Suggestions for a novice please
Amy Lathwell Posts: 102
in Fruit & veg
Hi all I'm a novice when it comes to most gardening as only done baskets and containers before. Now that I live somewhere with more space, id like to start a small veggie patch and was wondering what is good to grow for a novice? I'm looking for perhaps 5 or 6 things that I can grow from seed. I don't have a greenhouse but could posdibly start them off indoors on a windowsill if needs be. What's good for sowing now? Any advice much appreciated!!
First of all, we were all novices once, so don't worry about that! Good luck with your new garden - it will repay the work you put into it.
There are three important questiosn to be answered: How much sunshine does your proposed veg area get? What sort of soil do you have? And most importantly, what do you like to eat? - there's no point growing tons of courgettes if you can't stand the things. It's also helpful to knoiw whereabouts you live, as the climate and microclimate will affect what you can grow and how well it does.
Having said that, easy things to grow include: carrots, beetroot, onions, garlic, beans & peas, potatoes, courgettes - that should be enough to keep you well supplied, once they get going.
Agree with Steve 309 as when I first started growing veg in my parents garden as a teenager I started with Potatoes and Beans. Also Tomato plants are great. Now a lot older I still grow beans, Tomatoes, Cucumbers. you can start with seeds but also you can get small plants that have been started in the local garden centre.Whichever way you go its great fun to eat what you have grown.
From the point of view of taste, the biggest difference between supermarket veg and those that have been out of the ground five minutes is with carrots and potatoes. IMO.
From the point of view of cost, I'd forget about veg altogether and concentrate on soft fruit, since this is expensive even when in season! But that wasn't the question.
Hi Amy. Some ideas to grow your seeds as you don't have greenhouse. If you grow them indoors in windowsills you will have to harden them for a couple of weeks and I prefer to avoid that!
So I created a small polythene cover for my beds and planted seeds directly, it's just to keep them warmer and protected till the weather improves. I cut a few canes at the same height and placed polythene sheet over them and clipped it with pegs. It doesn't look great but it gets the job done. I grow my onion bulbs and radishes underneath it. They germinated fine.
For lettuce when starting from seed, a good idea is to cut the top half of a plastic bottle and place it where you plant it so it will be protected for a while but can still breath.
Some of the easy things I am growing are iceberg, salad leaves, radish, and garlic.
The spot I can use is pretty shady actually, so anything that needs full sun would need to go into containers.
I don't know what 'type' of soil it is until I turn it over this weekend and get rid of the weeds.... There does seem to be a fair bit of moss growing there at the moment... Don't know what that means?
I've bought strawberries and tomatoes for my containers and was thinking about carrots, potatoes, French beans, parsnips and some sort of lettuce
I hope I'm not trying too much all at once!
Hi Amy its a bit late for parsnips this year they are a really slow crop.
Spuds are great as they help loosen the soil for next year.
I am by no means an expert but have over the last few years I have put in raised beds and been growing veg in my garden.
My never fails are:
runner beans as long as you dig in muck and newspaper in a trench underneath. these are very generous a dozen plants will give you a big handfull a day in july august. french beans I think are not so generous i find the tall varieties are better.
Spuds are good fun and new potatoes never taste as good as home grown
I often find carrots get slugged badly overcame this last year with an early dose of nematodes. edge the carrot patch with chives to keep the carrot root fly away
Lettuces are good i like these started on the window sill and i find loose leafed varieties work best and rocket if you like it grows better than any weed.
Chard is pretty and easy spinach not so pretty but easy to get a lot out of a small space you can pick a good bucket of spinach a week from a six foot row in the summer.
spring onions are good and seeds for purple spring onions are as cheap as for white and add so much colour. I find normal onions disappointing.
Courgettes are the most generous crop.
My rule of thumb is grow stuff i like or have never seen before , if it is always green in the shop then if you can find it in yellow purple red etc grow the unusual colour its no more difficult. Yellow courgettes, purple carrots , yellow and purple french beans , stripy yellow or black tomatoes. And always add plenty of well rotted muck to the soil.
If your in shade leafy stuff (spinach, lettuce)and in full sun fruiting stuff (toms and cues).
Your not trying to much, my first year i fell asleep on a half manured half dug raised bed my husband found me and said he had never seen me look so shattered and so messy but so happy.
"i fell asleep on a half manured half dug raised bed"
Looks like you've got your work cut out, Amy. Get digging!
The moss indicates that the soil is damp, poor in nutrients and shaded, otherwise weeds would have grown there. Mosy crops will cope with some shade - although tomatoes and other Mediterranean-type plants do far better with full sun. Lettuce actually does better in partial shade, in high summer at least, and most soft fruit (sadly not strawberries, which do beter in full sun) being originally woodland plants, will also be fine with some shade.
Get it cleared, get a load of well rotted manure into it (athough not where you're going to put the carrots) and get the seeds in asap!
I've been out there today weeding and turning the soil over. It seems very clay-y ... Do you think that would be an issue? There are plenty of stones in there for drainage and I saw tonnes of worms - that'd got to be a good sign right?
There is plenty of moss though and it is a pretty shady spot