Growing Suggestions please.

Anything to do with growing herbs and vegetables goes here.
Jed

Growing Suggestions please.

Post: #636 Jed
Tue Jan 25, 2005 9:52 pm

I have just got an allotment this week. I am off to buy some seeds over the weekend but what is good for a first crop? I totaly new to this so I do not want something that is hard to grow.

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Post: #640 judyofthewoods
Tue Jan 25, 2005 11:32 pm

First thing to plant? Probably not a good idea to do what I did, it could get you into trouble with the alotment gestapo, and maybe could get out of hand. But here goes, the first thing I planted when I bought my land and got enough light in to plant anything at all (conifer plantation) was - ready? - dandelions and nettles. Yeap. Both deep rooted, bring up nutrients from the subsoil which are good in either a food crop (do cook the nettles first to destroy the formic acid!) or on the compost, as long as you don't include the seeds or roots. Nettles also make an albeit foul smelling liquid plantfood, when steeped like comfrey. The CAT do a leaflet on comfrey liquid plantfood, but my guess is, just steeping anything in water long enough will first kill all but decomposition organisms (good, you want it to brake down thoroughly and quickly), and release the nutrients. Harvesting it before going to seed also means the nutrients havn't concentrated in the seed, but are instead in the green plant where you want it. Weeds are an often overlooked crop, and maybe not a foe but friend. Are you familiar with Permaculture? Worth exploring if you want to work with your surroundings rather than against them, including plants. Go to www.permaculture.co.uk, they publish a great magazine for sustainable living, and also other publications. Also look at ecologic books for books on growing and other things. If you link to them through the www.selfsufficientish.com site, the site will get a small percentage without it costing you an extra penny, and allow them to keep providing this valuable service.
Greetings from Judy of the Woods

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Re: Growing suggestions

Post: #642 FluffyMuppet
Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:05 am

Hi Jed

My gardening beginnings were less controversial than Judy's - I started off with leaf beet (perpetual spinach/ spinach beet) which is a member of the beetroot family, but grown for its leaves.

The plants are easy to grow and mostly unaffected by pests (they occasionally get leaf miners but you just take off the affected leaves and dispose of them. A badly affected plant can be cut right down to stalks and will re-grow) and are nice in stir fries (young leaves can be eaten raw in salads) or anything you would use green leaves for.

You can sow them in spring for use through the summer, or in autumn to overwinter (as long as it's not too exposed). They don't grow much over winter but will be there in spring.

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Post: #646 Andy Hamilton
Wed Jan 26, 2005 5:34 pm

Yep leaf beet is a good idea. What is also recommended is potatoes, you have to keep moving the earth over the plant and also a big area is dug out when they are dug up. This helps keeps the weeds at bay. Someone reccomended that I grow nothing but spuds when I first got an allotment, but I though that was a bit boring.

I also find that normal beetroot is pretty easy to grow. And if you are into herbs you might also want to go out amd buy a few plants. Some would call this cheating but I would reccomend it, stuff like rosemary is very hard to grow from seed and once oyu have an established plant it will keep giving you sprigs for years to come.

Corggettes (Zucchinis) I also found pretty easy to grow. I also think that it is nice to try something a bit unusual, this year I am going to have a go at growing a spaggetti plant. It is a type of squash that when cut open has insides like spaggetti.

I am down in the south so I was tinking of trying to grow soem pineapples this year too, you need the temperture to stay above 5c so heres hoping, might be a disater but worth a try.

Make sure you can grow what you want though before you start off, my allotment for example does not let you grow trees.
First we sow the seeds, nature grows the seeds then we eat the seeds. Neil Pye
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Post: #649 Jed
Wed Jan 26, 2005 7:30 pm

Ok will have a go at beet spinach and try some potatoes too. I have had a look at your article and I think I shall try 'chitting' some normal shop bought spuds.

I don't like beetroot pickled, is it that different when it is fresh? I think I tried some as a kid but not since. I will look around at the seed in homebase and see if I can find some strange vegetables to grow. Would it be better to leave buying the herbs until the chance of frost has gone a bit?

