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View Full Version : How Does Your Garden Grow? Need Help, Please!


V2-OMG!
18th Apr 2009, 17:52
It has been agonizing to watch produce prices rise over 20% this past winter. The spring has been very cold; the local farmers say their crops will be late and minimal.

I would like to start a vegetable garden so I can juice my own drinks. Since I have started juicing, my blood pressure has dropped dramatically and my energy level has soared. My doctors was astonished. I really believe it is due to my fresh carrot, apple and fresh ginger-juice breakfast cocktail, and other juices I sip during the day.

But it takes a lot of fruit and vegetables to extract a cup of juice. This improved health doesn't come cheap. Keeping oneself well-nourished has become a luxury.

There has been much publicity about the 100-mile diet (buying local produce as much as possible) and retilling flower gardens and lawns into a vegetable garden.

For those of you who have a little plot of land, are you thinking of starting a garden too, or perhaps you already have?

I would like to start a vegetable garden. Do you have any tips, please?

p.s....just a thought, but zucchini is a good veggie for beginners, isn't it?
We could start a zucchini challenge - see who can grow the biggest one.
(Will have to post a picture, though.)

hellsbrink
18th Apr 2009, 18:14
Hmm, now you're taking me back quite a few years to when we grew some veggies, etc, at home in Jockistan. Also had apple, pear and plum trees (1 of each) which always produced good crops, and a greenhouse full of tomatoes and cucumbers. That's before we start on things like chilli peppers growing on the window sill..

The hardest bit is the preparation, digging the ground over and making sure it's fertilised. We were lucky, I knew someone who had horses (which led to a joke about how much s**t you could get in the back of a Peugeot 405 estate. 15 fertiliser bags full, if you must know. Thank god we never had to do an emergency stop because we would have been covered) so a source of good, fresh manure was always available for nowt. Getting that dug in before planting the crops was defo the hardest bit. Afterwards, it was just a case of water, when needed, and some sort of pesticides on some crops. Otherwise, they grew themselves. Ok, we had nets to keep birds away (espcially from the strawberries) and had to keep a look out for slugs, disposing of as necessary, but as long as you keep an eye on things you'll find it easier than you think. Just figure out what you want to grow, and you can always get info online if you're worried about taking the plunge. One thing you will find, if you grow your own, is that it does generally taste better, especially tomatoes.

And the extra excercise is generally good for the BP too, and you get the pleasure of saying "I grew that".

larssnowpharter
18th Apr 2009, 18:24
One has referred this question to one's gardener and will report back.:hmm:

green granite
18th Apr 2009, 18:29
Try trawling through the UK section of this site:

Gardening forum - GardenBanter.co.uk (http://www.gardenbanter.co.uk/)

Rossian
18th Apr 2009, 18:42
One prime tip V2:

DON'T grow big zucchini - then they're marrows (big and tasteless). Not much bigger than one's finger (don't be picky and ask which finger). Ideally, with the flower still on the end. Then you can stuff the flowers, dip them in batter and deep-fry them.
The Ancient Mariner

PS on rereading; the flowers are separated from the zucchini prior to stuffing.

Rollingthunder
18th Apr 2009, 18:50
What Hellsbrinksaid. and especially tomatoes. Nothing like a Victory Garden. Nothing but plusses, fresh veggies, a bit of exercise, save a bit of money, trade excess with neighbours, make friends.

hellsbrink
18th Apr 2009, 18:55
Trade excess with the neighbours? We were giving the bloody plums away one year, there was that many of the buggers! Damn things were hanging like grapes, except they were a bit bigger than grapes. Getting 5lb per day off it was the norm that year, for 2 weeks, and even we had enough stuck in the freezer (jam, sauces, ya get the idea). Had no idea what else to do with them so we just passed them around the neighbours.

They were good though, perfect Victorias

Rollingthunder
18th Apr 2009, 19:01
Well, if you grow zuchinni, you're going to have tons of excess.

