Growing your own.
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16-09-2012, 07:36 PM
RE: Growing your own.
(16-09-2012 05:43 PM)bemore Wrote:  The weather im dealing with is typically british, which means that your guess is as good as mine ha ha. Im not sure on the allotment size yet, the average is around 250 sq meters, I have told them all I realise the amount of work, time and effort it will take but they have said because im new that I may be offered a half size plot as they have a lot of new people who then abandon the plot because of the work involved. Im not sure on trees although there is allways the chance I may inherit one or two, from what I have learned you are allowed anything as long as it doesnt grow any higher than 6 feet high.

I don't think each individual plot has access to electricity and im not sure how they would meter it if they did, however they have a "trough" system which basicly collects rainwater for people to use.

Wow - 250 sq meters... that's a nice size lot for a beginner! You'll have room to spread out but still, it's best to plan at least a general lay out noting the attributes of the area. If there are already trees there, obviously the more sun sensitive things will utilize the shade. When you are assigned your lot, make a map and toy around with planting layouts. You gotta know where to put your shit. And no, unless your soil is seriously compacted, I wouldn't bother with double digging - just roto till should be good to loosen it all up.

(16-09-2012 05:43 PM)bemore Wrote:  I want to grow potatoes, garlic, onions/shallots, suedes, carrots, sweetcorn, tomatoes, strawberries, rhubarb, leeks, runner beans.... there are more I just cant think of them at the moment.... depending on my size plot I also would like to grow some flowers, maybe start off easy with some daffodils.

Cool - the bigger tubers like potatoes & swedes, also the taller things like beans & corn - they won't really need the raised beds or cold frames unless you want to start some early and transplant. They're generally good for their season out in the open. The other stuff - Dom & Stark got it all going on with the cold frames - indispensable for early starts. At least try a raised bed for part of your garden - they can be as low or high as you want. You can recycle a lot of discarded construction materials - I used to scope out building demolitions for discarded bricks. You'd be surprised what gets tossed.

(16-09-2012 05:43 PM)bemore Wrote:  Ive not bought any tools yet however when I get paid on the 25th I am going to try and start my own herb garden in my kitchen windowsill, maybe not the best time of year to begin but I have itchy green fingers.

Herbs are wonderful in the kitchen - all year! And when you get your lot, some of your herbs can be transplanted to there. Caution: things like chives and mint - like Stark said - they can take over a garden fast. If you take them to your lot, let them spread out in their own pots, tubs, or even low beds. You can always grow things indoors all year around - I used to have fresh tomatoes all winter, vining in a bucket near the window. If you can grow something in a bucket all winter... you'll go crazy when you get outdoors!! Thumbsup

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16-09-2012, 07:47 PM
RE: Growing your own.
Potatoes - don't waste your raised beds on potatoes.

Potatoes grow great in containers. Lately I have been using what they call potato bags - I am not sure what material they are made of, and I just use potting soil in there. No digging, I just reach in and pull some up. These I just have on my porch. Looks good too. Love them new potatoes - yum.

I also used plain cardboard boxes for years, in the garden. I put a layer of tater starts on a layer of soil in the box, then topped it with another layer of soil. Then, as the taters grow, I added straw. Makes the harvest super easy and the boxes just barely held up til fall harvest and then went on the compost heap. Next year I started over.

Growing them in beds just makes it hard to harvest, and the taters could care less. You can grow them in anything.

I think Stark's suggestion of square foot gardening is great.

When you build your beds, make sure you can reach the middle easily, even with taller plants in the way. Don't over estimate your reach.

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16-09-2012, 08:01 PM
RE: Growing your own.
Kim is right about the chives and mint - I grow them, and really all herbs, in containers on the deck. I can just walk out the door and grab what I want.

Your British climate likely doesn't favor growing too many edible things in the shade, but you may be able to keep the cooler crops going all year there, like lettuce and spinach and chard and such.

But you'll need a local person with experience to decide what to grow where, probably you'll meet other gardeners once you hang out at your plot. The climate has everything to do with that, even the micro climates matter a lot.

