Amzy84
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Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:55 pm
Location: Scotland

I have a vison and a dream but no idea where to start!

Ok so dunno where to start!

I moved into my new flat (brand new just built) and we have a shared garden between 2 people!

The guy down stairs hates gardening and is happy for me to go a head and do what I want!

So what do I want!?

See I know what I want..............a lovely garden filled with herbs, salad stuff veg and fruit! No plants!

I love the idea of things I can use in cooking and eating in my garden!
I have never had a garden, even as a child we didnt have a garden so its something I have always wanted!

I don't really know how to get there! lol!

The garden is just grass right now, infact its so new its squares of grass like turf?!

I don't know if I will be able to plant straight into the soil?

So I was thinking just buying pots and these sacks you get to grow things!
These seem easier!?

Thing is I have no idea where to start?

My questions are:

Could I plant in my graden despite it being new? (maybe thats a silly question?)

What is best and easiest to get me started?

These are just for starters! lol!

Can anyone help with tips and ideas!?

Also some sites say that you have to have the seeds in the green house for a while to sprout or something? Is this right because i don't have a green house!

I have the pennies and the enthusiasm just not much know how!

Thanks a million in advance for any help!

Im in Scotland by the way!

Amy xx

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rainbowgardener
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getting started

People would be glad to help you get started, but you have to give some more information, like is your garden area in full sun (gets direct sunlight pretty much all day), gets morning sun or afternoon sun or dappled shade or what. What's your climate like there in Scotland. The US has hardiness zones which indicate how cold it gets and when the last and first frost are likely to come; don't know if you have something like that. Anyway, tell us how cold it gets, how hot it gets, is it real rainy... Are you thinking about perennials (a little more expensive to buy and a little slower getting started, some might not bloom the first year, but then, assuming they thrive, they come back and increase year after year) vs annuals, cheap and easy and many keep flowering all season, but have to be replanted each year. In the meantime keep browsing through the forum, the landscaping section has a lot of info about getting rid of turf and the organic gardening and vegetable gardening sections have a lot about building raised beds. Happy gardening, help us help you get started!

Timlin
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When I first started to garden I was exactly like you. I had no idea what to do but I wanted to start. I bought gardening magazines and read them all winter long. I took out books from the library that had the things I wanted to grow in them. I just really studied what others had already tested before me. It worked so well I can't tell you. I love my gardens!

cynthia_h
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Be sure to read the articles on our home page at www.helpfulgardener.com -- the articles themselves are informational, and they have helpful links to original sources. Gardening cannot be imparted with "25 words and a boxtop" or via a Vulcan mind-meld. It can take several seasons to figure out a specific gardening location (your own yard), and gardening can also become a life's work. No one ever learns it all.

Definitely look at gardening magazines. Go to a good newsstand and see what's available.

Visit your local library and look through Dewey Decimal Number 635, Gardening. Decades of experience and knowledge await you in the books shelved under 635 and its subcategories. Know also that public libraries subscribe to magazines, and save yourself $ by reading the library's copies of gardening magazines until you find *the* gardening magazine which speaks to you.

For immediate information, read all the way from the top to the bottom on our home page (I just scrolled through about 30 [?] article titles), because the topics are not in alphabetical order. Some of them deal with organic vegetable gardening, mulch, compost, roses, flowers, bonsai. But these are only 6; there are many more.

Many of our forums also have "Stickies"--threads or individual messages with vital information--at the top of their thread index. Read these Stickies, and previous threads with promising titles. As an experienced forum participant (and I speak for others as well), it can be frustrating to answer the same question four times in the same week, to say nothing of the same day.

If these recommendations seem like too much work, consider the possibility that gardening is not, at bottom, for you. It takes time, and sometimes lots of it, to problem-solve a situation which occurs seasonally. It takes time to observe the complete cycles of annuals, to say nothing of biennials. Perennials are something else altogether.

Please do our members the courtesy of looking at what The Helpful Gardener already offers and becoming an informed community participant. This will also help you frame questions in the most useful way to elicit information you require which hasn't been already provided.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Amzy84
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Location: Scotland

!

In reply to the people who advise I look before I post.

In order to do this I would need to know where to start. I have no idea what to look for!? I looked at many topics before I posted and that is where my confusion started! There are so many different topics!

I was mearly trying to get some tips on where to beging and be pointed in the right direction, so i read the things that people think would be most relevant to myself.

I realise gardening is a long process and takes time I don't expect to walk into my garden and for it to be there.

I was explaining what I would like long term

If you get tired of replying to the same messages don't reply.

In order to be more specific in what I was asking I would need to know where to start!

If this is the kind of response first time posters get in this forum may I suggest its not very helpful.

