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Author Topic: Where to start  (Read 915 times)

suzi

  • Joined Jul 2022
Where to start
« on: February 02, 2023, 10:13:35 pm »
I will be starting a veg patch this year. I need to dive in with both feet (due to my 2 year old daughters health issues).
Iím putting pigs onto the 1st area for 1 month prior to planting.
I have loads of year+ manure from my own animals to add to the soil (itís clay and awful!).

Iíve bought a crazy amount of seeds and totally overwhelmed myself already. Great start!!

Whatís the best option to start with that will give me confidence please?

Iím in the south east

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Where to start
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2023, 12:26:59 am »
The fact that you're in the SE should give you confidence. Great weather, not much frost, plenty of other folk who grow crops.


We found when we put pigs on our ground that they made a hard pan under the soil just the depth of their trotters deep so we had to dig through that to maintain drainage. It would be worse in clay soil. Clay soil can be hard to work but once you get the hang of it and how to work with it, it can be wonderfully fertile.  Build up a large compost heap as well as manure heaps. Compost added every year will help make the clay a better texture, eventually. Love your earthworms because they will do an awful lot of work for you.


Growing potatoes will also help to make the ground a bit more easy to work, just because it gets worked over several times in a year.


I would suggest that you start with sowing many of your seeds in modules or pots, to give them a headstart rather than trying to sow them directly into the ground where they will soon be swamped.  To do this, for tender crops you really need a heat mat, a heated propagator or something similar. We started with a home made heated propagator made of a metre square open topped box supported on an A frame, with a heating cable under sand, a rheostat to adjust the temp and a clear polycarbonate cover.  These things are found online and are not expensive. Initially we used a Growlight which was not especially good.  Available now, usually for marijuana growers, are LED arrays which are suspended above the plants, with the height adjusted by a pulley, raised as the plants grow. Reduce then stop the heat as the plants grow but keep the lights on for 12 hours a day, and eventually pot them on and harden off to put outside.
Other plants such as Brassicas and onions from seed can be started indoors, without heat but with growlights.


I think the best idea is to buy yourself a good 'how to' vegetable growing book or if you prefer to follow Charles Dowding's You Tube channel where you will learn everything you need, including when to do what.


Incidentally, try not to fall into the trap of thinking you need to sow every seed in the packet - your plants will just become leggy and crowded and not produce the best crops.
"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.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Where to start
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2023, 10:12:10 am »
When I started my garden, it was part of a rush infested field, less than 6inch topsoil, only rush or grass root depth in places. I planned out 4ft wide beds, dug a trench out at one end, put manure in, forked through mixing with clay underneath. turned the next trench onto top of that, put manure in there and so on.
Working 4ft beds means you can do it bit by bit.
I friend came up some years later and commented on what lovely soil I had, never thought to so the work that had cone into it (16 beds, 15ftx4ft.
Spuds are normally planted first, classed as a cleaning crop, but its the earthing up that clears the weeds. I have started covering the spud bed with goats bedding over winter, planting through that then throwing more bedding as spuds grow.
Agree with FW, starting seeds off in modules is best, especially with new ground, lots of weeds will come through and swamp seedlings.
If you get big bales of Haylage for your animals, I've discovered cutting the plastic disks off the ends, then a straight cut down the side, give a nice long piece of black plastic about 4ft wide, ideal for covering veg beds.
Id love to do the no dig gardening, but always seem to have too many perennial weeds to deal with.
Also, don't forget to protect from pheasants, rabbits etc.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Where to start
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2023, 10:16:26 am »
Conditioning your soil to make it workable and retain moisture is essential. Clay soil when dry sets like concrete and water just runs off. Having just added organic material to our beds at the rate of 20 litres per square metre, our main concern here now is water supply. Chlorinated tap water used directly spoils the taste of the crop so we fill a 1000L butt and let it stand for four days before using it. Of course tap water is expensive, if you have mains drainage particularly, so store as much rain water as you can.


