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The Ent and his Garden

PostThe Ent and his Garden by Shanks

I know a Few people in the community have decided to take up growing their own Stuff or at least try to. In this current climate as well alot more people are doing it. I personally have been doing it for 15 years now so I thought, I would make this topic where I can give out information Ideas on what can and cant be grown from what I know and people can ask Questions (which i will try and give you and answer back).

Alot of people think you need loads of space to grow you own fruit and Veg, I can tell you this now its complete bollocks all you need is a little bit of patience. So people that may not have a massive amount of space or even a garden at all can still grow some fruit and veg.

There is no comparison to freshly grown fruit and veg to shop supermarket bought stuff !!! I wouldn't claim its healthier or anything same as my personal opinion "Organic" is a massive CON so companies can charge more because people have no real clue.

  1. Make a list of what you eat the most of such as: cabbage, carrots, peas, beans, potatoes, tomatoes and even stuff like asparagus (if you some rich person that can fork out for it)
  2. Work out how much space you have available this will determine what and how much you are able to grow
  3. Prepare the Area or Space (if you have a garden this is fairly straight forward dig it over removing all the weeds) if you are without much garden Pots, Tubs and Sacks work a treat in growing stuff ( so its even possible to have stuff growing in doors)
  4. Planting and Sowing This is the most important part i guess you could say as it basically the make or break point of growing stuff.

    Here is a table what shows when to sow/plant, in/outdoors and when to harvest.
    Sowing and Harvest table
  5. General Maintenance Weeding, Watering (only when needed), thinning out and pinching out.
  6. Then from as little as 2 weeks to a month or so after you have sown its time to harvest your hard work.

Notes :-

Pinching out - this is mostly done on Tomatoes this is something that can be done or not, you will end up with better yield of crop if you do this it comparison to if its not done. This video show it perfectly I would add make sure you don't pinch the top shoot out. Video from :

Crop Rotation is another thing which can be done this prevents the risk of pest and diseases but this a simple concept each season move stuff around so the same thing is in the same place as the season before

Please if you have any Questions or not sure Leave a Message or PM and i will do my Best to help you
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» Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:46 pm «Top

PostRe: The Ent and his Garden by Shanks

So you like POTATOES (this one is for you butcher)

If you're not a great fan of hard work or manual labor growing Spuds is not normally for you then but here is a much easier less effort way of growing a crop and getting a good yield will no digging at all (yes NO DIGGING) this means you can even do this on your patio.

What you will need:-

  • Compost Bags or hessian sacks or something like this
  • Compost or Top Soil ( Enough to fill the number of sacks/bags you intend to use
  • Seed Potatoes (this is your preference on what spuds you like)

What To Do:-

  1. Fill the bag with about 4/6 inches of compost put 3-5 Spud ontop then cover over with another 3 inches of compost
  2. When Foliage start to show and you can see green of leave cover the Spuds over with more compost until completely covered. Repeat this until you reach the top of the bag.
  3. By about mid Summer the flowers should have dropped off and the leaves start to yellow when this happens your Spuds are ready to harvest simply layout a bin liner or large bucket and turn the bag over into it and pick out your Spuds

GOOD POTATOES TO USE Early and Late Varieties:-
  • 'Charlotte' Early
  • 'Maris Peer' Early
  • 'Cara' Late
  • 'Maris Piper' Late
  • 'King Edward' Late
  • 'Rooster' Late
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» Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:11 pm «Top

PostRe: The Ent and his Garden by Shanks

Brassicas Welcome to the Cabbage Patch

This Group of Veg covers Cabbages, Broccoli Cauliflower, Sprouts, Kale, Spinach.

Main Problems with the Group :-

  • Poxy Pigeons
  • Caterpillars
  • Club Root
  • Wilting
  • Die back

Soil Preparation

These Veg all like well drained soil not thick heavy clay soil. if you have clay soil digging in some compost or organic material into during the winter would be advisable or if there is a massive issue with the ground not draining well digging sand in works and is less effort than putting in land drains.

Hp you main need to lime the ground but this is only if your ground and soil is very acidic but be advised Don't over do it as this will screw the area up for the entire season !!!

Clear the patch of Weeds and rake level.