How about a couple of pigs as well? (don't mention bacon)

hellsbrink
18th Apr 2009, 19:10
Perfect idea, RT.

They'll eat the excess, their "excess" can be used to fertilise the ground, and when they get to the right age you can mince bits of them up and use that to stuff the zuchinni's!!


Recycling at it's best

Moira
18th Apr 2009, 21:13
Just make sure you have a decent fence to keep them in, or they'll plough your garden for you!

Sprogget
18th Apr 2009, 21:38
What's a Zookini?

hellsbrink
18th Apr 2009, 22:27
Methinks a Kiwi aubergine, Sprog

mutt
19th Apr 2009, 04:27
We are looking at getting our first crop of BANANA's this year :)

Mutt

V2-OMG!
19th Apr 2009, 16:41
Thanks all, for your green thumb advice.

I think I'm going to start off very small. Just a raised bed with my favourite herbs, a few heads of lettuce and a couple of tomato plants(bought young from the nursery) and maybe a few rows of beans. I've forgotten what a homegrown tomato tastes like. The field tomatoes trucked in from Mexico taste like a styrofoam ball. Someone mentioned a fence, and I may need one because there are feral rabbits hopping around.

hellsbrink and Rollingt, a garden is a great way to share the bounty with others. I did start a compost pile last year so I do have some good things to start my bed with.

Oh.....I also heard that saucers of beer placed in the garden are a good deterrent for slugs. They literally drink themselves to death. Hmmmmm...now I might really need a fence because the couple next door like to drink. Would be funny to look out and see them lapping up the beer. This is getting complicated.......

green granite
19th Apr 2009, 16:48
Runner beans are a good thing to start with, simple to grow up bamboo canes just keep them fed and watered and a couple of dozen plants will, if you freeze the excess, keep you in beans for a long time.

Moira
19th Apr 2009, 17:12
Coffee grounds are said to keep slugs away too. Never tried it myself, I usually go for the non-ecological slug pellets. Should you choose to go for the same solution: don't overdo, a small amount of pellets is enough, no need to cover the soil with them.

Tomatoes: personally prefer them from the (own) greenhouse, they tend to burst if you have lots of rain when they're nearly ready to harvest.

Anyway: good luck with the gardening!

MD11Engineer
19th Apr 2009, 18:10
Hellsbrink, reply #7:
Trade excess with the neighbours? We were giving the bloody plums away one year, there was that many of the buggers! Damn things were hanging like grapes, except they were a bit bigger than grapes. Getting 5lb per day off it was the norm that year, for 2 weeks, and even we had enough stuck in the freezer (jam, sauces, ya get the idea). Had no idea what else to do with them so we just passed them around the neighbours.


Have you ever heard of Slivovic or Palinka (or similar fruit brandies)? :ok:
Some years ago I shared a contractor's house in Shannon, Ireland, with, among others, a bloke from Hungary. He had the same problem: A big garden outside Budapest, with lots of plums and peaches growing.
Well, he fermented them in four 100 liter plastic drums and brought the resulting fruit wine to the local stillhouse. The result was a very good and smooth Palinka.
He used to smuggle his moonshine back into Ireland in 2 liter Seven up bottles.
Since he went home for ten days about every 5 weeks, we had plenty of it (he told us that he had about 60 liters of brandy every year! :eek:)

MD11Engineer
19th Apr 2009, 18:14
Rollingthunder, reply #8:
How about a couple of pigs as well? (don't mention bacon)

If you really have a larger plot to dig over, put a portable electric cattle fence around it and borrow a couple of pigs from a farmer for a few weeks. They'll dig it over nicely and will at the same time fertilize it.

My garden plot is unfortunately too small for such stuff, but if I had a bigger one, I might try to keep a pig ( maybe tame a wild boar piglet, I could get one from one of the local hunters), but rather as a pet.

