New vegetable bed - help with ideas

I have cleared an area of back garden that was previously part bare soil and part covered with gravel, made a 6' x 4' raised bed using just some old wood I found lying around (approximately 20cm high) and added some bagged bought horse manure/soil improver from B&Q and a mix of multi purpose compost and some top soil.

The idea is to grow some things throughout the year and get my daughter (3 years old) involved.  Both of us are complete novices, however she seems to know a little more than me.

We already grow strawberries and blueberries and have some potatoes in bags on the patio.

The bed faces approximately east-south-east and the soil below is clay.  I dug the bed over and mixed the soil mixture together.


I am unsure what to grow really, i'd like to grow something that climbs along the back, maybe tomatoes or beans or even rasberries, I dont know really.  I'd like some inspiration! 

The bed gets reasonable sun during the summer, getting some shade from the Ceonothus to the left of the bed.


Here's some pics to help!!







  • as an additional question, can anyone tell me the tree/shrub to the right of the bed, its getting pretty large and im really wanting to chop it right back or keep it under control somehow!!

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  • Looks like Photinia to the right Peter. They can take a good pruning.

    Lettuce and peas are good for children to sow as they offer 'quick' reward. Eating peas from the pod or a sugar snap pea is a taste memory for life. Raspberries will be fine in a bit of shade as long as they get 4hours of direct sun.

    Children enjoy watching beans sprout from the glass edge of jam jars filled with damp kitchen paper. It shows the Germination process from roots to shoots so they understand plant structure and growth from seeds. That awe and wonder is priceless and a joy to watch.
  • LeifUKLeifUK Posts: 573

    I would do a mix of things as that is more fun. Carrots are lovely, and productive.  A courgette is productive, but will take up a quarter of the space or more. However you could grow some pak choi before the courgette in the same area. Peas and mange toute are tasty and easy. French beans are vey productive, you don't need many to enjoy some good meals. Beetroot is very easy, boltardy is a good early one. 

    I would not grow raspberry there, they spread and you need a fair few. Tomatoes outdoor often if not always get blight. You could try one in a growbag on the path, or in the bed.

    I'm sure a range of things will be fun, you'll have more going on, and you'll learn. 

    Slugs, insects and birds are often your enemy. Sparrows can devour seedlings, caterpillars can ruin cabbage, slugs eat most anything. Netting and pellets are the answer. 

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