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Posted on 07/04/14 2:26:26 PM
Posts: 1

Soil Analysis & Easy Veg

We've just taken over a plot, and thoroughly enjoying it even though so far its just been mostly digging and weeding!

Firstly, can I thank everyone for being so friendly & helpful. It's been a genuine pleasure to meet such a pleasant community in such a short time.

Have got a couple questions I hope you can help with.

Q1. Is it worth doing a soil test? Or do you just get planting & hope you got it about right?.Has anyone done a soil test recently & can share the results? or any seasoned gardeners able to tell by experience what the pH & nutrient balance is like?

Q2. What's been growing well? Everyone says start with potatoes & radishes, so we picked up some at the weekend. Tried & failed to find sweet potatoes.. presumably will have to learn how to chit/sprout our own?. Got some rhubarb in already. Mother-in-Law has put in a request for gooseberries. Had lots of advice from friendly neighbours, but thought I'd ask here as well. We're not confident of our green-fingered credentials, so we're looking for really easy, low maintenance, relatively hardy against pest & disease.

Looking forward to any pointers you can offer to us newbies.

Many thanks

Gareth & Claire

Posted on 12/04/14 08:37:16 AM
Ady @64

Re: Soil Analysis & Easy Veg
Hello and welcome to Tenantry Down!

I've never had a soil analysis done, but I the ph is likely to be quite alkaline (because of the chalk), which is quite good for veg. However the site dries out quickly in summer and somewhat lacking in nitrogen, so any compost or manure you can make or get hold of is a good idea. I start lots of things in pots, and when I plant them out a usually give them a little boost of chicken manure (lots of nitrogen) to start them off.

There are lots of things you can start growing now: lots of us grow runner beans. I usually start these in pots, but you don't have to. They wouldn't usually be planted out until May. If you want to grow leeks you should be starting these now. Again I prefer to start them in a pot. There is still time to do a sowing of broad beans directly into the soil, and it's a good time to sow carrots and beetroot. Also if you want some brassicas for the winter, it's time to sow those (I do mine in pots and plant out the seedlings in May or June, but like most things you can do them direct). Also things like courgettes and pumpkins should be sown now indoors for planting out in May.

I also grow globe artichokes, Jeruslaem artichokes, red and black currants, strawberries and raspberries. I might be able to find a few raspberry runners for you if you would like some, though it's a bit late in the season they would probably still take, and I could certainly give you Jerusalem artichokes. They need careful siting as they tend to expand once established. I would say if you like eating it you should try growing it. Have a look at Garden Organic's online shop (organiccatalogue.com) - there's loads of stuff in there. Not everything works every year, but don't be discouraged - just keep trying!

Also there's a miniature seed/plant exchange/sale and teas on 27 April if you're around. It takes place at the hut on the upper site along Tenantry Down road.

Good luck with the growing!

Posted on 12/04/14 09:00:49 AM

Re: Soil Analysis & Easy Veg
I think go easy on the chicken manure. It's strong stuff and can incinerate your seedlings.

Posted on 18/09/14 10:24:17 PM
Elizabeth Kemp

Re: Soil Analysis & Easy Veg
If you haven't got any gooseberries yet, can I suggest you look out for desert varieties? They are much sweeter and often larger fruited. They might be going cheap at this time of year.

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