Jamie Oliver

forum: Gardening / Growing

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#1 Thu 12 Jan 12 1:23pm

gtwiss78

Member
Member since Tue 03 Jan 12

Grow your own veg - Whats the real potential?

Hi all,

After watching and reading 'Jamie At Home' I was inspired to have a go at growing my own veg last year, to see what I could manage to grow and at what expense etc etc. However, I was a little disappointed as to what I managed to achieve and now I have lost motivation to have another go this year. I tried to grow chillies, peppers, tomatoes, courgettes & basil, and in the early stages of propagating, seeing them all grow from seed I was encouraged to spend a lot of time to try and turn the early success into harvestable growth. However, this really is where it ended, the basil didn't really take off, peppers never appeared bar 2 which got eaten, courgettes yielded 2 good sized ones then lots of rotten ones, and the tomatoes ripened too late at which point I had kind of given up.

Now, I am not a defeatist by any means and want to try again this year. I guess what I am looking for is some inspiration. What can you really achieve from your garden (mine is 25ft sq)? I am willing to invest in a green house if this can add some guarantee? But is it really that difficult to grow your own or have I just got it wrong or hard bad luck at first go?

Any words of wisdom would help!

Thanks
Garry

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#2 Thu 12 Jan 12 1:53pm

MsPablo

Forum super champ
Occupation Just being me
Member since Fri 28 Mar 08

Re: Grow your own veg - Whats the real potential?

Whereabouts are you located?   It sounds like you had a rather cool, short growing season.

You might try a 'bush' variety of zucchini.  They're easy and very productive.  You have to pick right away when the fruits first appear, even twice a day, or they get too large.  In the case of a vining zucchini, they could be rotting from laying on the wet ground.

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#3 Fri 13 Jan 12 5:08am

dmfootycoach

Member
From Ontario, Canada
Member since Mon 11 Jan 10

Re: Grow your own veg - Whats the real potential?

I have to agree with MsP. Knowing whereabouts you are would be a great help.
There is a lot that goes into growing your own veg; but the rewards can be HUGE!!!!
I started with a little knowledge and a huge amount of failure that came about my first year in my I think it was 10x10 garden. But the first success can be addictive.  Now it has grown to 40 x 60 and we live off of it.
Don't expect too much. But I'll try to give you a couple tips.
Plant your Basil close to the house on the light appropriate side. The radiating light and heat will help it thrive. Not a big believer in planting herbs amongst veg. Unless they're complimentary in pest control.
Plant Chillis and Peppers in relatively large BLACK shrub pots. Paticularly if you're lacking space. The black plastic pots help grab the suns heat.
Tomatoes can be done in the same manner.
Done in the right manner all can compliment your home.
Personally I've never had much success with zucchini but in the right location and trained to grow UP. They can be insanely prolific.
Myself I like the humble Potato 1 plant in the correct soil can at least with the type I plant produce 3lbs. I do know of people that can get 10lbs depending upon the variety.
Just to give you an idea and this was a poor past season wet and soggy.
112 Yukon Gold Plants= 177lbs (yes I weigh this every year)
40ft Garlic.= 6lbs
40ft Carrotts = 37lbs (over 2 crops)
40ft Peas= 4lbs (over 2 crops)
80ft Onions=11lbs
And the list can go on.
Good luck and stick with it.

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#4 Fri 13 Jan 12 1:28pm

gtwiss78

Member
Member since Tue 03 Jan 12

Re: Grow your own veg - Whats the real potential?

Thanks for your posts guys, really appreciate it. To answer your intial question I live in Shropshire (UK - West Midlands Region) so the weather is mixed at the best of times!

I do want to start small, but focus on what I use the most in cooking. Chillis/peppers and tomatoes I use all the time, and always thought if I could yield these then there would be a good saving as they are quite expensive to buy. Do I need a greenhouse for these ideally? or would it at least provide the right controllable environment to succeed?

I think I will try potatoes this year because if anything can grow well in this country its potatoes! Perhaps I just had some bad luck and its worth another go, just need to decide what to grow and how to grow!

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#5 Fri 13 Jan 12 2:58pm

Kye

Forum super champ
Member since Fri 04 Apr 08

Re: Grow your own veg - Whats the real potential?

Chillis are easy. I already had three.
I planted one seed in each plastic pot around april last year, left them in the greenhouse until they were big enough to transplant. I have just cut them back after reculting the last chillis at the beginning of this month.
They are always brought into the house where they spend the winter behind the bay windows.

Last year was a strange year for tomatoes, mine were ripe very soon (instead of late august/sept as they are usually), plus the plants themselves died so we had to get the tomatoes off quickly. Apparently we were not alone with this problem.

Any new gardener must experiment to see what grows and to be repeated, or deceptions to be tried again or abandoned completely.

I have found that one of the gardens is no good for carrots where another is excellent. I love all the old fashioned veg along with the usual courgettes, different types of salads, garlic, onions, celery, tomatoes, chard, rumex (sorrel?), kale, kol-rabi....and all the herbs that i can find place for.

