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Revisited! Great 'Grow Your Own' Hunt: share your top tips on home cultivation



  • Last year I was lucky enough to get an allotment.I have never grown any veg before.It is easy and saves quite a bit every week.Just buy a book on growing veg,a fork, spade and trowel to start, then order some seeds from an online company.
    You can start now with rows of lettuce, spring onion and carrot, plant pots of herbs from the supermarket.Next spring you can really get going.If possible get some manure to spread over your patch this winter and you can start of growing seeds indoors in pots until its warm enough to plant out next spring.
    I am also growing new potatoes, spinach, tomatoes,cougettes, butternut squash, sweetcorn,broccoli, rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries.
    I haven`t really had any problems except slugs, there are several ways of dealing with them and carrot fly, you need to put a little net fence alongside your carrots to prevent the low flying pest from laying its eggs.
    A word of warning, its addictive as once you have tasted home grown produce you won`t want bland tasting supermarket veg again.
  • Please be aware that many farmers use the above herbicide to kill weeds on pastureland, used for grazing horses, cattle etc. It has been found that the manure from horses using such pastures is contaminated with the chemical and kills many valuable crops. Your veg growing area cannot be used for at least 18 months. Many allotment holders have inadvertently used the manure and had disastrous results.

    It is made by Dow AgriSciences and has various trade names.

    see http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jun/29/food.agriculture

    and we try to be organic!!
  • terill
    terill Posts: 37 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Hello, I caught a bit of a very old Gardeners World the other day with the late great Geoff Hamilton and he was talking about companion planting. Apparently there is a helpful "companion" to everything you can grow and I think he said that if you grow onions with carrots, then the bugs that attack carrots go on their smell but the strong sent of the onions confuses them and they are left well alone. Also, growing beans and peas up the wigwams give superb shelter to the more delicate veg and the best place for planting garden herbs is at the base of an apple tree. If there is an expert out there on companion planting with more info I would be delighted to hear. I would also like to add to the excellent value shops of Wilkinsons, Aldi, Lidl, etc the 99p shop and WK. i have bought the most excellent bits from 99p shop and their seeds are really high quality. i would also recommend growing strawberries in hanging baskets. Not only do they look just as pretty as flowers but the slugs can't get to them up there. also, think of using plants and berries as anti burglar deterrents. A lot of thorny climbing roses or blackberries and raspberries near any vulnerable spots would certainly put me off. PLUS, don't forget that if growing veg it is a good idea to rotate your crops every year and grow in a different spot as different veg remove different nutrients from the soil;)
  • Two years ago we grew some strawberries (only a handful but only had a few plants), tomatoes in grobags and cucumbers, with some success, all from plants from the garden centre. This year I planted lots of seeds with my daughter, tomatoes, lettuces, cucumber, pumpkins, peas, green beans, broccoli, carrots, radishes, melons, leeks, spring onions, cauliflowers ... and we have very little to show for it. We've had enough peas for one meal, but they were lovely. The bean plants were all bar one eaten by slugs when they were about two inches high. Of the pumpkins only two plants survived, one has a tiny pumpkin on it which has now been eaten by slugs! The carrots died, the tomatoes are flowering but have no tomatoes on them yet (maybe due to the weather?), the broccoli plants are still alive, the cauliflower plants were eaten by slugs, I think we've had three lettuce so far, some look as if they've been attacked by slugs but some are still ok. The leeks died off and the spring onions are alive but not really thriving. The cucumber plants are alive but not really thriving.

    Certainly hasn't been worth the amount of money I spend on pots, compost etc. Although it has been fun, but I'm not sure I'd do it again next year, maybe just lettuce and tomatoes.

    I had to plant everything in pots as my four cats make such a mess of any garden I did over.

    One tip someone gave me: apparently they sell buckets really cheap at Morrisons - 8 for £1 or something, which make great planters - but I haven't had a chance to look yet. Aldi had compost for £1.99 which is much cheaper than Homebase etc.
  • ModernSlave
    ModernSlave Posts: 221 Forumite
    I've been on at mum to start a veggie patch for years now and she's finally agreed to it. The only problem is the rabbits she's allowed free rein in the garden - how can she get rid of them?

