Growing veggies

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Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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I want to grow some veggies this year, but I have zero skills in that area, can anyone suggest easy to grow stuff and tell me exactly what I'll need to do to keep it alive? :p I was thinking potatoes, courgette, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach and onions as I eat loads of those, but I guess some of those are harder to grow :)

I'd like to grow some in the muck heap, but water is challenging at the yard (I'm on a bore hole and use a little 12v pump which takes about 4 hours to fill the horses water each week) so is there anything that could be grown without needing to add tons of water? My other option is to build some planters and take compost home, at least then I have a tap on hand :)
 

Mary Poppins

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I love growing veggies. My favourite ones are tomatoes and green beans. I get loads of both. Potatoes are also easy and I also have a strawberry patch, although the birds like them too. I have some raspberry plants which are pretty self sufficient, but may take a few years to get established. You have got my thinking about my garden now (any distraction as I try and write an essay!). I might do some potatoes in tubs this year too.
 
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Jessey

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From chatting elsewhere my list is currently courgettes, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and potatoes for the muck heap as apparently they can just be put in as seeds and left until harvesting :D (that's my kind of gardening :D ), and I'm going to try spinach and broccoli at home in tubs :)

I also plan to plant sunflowers along the front of my field this year, to cheer things up a bit and give the birds something nice for autumn :) I've also got a bunch of herby things to put in for the horses to nibble.
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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We have our own garden veg plot. We grow runner beans in abundance. Usually about 50 plants. Put them in our freezer for winter when we cant eat quick enough. We dont even blanche them. Weve done french beans as well grow exactly the same as runners. You can do french beans and runner beans in a tub on a wigwham.
We grow courgettes, last year we planted about 11 plants, 3 got munched off so we had 8. They dont have to be done on a muck heap but add muck to the area you plant if it is on the ground.
We grow potatoes. Although ours failed spectacularly last year and i only had a few plants yield. You can also grow them in a big tub, so that would be great for you at home in some large tubs on the patio. Ive know several people do that.
Year ago i did tomatoes outdoors just from the pips from i tomato i brought, but they do need a wall to shelter them. Another one for pots on the patio. You can also get them as trailing plants these days so you can do as hanging baskets. One of my clients had these last year and they do look pretty when in flower. We have a grren house now so all our toms are done in there.
Weve done onions as well in the past. Not for a few years. Id like to do some again.
Quick crops we do a few raddishs. Best done in small lots. You can plant several lots throughout the season.
Thinks like lettuces dont work for us on our climate and ground.
What ever you plant is going to need water. We used to use a watering can, which although small is labbour intensive for the size plot so we invested in sep hose. Its fab. Saves so much effort and actually is better for the plants as they get constant water rather than a can of water which then the ground dries out, then gets wet. Towards the end of the season when things arent growing so much the plants can start to get a bit water logged so i just turn the tap off overnight.
 
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Jessey

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The above muck heap ones I've just been told shouldn't need water when planted direct into a muck heap by a lady in a dry (20-30c) arid climate, so I plan to try those at the yard and just do things at home that need regular watering and protecting from bugs.

I was wondering about staggering planting a bit so the harvest doesn't all come at once, it seems sensible. I fancied doing a few onions too.

So another question, when you plant from seed what's the sort of normal germination rate? I don't want to overdo it then have loads of food going to waste, or do I just pull the smaller plants once I see how many take?
 

chunky monkey

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Thats the how longs a peice of string question. It depends how much you can eat, how much you can freeze, how much you can give away.
Courgettes dont freeze, then go mushy. So we made into fritters and froze for winter snacks.
We always get a few that dont germinate.
We are feeding 3 on us. So we plant more than you would. I know your on your own.
For one Id plant say 6 courgettes, 6 tomatoes, runner beans say 20. Work out how many onions you eat a week. Dont forget onions will keep through winter, if you lift them, dry out and then you string them up in dry dark place. We hung in bunches of about 8 using bale string.
See what germinates and you can always give the seedlings away to people.
Carrots are another good one. Now you can plant as many as you like of them. At least if you have too many, a few horses will not waste them.
 
