First time gardening (including fruit trees & vegetable patch)

Hello

I hope this is the right place to post.

My Husband and I have recently moved and we now have a lovely garden but because we previously lived in a flat we are completely clueless when it comes to gardening. What complicates things is the fact that there is quite a large vegetable patch and three fruit trees (one pear, one red apple and one green apple).

We plan on reading some gardening books to learn what we need to do to maintain the garden but our priority at the moment is getting the house sorted.

I'm wondering whether people would be able to give me some tips on the basic things we should be doing. I presume we're coming up to the time of year that things are going to start dying off and I'm wondering whether I shuld be pruning things. There are quite a few rose plants which are lovely but some of them have black spots on and we've been told we should cut these off.

Also the fruit on the trees is starting to fall off so I presume that means they are ripe and ready for picking. Saying that out loud (well typing) sounds very stupid but we really are novices. How do we preserve the fruit?

With regards to the vegetable patch there's some rhubarb but the previous owner said it wouldn't be any good now. What do we do with it? Do we dig it up or leave it there?

Also there are some potatoes left over. If we want more next year do we have to leave some behind?

In the greenhouse there are tomatoes and grapes. I know the tomatoes are ready when they turn red but what about the grapes. They look quite good but they’re quite sharp to taste so I presumed that meant they weren’t ready yet.

There's also a pond but that will keep until next year lol.

Sorry for the 101 questions. Any advice would be greatly appreciated to get us up and running until we can read up on gardening.

Replies

  • joedenisejoedenise Forumite
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    Can't help you with many of your requests but can with regard to the rhubarb - just leave it where it is and it will return again next year. You'll need to pick regularly but never take it all from the same part of the crown, always take from all around the crown.

    With regard to preserving your fruit there are various things you can do but I mostly freeze my fruit and veg. Just prepare it and chuck in freezer bags in portion sizes or freeze on a tray and then tip into freezer bag when frozen so it's free-flow.

    You don't want to leave potatoes in the ground - dig them up, allow to dry preferably on the ground but if the ground's wet you can dry in a spare room on sheets of newspaper. Store in paper sacks, depending on how many there are you should last most of the winter.

    You'll also need to dig over the ground where nothing is growing so it's ready for plants next year.

    Denise
  • fannyannafannyanna Forumite
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    Big thank you :-)
  • blossomhill_2blossomhill_2 Forumite
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    Welcome to the wonderful world of gardening! How exciting for you both

    Pop some markers in beside plants that are dying down so you know where not to dig until they pop up again in spring
    You never know how far-reaching something good, that you may do or say today, may affect the lives of others tomorrow
  • RASRAS Forumite
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    fannyanna wrote: »
    I'm wondering whether people would be able to give me some tips on the basic things we should be doing. I presume we're coming up to the time of year that things are going to start dying off and I'm wondering whether I shuld be pruning things.

    Most of this can wait until later in the winter. Tell people that you are trying to be wildlife friendly if they say anything.

    There are quite a few rose plants which are lovely but some of them have black spots on and we've been told we should cut these off.

    Just remove any leaves with spots and put them in the main bin. You can prune the roses in the early spring.

    Also the fruit on the trees is starting to fall off so I presume that means they are ripe and ready for picking. Saying that out loud (well typing) sounds very stupid but we really are novices. How do we preserve the fruit?

    This very much depends what sort of apples they are. The weasiest way to preserve most of them is in the skin. So you need to pick them rather than allow them to drop and get bruised.

    Bruised apples do not keep. Given you other priorities you can just freeze them and then make jellies or chutneys later.


    With regards to the vegetable patch there's some rhubarb but the previous owner said it wouldn't be any good now. What do we do with it? Do we dig it up or leave it there?

    leave it there and in the early winter remove any dead leaves. it will come up next spring.


    Also there are some potatoes left over. If we want more next year do we have to leave some behind?

    It is better not to grow potatoes in the same area as this year. You need to dig up the ones that are there now and record where they were planted so you can avoid that area next year. Store the potatoes in paper bags in a cold dark place.


    In the greenhouse there are tomatoes and grapes. I know the tomatoes are ready when they turn red but what about the grapes. They look quite good but they’re quite sharp to taste so I presumed that meant they weren’t ready yet.

    This year has been very poor so the grapes may take longer to ripen. make sure the door is closed at night in case we get frosts.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • mrbadexamplemrbadexample Forumite
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    Lucky you!

    I'd recommend Grow Your Own Vegetables by Joy Larkcom. Should get you off to a decent start - it gives good information on how to prepare your growing space, as well as information about each vegetable you might want to grow - sowing / harvesting times, pests / diseases etc.
    If you lend someone a tenner and never see them again, it was probably worth it.
  • lottiegirllottiegirl Forumite
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    congratulations re house move and gaining a garden.
    Good advice has been given above.
    With veg area once you have dug up potatoes if you cover the ground with either weed surpressing material garden centres or some people say old carpet (but personally I hate that.) it will stop the weeds from growing and save you some work early next year in spring.

    Grow what you like eating.

    There is on the green fingered section, lots of clever gardeners that will help .

    Is there any fish in the pond? If there is try to put a ball or other floating object in the pool to stop the pool from freezing over.

    Post pictures of any plants you are unsure of and someone will identify if for you, may help re pruning, digging up if annuals or leaving if perennials.
    Enjoy.
  • edited 27 September 2012 at 5:48PM
    ampersandampersand Forumite
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    edited 27 September 2012 at 5:48PM
    Hello fannyanna -
    Your garden sounds lovely and full of possibility, which will only reveal itself over the coming year initially.

    TAKE PLENTY OF PICS, add a few notes - you'll appreciate this in times to come.

    There's plenty to say, but what's timely now is that you pop over to The Preservers' Year Thread and ask away for any help or ideas. Make the most of your bounty[ use your freezer and your cooker] and it will both spur you AND help you decide whether or not it's a crop/harvest you wish to retain.

    Don't touch the lovely rhubarb unless you you are lifting and splitting it.

    Enjoy your garden in your own way - you'll get there.
    The lovely Bob Flowerdew said something like 'seeds want to sprout, plants want to grow.' Yours will.
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    I see Mr BE has posted. Do read his gardening exploits[and baking ditto...but that's for when you pause mid-dig and put the kettle on.]
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