There are two possible options depending on how much people work people want to do and local availability (as i live in the countryside in a very largely farmed growing area stuff is much easier for me to get)

  1. Buying Plug Plants - these are already plants, that have already been grow on and are able to be transplanted straight into the ground outside for people with less room and experience i would personally say this is the best as well it saves alot of your own time. (I do this and always have done less can go wrong)
  2. Growing from Seed - for this you will need the seed, module trays, compost, indoor space to grow such as window ledge or glasshouse and patience! it is rather fiddle to plant single seeds into each module which means you will most likely have to prick out and re pot before they are able to be transplanted outside. Alot more can and does tend to go wrong like this from my own personal experience.

( cost wise there really is no difference between each depending on what materials you already have. )


  1. Once your plants are of a sufficient size or you have bought your plugs ready to be planted outside. they should look something like this
  2. Rake out the area Level removing any large stones.
  3. Put out string line so that you have a straight line to work from.
  4. Space the plants about 12 inches apart in the row and between rows.
  5. Using a trowel plant the plants up to the first leaf deep and firm them in with your hands.
  6. Genitally tease the ground around the plants to allow water in.
  7. Water the plants in once all are planted

Protecting the Plants

netting or a cage is ideal making sure it goes all the way to the ground with no gaps in it because pigeons are bastards and you will have no plants left just stems.

Simple solutions is black netting from away where like B&Q or garden center and Bamboo canes.

Or you can Build one for more permanent solution that can be used year after year, if you have room to store such a thing.

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» Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:07 pm «Top

PostRe: The Ent and his Garden by Shanks

Root Vegetables

Carrots, beetroot, Parsnips, Turnips, Swedes and so on

These are Generally all the same with slight variations but as the best example i will use Carrots.


Needs to be light well-drained to produce best carrots.

They can also be grown in Pots or like things although the deeper the container is the bigger the carrots will grow.


  1. Best way to get large carrots is to dig the ground deep or if in pots make sure all the soil is loose with no big clumps in it.
  2. Firm down, Rake Level removing most as many of the stones as possible.
  3. Make a drill (small trench) 2-3 inches deep use a string line or ruler to help keep it straight.
  4. Sow Seeds into the trench as thinly as possible but covering the entire length of the trench.
  5. cover over seed with soil.
  6. Water well in.

Thinning out

Carrots and many other root vegetables have tiny seed which is impossible to sow them at the correct distance apart. So thinning out is necessary to get the bets out of the crop but don't worry if done right the thinning's can be used in salads or just eaten raw.

Only hands and a firm grip is the best way of doing this.

  • Once the Line is visible and the foliage is about 3/4 inches high you can start thinning out.
  • Thin out the line so the carrots aren't next to one another
  • Next time to thin out is about 2 weeks later thin out the lines so that the carrots are about 4 inches apart this gives them plenty of room.

The spoils or thinning's out don't leave lying around use or bin as the smell of them will attract carrot fly!!


CARROT FLY is the most and foremost problem there are many solutions i find that helps with this :-

  1. Small Timber frame around the lines about 12 inches high as carrot fly cannot fly and cant jump very high
  2. Only use Carrot Fly Varieties on the seed packets it will say if resistant to carrot fly (please not this only means they are less susceptible to them not immune)
  3. Grow Onions and garlic next to your carrots the smell detours or masks the smell of the carrots.
  4. As long as you remove all the thinning's out and try not to damage or break ones left in chances of carrot fly are low.

Beetroots, Turnips and Swedes

These follow the same but the thinning's out can be transplanted as they do well from transplants so you can even start these off in trays than transplant out at a later date.


Best thing to do is so line about 2 weeks apart that way you have carrots for a longer period of time.

Enjoy the Crunchiness of you crop and never turn back to rubbish watery shop bought ones.
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» Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:59 pm «Top

PostRe: The Ent and his Garden by Shanks

Glass House Fruit and Veg

Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Peppers, Aubergine (Egg Plant) & Melons.

These Can also been grown outside with the exception of melons unless you live very south Cornwall with a south facing well protected area.

Care planting and Maintenance is basically the same for all.


