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Spill the beans... on tricks for cheaply growing fruit & veg

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  • spadoosh
    spadoosh Posts: 8,732 Forumite
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    Leif, sorry, generally there is a lot of bad press about them and like i said they are very effective. If used properly they shouldnt damage animals but most people tend use way too many and a large clump of pellets is certainly not good for animals.

    I personally just think there are lots of alternative measures that can be as effective with less of the dangers. The fact of the matter is they can kill animals if ingested however your right a single pellet would do little/no damage. Just need to make sure they are used appropriately.

    Yeh i dont get chard either!
  • Hmm wrote: »
    I grew up with a large veg garden and several fruit bushes, but I seem to have learned nothing!

    Now that I'm starting my own family I would really like to grow our own produce, but everything I bring into the house dies.

    The pattern seems to be that they get covered very quickly in little transparent to white-ish flies and then wither. Can anyone tell me what these beasts are and why they cover everything within a day or two of being brought into the house?

    I'd also really appreciate any advice on natural pesticides. I have read that you can use diluteed castille soap, but no details of how and the quantities. I'd like to keep things chemical free and old school.

    My goal is to be able to successfully grow a few things indoors (even the herbs are dropping dead) before investing in a larger plat in the garden.

    Any advice gratefully received :-)

    SB Plant Invigorator http://www.sbproducts.co.uk/ really does do what it says on the tin. A bottle lasts for ever.

    My top tip for someone starting out is to make it easy on yourself. It is very discouraging when your carefully nurtured seedlings don't quite make it. I grow loads from seed but I also cheat by

    - buying a pack of living lettuce from the supermarket, splitting it into 20-odd pieces and planting it out. One pack lasts about 2 months.

    - ditto herbs. Don't split them, just repot them into something larger, or the garden. When you buy basil, cut off any long shoots and put them in a jar of water in a shady place. In a few weeks they will root and you can plant them up. You can keep it going for ever like this.

    buy a single tomato plant early in the year, cosset it in the kitchen, when it throws side shoots leave them to get a few cm long, then snap them off and root them in a jar of water. This will give you 4-5 plants for the price of one.
  • Lazy_Liz
    Lazy_Liz Posts: 181 Forumite
    edited 22 August 2012 at 2:47PM
    Lots of really great ideas here, I think many of the best money savers have been mentioned. To my mind salad leaves seem the most cost effective, rocket and salad leaf mixes are easy to gorw and if you cut them regulalry they keep growing. If you have a bad slug problem then you can sow them in trays or pots. Trays, pots etc can be protected with copper tape to deter slugs.

    My other favorites are broad beans, peas and runner beans, these are hard to get really fresh and in tip top condition. I know frozen peas are brilliant but I love raw fresh peas too. Frozen broad beans are not so good, usualy they are picked too late and are tough or starchy insted of sweet.

    I do grow tomatoes althoug I can get good tomatoes grown less than 20 miles from here but good as these are mine still taste better. I like to grow chillis and if you freeze the extra ones you can have "fresh" chilli all year, small ones can be chopped from frozen.

    Best place to store seed is the bottom of the fridge, cold dark and dry but of course the salad drawer is always full of veg in our house!

    My Father alerted me to growing your own spuds from supermaket bought ones, you can buy what you need and this is expecialy great if you want a range of salad potatoes. I find it annoying that I have to buy 1kg next or similar from seed potato merchants. In Dad's very experienced opinion the yield is the same as seed potatoes and they are "clean" free of viruses and ealworm etc as if they had these problems the yield to the commercial farmers would be reduced and they need to get the max tonnes per hectare from their plants.

    For slugs the advice to use very few pellets is certainly the best to protect young seedlings etc. But if you don't want to use those then try Nemasys slug killer, biological and particulary good for protecting root crops. Its a bit expensive but does work. I have used other biologicals in the greenhouse with usualy good effects.
    "doing the best you enjoy, not the best you can tolerate, is truly the best you can do sustainably."
  • A._Badger
    A._Badger Posts: 5,850 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    spadoosh wrote: »
    H

    A word of warning about pellets, though very effective against slugs they are also very effective against wildlife and domestic animals should they be ingested. They can kill cats and dogs in days. Not to mention the birds that are eating the slugs. Definately avoid if you have pets.

    More scare stories. I have chickens and cats. I regularly use slug pellets. No casualties yet.
  • Leif
    Leif Posts: 3,727 Forumite
    A._Badger wrote: »
    More scare stories. I have chickens and cats. I regularly use slug pellets. No casualties yet.

    I'm starting to wish they did harm animals, some anyway, as I keep discovering 'dog pellets' on the lawn. I don't have a dog. For a while the front lawn was covered in the stuff.
    Warning: This forum may contain nuts.
  • A._Badger
    A._Badger Posts: 5,850 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Leif wrote: »
    I'm starting to wish they did harm animals, some anyway, as I keep discovering 'dog pellets' on the lawn. I don't have a dog. For a while the front lawn was covered in the stuff.

    I just wish they deterred foxes!
  • Leif
    Leif Posts: 3,727 Forumite
    A._Badger wrote: »
    I just wish they deterred foxes!

    I suppose they can make a noise. I have a visiting badger, but of course I'd never wish any harm on him/her. :D Even the badger turds are tolerable.
    Warning: This forum may contain nuts.
  • I always look around the garden centres in the winter to get bargains ... For example, last year I was in Homebase looking for paint and I got some large ornaments reduced from £45 down to £5 ...

    This year, I started looking for burst bags of compost and I managed to pick up around 6 large bags of compost for 50p a bag by going in on Tuesdays.... That's over and above my compost bins and my chicken poo but I prefer the bought stuff for my hanging baskets as it is weed free... I also cut up the plastic milk containers to use as seed labels and a permanent marker...

    I hope this helps
  • Digdug_2
    Digdug_2 Posts: 70 Forumite
    I agree that only a few plants actually save you money by growing rather than buying them. Herbs are the biggest money-savers imho. We planted mint and chives a couple of years ago and they are still thriving - even when they appeared to die during the cold winter, they came back good as new in the spring. Now I even drink lemonade, squash etc with a sprig of mint in - so tasty :beer: I got a nice dill crop last year but unfortunately the rain seemed to kill it this year. Lettuce and rocket are also much cheaper to grow yourself - you can just tear a few leaves off as and when you need them. As another Moneysaver said, don't plant them all at once, plant a new batch every 2-3 weeks for a continuous supply. Finally, our raspberry plants have proved great value, surviving the winter and giving us a bumper crop again this year despite the weather! :T
  • Although this site is for allotments there is lots of good advice on anything you grow. Well worth a visit. This is not meant as spam but worthwhile advice for everyone

    http://www.allotment.org.uk/
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