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Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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In our tiny back yard garden I alternate climbing French beans and tomatos. Tomatoes one buys plants. Beans one sows seed but they dont always germinate.
Beans shiould go in early. Tomatos one waits till all danger of frost has gone.

The beans grow up a wigwam of canes or rows of canes linked by string. I have grown courgettes in tubs to get the flowers for cooking Italian. Anything in a container will need watering and other things too in dry weather. You can set up a watering system.But urban foxes chew through the tubing to get water. Slugs, caterpillers and other wild life will try to eat anything you plant. Beans sometimes get blackfly (farmed by ants) but you can wash them off with detergent spray.

I cook a lot and herbs are important. A bay tree, rosemary, thyme, (all everygreen) mint (it spreads take care), tarragon and sorrel. I use a lot of sorrel for soups. Parsley which this year is still alive. Marjoram and oregano. which will self seed and spread if you arent careful.
Our garden gets hot but growing Med veg in UK, you need to consider climate. I avoid peppers and aubergines and stick with what my mother grew. i would have raspberries if we had room.
Gardening in containers can be expensive and they are heavy to move about. But it goes well in London. You need drainage holes and to stand containers on bricks or stones so they can drain. You put stones in the botton, again for drainage. Then in a wide plastic bucket (like one has in stables for mucking out) mix up with some water the type of compost you need for the veg. For annual veg, supermarket cheap compost will do. One can add gravel too it if wanted. Tip it into the container and plant your plantlets or seeds.

I feed all my veg with tomorite. Hope this helps jessie. Dont expect perfection. The veg taste better than supermarket but one always gets a glut. And at the time when the price is lowest.

I used to have an allotment before my back went wrong and i was told to give it up. You need to rot down horse manure before using it or seeds in wil sprout weeds - but my mum and mother in law collected horse droppings from the road to put straight on the roses.
 

chunky monkey

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Just thinking further along staggering when veg is ready. Garlic can be hung up like onions. As long as you dry properly it will keep like onions to use over winter.
Plant a few early potatos ie a salad ones, charlottes. Also plant couple of main crop ones at the same time, which will take a bit longer before ready. You can also leave main crop in the ground for a bit once died back. But lift before wet weather. Layout till dry, then put those in a paper horse feed bag. Cover with a blanket as well, so light cant get in and you can use these throughout winter too.
 
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Jessey

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I'm really not wanting to faf about with loads of pots at home unless absolutely necessary, I want to plant what I can, and what requires little attention, in the muck heap and will just do a few little bits at home in pots. I am no gardener, I don't enjoy doing it, but I do think growing some food would be beneficial so want to try, but I spend long days at work and the yard, and the last thing I want to do when I get home is to have to do chores that need to be done every day or I can guarantee dead plants pretty quickly :p

I have more sorrel than I can keep on top of already, it's a nightmare trying to keep the horses safely away from it. I won't be buying any compost, I have 4 very expensive compost makers already! I've got the 2017/2018 muck heap well rotted and ready to go, then my smaller hot compost bay that I started in September looks pretty well ready now too, and I have another one cooking :)
 

Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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I resurrected the raised beds here from previous owner and LOVE it. Being totally honest last year's harvest wasn't great but hey, it was Mr T and me's first attempt at some of the stuff.
Still have beetroot to pull, cabbage, swede and broccoli.
I'd say the best thing was growing carrots and feeding them to Storm as I hand grazed her nearby. She loved them, little new baby ones! The onions were okay too - though I think I actually left them in a little too long. It's trial and error but fun.
I'd say @Jessey just have a go and try something you know you'll use with your cooking. No point otherwise - unless you want to give stuff away.
 

Trewsers

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Forgot to add - I have grown potatoes in the past in barrels. It was a great success too. I bought the special ones from an online garden place but you can use a plastic bin so long as you can cut holes in the sides.
 