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Post: #650 judyofthewoods
Wed Jan 26, 2005 7:39 pm

Jed, one of the Permaculture principles is about zoning. Grow the things you pick fresh (or which need frequent attention when growing) on a daily or nearly daily basis, like herbs and salad greens as close to the house as possible, moving out further with crops that need little or rare attention. Also things you only harvest once or twice a year and in bulk for storage, go further away(e.g. rootcrops, then top fruit). Even if your allotment is jsut a cycle ride away, you probably won't be going there every time you want to pick a sprig of parsley for a sandwich or salad. Those small plants are best grown at home on the window scill or in the garden if you have access to one.
One school of thought sais its best to prioratise crops which are either expensive in the shop, difficult to get, or (which would apply to plants grown close to home) those you want fresh on a daily basis, not forgetting those you really like. No good growing loads of brussle sprouts when no one in your family likes them.
Andy, I have not tried spagetti plant but read or heard that it is very bland. Maybe it should be called shredded paper plant instead? My guess is, its more of a novelty, like a number of exotic fruits and veg you find for a while in the supermarket, until word gets around that its a waste of money, and they move on to the next novelty.
About leaf beat, I know someone here in rainy Wales, who grows it, and it supplies him with fresh green for the best part of the year. Very nutritious too, and does not contain as much oxalic acid as normal spinach does.
Greetings from Judy of the Woods

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Post: #651 Andy Hamilton
Wed Jan 26, 2005 9:37 pm

Some good tips about zoning there Judy, I grow some herbs on the allotment and some at home in pots. The parsley I grow on the allotment gets harvested every time I ma up there, maybe about three times week or more in summer months. It keeps pretty well in the frigde if you put the stems in a glass of water and treat it likle flowers. I also grow rosemary on the allotment and it is thought to be a natural insect repelant. But yep it is also good to have some growing to hand in your kitchen, you tend to use them more if they are growing nearby.

Companion planting might be something else worth thinking about. Some plants work much better next to others, take a look at http://www.selfsufficientish.com/companion.htm - it shows you that parsley is good when grown next to beans for example.

Judy - maybe it would not be worth me wasting my time with the spagetti plant if it really does not taste that good.:( I wondered why i have never seen any growing. Does sound like a novelty that people will try once and never again.

I have thought about growing many of the expensive plants in shops the trouble is some such as asparagus can be expensive for a reason. It takes two years to get a decent crop! But yes I had loads of corgettes last year and can't say that I was really saving a fortune, but they are one of my favorite vegetables so worked out ok really as it falls in the last category of yours judy, ones that I want fresh every day. :lol:

Jed - GROW BEETROOT, it is so much nicer out of the ground than pickled. Try it mate. I love roasting it with other vegetables. As for herbs, it you are goign to buy the bigger plants ratehr then grow from seed then yes best to wait a bit untill it is warmer. No harm in starting a few seedlings off soon if you are growing indoors though.
First we sow the seeds, nature grows the seeds then we eat the seeds. Neil Pye
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Post: #897 mbeirnes
Wed Feb 09, 2005 12:41 pm

I suggest that you make a list of all the veg that you would like to eat, and buy the seeds.

Check in a book or on the back of the packet when your supposed to plant them. Whilst buying the seeds a couple of seed trays will come in handy :lol:

It looks like a mine field but really isnt. The first thing I ensured I had on the go was rhubarb. Takes a year to get some stalks worth eating and for the roots to establish, but this time next year you will be waiting eagerly with anticipation :lol:
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Post: #903 Jed
Wed Feb 09, 2005 2:19 pm

I have some coriander growing in one of your newpaper pots!

Mberines do I get seed trays from the garden centre? Are they those black things with loads of compartments in them? Rhubarb takes a year, sod that! I want stuff in the summer. I do not know if I am moving or not next year as my job takes me all over the place.

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Post: #916 mbeirnes
Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:37 am

Yup you can go with the 'plugs' or just a black plastic tray.
If you are handy with a hammer you could make a couple out of old wood. Preferabley not treated though.

You could try rhu in a pot (big one) I think that it likes a permanent site though. Looks like you need to avoid the perenials then. No orchard for you till youve settled :cry:
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Post: #936 diver
Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:44 pm

hi, I am new to this as well and didn't know what to start with so I asked the old timers on the site what grew well in our area and they were very helpful...I am putting in broad beans , salads and potatoes to start with and then I will try beetroot because I lkie it and it grows well on our site.


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