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Thread: Advice - New house with existing raised beds, please help!!!

  1. #1
    NoviceNina is offline Germinator
    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Advice - New house with existing raised beds, please help!!!


    I've just moved into a new house and there is a lovely area of raised beds with some existing vegetables and a bed with a caged area over it - I'm not sure what that's for?

    I'd really like to keep this little allotment going and make it my own, i'm very excited. I feel like Mary from the Secret Garden ha!

    There are carrots growing in there and possibly beetroot, but where do I start for Winter?

    Should I dig out all the existing veg and start again or should I start planting now?

    Any advice for an absolute novice is welcomed, i'd really like to keep it going and not waste whats there. Also, it's been raining lots here, does that affect when I dig/plant?

    Please help,


  2. #2
    burnie is offline Veggie gardener
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    Welcome Nina, no need to rush into anything yet, now is quite a dormant season for a new gardener(and some of us not so new). Read some of the threads on here, make a list of what you would like to eat, then find out if it will grow where you live. Enjoy the carrots and whatever you have inherited, then the exciting part, make a list of seeds/plants and get ready for starting your journey. Sometime in the early spring, once you have identified what you have, you will need to prepare the soil and adding compost or manure, but don't rush into anything. Ask lots of questions on here, we like questions.

  3. #3
    bario1's Avatar
    bario1 is online now Work in progress...
    Join Date
    Feb 2013


    Hi Nina, welcome to the forum - your inherited veg garden sounds great!

    Generally speaking there's not a lot you can do at this time of year, so just relax, read up on veg gardening, and think about what you want to grow next year.

    Carrots and beetroot can be left in the ground all Winter and pulled up as you need them.

    The caged area is probably for growing crops that butterflies like to lay their eggs on, such as cabbages, kale, cauliflower - or it could be for keeping birds off fruit crops like strawberries or blackcurrants... is there anything growing under the cage at the moment?
    burnie and Chestnut like this.

  4. #4
    nickdub is offline Early Fruiter
    Join Date
    Jul 2017


    To some extent gardening is a question of priorities as very few people have enough room to grow, all the veg, flowers and fruit they'd really like to be able to.

    Personally I like fruit and being a rather lazy person prone to occasional bursts of enthusiasm combined with periods when I have other priorities I find fruit trees and bushes suit me best as being able to cope with prolonged neglect. I do grow other things eg tomatoes as they are often expensive and hard to come by fresh in the shops.

    Enjoy your gardening and read up on growing things from seed as that is a good place to start. If you can link up with other gardeners near you so much the better, as most of us have spare plants in the Spring when we are starting things off and its much better to pass these on to another gardener rather than chucking them away.

  5. #5
    Small pumpkin's Avatar
    Small pumpkin is offline Gone Fishing
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Isle of Mull


    Welcome to the vine
    A ready made veggie garden very exciting.
    You've had lots of great advice already. First thing don't panic. Get yourself a cuppa and start reading through the vine. A lot of it is complete nonsense ( because some of us are a bit nuts .......but not me ), some of it might be confusing and some of it will actually be very helpful. Second thing, you ask as many questions as you like. We're all here to help. Third thing enjoy your veggie garden, don't let it become a chore.

  6. #6
    bikermike is offline Cropper
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    North London frontier


    the cage is stop the rhubarb escaping...

    Welcome to the vine!

    on a more serious note, it will be to keep flying things out to stop them nibbling on things.

    If it's small mesh (like net curtains), it'll probably be insect mesh for (most likely) brassicas (cabbages etc). If bigger net, probably against birds for fruit. How big is it? what's inside it?

    In terms of doing now, the most important thing is to pour a nice drink and look at it. Try to work out as far as you can what is in the beds at the moment.

    Crop rotation says ideally, you should avoid planting the same thing twice in following years in the same beds. (note, like most things, this is followed by some and not others. I do, and I would recommend this year to limit the chances of any diseases that were a problem coming through.)

    Is there a compost heap? If there is good compost in there (looks like soil, not half-rotted plants) you could spread that on the beds to feed them for next year. Then if there stuff to be cut back, you could put that in the compost to start next year. I put all uncooked kitchen veg waste on my compost (also tea leaves, coffee grounds and egg-shells). Starting a compost heap would be a good thing to do if there isn't one.

    But mostly I recommend looking at it, seeing what you have. Are you on good terms with the seller (did the seller live there?)? do they have any pics etc of the garden in summer?

  7. #7
    Chestnut is offline Cropper
    Join Date
    Sep 2016


    Hi Nina, and welcome!
    Some good advice there. Take advantage of the winter being quiet in the garden, and put your feet up with a cuppa and do some browsing, in between the unpacking. The only vaguely urgent thing is to let Santa know if you want him to bring you some seeds for Christmas ;-)

    I find the growguides on this site, and RHS website very handy for looking up what to do with the various veg. And have a copy of this planting planner on the garage wall for quick reference.

    Oh, and this forum too!

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