Product Review: Thompson and Morgan

I got a lovely big package arrive from Thompson and Morgan filled with gardening, allotment and veg patch goodies!

Thompson and Morgan have been established since 1855 providing home gardeners with mail order seeds and gardening supplies. They have over 150 years of horticultural knowledge and expertise. Thompson and Morgan first started back in 1855 in Ipswich in Suffolk. Go to http://www.thompson-morgan.com/ to read their interesting history. From the first seed catalogue being produced things have expanded-now you can get anything from bulbs to fruit trees or even seed potatoes.

Thompson and Morgan have a great blog with interesting articles and posts including tips and information for beginner gardeners and growers. Thompson and Morgan also have a series of links for special collections-RHS seeds, Kew Garden collection and the Alan Titchmarsh Range.

Inside my particular parcel was a paper potter (photos above show it in action!), Envirofleece with tri-pegs and a vast selection of their seeds to try out over the next coming months.

The Envirofleece can be used to help protect your veg patch from hard frost and give plants a helping hand to grow stronger and faster. The Tri-pegs assist in anchoring down the fleece in the required position. The fleece provides all year round protection for seedlings and plants as needed by the gardener. I am looking forward to using this with my early spring veg outside in the coming months to give them assistance in this tough weather we are having!

The Paper Potter is used to make small free pots for your seedlings. Its a great way of using up old newspaper and having biodegradable pots which can go straight into the soil to be planted after they have grown. As you can see from the pictures above I have been having a good practice with mine and prepared a lot of paper pots to use to straight off some of our seeds inside in the warmth before transferring them outside to the plot.

The seed selection sent by Thompson and Morgan is a grand variety and includes all the staples that a kitchen garden or any budding allotmenteer should have. Seeds ranging from peppers, courgettes, carrots through to peas and cherry tomatoes! I can’t wait to get started with planting all of these lovely seeds! We are planning the allotment as we speak-what goes where etc. All in all I am very excited about using these products and they come with great instructions and further details provided with them.

If you would to take a gander at their site to have a look for some seeds, garden supplies or allotment information books here is the link: http://www.thompson-morgan.com/

Product Review: ALLOTINABOX

A way of growing your own whether you are urban or rural! : )

I received a lovely little brown box (recyclable) in the post from ALLOTINABOX. These little packets assist anyone in getting ‘a slice of the good life’ by providing all the essentials to grown your own produce. The emphasis on grow your own is not only that the food will be fresh and local but also the experience of growing can be fun and educational.

My box included a grand selection of No.1 seeds, organic jute twine, bespoke plant tags, a herb  ‘grow wheel’ to help to learn what to grow when in the year and also a cute ‘scrubs up’ soap which is handmade exclusively for ALLOTINABOX. When this package arrived I was very excited as it comes complete inside with cool wrapping paper (recyclable) and presented lovingly. I was thinking that they would make great alternative presents for friends and family-especially if they live further away so you can post to them easily!

The seed selection I got in my box was Rocket, Aubergine, Mangetout, Parsley, British Thyme-these will grow great on the windowsill or on the balcony in the summer time!

I researched the ALLOTINABOX website and it was jam packed full of useful information, help and other fun projects and news. Not so much just a website to sell products on but also a fun forum for allotmenteers, gardeners or people with questions about growing your own. Overall, I cannot wait to get started with this great kit and will begin planting the seeds in the next week-some photos and progress reports to come along the way as we go on our own journey of growing your own! : )

If you would like to get a similar goodie box through the post, give as a gift to a friend or take a browse at the ALLOTINABOX website, the link is here: http://www.allotinabox.com/grow-your-own/

Granddad Basils Beekeeping

Some of Grandad Basils beehives-flusky the cat bravely sitting on one!

Some of Grandad Basils beehives-flusky the cat bravely sitting on one!

Some more stories from the Nuttery Runacres smallholding. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I have enjoyed talking to Dad and Auntie Diana about it.

Granddad Basil started bee-keeping whilst at the Nuttery Smallholding. Granddad had up to 20 hives in total! Dad was telling me that the system worked well-he kept 6 hives at the Nuttery and moved the other ones around the village to aid pollination  Often these hives were  kept in other friends or locals gardens or spare fields. Granddad made all the hives and inner frames for them up in the ‘bee-shed’ which I have spoken about before! This shed was an old pre-fab building moved to the Nuttery and kept Granddad Basil happy for hours! Luckily Granddad loved it lots as Dad and Grandma could not get too involved as both were allergic to bee stings!