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Jessey

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I'd say @Jessey just have a go and try something you know you'll use with your cooking. No point otherwise - unless you want to give stuff away.
Yep definitely only going to do things I eat regularly, as you say no point on the rest :) My kitchen staples are broccoli, spinach, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes so those I will try. I'll plant some carrots, parsnips, pumpkins and watermelons for the neds, but that will be a real treat as they don't normally get them :)
 
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Kite_Rider

Cantering cabbage!
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Your hot heap will be brilliant for melons!
I’ve never heard of planting seeds directly into a muck heap and had visions of all your seeds dying, but now I’ve read you’re using an old well rotted muck heap that makes sense.
I would make rows on different veg and label them, you can sow directly and liberally and then as the sprout you can thin them out a bit, don’t leave clumps once they’ve sprouted or you’ll get a poor crop.
Might be a good idea to put your beans in the middle but orientate then north to south as you’ll get a lot of shade once they get growing, most veg need plenty of light and plenty of air, insufficient air around the plant will lead to rot, potato blight, which also cobbles tomatoes (same plant family) and make them more susceptible to pests, also if you’ve got plans for growing again next year you’ll need to rotate your crops like this https://www.gardenfocused.co.uk/techniques/crop-rotation.php
I could talk all day about growing veg, my second passion, and there’s lots to tell you.
Best thing I can suggest is google your chosen crop and have a go.
@Trewsers your carrots are amazing! The one crop I always struggled with, I’m dead impressed.
Oh and @Jessey all veg need water, some much more than others.
 
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Kite_Rider

Cantering cabbage!
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@Jessey my grandad (head gardener of derby city parks dept for many years) used to say don’t put seed in the ground unless the soil is warm enough to sit on without yer pants lol
Basically they will germinate better with less chance of rotting off if the soil is a little bit warm when you sow them.
I want another allotment now, lol, good luck and have fun with it.
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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I used the word compost in the modern commercial sense - usually a mix of fibre and sometimes soil (mainly the John Innes mixed) these days avoiding peat. It may include nutrients.
Horse manure is still called horse manure where we shop.
Farm yard manure is sometimes a by product of the poultry industy and I dont much like that.
Anything that grows in a pot needs to grow in soil or what in our area is referred to as compost but this is not composted horse manure.
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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my grandad (head gardener of derby city parks dept for many years) used to say don’t put seed in the ground unless the soil is warm enough to sit on without yer pants lol
That is lovely. My Mum never put out geraniums etc till after her birthday in the middle of May. Last year global warming made nonsense of that.

And not all seeds need warm soil. Sweet pea seeds need to go in early said my Mother so they develop roots underground. Once it gets warmer they shoot upwards she said and when it gets dry they need good deep roots. Last year our sweet peas were the best ever and flowered till after Christmas. I think that was because I grew them from seed.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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@Jessey my grandad (head gardener of derby city parks dept for many years) used to say don’t put seed in the ground unless the soil is warm enough to sit on without yer pants lol
Basically they will germinate better with less chance of rotting off if the soil is a little bit warm when you sow them.
I want another allotment now, lol, good luck and have fun with it.
That's a good tip :)
I used the word compost in the modern commercial sense - usually a mix of fibre and sometimes soil (mainly the John Innes mixed) these days avoiding peat. It may include nutrients.
Horse manure is still called horse manure where we shop.
Farm yard manure is sometimes a by product of the poultry industy and I dont much like that.
Anything that grows in a pot needs to grow in soil or what in our area is referred to as compost but this is not composted horse manure.
I have composted manure AND other green/brown waste since 2017, it's called manure when it is fresh. The middle of my old heap is black and loamy just like the compost that comes out of bags you buy and it is full of nutrients.
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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You can plant radish direct in the ground. There one that you thin out. But we don't just plant in a thin row.
All other stuff we put in pots to germinate.
I'm wondering about trying a courgette plant in the muck heap, to experiment if it grows better. But I won't be able to water it as it to far from the tap. Good to see if you can do in a muck heap without water. I know hours dries out in the top in the black gold stuff. I might try some butternut squash if they can be grown in a muck heap. Must look up. Water melon sounds good. Might have to look into that too.
@Trewsers those carrots look good. Garden carrots very rarely look like what you get in the shop. We only get small ones too, so we don't tend to grow them. Too much work for what you get. But by heck do them tiddlers taste good. Lovely carrot flavour.
 
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