Thanks very much to the people who replied with helpful questions or suggestions!

cynthia_h
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No, it is not the kind of response first-timers *generally* receive. However, most first-time posters give us an idea of the kinds of plants they would like to grow: fruit trees? vegetables? houseplants? and then we can refer them to other sections of the forum.

Look through the index page of the forum. You'll see that there are divisions for vegetable growing, fruit, tomatoes, bonsai, and other types of plants. Each of these divisions has Stickies, or messages which stick at the top of the index, because those Stickies are so essential.

Read the Stickies.

Read the threads, or at least the titles of threads, in the divisions which are of interest to you.

I should also mention that libraries these days also stock DVDs, videotapes (if you still have a VCR), and other non-print media if you prefer to learn using other modalities. There are also classes run by community organizations which can help you with, quite literally, hands-on planting techniques suitable for your area.

Cynthia

Amzy84
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Location: Scotland

!

I did mention that I would like to grow, fruit and veg and things that are edible!?[/quote]

Amzy84
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Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:55 pm
Location: Scotland

A bit more clear hopefully!

My garden is east facing. It gets alot of sun in the afternoon.

Scotland can be rainy! We have Ok summers!

The house is a new build and I think the soil will be quite poor as it was a building site just over a month ago which Is why I thought pots.

I thought pots would also be easier to start with for a beginner as I could just have a few big pots to look after untill I get used to gardening!

I also wondered what is best to grow in pots when I say easy to grow I don't mean stick in a pot and ignore, I just mean something that I can learn from isnt going to cause to many problems.

Im sorry if this is in the wrong section or the answers are else where in the forums I have looked but not sure what to look for exactly!

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hendi_alex
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I'm not sure of the weather in Scotland, but imagine a prolonged cool spring with lots of rain. Here in the U.S. we have agricultural extension offices in every state. They provide lots of useful information, such as what will grow in the area and what the proper planting time is at various locations in the state. Most counties also have extension offices that provide even more detailed information for the specific location. Perhaps there is a similar gardening information service in Scotland.

I think that you have some basic decisions to make.

Are you going to grow in the ground. If so, and you soil as poor as you suspect, then start developing a plan to get lots of organic matter added. Depending upon the size of the plot, perhaps consider buying or renting a tiller.

If you are going to plant in containers, here are a few suggestions based upon my experience of having gardened in containers for many years.

Generally speaking, larger pots are better than smaller pots. Rectangular pots, tend to hold more soil than round pots. Straight potting soil is usually too heavy. Consider mixing your own using materials such as potting soil, perlite, sand, gravel, peat moss, compost. Make sure that the soil retains water, yet drains well, especially in the bottom third of the container. Enrich the soil with a slow release fertilizer.

Use at least a four gallon pot for a bell pepper, and at least a five gallon pot for a tomato. Salad greens can be grown in fairly shallow containers. Egg plant needs at least a five gallon pot.

When planting in containers, water loss is generally a major problem during very warm weather. Make arrangements for the pots to sit in morning sun only, perhaps explore the use of drip irrigation so that the plants get a steady supply of moisture.

For the first year, buy transplants for things like tomatoes, pepper plants, egg plant. Start out with transplants for your herbs, but seed some as well. Direct seed things like lettuce and other greens, beans, peas, radish, spinach, kale, carrots, and most other veggies. Most seeds will do fine seeded directly, a greenhouse or indoor growing area is only necessary for starting early transplants like tomato and pepper plants.

Gardening is really just one long experiment, year after year. The best thing to do is make some basic decisions, then jump right in. You will learn what is easy and what is hard. You will migrate toward a comfort zone and make adjustments as you go. Gardening is not nearly so much technical as it is 'just doing it.' Be sure to wait until the ground is warm to plant warm soil loving plants like tomatoes, beans, squash, cucumber, peppers, etc. You can plant sweet peas, kale, spinach and most other greens, radishes, just about any time. Keep the size of your garden modest the first year or two, and only gradually expand as you learn and get more comfortable. Above all, use you local resources as so much of gardening is specific to your location.

Good luck with your new garden project.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

Amzy84
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Location: Scotland

Thanks

Thanks that was very helpful!

There is certainly plently to think about!

Timlin
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Location: Zone 3 Canada

One thought. A gal I worked with years ago woke me up to something I had not thought about.

She was very unhappy because the seedlings she had planted died. She said she did exactly what the directions said and she was angry.

The directions had told her to "plant in full sun" she did, they died.

She read the directions right but she didn't realize she should plant her new seedlings out in the evening or on a rainy/cloudy day so they have a chance to set in before the sun comes out. They are to 'grow' in full sunshine but should actually not be 'planted' in full sun.

It had never occurred to me that someone would misunderstand what seemed like basic instructions but I totally understood when it happened.

Another thing, if your using anything with peat in it you need to use warm/hot water to moisten that sort of soil. If you use cold it won't work so well. I had another work mate tell me I could have her peat because she couldn't get it moist. I told her about the warm/hot water and her problem was solved. (and unfortunately she withdrew the offer for me to take her big bag of peat.) :? LOL!

