Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Hi, new here and excited!  (Read 1690 times)


  • Joined Dec 2023
  • London, soon to be Essex
    • My craft shop
Hi, new here and excited!
« on: December 10, 2023, 11:03:00 am »
Hi. I'm finally moving out of London soon and into a lovely little cottage in Essex, with a garden that's about 200ft long! It's my first time having a proper garden of my own (I've only had a roof garden in the past, or small patios), so I'm quite nervous about how I'm going to manage it all.

I'm also going to have a Rayburn and oil-fired heating, which is new to me, as well as being on a septic tank, and (most excitingly) having a woodburner which I've also never had one of my own.

I'm hoping to set part of the garden up as an entertaining area with a small outside cooking area, then put part of it to wildflowers and bee/butterfly-friendly plants. I want to grow some fruit and veg and am thinking to do some of that in raised planters as I'm disabled and want to make everything as easy as possible for me to maintain.

I also really want to start doing something with my food and green waste, like a compost heap or wormery, but I've never had either of those before and have no idea how to get started!

When writing it all down like that, it seems like an awful lot to be taking on and I'm slightly wondering just why I'm this mad! Any advice/tips etc would be so gratefully welcomed!

As for me - I'm 42 and am going to be doing all this by myself! I'm a bit of a geek and a massive hippy! Once I've moved I'll be getting a couple of cats and a dog and am also in the process of becoming a motorcyclist  :excited:

I'm moving near to the Halstead area in Essex. I'd love to hear from anyone generally, but especially anyone in that area.


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Hi, new here and excited!
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2023, 11:18:31 am »
Hello Brightwild and welcome to the forum. Sure the majority of people here were once in the same situation with their experience- certainly I was. Bought a house with half an acre and fortunately someone pointed us in the right directions (and supplied a good gardening book), otherwise trying to get there by trial-and-error would take a lifetime.

We have a good composting system and veg plot, a small wildflower patch (although we have orchids all over the land), a wood burner, oil fired central heating, a septic tank system and a dog. We have invested heavily (given our means) in equipment to save time, giving us time for other things.

Advice on your oil boiler- the burner jet needs changing every 3000 litres, otherwise the boiler will begin to soot up and use a lot of fuel. Worth getting an expert in to check the burner condition (bright yellow flame) and only use best quality fuel. Make sure your woodburner chimney is swept annually and don't burn unseasoned or damp wood (think that's law in UK now?) Never use coal with your wood- sulphuric acid produced erodes the chimney and it burns too hot anyway.

Good luck with your adventure.


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Hi, new here and excited!
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2023, 06:53:44 am »
Welcome to TAS! Good luck with your new life - look froward to hearing more about it.
Maybe think about a few hens?


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Hi, new here and excited!
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2023, 01:09:03 am »
Welcome to the world of bikes Brightwild.  What are you getting?  I've been a motorcyclist since I was 17 which is certainly more than 50 years ago  :love:

Oops, of course this is a smallholding forum  :eyelashes:  so welcome to the growing world, you'll love it.

I'm not totally convinced about growing in raised beds, but as you have a disability then it could be best for you to do that.  My advice is not to invest in 'compost' to fill your beds but get proper vegetable garden soil, which you can get delivered in bulk I tonne bags or normal sized sacks, but you will need a lot of those. What is sold as 'compost' is currently fairly rubbish with little nutrition and little structure, and is very different to home made garden compost which is the bizz!  Best of all is to use your own garden soil and improve it with well rotted farmyard manure or horse manure (usually easily sourced at local stables), building it up over the years.
To make your own compost, most people today either build a 4 foot square bin or two from wood, or buy one or two commercial bins such as 'daleks', whichever will be easiest for you to manage. To make compost, you can go many routes, from total obsession with browns, greens, moisture levels, additives, to 'chuck anything suitable in and it will eventually turn into useable compost' at the other end of the spectrum.  There is so much info available in books and on youtube channels to watch and choose your favourite.  Growing veg in raised beds is the current fashion so there's lots written and pictured about that too.  Charles Dowding is a good place to start but there are plenty of others.

I love that you're going for a wildlife area and you can also grow a few flowers amongst the veg to help diversity and to attract bees and other insects to your veg for pollination.

I'm a believer in understanding what you are doing before you start, so I recommend getting the kind of veg growing book which lays out your year for you, with what to do when.  You are lucky to be in the south as growing is relatively simple in the warmer climate in the south of the UK.

Good luck with your exciting new venture (don't wear yourself out by trying to do everything at once, start out gently)  :garden:

« Last Edit: December 13, 2023, 01:12:22 am by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.


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