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Do you still buy fruit and veg?
Sat 9-Apr-11
6:12 pm
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laughingscorpion
Kent, uk

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Hiya!

I'm brand new on here (first ever post) so please be gentle smile

Just this year I've decided to start growing fruit and veg and so far it's going surprisingly well. Love the fact my young kids are learning where it actually comes from too.

But my question is this: do you manage to grow enough fruit and veg every year to keep you out of supermarkets/farm shops, or do you have to 'top up'? I only have a smallish garden so I'm pretty sure I'll have to head back to the shops, but looking forward to the fresh food I'll hopefully grow smile 

Sat 9-Apr-11
9:17 pm
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seth
lincolnshire fens

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wave With a small plot the answer is to grow what you like & what's expensive , lots of salad crops , strawberries ,runner beans ,  baby carrots , new spuds not maincrop . Best of luck ok.

Seed catalogues are responsible for more unfulfilled fantasies than the web and playboy combined . (after Michael Perry)

Sat 9-Apr-11
9:19 pm
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Shereen
Near Belfast, Northen Ireland

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I'm a mere dabbler compared to most folk here, and only grow a few things for the pure joy of having something to eat that's come fresh from the garden. But in relation to your question: I grew two long troughs of onions last year and it made me realise that, at the rate I use onions up, I would never grow all I use. Unless I grew nothing but onions 🙂

Sat 9-Apr-11
9:41 pm
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danast
Argyll, Scotland

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  wave  I was having a conversation just yesterday about the fact that I do not grow vegetables through the winter, you know kale etc.  I am going to try to be more productive in winter this year.

Like Shereen in the space I have,  I could never grow enough onions.  My leeks ended uo the same size as when I put them in.  As you possibly can gather, Claire, I too am quite  a novice.  I have a polytiunnel 20 ft x 10ft and some raised beds.  But I do enjoy the growing.  I just must do better.   big_laugh

Old teachers never die, they just lose their class

Sat 9-Apr-11
10:17 pm
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Vagabondic
Bucks

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I agree with Seth, it is best to grow the crops where the quality of homegrown is appreciably better such as tomatoes and those where there is a decent cost saving compared to the shops. Not having to buy veg is possible,  my Father prided himself on veg self sufficiency, but you will need a significant amount of time and space to achieve it

Sun 10-Apr-11
6:52 am
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laughingscorpion
Kent, uk

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smileWow thanks for the reply guys!

It's nice to know  must be doing something right as I've got lots of tomato plants in, as well as 5 cucumbers plants and various salad leaves inc lettuce.

Managed to grow courgette well last year so will try that again this year too smile

I've got runner beans growing up the shed, but something is eating the leaves - any ideas on what it is and how to get rid? x x x  

Sun 10-Apr-11
7:11 am
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kayerunrig
lincolnshire

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i could never grow the volume of fruit we go through unless i had a full sized orchard , i have a small patch of family trees that grow more than one variety of plum apple and pear , leeks id need a field full but i still grow a lot because in a winter its just not worth a trip out for them , onions i grow a variety of, but plain cooking onions are dirt cheap to buy , greens and weird beetroot i grow loads of , purple spuds and fir apples plus my Mimi that crop up like weeds around the garden , strawberries and raspberries i can never grow enough of , beans and peas are the same as fast as they ripen theyre gone with my vultures , courgettes i pop a couple of plants in where theres a gap , tomatoes , well after the polytunnel setting off down the fen im not sure how i will manage those this year but i will . Big patch of garlic , turnips that always seem to get eaten by flea beetles it sounds endless and is i have acres but i dont ...lol...its amazing what you can grow

Sun 10-Apr-11
9:09 am
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brightspark
Wilts

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Kaye, you do really well, but when you're feeding a growing family, like you say, you'd need acres. I don't think we could grow as much as you Kaye - our garden is a bit titchy! frown

We have a small walled garden, with multiple espaliers - the only way, really, with such limited space.

We have Conference pear; Fiesta apple; Bramley apple; Cox apple; sweet cherry (Stella); figs(2); Victoria plum; Greengage; and finally a huge Morello cherry taking up the rear wall of the double garage. Between the espaliers, we have many summer and autumn raspberries; blackcurrants(2); gooseberries (2 types). In the lawns are two crab apple trees, which are in blossom at the moment (our son sent us a picture of the garden yesterday - from his phone!)