MD11Engineer
19th Apr 2009, 18:17
V"-OMG!, reply #14:
Oh.....I also heard that saucers of beer placed in the garden are a good deterrent for slugs. They literally drink themselves to death. Hmmmmm...now I might really need a fence because the couple next door like to drink. Would be funny to look out and see them lapping up the beer. This is getting complicated.......

DON'T DO IT! Your garden will become the watering hole for all slugs in the neighbourhood! Rather place some saucers full of beer in the garden of somebody nearby, whom you can't stand :E

Rollingthunder
19th Apr 2009, 18:22
Plant a couple of sunflowers and a few other flowers around the borders. Lavender is nice.

Attract bees, birds and butterflies.

Scumbag O'Riley
20th Apr 2009, 11:55
You can grow tomatoes in a conservatory, makes the place smell nice and always good to have green stuff around, seems to mellow places.

The secret to good vegetables is good soil, you need well rotted shite and loads of it. Shite from herbivores is what you need, not the stuff from carnivores. It can take several years to get poor soil into a good enough condition to grow some nice veggies, but in the meantime you can always blame the soil if it doesn't work :)

frostbite
20th Apr 2009, 12:23
prevents neighbours' cats from using the newly dug beds as a latrine

As does 'planting' some plastic cocktail sticks in the area.

Sprogget
20th Apr 2009, 12:30
Actually, one the green fingered can help me with. I'm growing some seedlings in those little fibre pots that you use to eventually drop into a bigger pot, all in a cloche.

The first few are germinating now & I've noticed a fibrous fluffy growth around some of the pots in the cloche. Should I be worried about that and remove it or just let it be?

Scumbag O'Riley
20th Apr 2009, 13:33
google 'damping off disease' and if it's that then sort it out quickly. Those fibre pots quite often don't break down as well as the manufacturers claim so tear them carefully before you put them in final position as they can severely restrict the roots.

ThreadBaron
20th Apr 2009, 14:11
Coffee grounds are said to keep slugs away too. Never tried it myself,

It must work ... I've never seen a slug in a cafetiere!:}

We took on an allotment last year in June and it took us months to get it dug over and then some more months to make raised beds and get them installed. We have just last week planted potatoes, asparagus and fruit bushes (including gooseberry) and that is just three out of nine beds!:sad:

The only concern are the gangs of veggie rustlers who pick whole harvests overnight and then flog them. Let's be positive though.

Scumbag O'Riley
20th Apr 2009, 15:28
Hmmm, yes, the aspagarus is looking very tasty in the local allotments right now......

Jimmy Macintosh
20th Apr 2009, 21:50
The two things I would say are:

1. Look into companion planting. Various plants when grown together enhance each others flavours or repel their predators.

2. Ensure a good routine with watering. My last batch of tomatoes had BER, Blossom end rot, where the bottom of the fruit turned black. It seems the additional heat over the day set a drying out routine then I watered them at the end of the day. I needed to mulch to try and help retain the water during the day so they didn't dry and soak each day.

Really cool growing your own fruit and veg though.

Currently my most successful plants, Fuji apples, nectarines, navel oranges and pineapple guava. Makes for a great summer/autumn.

henry crun
20th Apr 2009, 22:23
Jimmy: BER and black rot.is caused by irregular and/or too much water, so it might well be that watering them every day is the cause of your problems.

I grow my tomatoes in a narrow strip of soil under the eaves of the house, so they get virtually no rain, and all the sun until late afternoon.
I only give each plant about a couple of gallons of water around the drip line once a week, and they thrive.


V2-OMG: As suggested earlier, runner beans are easy to grow and very tasty.
If you only have a limited space the best way is make a teepee framework out of about 8 canes approx 2 metres high.
Plant a couple of beans at the foot of each cane to cover for germination failures, if both sprout, then pinch one out.

The secret with runners is to not let the beans get too big, in other words keep picking to stimulate more flowering.
You will find 8 plants will provide more then enough beans to feed a small family

ShyTorque
21st Apr 2009, 21:45
As does 'planting' some plastic cocktail sticks in the area.

We must have the wrong type of soil; never had any success growing these.