Additionally, the veg and fruit patch kept my grandparents, Auntie Diana and Dad very busy too! The plot had about 2 dozen blackcurrant bushes for a good 20 years before they got worn out! Also 3 long good rows of raspberries-dad remembers a good year when they harvested over 300 punnets of fruit to sell at a local Green Grocers up Bramford Road, Ipswich. Still, there was plenty of fruit glut left for jam making! There was a large strawberry cage-Granddad Basil had got hold of some ex-fishing nets to cover the plants and protect them. Again, the veg patch did just as well with the glut of asparagus being sold or swapped for sweet chestnuts with one of granddads work mates! The rhubarb patch kept Grandma busy with new recipes for pies, jams and crumbles. Moreover, among other goodies to eat there were cabbages, carrots, potatoes, onions, other brassicas and over 20 yards of runner bean plants to harvest!

New Year Growing: Suttons Seeds

So a little parcel of goodies arrived today from Suttons Seeds! A parcel full of a large variety of seeds to try!

The parcel included a care guide too and great instructions on the packets to follow to ensure the best success rate of health and output from your crops.

In my parcel were 13 different varieties of seeds: Electric Daisies, Callaloo, Asparagus Ariane, Beetroot Chioggia, Broccoli Parthenon, Kale Black Magic, Pepper Sweet Sunshine, Asparagus Pea, Cucamelon, Musk Melon Emir F1, Tomatillo, Pea Mangetout Sweet Horizon, Dwarf Bean Mascotte and Rocket Pegasus.

Some are classics, some are new additions to the Sutton Seed Catalogue and some are from James Wongs new collection called ‘Home Grown Revolution’. We are starting to plant some of the early starters inside the house in the warm already in the hope we will have some early crops to eat! We have compost pots inside near the windowsills in the hope that the sunshine and the heat will help them get started!

A few seeds I am particularly excited about trying to grow are:

-The Electric Daisies (supposed to taste like sherbet dip dap and I can’t wait to try the recipe included inside-Mango and Electric Daisy sorbet!)

-The Asparagus Pea (an exotic seed which combines the taste of asparagus and peas together)

-The Callaloo (a Caribbean variety of spinach which is brightly coloured and can be used in the same way as spinach, watercress or broccoli)

-The Dwarf French Beans (a classic and a great tasty veg always better straight from the veg patch!)

-The Tomatillo (a new interesting addition from the James Wong collection-its a lime flavoured tomato with a high  yield-will be trying this in summer salads and fresh salsas I hope!)

These are just a few of the different seeds I received and I hope in the coming months to sow, grow and crop all of them. I will be following their progress and which are the most suitable for the land here, which produce the highest yield and which I find personally the most tasty and the most adaptable for using in recipes in the kitchen. Keep an eye out for regular updates!

If you would like to learn more about Suttons seeds or search for new exciting seeds to boost your crops this year, get old favourites for the allotment or renew gardening equipment take a look at their site:

 http://www.suttons.co.uk/?gclid=CNns2snVprUCFUlc3godD1wAzg

Good News!

So after settling into our new house and trying to sort the contract we have good news! Particularly ready for the Spring and Summer coming! We have talked to our landlord and they have given us permission to have a small piece of land near the house. We can use this small piece of land to hopefully grow some veggies and fruit in the spring and summer time. I am currently looking through seed catalogues and researching whats best to grow when. Also have asked some local Swiss friends when we can start planting and sowing seeds-the weather here is very, very different to back home with snow being up here till about april/may time.

Additionally, what is also very exciting is the fact we have also got permission to maybe if we want have some chickens on this land and to build a small chicken house for them! We would love to do this and shall see how we get on! If there is enough time and we can make enough space for a run after we have planned what plants are going in then we might be able to get 2-3 Point of Lays to begin with!

Watch this space for more updates on trying to make the most of rented land and property!

Below: A photograph of a Swiss home made chicken run for 6 chickens on a nearby farm. There is a flat roof on the top of the run to stop snow getting in the run so that the chickens can stay all through the winter season! We hope to be able to make a decent sized chicken run and coop for our chickens if we can get a few in the summer.

Spotting Chickens everywhere we go!

Spotting Chickens everywhere we go!

 

 

Mangels to you Sir!

So Mangels have all been stored and sorted back at home in UK and I have included some photos of them-A recipe from Dad will be following soon to make Mangel Wine!