Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: what crops  (Read 1722 times)


  • Joined May 2011
  • north ayrshire
what crops
« on: May 27, 2011, 12:16:29 pm »
I am soon to acquire a 6 acre paddock, which for years has had horses out on it for a summer lease. No crops have ever been grown there, probably as it is quite damp.

I intend to have some pigs in the woods, but what vegetables etc could i grow on a small scale that would be good for the pigs and family alike. I don't have a tractor so initially it would be small scale with a rotovator.I don't really plan to plant it all out, as once the horses are out it recovers to yield average sort of grass, but certainly not enough to cut regularly?  Any suggestions much appreciated.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: what crops
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2011, 02:42:36 pm »
I would suggest you start small and prepare the ground well before you start growing or you will end up with more weeds than you can cope with.  I am not a great fan of raised beds but if your ground is wet then that is a situation where raised beds are ideal as they allow good drainage - not veggies like to be waterlogged.  It sounds as if the soiul is not very fertile either so add a good amount of well-rotted farm yard manure to each bed.  Where ground is damp you are likely to get a large number of slugs so have your slug-management plans in palce in advance.  A good crop to start off with is potatoes becuase you have to dig in some manure and you have earth them up frequently so they tend to be thought of as a cleaning crop.  Once you have taken a crop of them out of the ground you can start making your raised beds for a variety of other crops.  What you grow depends on many factors such as local climate, soil type, and what you and your family likes to eat - no point growing stuff no-one likes.  For example, broad beans are really easy to grow but lots of people don't like them.
"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.


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Leafy Surrey
Re: what crops
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2011, 05:52:39 pm »
I have just started doing this very same thing with my land, which is solid clay, and pretty much have done as Fleecewife has suggested!  Turned over a "starter" strip - about 3metres by 20metres, first by hand (back breaking work) and then incorporated loads of donkey manure and horse manure - well rotted, and grew potatoes the first year, to break up the soil.  This year, I have extended the plot and dug in tons of manure again (this time with a rotivator!), fenced out the bunnies, and have turned it into a proper veg plot!  Have got artichokes, broad beans, runner beans, borlotti beans, squashes, courgettes, peas and with chard and my outdoor melons yet to go in!  Grown potatoes again in the new bit that I have dug (and planted waaaaaayyyy too many for the two of us, so hopefully will have surplus for bartering.)

Have basically grown anything I don't have room for in my garden veg plot, and extra things that I particularly like eating!  On the downside, I think I may have to turn vegetarian this summer  :o


  • Joined Sep 2010
  • Fife
    • Facebook
Re: what crops
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2011, 06:14:06 pm »
I agree with starting small and I'd fence off an area of maybe half an acre and let the rest for sheep who will tidy up the grass/weeds left by horses and leave you a nice lawn aswell as bringing in a few pennies.  Hay would then be a possibility and make more money if you can get it well made, the price of hay now is ridiculous :o

I had various experimental crops to see what I could grow but discovered that I don't actually like broad beans which grew well, and I get heartily sick of green beans after a while but tolerate them well enough in other things once they're frozen so they stayed for the space they need (a single tripod is enough ;) ).  I grow things I want to eat but which cost more, rather than things I eat a lot of but are dirt cheap by the sack such as potatoes and carrots both of which I can get from local farms for a couple of quid..  I grow beetroots, spinach, all kinds of salad leaves, rocket etc as the price of bagged salads is ridiculous and I eat a lot of leaves :), onions (red and white), leeks, PSB, peas, shallots, and I try a few new things each year eg sweetcorn, sunflowers (seed variety), chard, turnips, cabbages etc.  I am pretty poor on brassicas generally other than PSB but always try something, kale, savoy, red cabs, calabrese.. usually end up with just PSB but this year have tried sprouts tho I don't think I like them I am willing to have a go at "real ones" to check and they seem to be growing quite well - sods law maybe cos I could eat calabrese every day and can't get it at all ::)

Whatever you try, make sure you'll want to eat the results or there's little point, you'd get more money renting to horses than anything else so it has to be about the enjoyment  :D
Barleyfields Smallholding & Kirkcarrion Highland Ponies
Ellie Douglas Therapist


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