  1. Grown in the ground as long as soil with rich with organic matter.
  2. Grow Bags or compost Bags with slits in them. - These are commonly used i have a massive issue with these as they constantly need watering as there ins't a great volume to hold water. but saying this alot of people use them and get a good crop from them none the less.
  3. Pots/Tubs Great if you have a small space so they can be moved around and tends to be the best of both worlds.


  • You can grow from seeds - This means that you will have to plant seeds in module trays allow them to grow into small plants to about 4-6 inches in size before planting in final position. Growing from seed is very easy its just have the space to grow them on as they will need to be protected.
  • Buying plugs/small plants from garden center or even supermarkets (although i would always go a garden center as there is more varieties available) - This is the ideal way if you would rather not rely on your ability to grow from seed and are very limited with space.

Growing form seed means that you can pick and choose which varieties you grow were as buying plants limits to you the stock that you can get hold of.


  • Once you plants are of a suitable size or you have bought them.
  • Remove all weeds from area or cut out the areas for planting in the bags.
  • Dig a small hole just slightly deeper than the current depth of the plants roots.
  • Place plants in covering back up with soil just over the current soil level they were at.
  • Firm in well with hands and water in well.


All these plants will need some kind of support :-

Cucumbers and Melons are Climbers so mesh around a post or a wire frame work ideal for this. Cucumber plants grow rapid and large so its not ideal to put it where it will constantly be knocked around. As Melons in this country tend to not grow into massive plants.

Tomatoes, Peppers & Aubergine are more up right plants which will most likely need some support as when they bare fruit they tend to pull the plants over. Bamboo Canes or plastic ones work the best.

Aubergine and Pepper just putting the cane close to the plant is enough you may need to secure it to the cane depending how large the plant is and if they are sheltered or not (outside plants i would always secure to the canes.)

Tomatoes Will need a much larger cane and these without a doubt will have to be secured to them, personally i find about every 12 inches seems to give the best support.

To secure plants to the canes or posts or climber frames, Garden twine or string works the best. Important point is when securing make sure its not so tight that the string is digging into the plant.


Keeping these plant well watered is the most important as being under cover generally means that rain water will not reach them. When they start to produce crop you will most like find yourself watering them up to 3 times a week this is about right. Remember too much is never a good thing and over watering can stunt the plants. (so use common sense more than just doing a certain number of times a week)

Keep them weeded as this will help with watering.

Tomatoes Need a bit of Extra work doing to them to get the best out of your plants.

This is Pinching out here is a small video that explain it perfectly but i would always say leave the top 4 inches or so just so that you don't risk pinching out the main growing point. Video from :

Good Type of Tomatoes

I always grow a mixture so there is a tomato for any situation these i find are the best ones.

'Money Maker'
'Beef Eater' or 'Steak Tomatoes'


Best time to harvest tomatoes especially is just as they start to ripen up as this will make sure you don't end up with all of them ripening at once and should keep you a steady flow throughout the summer and autumn. Cucumbers just Pick them when you want them knowing that the more you pick the more it will continue producing them.
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» Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:52 am «Top

PostRe: The Ent and his Garden by Shanks

Soft Fruit


Very Easy to grow yourself and are 99% fool proof!!!

Strawberries grow is small clump forming plants that in the wild create a mat on the ground they are a great ground cover for this reason and have the added benefit for free fruit as well.

Personally i would always grow mine in tubs, pots even buckets you can also get actual strawberry pots these are fancy looking things and basically just keep them all in a neat pot there is no benefit of using these other than looks better. Never less you can also grow these in the ground to do this i would suggest this method to get the best out of your plants:-

  • create a mound with the soil where you want the line of strawberries
  • Use a weed suppressant fabric which will allow the water through but 1. will reduce weeding 2. keep the fruit clean 3. prevent slugs and snails feasting on the fruit before yourself.
  • slit the top of the fabric and plant the plants approx 6inches apart and water in well.

it should look something like this :-


(on an extreme scale)

An important think to note with strawberries is that the plants generally do well for 3 years then start to deteriorate.

Each year the strawberry plants will produce off shoots which are called "Runners" these are basically FREE plants so you will never need to buy any plants ever again !!!!


To propagate these you simple cut them off at the stem looking part and put them into a pot with compost to allow to root then you have new plants !!!!
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» Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:03 pm «Top