It's little things like this that can make what seems simple end up being a real problem.

kylie77
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Location: Kamloops, BC

Another beginner!

You sound like me! I tried growing some veg for the first time last year. I had NO knowledge at all. I started reading up and trying to learn, and quickly realized there was so so much to learn. I had no idea it would be so complicated. So, I figured I'd learn a little, and just jump in. I put a pile of seed in the ground (more than likely not at the right time of year)! I asked for a bit of advice when I bought my seeds, and a few plants. I have no idea what the soil was like. Anyway, we were amazed at how much actually grew! We didn't weed for ages because we didn't know what was a weed, and what was a plant. I didn't know you were supposed to 'thin' the plants. I knew nothing. But we had a lot of fun. I think if I were you I'd jump in and just go for it.

Don't get overwhelmed with it all. I'm finding it hard not to as well. It seems to be something that you have to learn as you go. Pick the stuff you'd like to grow and treat it as an experiment. If some of it doesn't work, oh well! But the stuff that does work you'll be so so proud of! It really is tons of fun to watch your own garden grow.

I just found this forum today and it looks like it's just full of information. I think I'll be a little nervous about posting my own questions though after reading some of your replies.

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applestar
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Amzy84, if you are new to gardening you might start with an easy indoor houseplant like an African violet just to get into the rhythm of caring for plants. I'm trying to think of some herbs that might be easy indoor plants too, but I haven't kept any in a while so I'm not sure. My immediate experience this winter -- pineapple sage transplants has been easy, 1" green onion bottoms with 1/4~1/2" snuggled into a pot of soil has been producing green tops, and basil transplants (but someone else mentioned hers died probably from exposure to cold drafts).

When it's warm enough (is it yet where you live?), get some transplants of your favorite vegetables and herbs. Think about what you'll want to get and read up on their growth habits and care now so you'll have some idea of what to expect. (Look for early maturing varieties.) Things like radishes and beans are ridiculously easy to grow from seed direct-sown in the ground. Peas are easy too, but they need to go in the ground NOW (or very soon -- if it's too warm already where you are ... but I doubt it, in Scotland... wait until later in the year and sow fall peas).

Honestly, in my own experience, outdoor container gardening can be tricky. (Personally, I can't be bothered to go out and water them twice a day in the heat of the summer... :roll: ) I think it's much simpler to convert a patch of ground -- start small -- into a garden bed, this way you have Mother Nature buffering your mistakes and shortcomings. If you search for turning lawn/grass into vegetable garden, you'll come across some of my own contributions in that area (as well as others' :wink: ) Take your pick of the method you want to go with and read up on it before you begin.

Start thinking about soft fruits like berries and currants and gooseberries, and tree fruits. A book I came across in the library and eventually purchased a copy that I found helpful even though the author is based in England is Success with Organic Fruit (Success with Gardening) by Yvonne Cuthbertson. Some things you could plant this spring, others you might wait until this fall and get the ground really ready in the mean time.

I just borrowed a book from the library. I came across it in Googlebooks, so you CAN read it on-line. It's called YOUR GARDEN WEEK BY WEEK by HELLYER, A.G.L It's an older book, written by an author based in London area, so some of the information is not pertinent to my own situation, but it appears to be a very detailed description/gardening journal of a serious gardener. (I don't have a greenhouse or a cold frame either, but this book gives you a good idea of HOW to use them.) Some of the information and the sheer scope of the book might be overwhelming/daunting to a beginner, but I think it conveys an interesting seasonal PROCESS of gardening.

Another book I just got from the library is The New Victory Garden by Bob Thomson. It's also arranged seasonally. This one by an American author based in Connecticut or Boston area (I'm drawing a blank). A little further north than where I am, and liberal application of what sounds like commercial fertilizer, which I don't use, but otherwise good info.

I've come across great book recommendations here on the forum too. (Do we have a sticky of good gardening books somewhere?)

Me, I love reading about gardening techniques. I think they're fascinating. Some things look way too hard to grow, others look way easy. But you won't know until you try yourself. Just remember: There is NO ONE RIGHT WAY. People have been learning from trial and error since agriculture was discovered. It's all about what fits into your lifestyle and personal philosophy. :mrgreen:

p.s. BTW, cynthia_h is a good sort. I can TOTALLY relate to what she's saying because I've been a member less than a year and I'm finding that I'm repeating myself over and over, and frankly, I'm too lazy to to re-type everything, and too busy to keep going back to find my own posts and providing links like I used to. :wink:

Amzy84
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Thank-you! Thats really useful! Ill check out that book online!

