Tips for Fruit and Veg Growing Newbie

Hello everyone!

I have decided that I would like to start growing my own fruit and veg, I have a 2 year old and would like to teach him where his food comes from, reduce our waste and food shopping bill.

I have no idea what I am doing to be completely honest haha.

I would like to grow things like strawberries, potatoes, herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions etc. I have a little table outside by the window that I thought I could grow the herbs on and my son could see them if the weather is bad. I also have an old flower bed (more like weed bed atm) that I was thinking of using to grow the fruit and veg.

Any help would be appreciated!

TIA
C xx
Read my diaryHere :)
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Replies

  • TonyMMMTonyMMM Forumite
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    Be realistic about how much space you have, and how much each veg will need. If space is limited, don't grow stuff that is cheap to buy - so don't bother with main crop potatoes, instead try a few nice salad potatoes in tubs, bags etc. Don't bother with ordinary onions - try some spring onions, shallots and garlic.

    Prepare the ground, but don't be tempted to plant stuff too early.

    Outdoor tomatoes can be destroyed by blight, so are much better in a greenhouse.

    For young kids , start with easy/quick crops like radishes,salads and maybe a few carrots.
  • David_MillsDavid_Mills Forumite
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    Hullo there, my suggestion is to make friends with a regular gardener or two and/or go to a gardening club. Nobody will worry about whether you know anything about the subject, but hopefully you will get lots of useful advice and some freebies from your new friends.
  • David_MillsDavid_Mills Forumite
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    Further to my previous comment, keep trying different things to see what works well for you in your garden. You will find over time that by reading up and talking to people that new ideas keep coming. For example, my wife and I have been trying to grow garlic successfully for about 30 years, but only in the last two have found how to do it really successfully in East Yorkshire!
    Another thing, be prepared to make you own judgements vis-a-vis gardening fashions. Lots of people advise growing plants in tubs these days, fine, it does allow extra control in that e.g. you can easily move them about. But be aware that in hot dry weather tubs can need watering EVERY DAY, and suppose say you go away for a week in July you can find some of them will be completely dessicated.
  • edited 29 December 2018 at 7:50PM
    Linda32Linda32 Forumite
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    edited 29 December 2018 at 7:50PM
    Exciting times, just the right time of year to begin :j

    I have been planting bulbs this afternoon, a little late (they were Christmas presents) but the weather has been mild so far and the ground was easy to work with and not water logged.

    Firstly, the old flower bed. How big is it? If you bend down onto your knees can you reach to the middle (odd question I know but there is reason for asking) Is it shaded by the house, trees, fence? Is there anything in there at the moment?

    First off, think about what you eat most off. I see you said strawberries, potatoes, herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions etc.

    So strawberries can be grown in a very wide pot, you can usually buy the plants in B&Q or somewhere similar around mid March to April, you plant them, they grow. You would reduce waste by not buying them in punnets. You might save on your food bill, depends on the summer and the crop. If you bought them in punnets then you save the punnets for seed sowing the next year. (Save on waste, when you are more experienced ;) )

    Potatoes take a lot of room which, if I may say it doesn't sound as if you have. You can grow in an old compost bag, which you are unlikely to have at the moment and the yield isn't likely to be money saving. But it is existing to do if you call it a hobby. I garden for the love of it and grew potatoes this year sold as a crop for harvesting for Christmas. I got a crop but it was definitely for the love of it and not a money saving exercise.

    Herbs - not idea, only ever grown mint and thyme for bedding.

    Cucumbers, google Crystal Lemon, can be grown in a pot. I've been very successful with these. They are like lemons but are cucumbers. Small enough to pick for one meal and pretty good croppers too.

    That leaves onions which could be grown in your flower bed. (depending on size) You need to looks for onions sets. They are small onions called sets (not set always sets) They are planted individually and each one grows into a bigger onion. Google onion sets so you know what you are looking for. You will find them in shops during March, Wilkinsons, B&Q, Home Base, Garden Centres etc.

