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

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  • Monster03
    Monster03 Posts: 23 Forumite
    I have been growing things for the first time this year. We currently have on the go... 3 types of potatoes (in pop-up garden waste containers), Red onions, loads of garlic, tomatoes, peppers and Butternut squash. Also are the existing Raspberry plants & Rhubarb.

    I was so pleased today to see a potato poking through the soil :)
  • kprice580 wrote: »
    Hello, my first post/reply on here!

    My DH and I want to clear an area so we can have a veggie patch, But I have a few questions for you budding greenies first!

    How do I prepare the ground/soil?
    What is best to start with??
    How do I make it so my two children 5 & 2 dont ruin what we do? (I want them to help not hinder)

    I have trees & plants and they pull them up & break branches off. I had a strawberry plant last year they pinched the soil to make slob dosh! so my plants died!!

    I need help!

    Thanks in advance
    Kate x x


    I think the best way is just to get them involved from the off, growing something they love to eat. You may have to accept some destruction until they start to see results!
    A friend of mine planted sprouts with her grandaughter, then after a couple of weeks bought one of those big stalks of sprouts you get at the supermarkets and stuck it in the ground...the little girl really believed they were hers! Obviously, she wasn't seeing the seedlings every day but I am sure you can use your motherly wiles to inspire them similarly! If they love eating raw carrot, plant some seeds and after a short while maybe 'plant' some bought mini carrots...it's only to get the initial wow factor then i am sure they will be converted from DESTRuction to PRODuction!

    My sons have enjoyed growing small pots of things in their rooms. One loves chill so we got him a collection of mexican seeds, the other's fave is curry so he had indian seeds. It was lovely to see them looking after these plants and they were thriled when we could finally cut & use some of them.
    Good Luck!
  • Having had an allotment for nearly 2 years we've found the following:
    Pumpkins and butternuts take a lot of space BUT you can store them for months, make great soups etc etc. We are still eating ours from last October! They are reasonably child resitant as they are a little spikey and generally big (so the odd leaf may get destroyed, unlikely the whole plant).

    Strawberries- make raised beds and cover them in that white frost protecting stuff. Our raised bed is made from an old wardrobe we stripped (no doors, back etc) and dug it in the ground.

    Fast stuff that you can also store e.g beetroot is great.

    For the little ones grow some sunflowers etc, have an area they are allowed to trash and give them mud and water....is working quite well with our 2 year old but realistically we only get up to an hour before she will get bored and start trampling things or digging/pulling up the wrong 'weeds'!

    One of the best things weve found is you dont have to grow it to use it. I made elderflower cordial and wine a month or so ago. The wine has to be stored but the cordial is AMAZING. Ended up with approx 2 litres and tastes amazing. You can search on the web for ideas and recipes for loads of stuff that grows naturally so have fun!
  • Valli
    Valli Posts: 24,765 Forumite
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    My back garden boasts a few rhubarb plants - very successful - after I brought the rootstock from the allotment (no longer have due to distance) I left it a couple of years before cropping. I also have blackcurrant bushes and strawberries where there used to be flowers. Now am aiming for a fully fledged veg plot and have covered the 'lawn' with a plastic sheet to kill the grass. While I wait for it to die I have, on the plastic, growbags - lettuce, (2 types) dwarf beans and broccoli being grown as I type.
    HOWEVER what I am trying to find out is - should I build raised beds at all? If so, how? and why?
    Incidentally, I will use the growbag contents to enrich the soil along with my home made compost.
    Don't put it DOWN; put it AWAY
    "I would like more sisters, that the taking out of one, might not leave such stillness" Emily Dickinson
    :heart:Janice 1964-2016:heart:

    Thank you Honey Bear
  • Valli wrote: »
    HOWEVER what I am trying to find out is - should I build raised beds at all? If so, how? and why?

    I am sure those more knowledgable than me will know the answers - but I found this article quite interesting:
    http://www.charlesdowding.co.uk/press/5.pdf

    And also this short video clip (on youtube):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDEEihHIwCc
    "The happiest of people don't necessarily have the
    best of everything; they just make the best
    of everything that comes along their way."
    -- Author Unknown --
  • I started a Vegetable Plot Blog when I started growing veg in my 3 back garden raised beds in April 2007 to help me remember how and when to sow or harvest the veg.

    I have added quite a lot of information over this time and thought I would share it for other new starters.