Also a square patch of land behind the garage which is our 'veg' patch (surrounded by espaliers, natch!!). Too small to do anything but rotate from year to year - this year runner beans; tomatoes; maybe a couple of courgette plants; and potatoes. We have a rhubarb crown, too - very kindly donated to us by a seasoned gardener - and it's looking really good! ok

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Sun 10-Apr-11
11:01 am
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devongarden
Devon, UK

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We try to be self sufficient in fruit and veg, but are about to run out of potatoes and the onions have gone (so I am using up shallots instead). P has just planted 6 or 8 apple trees in some new land he has bought, and between us we already have 8"2 of them step-overs, so not much fruit from them, but the rest are productive and we are still using up last year's crop. I have pears, cherry, and a peach I planted last year, now covered with blossom, and a fig. Also strawberries and summer and autumn raspberries.

Any suggestions for further small fruit trees? I have a couple of sunny spots for small trees where non-productive shrubs have been taken out recently. Not espaliers"the peach is an espalier and looks great, but I don't want a repeat of the major work involved in putting the trellis and then canes up on a stone (local granite, mostly) wall.

Sun 10-Apr-11
11:21 am
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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waveHow about a quince....they are self fertile & the flowers are beautiful. You can make great jellies & quince vodka out of the fruit. They make the house smell wonderful when you bring the fruit inside in late autumn.  Oh, & if you add piece of quince to apple tart or pie it makes it into something extra special.

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Sun 10-Apr-11
1:07 pm
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devongarden
Devon, UK

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Hattie said:

 

waveHow about a quince....they are self fertile & the flowers are beautiful. You can make great jellies & quince vodka out of the fruit. They make the house smell wonderful when you bring the fruit inside in late autumn.  Oh, & if you add piece of quince to apple tart or pie it makes it into something extra special.

Thanks! Good idea, but I forgot to say P has planted a quince and a medlar with his new apple trees. Must remember to try quince vodka when it produces fruit if I am allowed any... sloe_gin

Sun 10-Apr-11
1:50 pm
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brightspark
Wilts

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Barbara - here is a website for trees, if that's any help, including advice on rootstocks -  'Tree Sizes' (keeping trees to a size that's best for your garden).

It is run by Dan Neuteboom, a Dutchman, who, after qualifying at Dordrecht university in agriculture, has lived in Suffolk for 40 years - and talks to trees ! big_laugh

He might be the right guy to talk to !!

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Live life to express, not to impress
Don't strive to make your presence noticed
Just make your absence felt"
Sun 10-Apr-11
10:08 pm
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Terrier
York

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I'd love to be self sufficient in fruit and veg, but I think as many others have said, the amount of ground you'd need and the time is probably unrealistic, so I tend to try and do the things we love that are either expensive in the shops or just not as good. Always have salad leaves on the go over the summer months, lots of herbs and garlic for most of the year, tomatoes, chillis, cucumbers, lots of salad veg. I always grow some peas, broad beans, french beans but they rarely make it to the kitchen never mind providing us with a meal.

Got 3 big bramley trees, so the only thing we are really self sufficient in is cooking apples, we have 3 low producing cherry trees, a couple of eating apple trees, rasps, strawbs, blackcurrants, rhubarb and this year I've planted a new conference pear tree.

Mon 11-Apr-11
7:28 am
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mike.
Coventry

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I'm not sure how much space you need to be truly self-sufficient for veg but during the summer we get enough courgettes, herbs and chillies to keep us going. Like Danuta said, I never have anything in the garden over winter - I never seem to get the timing right to get winter crops in.

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Mon 11-Apr-11
6:50 pm
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maggenpie
Cornwall, UK

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wave Hi Claire. I've got a tiny plot with high raised beds, like others have said, its only worth growing veg you love and is expensive or less appealing to buy. I grow lots of leafy things, spinach, chard, pak choi, corn salad, rocket, land cress, sorrel - in small amounts to eat young in salads then some grow on for cooking later. I also grow red and white beetroot and eat the young leaves as well as the roots, and kohl rabi. I love squashes so grow a few and wish I had room for more. Mostly mini pumpkins, cobnut and spaghetti squash because they're prolific, never let me down and store well but I'd love to try some different ones (recommendations anyone?). I poked a few sweet corn in as well. I grow peas because they are so divine eaten minutes after picking, and french bean Cobra because it just keeps on going, even when the weather isn't good. Potatoes in bags, tomatoes in my 6'x4' greenhouse, strawberries wherever I can fit them in. Since the cold weather cleared out my tender perennials I've replanted the flower bed with fruit and herbs, and a few perpetual onions and garlic as well. Oh and I've got some rhubarb and jerusalem artichokes.

I didn't buy any veg for several months last year (I only have two of us to feed most of the time), and with eggs from my duck as well I was very happy. In fact we've only recently eaten the last of the beans from the freezer.

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