New gardener

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
12 replies 1.7K views
JustamumJustamum Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
Hi

We bought our first (and last!) house last year. The garden was very neglected so DH has been digging everything up and it looks much bigger now.

I know it's going to take a few years, probably, to get it looking how we want it, so I'm hoping to pick the brains of the experts on here for help.

At the back there was a row of about 20 leylandii in a raised bed. We had those removed, so now we have a very long bed about 2' wide. I want to use this to grow veg, so we've planted carrots, lettuce, kale, chard, parsnips, radishes and potatoes.

The potatoes have been in for a couple of weeks, but nothing is showing yet. How long should we give them before giving up and digging them up?

Can kale be transplanted when it's got a decent seedling? I only ask because I planted quite a few seeds, and only realised later that they grow to be quite huge!

This year is just a trial because I'm just so excited to have my own garden at last! Would it be a good idea to replace the soil in the raised bed, or just dig in lots of compost - presumably the leylandii will have taken quite a lot of the nutrients out of the soil? I'm thinking of doing square foot gardening in it next year.

We replaced the trees with a 6' tall fence, so need some ideas on climbers which won't interfere with any veg we grow, but which will make the fence look more attractive.

I've got some seeds growing in the shed - all 12 courgettes grew, 12 out of 18 tomato seeds are growing, nothing from the peppers yet. I planted 30 dwarf runner beans, four started to look like they were doing something, then stopped, but then a different one took off and looks quite healthy. I'm a bit puzzled - children in infants grow beans in a jam jar with a piece of kitchen roll, so they can't be that hard so why have I failed?!

Sorry for the long ramble, but if anyone can pick out my questions from this lot and come up with some advice I'd be grateful.
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Replies

  • wallbashwallbash
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    The potatoes have been in for a couple of weeks, but nothing is showing yet. How long should we give them before giving up and digging them up?

    Patience.
    Can kale be transplanted when it's got a decent seedling?

    Yes
    it be a good idea to replace the soil in the raised bed, or just dig in lots of compost - presumably the leylandii will have taken quite a lot of the nutrients out of the soil? I'm thinking of doing square foot gardening in it next year

    yes
    I planted 30 dwarf runner beans, four started to look like they were doing something, then stopped, but then a different one took off and looks quite healthy. I'm a bit puzzled - children in infants grow beans in a

    Give it time
  • edited 1 May 2014 at 10:55AM
    jenfajenfa Forumite
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    edited 1 May 2014 at 10:55AM
    Justamum wrote: »
    I've got some seeds growing in the shed - all 12 courgettes grew,

    had to laugh at this sorry I am fairly new to gardening too, we moved to our house 6 years ago and have been renovating the house, now the 3/4acre seemed a good idea at the time but how can I manage both house and garden?

    The one thing I can grow easily is courgettes, one year I planted 3 we were inundated, my son groans and I was banned for one year last year just grew 1 and that was enough for the 3 of us with having breaks in between. Due to their heavy water content I don't think they freeze that well, courgette cake is quite nice, like carrot cake. Have a little rain and the next thing all have grown overnight. Don't let them grow too large as the skins get tough. I found with also growing tomatoes, onions a good way of using them was to roll out puff pastry, spread with tomato puree or pesto and then add sliced veg whatever you have a load of and cook, my summer slice and it varies all season.

    Really I would transplant maybe 1 or 2 they take up a lot of space as they spread and see if they take and then give away your other seedlings to friends.

    Good luck
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    Justamum wrote: »
    At the back there was a row of about 20 leylandii in a raised bed. We had those removed, so now we have a very long bed about 2' wide. I want to use this to grow veg, so we've planted carrots, lettuce, kale, chard, parsnips, radishes and potatoes.

    Would it be a good idea to replace the soil in the raised bed, or just dig in lots of compost - presumably the leylandii will have taken quite a lot of the nutrients out of the soil?

    If you top-dress with compost throughout this year, the worms will do the digging for you. If you haven't done it already, add some multi-function fertilizer to the soil so that this year's crops have something to work with.

