fan.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Hi, lucky you south west facing, perfect for the vegetables! My front garden is the same and much to my neighbours disgust it is where I grow all my veg's. I have 4 large raised beds. I bought the kits from Harrolds Horticulture (check online-they give all the measurements) but they were expensive so if you are handy with some tools it would be cheaper to make your own. The best compost is mushroom and I bought one tonne of it and some more topsoil and mixed it together and filled up the raised beds which are about 18inches high.and 1m wide and long. If you grow carrots in these you won't have a problem with carrot fly and in this growing medium they are easy to pull out! Carrot seeds can be sown directly into the soil but will have to be split up as they get bigger. I use tweezers for the seeds as I can't be bothered with the thinning out.The first year I grew three cabbages in one bed and they were huge beasts but tasty. Sugarsnap peas are so simple too but they will need some kind of stick to climb up. Try cut and come again lettuce which needs picking regularly or it can bolt, but I still harvested it. Some suggestions which work well are; french beans, peas, mangetout, spring onions, peppers, pak choi, carrots. Forget broad beans they take up lots of space and don't crop well. As you r plot is south west facing it will get very hot in the summer and will require copious amounts of water. Your plastic greenhouse though would be good to grow cucumbers in if you like them but beware things in plastic scorch easily in the sun.Final point, remember the little beasties like slugs don't venture into my raised beds as they are 18 inches high but the pigeons loves fresh seedlings too! I live in the countryside so I reckon on one third for me, one third for the pests/wildlife and one third for fatalities.Check out for more ideas on vegetable gardening it is in my opinion one of the best sites out there. Lastly, keep the seeds in paper in a dark place and buy markers to show where you have sown the seeds and what they are called.Good luck and enjoy.

  • emraaemraa Posts: 2
    Thanks, brilliant advice.

    My boyfriend is a carpenter so will be making my raised beds. Unfortunately we can't take up any of the paving. We were thinking of making a bed that is raised off the concrete by a foot, is that the right thing to do? We have a space around 3m x 1m to put the bed in.

    We suffer terribly with slugs and snails. We have two dogs and don't want them poisoned. Any tips?
  • Trough's are very useful for growing most things on Paving (that's what we did anyway).

  • Emraa regarding slugs, try and encourage birds into your garden as they will eat the slugs. If you don't want to go down the chemical route a night time slug hunt by torch light will be needed. Put some beer in a bucket and just put them in there. There are other methods such as copper rings for pots, gravel and even crushed egg shells although I have never tried that one. You will never be rid of slugs entirely but you can keep the numbers down if you do some of the above.

    Good luck with your veg growing and keep us posted.image

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