Getting Started – Soil & Kit

Given you’re all at different points with your garden, I’m going to start this post as if you have NOTHING, so just skip any bits that don’t apply.

If you are starting with no knowledge and completely from scratch – don’t get overwhelmed – we’re going to go slowly. There are only 2 things you need to get started – compost and seeds/seedlings.

Below you’ll find suggested kit and suppliers to help you with anything you don’t currently have.


Whether it’s in a planter, in pots or in a bed, you’re going to need compost. This introduces organic matter into your soil and brings it to life.

This is not as easy to get as it normally is during COVID-19, and there will probably be a delay from all suppliers, so get ordering sooner rather than later!

Here’s and easy way to tell how much you might need given the space you have – you’re looking to fill your beds with a 15 cm depth:

Firstly google ‘council compost’ in case you have a local/green waste compost provider nearby. If not, or they are currently closed, you can try… if you need 500L bags ie large amounts.

Otherwise, Amazon is your friend here with smaller bags available eg: 60L compost on Amazon.

Alternatively, you can call local garden centres. For example, we have a local branch of Squires here in Woking that I’ve just found out will deliver orders over £50 if you call them and order.

Whatever you choose, always go for peat-free if you can as this is a non-sustainable resource that most gardeners are trying to phase out of the supply chain.

Obviously, if you already have an established bed to use, then simply layering a few inches of compost over that bed (mulching) is all that’s required to help the health of the soil to get the best plants possible.

If you are digging your own garden beds from scratch, this video shows how to create a popular ‘no-dig’ bed – this is what I’ve done for all of mine.

And if you don’t have all the bits that Charles has, simply lay down cardboard, soak it, and layer 15cm depth of compost over it. Voila! Ready to plant.



You’re also going to need something to start your seeds off in (aka a propagator) – unless you’re reading this in April, May or June, in which case, you can just direct sow your seeds straight into the ground – I’ll do a separate post on this if that’s you.

These windowsill propagators are cheap and perfect to get your seeds started. As I write this, they are currently sold out but I’m adding here for future reference:

So for now, google ‘seed trays ‘ or ‘windowsill propogators’ to see what is currently available. For example, I found these:

As a very rough guide, to fill 10m of garden, you’ll need approximately 20 modules in your propogator, but you might get a little more to be on the safe side. These are normally really easy to pick up from the garden centre if you find you’ve run out, but obviously we don’t have that option at the moment!

If all else fails, or money is tight, then just use egg boxes or an old foil roasting try with a small hole punched in the bottom for drainage.

Honestly, there are far more sophisticated ways of doing what we’re going to attempt, but we just want to get started in the simplest way possible.

For the last bit of kit you need for now aka seeds – read on here:

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