Years ago I did do double digging, but I dug once, added a layer of compost, and then dug again to mix the compost in. I am way too lazy for that now and just top my raised beds off with compost. It works fine.

Warning: you'll get spoiled with your own produce, it has flavor that you can't get in the stores. I just pick what I will eat, and avoid refrigeration entirely. Refrigeration kills all the delicious sugars.

My veggie garden is a bit smaller than Stark's, but not a lot. I have a bigger flower garden than veggie garden, and a bunch of fruit trees too. Some days I go on "grazing" binges, walk aroun and eat some tomatoes here, some plums there etc etc.

I think Europe has some silly law that only lets you grow certain varieties. Dunno if britain is affected by that, probably not.

Rambling now too. I guess gardeners love talking about it, lol.

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16-09-2012, 08:13 PM
RE: Growing your own.
Potato bags - sounds cool - is it like potato towers - vertically farming potatoes?

We did that with discarded tires years ago. Basically, plant your potatoes in a tire, once the vines grow to bloom - stack another tire, vine grows- another tire, etc.,. You end up with a tower of tires, so you then find some unruly children to knock them down and gather your potatoes.

What can I say - it was a kids garden project - they thought it was fantastic. But vertical farming is really great if you don't have a lot of room. Probably less crazy with unruly children, too. Wink

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16-09-2012, 08:20 PM
RE: Growing your own.
(16-09-2012 08:01 PM)Dom Wrote:  I think Europe has some silly law that only lets you grow certain varieties. Dunno if britain is affected by that, probably not.

Really? Even in your own yard? What the hell? I mean, I can see them wanting to continue the heirloom stock and do seed saving and all that. Is it because they think something new will contaminate or make hybrids or something? That's weird -HA- I'd probably get arrested for my kitchen tomatoes!! Tongue

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16-09-2012, 09:15 PM
RE: Growing your own.
Tarpaulins don't work on weeds. We had wild onion grow straight through them, made its own hole.

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16-09-2012, 09:22 PM
RE: Growing your own.
I've done tires and boxes for taters. I like the boxes better, but that's because here we get intense hot, and crazy sun for over a month. The tires heat up like crazy, and taters actually prefer cooler ground. The tires are fun though! Choose your method according to your climate. Also remember that things raised above ground level (including your raised beds) drains great, but needs either frequent watering, or othe rather retention methods like mulching. (consider mulching regardless though. You'll never regret it.)

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16-09-2012, 09:29 PM
RE: Growing your own.
Another thing that popped into my head.....get used to it.......

If the ground needs breaking, consider doing the entire plot with potatoes for your first year. They break up clumpy and compacted soil, without doing much damage to the structure, because the only time you dig up the soil is in the fall when microbial activity is slowing down. It will be some hard work, because you'll have to row and hill instead of using. One of the easier methods, but it is something to consider to kick start your garden. (the trick is to get your taters started, then do a mid season hilling. After you hill the rows, plant clover or some other cover type legume to boost the nitrogen between the rows. Once you dig the taters from their hills and level the soil the nitrogen rich soil, along with the humus from the cover crop, will mix with the tired soil from the taters.)

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16-09-2012, 10:59 PM
RE: Growing your own.
What these guys have said is right on the money plus I haven't got a clue really as the only thing I've been fair at growing is the ol' ganja! and compared to Stark I ain't got nuthin' so I'll be off then...Cool

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17-09-2012, 01:24 AM
RE: Growing your own.
You wanna know the secret?
Chicken poop. Though in lou of chicken poop any ol' shit will do.
I swear to go that shit makes your garden grown into the biggest veggies you will ever see.

Poop works wonders, better then fertilizer.

If you have a fence you could keep some ducks. Ducks, unlike chickens, don't eat your veggies (chickens eat anything and everything) and they eat all the bugs in your garden. I know they did in ours. Like my parents would literally have buckets of snails when doing the weeding (we did have a big garden). But then when we got ducks who had free range, my parents would do the gardening and they said they'd be lucky to find to two or three.
Plus, they shit everywhere fertilizing your stuff.

It's a win-win. PLUS keeps plants bugs free with absolutely zero sprays.

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