When we have lifted the crop we cover the beds with plastic membrane which reduces the start of next season weeding to nearly nothing.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Where to start
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2023, 10:38:11 am »
speaking of water, I have seep hoses on some beds, either just under surface or with spuds the bedding piled on top. save water and puts water where its needed, direct to roots and no watering weed seedlings or evaporation, no getting water on leaves if watering needed in hot weather etc, gravity fed, an IBC tank collecting water from house gutter is great idea. I have one pipe running out, each bed has its own seep hose, I connect supply to each one for an hour or so.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Where to start
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2023, 04:43:42 pm »
Unless your soil is really hard right now, I would cover with planting area with cardboard now, wet it, then add a thick layer of well rotted manure, then cover with black weed mambrane (the woven variety to let water through). I wouldn't bother to dig at this time, but pile on about 10 inches or so of manure/compost. I would also not necessarily put pigs onto the ground now if you want to grow from it the same summer. They do create a hard pan for sure!


I have invested in raised beds (30cm high wooden sides) and that has by and large worked, but not necessary. My beds are only 3ft/1m wide, so acces from both sides without stepping on.


Also - some useful youtube channels are: Charles Dowding (no-dig method well explained) and I also like Huw Richards.


Anything like courgettes and pumpkins I would plant through small holes in the weed membrane.


I personally also would only start off with a couple of beds, grow a polyculture on them and then only for the one child, even if this means you may have to buy veg for the rest of the family. You will simply exhaust yourself trying to build a good sized veg plot in one year while also looking after livestock AND human family... I have been there myself.


If you can afford - get a polytunnel, even in the South of England. It is the difference between likely tomatoes and tomatoes for definite!


Oh and if you make cheese .- use the whey (unless you want to drink it of course) to water your veg patch (diluted about 1:10 or so), especially if you are making acid co-agulated soft cheeses (like fromage frais). The soil loves lactic acid bacteria (Korean Natural Farming).

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Where to start
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2023, 11:43:24 pm »


Oh and if you make cheese .- use the whey (unless you want to drink it of course) to water your veg patch (diluted about 1:10 or so), especially if you are making acid co-agulated soft cheeses (like fromage frais). The soil loves lactic acid bacteria (Korean Natural Farming).

I didn't know that Anke. Really interesting!  I don't have access to milk so not something I could do but I love to know about such things  :thumbsup:
"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.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Where to start
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2023, 06:55:16 am »
Oh and if you make cheese .- use the whey (unless you want to drink it of course) to water your veg patch (diluted about 1:10 or so), especially if you are making acid co-agulated soft cheeses (like fromage frais). The soil loves lactic acid bacteria (Korean Natural Farming).
I didn't know this either but I'm planning to milk the cows his summer and Dan will make cheese, so will definitely do this. I guess it's good for all soils? Ours is sandy. It's hard to know whether to plant or build a castle. :eyelashes:

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Where to start
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2023, 10:52:23 am »
Milk is the most polluting liquid there is for water courses so please be very careful where putting this whey
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

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Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Where to start
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2023, 10:57:13 am »
while I agree milk (+whey?) is bad down drains and water courses, if you have surplus/older milk it is being recognised as a good plant food. I often throw diluted milk or washings up on the flower beds. (not near drains  :) )

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Where to start
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2023, 03:51:23 pm »
Milk is the most polluting liquid there is for water courses so please be very careful where putting this whey

This is not milk we are talking about, but whey, and specifically whey from soft cheese making. It contains lactic acid bacteria which is most useful - in small amounts/small concentrations for soil microbes.

Also making LAB means that the "clabbered" cheesey part of the culture is not used, but exactly the "whey" part.

And while milk (if entering from a large diary) is definitely polluting for water courses, I would argue that there are a few significantly more polluting substances... I was just trying to be helpful by mentioning some things that may be useful to improving soil strucure.

 

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