Advice for Beginners!

General tips / questions on seeding & planting

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KG Tony
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Advice for Beginners!

Postby KG Tony » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:28 am

Well, we have many very experienced and very knowledgeable members on this forum so - keeping it simple - what would be your top three tips for anyone just starting out growing fruit and veg!
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby Pa Snip » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:43 am

Dont skimp on quality of tools

Preparation of soil and beds before sowing or planting is key

Practice crop rotation
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby oldherbaceous » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:00 pm

Never be worried about asking, or taking advice.

Buy the best quality tools you can afford.

Join the KG Forum, for many bonuses.
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby tigerburnie » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:44 pm

Find as much "local" information as you can, what grows in one area/soil, might not grow in yours.
Read up on the produce you want to grow, eg don't manure areas that will have roots like carrots/parsnips in them.
Take it slowly, start with easier crops before trying to grow exotics, learn to walk before trying to run.
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby Tony Hague » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:39 pm

Be prepared to spend more time on weed and pest control than anything else. Get yourself a decent hoe, and use it before you think you need to. We have a stream of newcomers at the allotment who spend a while on civil engineering, digging and sowing, then seem to expect to come back a few months later to harvest. It doesn't work like that, TV programmes help to encourage this view - how often do you see anyone hoeing ?
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby Primrose » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:43 pm

1. Research the best crop conditions for your crop before you grow to improve your chances of success.
2. Prepare the soil well & keep it weeded.
3. Don't be deterred by failure. It happens to everybody. Next year is a chance to try again.
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:15 pm

1. Buy a few basic tools to start with. Fork, trowel, rake and hoe. (I prefer a fork to a spade as my soil is heavy and I'm not a big muscly bloke)

2. After weeding, feed your soil to get things off to a good start. Don't spend a fortune on poisons and herbicides they aren't necessary.

3. Grow a small number of vegetables that you like to eat and don't try to grow too many, you can always sow some more as the season progresses. Read up on the best varieties of fruit and get good quality plants from a specialist supplier.
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby robo » Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:50 pm

Only buy quality wether seeds, plants ,or tools , nothing cheap as they are usually faulty or substandard
Be careful who's advice you listen to ,if some one gives you advice Google it until you know better,there's are one or two on our allotment that only talks manure ( crap ) I think they make most of it up and like listening to their own voice
As the saying goes "the answer lies in the soil" test your soil see what needs to be done to make a good growing medium then do it
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby Westi » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:00 pm

1. Walk around your site/ neighbourhood. Look what is growing well, especially those closest to you.
2. Take your time, don't do your back in clearing it all in one go. Clear a bit & plant in that, then clear the next bit to sow or plant in that & also don't go mad buying until you know what you want & will succeed - KG gives you many free seeds to grow & try & cheap tools aren't nicked - OK replaced more frequently but will be there when next down.
3. Year 1 is getting what crops you can but taking notes of successes & failures so year 2 is gaining confidence & proper rotation planning and feeding the soil, then you can be like the rest of us, done what we can & fingers crossed mother nature plays fair! :)
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby Geoff » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:44 pm

1. As seems to be a common theme, invest in good tools - and not raised beds, flat beds can be set up at much lower cost and are easier to manage because you can use a wheelbarrow.
2. Secure a good source of organic material, combination of bought in and own compost, again a composting system is a better investment than raised beds.
3. Keep records, what you grow and when you grow it, gradually refine your plan so you grow what you like and will use when your conditions let you grow it successfully.
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby Pa Snip » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:02 pm

must say that raised beds make life a lot easier when stooping / bending may be an issue. There has never bee a roblem with lesser quality of crop in ours..

Not sure why Geoff is suggesting you cant use a wheelbarrow with raised beds
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby robo » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:27 am

I've got raised beds , the reason our plot is clay half a spade deep it proved impossible to try and big into it ,raised beds do make for less bending when working them but if your soil is good and deep then I would not bother with them
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby Colin2016 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:00 am

There is plot that has raised beds but soil in side beds is same level as the ground around it.
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby Pa Snip » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:07 am

Colin2016 wrote:There is plot that has raised beds but soil in side beds is same level as the ground around it.


I have never worked out the theory behind doing that
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Re: Advice for Beginners!

Postby peter » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:11 pm

Do not rush into doing raised (but in actuality fenced) beds.

typical tv induced newcomers to a weed infested plot, start constructing raised beds out of untreated planks screwed from outside into 2"x2" up rights just at the corners, then use bags of putting compost to fill them. Think of the compost miles!

Because they see it on tv people do the civil enigineering, but they don't do thorough enough weed clearance, won't pay for substantial enough timbers or the concrete alternative. They end up disillusioned about veg gardening because they bodged up what took an unseen construction crew for the tv show with unstated costs and materials.

Open ground makes for easier weed clearance, bindweed under a raised bed or in the raspberries is a nightmare only addressable by chemicals as you cannot dig down the root run.

Too often newcomers ignore the ground, what is wrong with starting the traditional way, dig the plot, plant in the ground, after the first year or two you'll have a clear picture of the localised conditions within the plot and can plan where best to put things; shed, compost bin, rhubarb, soft fruit, shady and/or sunny spot to sit on.

They can still essay a traditional soil and manure/compost raised bed that does not involve the construction, just digging and earthing up like a potato row but wider and flatter.

if you still feel you must have them then permanent edged raised beds are best done incrementally, using strong materials with the uprights on the outside to resist the pressure of the contents. Also dig out the topsoil from the pathways to fill the beds, you should collect stone's from the open plot cultivation for a base path layer. Use membrane under gravel or shredded bark / tree surgeon shredding for the paths, replace shreds every now and the old stuff will be a good top dressing or dig in additive as it will have completed down a fair bit.

Whatever is used as a filling will settle and in the case of bagged potting compost will, in effect, rot down and reduce each year, just near in mind they'll need an annual top up with something.

The concrete alternative is slotted concrete posts and concrete gravel boards, this does limit you to six foot increments unless you have access to a suitable cutting machine for the gravel boards. But it has an added benefit of crop protection possibilities if you oversize the uprights. A five foot post goes two foot in the ground at least and you'll get a three foot high bed. A seven foot post could give a two foot high bed, slot in three foot chicken wire sides and an easy drape over net or fleece top. Actually slot in whatever you choose to use with a square frame.
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