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#6 Fri 13 Jan 12 3:55pm

Grandmadamada

Forum champ
Member since Fri 19 Nov 10

Re: Grow your own veg - Whats the real potential?

try with what you like and do not expect too much, vegs very often surprised me, the ones I thought would be great did not grow at all some years, others I neglected gave wonderful crops, I also plant or sow seeds given by friends and relatives and wait to see what happens, there are so many variabili, such as good quality seeds, weather, soil, exposure to sun, vegs consociazione and and and

good luck, keep us informed big_smile

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#7 Fri 13 Jan 12 11:33pm

JoyYamDaisy

Forum super champ
From Melbourne Australia
Member since Sun 12 Apr 09

Re: Grow your own veg - Whats the real potential?

Hi Gtwiss,
I think it is fairly rare for people to have success with everything their first go. And the less you have been around gardening and gardeners, the less likely it is.
I seem to have to make every mistake possible before I get it right! But luckily that means that I learn heaps and heaps along the way.
I remember the feeling just after I began to be more successful with my garden, when I moved to this flat where I have to grow everything in pots. I had to earn from scratch all over again!
But it is such a wonderful thing to be learning! The soil, the weather, the different species, the different seasons.

I think you are exactly right to start small and focus in on what you use in your cooking!
Good luck! You will get there! smile

One tip: It can save a lot of time and heartache to buy seedlings. You can grow from seed later when you are more confident. cool
Another tip!: Compost bins are wonderful!!!!!

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#8 Sat 14 Jan 12 1:31am

minerva

Forum champ
Occupation Walking the Old Ways
From Living in the Wild Woods
Member since Wed 16 Jan 08

Re: Grow your own veg - Whats the real potential?

gtwiss78 wrote:

I live in Shropshire (UK - West Midlands Region) so the weather is mixed at the best of times!

Not too wet, not too dry, can be a bit breezy, fair bit of sunshine (if there is any at all!) ...................frost pocket???? There are one or two places your way that can get a touch of late frost in valley locations.
If you aren't sure of conditions/don't have space for lots of seedlings.............buy 1/2 & 1/2, plugplants from you local nursery/garden centre & seeds you grow yourself.

I wouldn't go to the expense of a glasshouse until you know growing veg is the thing for you, however there are one or two things you can do to give yourself a head-start.
Don't sow your seeds too early...........they becaome "leggy" in their early Spring struggle to find some daylight. Late-sown seeds soon catch up & they're sturdier.
Only sow about 10-12 pairs Tomato seeds (a pair of seeds to each pot) & choose the strongest to plant out later. Go for a "Cherry" if that's what the kids eat the most of & maybe something like "Moneymaker" (an old faithful). Don't be tempted to go mad.
Beans.................these can be sown straight out into the soil in early May (in frost does come late & seems to wipe them out, they will most often regrow from the base)..........if the kids are desperate to grow something, a few extra beans grown in pots don't go amiss. Go for something simple like a few Runners & a few long-podded French, if you like them. Remember they will need a firm framework of 6'-8' canes to grow up.
Salad..............buy "Salad Bowl" or other such mixtures of "cut-&-come-again" leaves. Plant them in a short row every week/10days so that they don't all glut at once.
Radish (if you like them)......."French Breakfast" is a good all-rounder..............& like Carrots, they like a lightish, stone-free soil.
Beetroot (again if you like them) .........."Cylindrica" is a good variety for beets of a uniform shape that's good for cutting into identical sized slices.
Potatoes.........marvellous for "cleaning" the soil & for breaking up heavier soils in a new bed. Personnally I wouldn't go for "main crop" given the size of your garden, but rather the more expensive "Salad Potatoes" ie "Charlotte", "Nicola" etc
Carrots can be very disappointing, especially if you have removed grass to make the veg bed (Wireworm, Chafers etc), have stoney/recently manured soil (both cause carrots to "fork")
or suffer Carrot root fly.
I personally don't grow chillis, peppers or tomatoes in the ground, but rather as pot-culture, ensuring that during very wet/windy/cold spells they can be moved indoors whilst the weather system persists & then out again with no loss of fruiting.

There's a fair bit there to start you off...........later you could grow some cabbage/spinach/brussels/kale/cauliflower etc etc for the winter months.

gtwiss78 wrote:

I do want to start small, but focus on what I use the most in cooking. Chillis/peppers and tomatoes I use all the time, and always thought if I could yield these then there would be a good saving as they are quite expensive to buy. Do I need a greenhouse for these ideally? or would it at least provide the right controllable environment to succeed?

So, No you don't have to have a greenhouse to succeed.......I don't have one & I am very nearly self-sufficient in veg.
Watering is always an issue, if that isn't right the plants will either rot or dessicate.
Pollination is also an issue too..................between rows of veg, plant marigolds, herbs, anything that doesn't take up too much space, to bring in the insects. Birds then also have somewhere to hide whilst they are picking up those slugs & snails!

Do have another go, don't give up...............remember to come on here & ask for help.

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