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Is it too late to plant anything this year? & A soil question

Total beginner but my 5 year old son has been showing interest in growing veg and me too. We've a south facing garden with lots of sunshine. I'd like to get out there more and thought it would be a nice hobby for us both to do together.

I'd prefer tubs/pots and I hear that good beginner types are potatoes, carrots, green beans, tomatoes and turnips though it appears it's too late to plant any of these.

From what I can tell it seems any time past late May is pretty much done for the year aside from harvesting.

Is this correct?

Also, my second question is - when we moved in we adopted 2 pear trees, an apple and a plum tree. They're between 4-6ft tall and 2 have sprouted really well (though no fruits) and the other 2 appear to just be growing weeds. Is it worth keeping them or getting rid of them? Other than watering them we've not actually done anything for them so it may be too late. One of the pear trees looks like it has potential but again, I'm not sure. I'd hate to just throw out a perfectly good tree unless it was certainly dead, though.

We also have a pot of raspberries, gooseberries and strawberries. One of them (I believe the raspberries) are growing well, again no fruits. Other 2 have nothing at all. I'd like to use these pots if they are beyond help.

Any advice would be great, please!



  • Sophie17Sophie17 Posts: 342

    You still have time for turnips and carrots, I've successfully grown both in pots before but turnips need quite a bit of space

  • Sophie17Sophie17 Posts: 342

    sorry, that should read I've grown beans and carrots in pots and both do well. 

  • DanielleCDanielleC Posts: 4

    Doh! Forgot to add in my soil question! When planting is it compost that is needed? What is top soil for? Plants?

    Compost is fairly cheap down the Homebase - £6 for 100L or something similar, or do I need more expensive types to really give it a chance to work?

    Thank you Sophie! What size pots would you recommend?

  • Why not try something  like sugar- snap peas?  Don't need much space and something easy to deal with - not too late to try salad crops too, especially the mixed seed packets of the "cut-n-come-again" varieties.

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 ManchesterPosts: 5,150

    Saw someone recommend sowing "klevedon wonder" peas for an extra crop in an empty gap this year.  Think I read it a couple of days ago on the forum.

    My girls loved eating the peas straight from the pod when they were small so a good crop for children.

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Danielle, I grew up at a time the garden produced most of our food, dad was a super gardener who believed in planting single rows and then repeating every couple of weeks which meant a continuation of fresh crops. Peas carrots beans can all still be planted and will fruit, read the packets for quick growing foods and you can go beyond the recommended dates, they are just a guide. 

    It also depends on which part of the Country you live in, the South will be two or three weeks ahead of us in the North yet we still have time to put in salad crops and keep on sowing a small row at a time to keep your salad bowl full of fresh sweet lettuce or cut and come again. If your child is showing interest then find a small plastic food pack such as a clear punnet strawberries come in and sow some cress. you will need either an inch of soil or else layers of kitchen paper, sow the seed on top water and watch, it is rapid growth and tastes good too one it has its leaves, the part you eat. Another thing I showed my children was a jam jar with some soil in and push a couple of bean seeds next to the glass, you will see them root and grow a stem and leaves, they will not get any beans though you can see the process.

    Your fruit trees, how tall are they what are they in pots or the ground and how old are they, fruit trees may not fruit for several years and some need another tree nearby to fertilise them for fruit. Come back on that one. You can put potato's in containers in Autumn if you have a sheltered place or greenhouse and have new potato's for Christmas dinner, it is a bit late now though why not try, a large container or bag with soil in the base place two or three potato's depending on the size of the container cover them with soil and water. As the stems (Haums) grow and bear leaf top up the soil so just a little leaf is above the soil do this several times until it flowers watering well. The new potato's actually grow on the Haum which is why we earth up as it is called, if light gets to the new potato's they turn green and poisonous.

    Hope this helps but do come back with any questions plenty of people on here keen to help.


  • LeifUKLeifUK Posts: 573

    Winter radish, carrots, pak choi, spring onions. Various web sites give planting by season tips, just Google.

  • DanielleCDanielleC Posts: 4

    Thanks for all the replies!

    Peas & lettuce are great suggestions, I'll put them on my list to buy this weekend. Cress is also a great idea as I know it grows fairly quick so it might peak his interest some more whilst he waits longer for the rest. 

    I live in the South! I do not have a green house - I could get one though which brings me on to my next question of if these things are grown in pots - are they ok to just be left outside? Do they need to be covered from the rain? Animals? Not that we have any - but next doors cat wonders in sometimes to sit on the trampoline.

    The fruit trees are around 3 or 4 years old. They are in pots. I wish to change the pots and also give them fresh soil, they've been a bit neglected. Pruned occasionally and watered frequently and that is all. All 4 trees are separated by about 4ft.

    I have seen the potato grosacks which is what I was planning on purchasing (if it's not too late in the year, anyway)  so potatoes should be kept in the shade, and not the sunlight? Correct?

    Thanks again, everyone :)

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Danielle, Potato's grow in open fields so do need sunlight, if you use grow sacks they are OK to leave in a sheltered though sunny place open to the rain and will still need watering as the tend to dry out. Growing them for Christmas you do need a greenhouse to shelter from snap frosts or winter weather, I do admit to using a fan heater on Frost guard in winter.

    The trees will have to stay until they lose the leaves in Autumn, then re pot them in fresh soil with some grit and bone meal that gives them the winter to settle and make fresh root in Spring. You could scrape off some soil from the top of the pot carefully then replace with fresh compost with a handful of granular fertiliser and a little bone meal, at four years they should be almost ready to fruit, look for small immature fruits on the trees. If not re pot and wait for next year.

    Your pots depending on what they contain may need to be in shelter during the winter months, bringing them close to a brick wall of the house will suffice if you do not have a greenhouse, wrapping the pots them selves in bubble wrap can stop them freezing and reduce watering to barely damp not wet. If they are hardy then they should take minus five degrees of frost providing the pots are not waterlogged and crack. The main thing is try experimenting seed can be cheap sow a little and see what you get or you could sow bi annuals that grow the first year and flower the next, we all of us do this trying new things, I am retired gardened all my life and still learning so give it a go.


  • Aster2Aster2 Posts: 629

    Multipurpose compost with John Innes should be fine for the pots. You can still get some veg plants at this time of year in a garden centre, but don't delay.

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