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I'm going to grow my own

Sick of living off a loaf of bread a month and scrounging food off of parents. I have a small (ish) garden at the back of my shambles of a house but I am going to start growing my own veg and fruit if possible.

I have no idea where to start... any tips to get cracking asap?


  • Lotus-eater
    Lotus-eater Posts: 10,789 Forumite
    First Post Combo Breaker
    Tell us how big the area is, what light it gets and the orientation. How much you want to use to grow food.
    And what you want to eat/grow?
    Are you seriously growing food because you can't afford to buy it?
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
  • amcluesent
    amcluesent Posts: 9,425 Forumite
    >I have no idea where to start<

    Always with the potatoes, easy to grow and breaks up the soil.
  • Sparkle78
    Sparkle78 Posts: 97 Forumite
    Yes I am actually going to try and grow veg/fruit because I am trying to keep costs down! Surviving on one wage and paying my way I have roughly £79 left to survive on a month! Just trying to help myself... Garden is medium to small (not good with area mesurements) but it gets sun all day and I was thinking a good quarter of it being used to start off with... was thinking potatoes and the likes to begin with.

    I am looking for a bit of help, not to be sniffed at due to my lack of available money. Everyone needs to help themselves.
  • wssla00
    wssla00 Posts: 1,875 Forumite
    Hi Sparkle,

    I don't want to sound dispondent but growing food well costs a good deal of money- compost, seeds, tools etc it is only in the second, third year that it reduces as you are not spending as much money.

    If it was me, I would stick to growing some salad leaves on the window sill (a small amount of compost, a tray and some cut and come again seeds) and concentrate on planning your budget in other ways. Why not go over to old style and see what everyone is doing there. There is the Grocery Challenge and loads of cheap good quality meals.

    Hope you get somewhere with it
    Feb GC: £200 Spent: £190.79
  • smallblueplanet
    I'd suggest you spend the winter reading lots of library books, magazines, seed catalogues & websites - get as much info as you can before you start. You could decide wether you want raised beds and what you'd like to grow...try and get as much info of others mistakes before you make your own! :) Places like Wilko's & £-shops are often good places for 'cheaper' gardening gear. Or try freecycle or equivalent. Maybe see if any of your neighbours grow veggies and buy stuff together. See if there's any local allotments around about, they might have info? Most seeds last longer than the 'sell-by' date (except parsnips) buy stuff being sold off - don't buy too many varieties, try & swap stuff. You can recycle lots of things to make 'pots & stuff' to start veggies in. Lots of people make small pots from folded newspapers. You don't have to spend lots of money, but do your research...

    Try GYO forum for more advice: http://www.growfruitandveg.co.uk/grapevine/

    You might save money, you might not, but it will be enjoyable!
  • annie123
    annie123 Posts: 4,256 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    Sparkle78 wrote: »
    I have roughly £79 left to survive on a month!

    Is that for food?
  • valk_scot
    valk_scot Posts: 5,290 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    Library is a good start. And talking to any of your neighbours who grow veg. Fellow gardeners are usually eager to pass on their knowledge and also odd and sods of cuttings, thinnings, transplants etc.

    Then make a few lists. First one being what you like to eat and thus would be worthwhile growing? Second one of tools and equipment you'll need, also seeds etc. If you can do these lists asap you'll then be able to go and look in places like B&M, Nettos, Wilkinsons (sp?) ££ shops etc etc for cheap seeds...they all reduce their gardening stuff at this time of year. As for equipment if you can get a spade, a digging fork, hand trowel and fork and a rake then you don't need much else. Look in car boot sales, jumble sales, ask around relatives for unused stuff.

    Start making compost today too with household scraps, shredded newspaper, prunings and weeds, seaweed if you like by the seaside, manure and straw bedding from the neighbours rabbit or chickens, Many councils offer very cheap or free compost bins, or you can build a bin out of scrap pallets. Start a second bin for leaf mould or fill black bin bags with leaves, punch a couple of holes in them and leave in a corner to break down into leaf mould.

    Start collecting stuff like string, scrap wood out of skips (for bed edging), anything handy looking out of skips like alkathene piping (for hoops to support nets), canes, windbreak material etc. It's amazing what you can find in skips. When I first took on my allotment I was flat broke...my mum bought me the ex-display shed I still use thirteen years on and I had a budget of £25 for everything else...seeds, seed potatoes, tools, sundries etc. (Not the rent money, though that was only £13!) I got most of my kit out of skips or by scrounging.

    Lots to learn though. Get reading! There's lots of good websites out there too...try Googling for The Kitchen Garden Forum, for example.
  • cannyClaire
    I buy seeds and seed potatoes from the pound shops. Also try Wilkinsons in the sale next year, they reduce all the seeds to around 20p per pack. Fruit trees from Lidl do well and are around £4 each, I bought some in February 2009 and the pear tree has three pears on this year:D

    This year I have grown salad leaves in small plastic windowsill troughs, potatoes in bags, cress in old open salts in the kitchen, and beans in my plant pots, up canes.

    Good luck with your first crops!
  • nuttyrockeress

    What area are you in? I always have loads of seeds spare and I grow all sorts which i'd be happy to pass one.

    It's nice to be nutty but's more important to be nice
  • barkerhouse
    I'd suggest start with some potato's, there so versatile and all you need are some old potato's and you can get those planter bags cheap, I just ordered some from garden centre online, gardencentreonline.co.uk/Vegetable-Patio-Planters/1517-S/default.html
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