    HTH and as soon as you can, clear the old flower bed and go to B&Q or garden centers and looks around the compost areas for anything on special offer or split bags. Buy these and lay the compost on the top of the bed and leave till spring. Don't buy anything that says ericaceous. Having said that, may I ask what was growing in the old flower bed? :)
  • Linda32 wrote: »

    Firstly, the old flower bed. How big is it? If you bend down onto your knees can you reach to the middle (odd question I know but there is reason for asking) Is it shaded by the house, trees, fence? Is there anything in there at the moment?

    It stretches the whole length of the garden but isn't very wide, probably about a meter but then the garden is quite long.
    There are some trees near the bottom which shade quite a big area but the rest gets the sunlight.
    At the moment it is just full of weeds.

    Thank you everyone for the help! Can't wait to start growing things :D

    C x
    Read my diaryHere :)
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    This series of books is ideal for newbies to gardening -
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vegetable-Expert-books/dp/0903505207
  • fatbellyfatbelly Forumite
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    For now, clear those weeds, dig the bed, and start a compost bin, if you don't have one already.

    The tool I use most is a small digging fork. Have you got one of those?
  • Linda32Linda32 Forumite
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    Sounds like a good area to use. Maybe you would have room for potatoes after all. The seed potatoes (look exactly like small potatoes) will be in garden centers very soon. The packets give a lot of information.
  • fatbellyfatbelly Forumite
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    Linda32 wrote: »
    Sounds like a good area to use. Maybe you would have room for potatoes after all. The seed potatoes (look exactly like small potatoes) will be in garden centers very soon. The packets give a lot of information.
    Go for first earlies - I have had some nice potatoes from Red Duke of York (red skins, yellowish inside)
  • CapricornLassCapricornLass Forumite
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    The best advice I can give is don't grow too much of any one thing/things the family won't eat. Seed packets sometimes give enough seed for rows of 10 metres! And if they don't like runner beans much, then there's little point in growing a 10 m row of them



    Most vegetables need full sun for a large part of the day to be really successful, so you might find they won't grow well down by the trees. Bear in mind that the trees will also rob the soil of nutriments and water - again reducing the size of your crop. Growing things in containers down there may be your best bet.



    I would start by clearing part of the bed for this year and concentrate on growing some crops there and keeping that area of ground as free of weeds as you can. Next year, you can extend it by clearing another area next to it, and keep that area clear of weeds for the rest of the year, and so on. I would grow salad crops- lettuces, spring onions, radishes. I personally wouldn't bother with onions - they are cheap enough in the shops, but I do grow shallots, which again are very easy to grow, but cost a lot more in the shops, mangetout peas - again cost a lot in the shops. Courgettes, if you like them, are also worth growing. However, I would wait until May and buy yourself one or two plants. Believe me, if they are happy, you will have enough courgettes to feed the rest of your street!



    Potatoes can help to clear ground - all that digging trenches, and earthing up and eventual shading out by the leaves makes weeds weaker.


    You will need to factor in watering - and some crops like the salad crops, potatoes and cucumbers and squashes will need A LOT of watering to be successful. Some can be done with a watering can, but if you really get into this, then it is worth considering investing in some form of automatic watering system.



    Also be prepared for pests - slugs, snails, ants, green and black fly - they will all make a bee-line for your precious plants! You may want to consider growing some companion plants to attract predatory insects in. English marigolds are good for this and very easy to grow. However, you will still need to keep a watchful eye on things.


    Herbs - grow mint in a very large container, as it is a vigorous spreader and will swamp everything else. Parsley is worth growing and will grow in part shade. Basil is easy to grow, but needs full sun and heat, and plenty of water. Thyme needs full sun but drier conditions, and so does sage. If you have a spare corner, consider growing some fennel - its a perennial. The bronze version is beautiful, and the flowers will attract hover flies into your garden.



    Have fun!
    Sealed Pot Challenge no 035Fashion on the Ration: 51.5/66 coupons spent.
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