    I suggested she borrow a dog for a couple hours regularly.

    Any advice welcome.
  • mary43
    mary43 Posts: 5,845 Forumite
    Due to limited space we've got 'veg in pots' and so far this year we've only had to buy two courgette plants for £1.60 and a packet of carrot seeds.

    Runner beans
    Tomato plants (hanging basket ones and normal) plants given by neighbour

    Variety of herbs and some chilli plants given by a friend

    Potatos...............supermarket ones that had started to sprout
    spinach seeds given to us from a neighbour

    So, all in all it's so far cost us the price of compost, courgettes and carrot seeds

    I'm creative -you can't expect me to be neat too !
    (Good Enough Member No.48)
  • radio10
    radio10 Posts: 77 Forumite
    If possible make some raised beds for your veggies, preferably in a sunny spot. My two are about 6 foot square. This keeps things tidier and much easier to work with. I used some left over wooden floor planks with some stakes made from an old pine bed. Fork over the soil and add lots of home made compost from the compost bin.

    Slugs are best picked up by hand, yes by hand! at about 10pm. Go out with torch and bucket. Afterwards "re-home" them somewhere far away from the veggies.

    Runner beans and tomatoes are probably easiest to grow.

    If you like organic, then accept that the insects/pests will get some of your hard earned veggies. Accept the philosophy "some for the slugs, greenfly" etc and some for me/us.

    Final tip is you need a good supply of free water, so if you haven't got one already, rig up a water butt or similar.

    Have fun. Everyone should try growing their own food, ar at least some of it. If in doubt, then I say have a go.You'll probably be surprised!;)
  • Kimitatsu
    Kimitatsu Posts: 3,894 Forumite
    We keep chickens :o we started off with 6 rescued battery hens and now have 20 (from various sources such as freecycle etc) All are housed in a hen house at night and have 6 ft fencing around their patch during the day. There is a fox that lives in the woods next door (less than 12 feet away) but does not bother them as they are too much hassle to get to compared to the other sources of food (wild rabbits etc). They are pretty easy to keep and eat any leftover fruit and veg peelings, the only additive we have found that we have put in is cider vinegar into the drinking water otherwise they tend to look after themselves! Much can be done on the bartering of half a dozen eggs at a time!

    We have a small veg patch going, we grow potatoes in potato barrels (made from recycled plastic and are re-usable), tomatoes, lettuce, beans, carrots.

    A tip that was given to me for slugs was to put down (clean) cat litter around the plants - apparently they dont like the texture and it creates a barrier. Never tried it as we have a family of hedgehogs which we have encouraged to stay over the winter by building them some shelter and so we dont have a slug problem this year!

    Log piles around the garden are an excellent way to encourage beneficial insects.You can also make ladybird hibernation houses with some bamboo in a sheltered spot, make them large enough and you will encourage bees to hibernate over the winter too.

    Companion planting of french marigolds between the carrots and toms has worked well this year and it looks pretty too!
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  • My neighbour on the allotment also swears by cat litter though I havent tried it myself.

    As others have said......it can be as expensive or as cheap as you wish.

    My first year I bought one book.............a few seeds but was given a lot of spades, forks etc

    I work in a restaurant and so get to take home all veg peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds and tea bags which i just pile into one of my many compost bins.

    I now have a wonderful source of free compost which will get thrown all over the plot to replenish nutrients when this growing season is over.

    Even pots can be free. Use the inners of old toilet roll tubes. Some plants such as peas, sweet peas and sweetcorn prefer this as there is minimal root disturbance when you plant the whole thing in the ground.
    Make £10 a Day Feb .....£75.... March... £65......April...£90.....May £20.....June £35.......July £60
  • luckily for me i live on an organic beef cattle farm so plenty of free erm fertilizer if i want and it's organic!!
    I have dyslexia, so get used to my spelling and grammar :)
    Mortgage pay off date 11/2028. Target 12/2020 :rotfl:
    Current Balance £33921
    Declutter 2123/2016
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