Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Newbie to gardening  (Read 2015 times)


  • Joined Jan 2022
  • South Wales
    • Facebook
Newbie to gardening
« on: April 10, 2022, 07:54:51 pm »

We are due to move soon to our new home and id love to finally be able to have that Large outdoor garden space to grow my own veg!

what do people recommend for starter growers in terms of raised bed method? no till?
best fruit and veg to try to grow?
indoor or outdoor ?
we are moving to south wales so is there any fruit and veg varieties that do better in that climate/area?


  • Joined Aug 2015
  • Montgomeryshire
    • Gribin Isaf
Re: Newbie to gardening
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2022, 09:07:17 pm »
If you have not looked at it already then Charles Dowding's website can be very useful:


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Newbie to gardening
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2022, 10:04:55 pm »
Strategies and tactics for growing can be quite regional.  Day length, climate, prevailing wind, soil type, air type, all have an impact.  I really would urge you to spend some time visiting other smallholders in your new home area, finding out what works in that climate, with that soil, and so on.  If possible, before you spend too much time money and effort investing in a potentially unsuitable scheme for that spot! 

Thinking about all the possibilities is great fun, enjoy that while you do your researches locally ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Newbie to gardening
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2022, 11:29:51 pm »
Buy a book on veggie growing - there are lots out there.  Something which tells you when to do what.  Choose the veggies that you and your family like to eat. Don't bother with raised beds unless you decide that is what you want.  If you look at Charles Dowding's sites and books (as suggested above) you will see that he has a no dig method which does not need endless strips and squares of wood. Enclosed raised beds seem to have been invented by the sellers of raised beds and end up costing a whole lot of ill-spared cash.  Another one who does no timber no dig growing is Bob Flowerdew of the long pigtail.
Potatoes are a good crop to start with as you get a worthwhile product with minimal work and attention while you are getting on with settling in.  We put ours in on May 1st here in Scotland but Wales is probably a week or two earlier.
You may have a blank canvas when you arrive, or there may have been a veg patch used before.  If there is a patch then you can get in some of your favourite outdoor crops in May. It's too late for garlic, onions and shallots now.
A polytunnel is useful for tender crops such as tomatoes, chillies, peppers, aubergines if you like them, and for bringing on tender outdoor crops when it's still too cold outside (night temps).  It is also useful to a smallholder as an emergency place to set up a lambing or mothering-up pen, or to keep your poultry during Bird Flu lockdown.  However, I suggest you don't dive right in and buy one straight away.  You really need to assess the site for cold spots, prevailing wind, tree shade, aspect, level standing and easy access because once it's up, resiting is a big task.  Also, the amount of wind your new place gets will determine whether you need to go for the strongest tunnel on the market or not.

For fruit, choose somewhere for your orchard and get your trees in as soon as you can.  Make sure the area does not get waterlogged and that it doesn't catch the east wind.  Putting in fruit bushes and canes might be slower as you will need to prepare ground for them.  See what others in your area are growing fruitwise.  Here we are at 1,000 feet which is the upper limit for apples, and even then we have to grow mostly local varieties, so ask around to see what people have found work well.
"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.

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Newbie to gardening
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2022, 08:40:56 am »
Hi and welcome,
Where about in South Wales?
 there’s a great community supported agriculture CSA on the Gower called
cae tan.
They take on volunteers in return for veg which if you’re close might be very useful training for you.

I think they’re website would


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Newbie to gardening
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2022, 09:24:47 am »
You will find that the seed packets have most of the information on them you need, but you can pick up some good books for next to nothing from the charity shops- we did. No raised beds here because our plot has a slight slope and rainwater drains off, but our friends have had to go for raised beds because their plot is flat clay and gets waterlogged. They are also on a 'no dig' system, but I'm sure digging a raised bed has problems anyway. We have had to plant a hedge though, because the strong West wind shreds up the more delicate plants like beans and potato tops.

I advise you to get the best tools for the jobs, because long-term they will save a lot of time. However the biggest time saver for us has been putting weed membrane on the beds as soon as the crop is lifted.

20 years ago we hadn't a clue and to be honest we aren't that much further forward- we'll never be experts, but we do manage to grow some good stuff.


  • Joined Jan 2022
  • South Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Newbie to gardening
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2022, 01:32:00 pm »
we'll be moving to just outside Llanelli!

That sounds really interesting , it would be nice to get some hands on inspiration and knowledge from likeminded folk .

We will be going in 3 weeks time so when we get down there ill start looking where we could ideally have somewhere for plants and trees and for a suitable place for a no till garden of sorts !
orchard wise we have plenty of decent places i could put one so would just need to look into local varieties for fruit

thank you everyone!


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Newbie to gardening
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2022, 02:16:53 pm »
Huw Richards' Youtube channel is really good, and he is in Wales (somewhere). His veg gardening books are really good, and he has a new one just come out. It is my birthday book, so I haven't read it, but the list of contents sounds promising. I also really like his down to earth style.

And of course, Charles Dowding, though he is growing to sell, mainly salads etc, so while I like watching his youtube channel, Huw Richards is much more geared towards feeding a family.

Tim Tyne's "Viable Self Sufficiency" is also VERY good, though not sure it is still available.


biodynamic gardening

Started by milarepa (7.16)

Replies: 41
Views: 14682
Last post April 17, 2012, 02:33:06 pm
by YorkshireLass
veg gardening in the shade

Started by bloomer (7.16)

Replies: 7
Views: 3333
Last post June 29, 2014, 09:17:03 pm
by bloomer
2016 gardening

Started by waterbuffalofarmer (7.16)

Replies: 16
Views: 5225
Last post December 31, 2015, 11:27:51 pm
by cloddopper
Gardening by the moon

Started by Fleecewife (7.16)

Replies: 8
Views: 2836
Last post February 12, 2016, 10:49:46 am
by Victorian Farmer
Are you in a local gardening club?

Started by Roxy (7.08)

Replies: 1
Views: 2110
Last post November 07, 2009, 01:59:37 pm
by Rosemary

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2023. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS