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in Fruit & veg
Desided to take the plunge to try grow own veg..Could any one give me some advice please as the best way to start. not sure what to sow first at this time of year. i Probebly grow in pots or very small garden area..my soil i beleive is clay like..i would value all your advice.thanks
If you are planting in soil it will need preparing first. Dig in some manure and/or compost. This will help if it's clay and provide nourishment. I wouldn't sow anything yet, but I expect someone will disagree. Wait until the ground warms up. In the meantime, if budget allows, buy a good book about growing vegetables and read it. Think what you would like to grow and look each veg up on the internet and learn when to sow, fertilise, thin out etc. Some things grow very well in pots, such as tomatoes like Tumbling Tom, strawberries specially for pots, spring onions, dwarf runner beans, such as Hestia, carrots (as they like light soils, not clay).
jon lets just say modest budget at moment
thank you Busy-Lizzie. excellent advise and appreciate names of Toms strawbs etc.going to get hold of soil Ph kit..what ive read, knowing Ph will help. my soil needs a good working
Hi Tony, I've learned a lot reading all the threads on this site and I'm sure once the sowing season is in full swing there'll be plenty of information about what we should be doing day by day. I'll be watching for hints and tips on growing trailing cherry tomatoes in containers which is new to me this year. Happy reading
Spuds in bags are an easy crop to start with if you haven't much room. 1st and 2nd earlies will produce a crop 15 to 17 weeks after planting out and you can start chitting your spuds now.
Spinach, lettuce leaves, radish and most dwarf beans/peas grow well in pots.
In containers, I've had the most luck with salad like spinach and rocket. It's a very rewarding crop as it can be expensive to buy! You can keep taking leaves all summer.
We've dug some composted-garden-waste type soil improver into our clay soil as it's only £3.50 a bag from the local garden centre, and it's made worlds of difference so don't give up on your soil.
On my clay soil i have put in raised veg beds as they drain better, less cahnce of water logging. Something I found last year
Buy a basic book like the Expert series on growing veg. - Not expensive and a very good guide
I would avoid the Expert series for growing veg. It does not seem to have been revised for years. It seems to regard some crops as exotics which are quite normally grown in UK, and of course the varieties available have not been updated.
If you are on a tight budget explore Aldi and Lidl and Wilkinsons for seeds. I have found their germination rates excellent.
Avoid glossy catalogues, their seeds are expensive. Concentrate on growing crops that are either expensive or of poor quality in the supermarkets. Go to a garden centre near you and buy some early potatoes. You will probably be able to buy a handful of several varieties rather than a large pack of one.
thank you all for the excellent advice. shall let you know how i get on.
Vegatable growing Month-by-Month by John Harrison is invaluable, as it does exactly what it says on the tin! It's available fairly cheaply from Amazon, or if your budget's REALLY tight, check out your library. Agree with what other posters have said, re Wilkinsons and Aldi for seeds, but not just for seeds. Don't know if your aldi will have any left, they were doing fruit trees for 3.99 last week, this week they've raised bed kits, 3/4 tier PVC greenhouses, flowers in pots, etc etc. Poundstretcher is good for gardening equipment too, I got a massive packet of fleece (for warming the ground prior to planting, and protecting tender perennial flowers) last year for about a fiver. Don't bother with cloches, cut the top off a pop or squash bottle and use that instead.
If space is limited and you want to grow things in hanging baskets, try the easy-fill ones available on t'internet. They're a lot easier than the traditional type baskets, can be re-used year after year, you don't damage any of the plants you're planting as the whole rootball goes through the planting gap. Sites like ideal world will have videos on how to use them (but don't buy from there as the postage is astronomical). I won't use anything but the easy-fill baskets now, no, I'm not on commission for them, but I was a novice a couple of years ago, and the range of stuff on offer is bewildering.
One top tip I've learned is to keep a garden diary, so record what type of seeds you've sown, dates of any late frosts, how well seeds germinated, how well they grew (and whereabouts you grew them), and most importantly, how well they cropped.
Grow stuff that's expensive to buy in the supermarket, runner beans are very expensive to buy, but half a dozen plants will be more than enough to supply a family of 4 with some left over to freeze.
Like you, I'm on a very tight budget, so I do things like save yoghurt pots to use as plant pots, make my own compost (but very much a beginner on that, other folks can advise and are brilliant on here). There's no such thing as a stupid question to a gardener (other than would you like a cup of Tea?), folks on here are lovely and have given me no end of brilliant advice.