    There are slideshows that show the progress of vegetables from seedling to harvest and of my 3 plots. It has been useful to me to document how I have grown things like potatoes in pots, cabbages, carrots, spring onions, peas, broad beans etc. This year i'm trying to grow butternut squash and mange tout.

    Links to my blog:

    Today I will mostly be growing - http://mostlyiwillbegrowing.wordpress.com/

    Link to Photo gallery and slideshows: http://mostlyiwillbegrowing.wordpress.com/gallery/
    I'm saving money by growing my own veg, join me at iGrowVeg.com
  • This is a first post for me. although I've been reading quite a lot.

    we got our greenhouse from freecycle a couple of years ago & only had to replace a few panes of glass. I grow tomatoes (various kinds), peppers, butternut squash, physalis & cucumbers, which have been very successful.

    I don't have a flower garden but I have a great herb garden. I have huge rhubarb plants that we think have been there for about 30 years judging by some old aerial shots of the house that we have seen.

    Also, when we cleared an area a few years ago we found some straggly raspberry canes which we decided to leave to see how they did. Well, I'm very glad we did because we get pounds & pounds of raspberries from them.

    What else? Oh yes! My DH & I give each other plants for birthdays, etc. He bought me an apple tree last year, which seems to be doing very well, & I bought him a gooseberry bush this year.

    The strawberry plants I have were cut from runners on my FIL's plants - so didn't cost me anything.

    The butternut squash was bought at my daughters school fair & cost me 30p. They are a good source of cheap plants because there's always someone that has too many seedlings.

    I used to grow tatties & carrots but I just don't seem to have had the time this year as I returned to college.

    And one small tip - don't try to grow courgettes in growbags outside in NE Scotland. They really don't like it.

    I think that's it for now. If I think of anything else, I'll come back.

    Happy growing, Nell.
  • mandy43_2
    mandy43_2 Posts: 27 Forumite
    I've grown my own for 20 years! I didn't have a clue at first but you soon pick it up. I found some of my "older" neighbours are a wealth of information with years of growing exsperience.
    Here's a few of my own tips,
    Wilkinsons seeds are loads cheaper than the big diy shops.
    I recently purchased a huge stack of black tubs from a local florist, they just needed a few drainage holes which I did with a screwdriver. Only cost£1, florist was glad to be rid of them.
    Get a compost bin, it really is worth it, our council did an offer and I got it free, and they delivered it!
    If anyone near by keeps horses then the manure is great for the garden. BUT! don't put "fresh" manure straight onto the garden, it will damage if not kill your plants. Old manure is better.
    I have a large water butt that I make my own fertalizer in. Stuff some cummfrey leaves into old tights and just leave them in the butt. Also fresh manure in a mesh bag, replace every 6 weeks or so and don't keep it to near the house!
    Hope this helps.
  • the_optimist
    the_optimist Posts: 486 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    terill wrote: »
    If there is an expert out there on companion planting with more info I would be delighted to hear.
    Have a look here
    http://www.gardenguides.com/how-to/tipstechniques/vegetables/vcomp.asp
    He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
    Chinese Proverb
  • Primrose
    Primrose Posts: 10,620 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary I've been Money Tipped!
    kprice580 -
    Dig your designated area throughly and remove every possible weed now as they go to seed very quickly at this time of year and will start regrowing.
    Dig in as much compost/well rotted manure as you can.
    As we're well into the growing season now, you can sow spring cabbage seeds and Swiss Chard (which is like spinach and fairly winter hardy) and lettuce. It's best to start the seeds off in trays rather than in the ground as slugs which live in the soil will often eat your seedlings before they emerge.
    To stop your children damaging your vegetables you could try roping the area off. But also talk to them about what you're doing and educate them, even though they are still very young. Make up Fairy Stories about people who grow their own vegetables to engage their interest, and let them see what you are doing so that they feel part of the process. Then as they get a little older, they're less likely to be destructive. You could give them their own little corner of your vegetable patch to sow a few lettuces or radishes and encourage them to look after their own plants . Give them each a big pot of their own with a label in it saying "Ben's plants" containing a couple of strawberry plants, then they might take more ownership for them and look after them better. But they are still very young, so don't expect too much of them. They will probably get bored with the process quickly unless you get them engaged in some Robinson Crusoe survivor adventure theme with your vegetable growing.
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