    The soil has been very slow in warming up this year round us because the air has been cold and we've had a lot of grey days. Until the soil is warm enough, a lot of things won't start to grow.
  • JustamumJustamum Forumite
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    Mojisola wrote: »
    If you top-dress with compost throughout this year, the worms will do the digging for you. If you haven't done it already, add some multi-function fertilizer to the soil so that this year's crops have something to work with.

    That's a good idea, I'll do that.
    Mojisola wrote: »
    The soil has been very slow in warming up this year round us because the air has been cold and we've had a lot of grey days. Until the soil is warm enough, a lot of things won't start to grow.

    We have a couple of apple trees and a cherry tree, and they're only just showing the beginning of blossom. A hundred yards down the road there are some apples trees which have been in full blossom for a couple of weeks. There's a 15 degree difference in elevation between them and us, and it seems to have made a huge difference. I should imagine our veggies will show a similar difference in speed of growth.
  • JustamumJustamum Forumite
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    jenfa wrote: »
    one year I planted 3 we were inundated,

    :eek::eek:

    I didn't know they'd be so prolific :rotfl:If they all carry on growing I'll just give away the extra plants. As I said it's a learning curve. I planted quite a few to allow for the fact that some might not germinate.

    I saw someone on Countryfile last week who grows purple carrots. I quite fancy giving them a go next year :D
  • Linda32Linda32 Forumite
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    I'm afraid they are, google courgette receipes :D :eek:
  • JustamumJustamum Forumite
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    Linda32 wrote: »
    I'm afraid they are, google courgette receipes :D :eek:

    We'll probably hate courgettes by the end of summer :rotfl::rotfl:

    Four of our pepper plants have sprouted :j
  • D&DDD&DD Forumite
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    Try growing some tall purple peas up the fence they look lovely and added bonus are they're edible as well as pretty :)
    Climbing beans come in all colours,flowers and beans so they would be another edible idea.
    Have fun with your new garden.
  • jenfajenfa Forumite
    125 Posts
    Justamum wrote: »

    Four of our pepper plants have sprouted :j

    Isn't it so satisfying when that happens :beer:

    Pumpkins and squash are another good one to grow, fairly easily although spread even more than the courgettes but these keep a lot longer in a dry place. My neighbour gave me 'large pumpkin' plants last year 17.2kg was one and 10.5kg another! bit excessive but the smaller ones have kept well over the winter.
  • tim_ntim_n Forumite
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    Justamum wrote: »
    This year is just a trial because I'm just so excited to have my own garden at last! Would it be a good idea to replace the soil in the raised bed, or just dig in lots of compost - presumably the leylandii will have taken quite a lot of the nutrients out of the soil? I'm thinking of doing square foot gardening in it next year.

    Leylandii may have changed the PH of the soil. Worth doing a check regardless to see what you've got. It'll dictate what sort of plants will do well. A soil probe isn't that expensive, though see if parents/friends have got one to borrow.

    If it's too acid for what you're growing, you'll need to treat or dig out and replace the soil.

    From the nutrients point of view, dig in some blood fish and bone or similar. But do this after you've checked the soil.

    Try to get some rainwater barrels etc sorted as things do better with rainwater. You can often get discounts from the water company both buying or using a water butt. Some councils do schemes as well. Worth checking your area.

    First year is often the most difficult as you work out what you can or can't grow in your soil. Others have put some worthwhile advice regarding composting etc. My preference is to top dress during the winter if at all possible. It helps keep the soil warm and the worms have plenty of time to dig it in for you.

    You can get free fresh manure from stables - they usually pay to get it taken away so avoid places that charge. I usually end up filling my car two or three times over with around 15-20 bags and could always do with more.

    I had a similar problem with leylandii - I cut down a good number at the bottom of my garden. I haven't planted anything except a grape vine there. There's a noticeable difference in acidity.

    You can see my deforestation in timelapse here: http://www.waark.com/2011/03/tree-felling-and-neighbourly-neighbours/
    Tim
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