The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

HELP! Whats the best way to start growing?


Hi All,

This is my first post here as part of the community, I look forward to hearing from everyone and getting my garden ready to grow.

I’m starting my new garden completely from scratch and I was wondering if I could have some tips and advice on how I should set out my areas for growing. My Garden is a large square space so I see it as a blank canvas that I can shape however I like.

I specifically want to be able to grow common fruit and vegetables, I will set out some sections for this growth but what do I need to put down? I have been looking at manures and composts but I have no idea where to start as the ranges are so big everywhere and everything seems to be for different things. For example the range on is extremely large so being new to gardening I have no idea what to choose. Could someone tell which of the products they do are good for the sort of growing I am looking to do?

Thank you al in advance!


More blog posts by younggardener



Welcome to GOY (Grows on you) you could always have your garden in separate areas all linked together by a path or something with different planting etc to break up the space etc?

24 Feb, 2016


Ok to start with, think about what you like to eat, what plants you would like to see growing in your garden. That's where you begin. Evaluate your site. Do you have enough sun, shade, water, etc to grow these things? Then prepare the site. Ideal growing soil should be loose, dark, moist & fluffy. Turn over the soil, break up the clumps, remove all rocks & sticks, work in some composted manure (there are many different types) sand to loosen it up. Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of sun per day. You can start seeds in the house to get a jump-start.

24 Feb, 2016


Hi and welcome to GOY. Sounds like you've got a bit of space to have fun with.

I'd suggest you start by reading up on gardening basics. The BBC site had a gardening for beginners section written largely by Alan Titchmarsh. He also had a tv series (how to be a gardener) which was quite good. It used to be available on you tube, not sure if it's there any more though. If you can't find the bbc section drop me a message I've got some of it saved.

The second thing to do is to have a think about what you want to include (a wish list of sorts, what do you want to be able to do in the garden - e.g somewhere to eat, grow veg, sunbathing spot that sort of thing). Once you have some ideas have a look online for design ideas. Sites like Pinterest and houzz have masses of images to give you some ideas.

There's plenty of things you need to consider that are specific to your garden (soil ph and type, aspect, climate etc) but you should understand this more as you read around. The people here are always happy to answer questions.

As to composts, (hopefully someone will pipe up if I'm wrong here) there's a few main types. You've got your multi purpose compost, which is typically used as a potting compost. Not generally great as a soil improver but no reason you can't spread old potting compost around the garden. You also have specific types of potting compost such as seed & cutting compost (good for starting seeds and cuttings off), ericaceous compost (acidic potting compost which is good for acid loving plants like azaleas, rhododendrons and heather). Apart from ericaceous compost I don't generally bother with the specific potting composts. You then have soil improver such as garden compost (made from composted garden waste), farmyard manure (don't use fresh, it should be well composted before using it on the garden) and mushroom compost. I think mushroom compost has a specific purpose but not sure what. Soil improver are used to help break up heavy clay soils, add nutrients to the soil and improve moisture retention. I'm sure I've missed at few but with a bit of luck I've covered the basics.

Hope that helps and didn't confuse you. I hope you'll let us know how you get on with your garden. Pictures are always great :-)

24 Feb, 2016


Before you start its a good idea to find out what sort of soil you have, whether its light and sandy or heavy and sticky or something in between. You could buy a little soil testing kit from any garden centre and that will tell you what nutrients are present and what are missing - takes the guesswork out of fertilising. Some veg do well in one sort of conditions and some in another.

Do take the advice about reading up - some crops like rotten manure and some don't for example. Remember you don't grow most crops in the same place two years running so a three year cropping plan is useful - you'll find examples in the books - try the local library so you can see a good range before you buy your own.. Meanwhile you could buy your first early potatoes and start to chit them, ie set them on end in a box or in half egg boxes and put them in a cool shaded place to start to shoot. This saves growing time when you plant them later.

24 Feb, 2016


A border fork is a good investment. Better for your back
than a full size heavy one. Get 'Garden News' every week from your newsagent.
Practice the Wright way to dig. I found this in a 1936 garden book. Using a light spade, always remember -
left hand palm down (if you are right handed) insert the
spade into the ground, pull the handle back with the right
hand, and turn the soil over by twisting the wrists.
On the next row insert the spade 2" back, and repeat.
This means you are not lifting a heavy lump of soil and giving yourself the dread Lumbago.
I can go along a row easy as pie doing it this way.
It takes about half an hour to get used to, but once you learn it you will never use any other method.

25 Feb, 2016


Hello to you all, and thank you very much for all your advice.

There is a lot of suggestions here, I'm going to have a long hard think about that the best strategy will be for me. I'm pleased to have some guidance RE compost not so that gives me a starting point there.

Thank you again to everyone!

25 Feb, 2016


Hello again. Your starting point should be to learn to dig properly. All ground needs to be aerated several times a year. Dont walk on it when its wet, just flattens it down. Re the Wright method. This takes patience to
learn and can be done now. If any Johnny Knowall tells you to buy one of those automatic spades ignore him.
They only flick up the soil into the air.
The Professor Wright method turns the soil over correctly.

25 Feb, 2016


Thanks everyone for all the great comments and tips! It's much appreciated. I will have to get some photos uploaded soon!

14 Mar, 2016


If your land was treated with Lime last year, dont plant Potatoes on it or the crop will get scab.
Dont plant Potatoes on land which has been recently manured you will get thrips on your crop.
I have seen this happen, a whole plot of Potatoes ruined.

17 Mar, 2016


Many people have success growing potatoes in tubs, bins, barrels or any other large vessel. There are many good videos and tutorials online to show specifically how to do this.

17 Mar, 2016

Add a comment

Members who like this blog