My house is small and I have 2 cats who eat everything!
So don't really want to grow inside :lol:

Since I have posted I have spoken to my gran who has a garden the size of a football pitch (maybe a bit smaller lol) and grows loads of plants and veg.

She thinks that a few containers will be fine with potatoes and strawberries but exactly what you siad that the ground would be a little more forgiving and take care of its self a little more (i know I will still need to take care of it)

Im off work on wed and we are going to have a look and see whats under my sinking turf and see what we can do and the most exciting thing of all visit the garden center!

The reason I was thinking containers too is that the sunniest part of my garden is gravel its about 2 meters by a meter so I would get a few pots in there. I hadnt noticed this when i posted either.

Im saying now I wont mind watering them in the summer but I think thats my excitment to get started and my lack of knowledge of the time it will take! lol!


Also cynthia_h, Im sure she is lovely! Its hard on here to write with emotion and when you don't know what your looking for and what information to give I feel that a little bit of give and take has to be given with newbies.

I run a Kitsch forum and I know it gets old really quick with people asking the same questions over and over!

Thanks for your advice and suggestions im off to do some sunday morning reading!!!

Amzy84
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kylie77, thanks!

I love it! Just throw them in the ground and see what happens!

Thats what Im gonna do!

Im gonna get some advice and ideas from the books people have suggested then im just gonna go for it!

Learn as I go!

Deal with the problems as they arrise!

If it fails badly kylie77 im coming after you! lol! :lol:

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applestar
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applestar wrote:I just borrowed a book from the library. I came across it in Googlebooks, so you CAN read it on-line. It's called YOUR GARDEN WEEK BY WEEK by HELLYER, A.G.L It's an older book, written by an author based in London area, so some of the information is not pertinent to my own situation, but it appears to be a very detailed description/gardening journal of a serious gardener. (I don't have a greenhouse or a cold frame either, but this book gives you a good idea of HOW to use them.) Some of the information and the sheer scope of the book might be overwhelming/daunting to a beginner, but I think it conveys an interesting seasonal PROCESS of gardening.
So I've been reading this book, and I want to impress on everyone that my recommendation is with regards to the week-by-week calendar of gardening tasks that this book provides. I said it's older, well it's from the 30's and the author uses ALL KINDS of chemicals -- fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides :eek: But at the same time, there are plenty of mentions of well rotted (e.g. composted) manure of all kinds, and other organic gardening techniques. If you read the book the way I do, from a standfast organic gardening and anti-chemical use point of view, you can automatically substitute SAFE alternatives as you read, or make mental notes to look one up.

I had to laugh when on one page, it said to [my underlines] "Mulch fruit trees with well-rotted farmyard or stable manure or ... spent hops (not hop manure, which contains chemicals). When just 2 pages before, in bold type, it says "Dust Brassica Seedlings with DDT" BUT! The point of interest here is that you want to watch out for flea beetles on your brassica seedlings as the weather warms up in May, and that it's a good idea to mulch fruit trees with compost after they have flowered and are starting to fruit. Interestingly, the author needed to explain what "mulch" was for. "This is known technically as a mulch..."

Then, the entry right above it describes, with illustration, how to make "liquid manure" for feeding fruiting cucumbers. I've seen this called "manure tea" by other authors. (Well, I actually don't have ready access to manure, but I can -- and I will -- make and use compost-enriched-with-alfalfa-pellets tea.) So you really have to be selective and make intelligent use of this book, which really contains a LOT of technical and detailed information. :cool:

Well, back to the book.... :wink:

Timlin
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The alphalpha meal or pellets is one natural fertilizer I have not noticed being mentioned here. I buy 50 lb bags of alphalpha meal and use it all through the year but certainly in the greenhouse in the earlier months.

Rabbit feed is alphalpha pellets and those work well to fire up your new compost piles too.

The Helpful Gardener
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Hey Amzy

I used to live in Dalgety Bay, right across the Firth from Edinburgh. Love it there; nothing better than those summer days that go until 10PM (Lots of Yanks forget just how much further north you are and the New York and Madrid are on the same parallel). Those extra long days must make for fantastic plants...

You've answered your own question in the best possible fashion, dear; you talked to Gran. Who's been doing this thing, locally in your area, with lots of local knowledge, and likely local varieties, for longer than the rest of us have probably been alive. She's steered you back to the soil so I know she's good, so do pay attention to her. Our elder gardeners are fountains of information; I know I'm getting better as I get older... 8)

We'll help out when Gran's stumped...

HG
Scott Reil

Amzy84
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Location: Scotland

lol!

Yip grans are great! lol!

My gran is so busy tho so getting to see her is like a millitary operation! lol!

Ive planted the following: Pea. onions, strawbs, rasps, chillies, peppers, toms, various herbs and carrots!

So wish me luck! I think im gonna need it! lol!

The Helpful Gardener
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Luck!

And we're here...

HG
Scott Reil

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