The Garden and The Peas

This week has been time to think about when we are back in the UK.

We have been discussing what we would really ideally want from our outdoor space. Have been thinking about Bespoke Garden Features. We would love a pond for wildlife but think that may be a too big a project to start off with! What with trying to to move and settle in too! However, we have been thinking about a special BBQ or fire gathering area in the garden. for instance to build our own static BBQ area with seating around it. Michael has some ideas for home made benches or pallet furniture.

When going for a bigger project, expertise is key. Ask experts in the field of what you want to do. I quite liked Avalon Artscapes awesome designs for labyrinths and mazes! They are great fun! Avalon Artscapes are a family run company who draw on their garden landcaping experience in both New Zealand and the UK including ideas for decking, landscape design and willow work such as fencing. I did some willow weaving as part of my Countryside Management Course back in 2011, and the structures do look great : )

We are starting small in a small garden when we return so will be doing a small BBQ area and some raised beds to grow veg in. It will be a challenge starting over all again!

Here our veg is doing well – have included some photos of our pea plants. I keep eating the small pods as they are lovely and sweet!

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Planting Seeds!

This weekend we have been trying to at least plant some seeds to get them started so we have some small plants to grow on and then transfer outside when it is better weather and Spring properly arrives! We are currently potting a number of seeds indoors every weekend in the hope they will begin to grow and be ready for the coming spring time. Also once they have grown a little we are aiming to harden off the plants everyday on the balcony to get them accustomed to the outdoor climate so we can fully plant them outside and have success!

In this last batch I had a great mixture of seeds to try:

Baby Leeks-provided by http://www.thompson-morgan.com/ who have a great selection of seeds and plants! Also I got to use my new paper potter from them too-great fun and uses old newspapers to make free pots!

Some Electric Daisies (edible flowers) to zing up the allotment from http://www.suttons.co.uk/ who have a great variety of seeds including heritage seeds and James Wongs new collection.

Last but not least my Thyme and Rocket seeds to try from http://www.allotinabox.com/grow-your-own/ who sent me a great set including the name tags, seeds and a planting wheel to help me : )

Overall, I am very excited about testing this varied combination of seeds out-will keep you posted on which work best and how they get on growing and when we transfer some of them outside whilst others will be just as suited to the windowsill, wish us luck growing!

Katy : )

Smallholder writing:

I am gearing up to write my next piece for ‘Smallholder’ Magazine for the next month. Hoping to include lots of different smallholding antics-such as preserving, growing herbs, chitting the potatoes, baking, progression with the allotment, chicken run plans and of course more random adventures of Mr Podge our very naughty ex pat cat! Keep an eye out for it in the next edition of the magazine : ) I hope you enjoy reading the magazines-they are a great source of inspiration, include great advice and tips as well as assisting in helping people make contacts with other like minded smallholders and kitchen gardeners.

Anyho, back to work! : )

Preparing the Potatoes!

 

So time to Chit the Potatoes!

Chitting is when you effectively assist the potatoes is sprouting early before you plant them in the ground properly outside in your allotment or garden. The most common way of setting up chitting potatoes is to use an old egg carton tray and place your potatoes one by one in the spaces provided. They should be ‘on end’ where tubers will grow up from-ie sprouting. This should be kept approximately 5-6 weeks inside chitting before being transferred to the ground outside. Preferably kept in a cool, light area.

We are attempting growing potatoes for the first time and worry that we have let our starter potatoes sprout too long before we managed to get time to set them up properly in the egg tray-some of the potatoes have multiple sprouting on the top end! But we are hoping that they sort themselves out over the next 6 weeks. Fingers crossed! We are new to growing potatoes so if any one has some good advice on potato growing and chitting then all ideas welcome! : )

I have been reading up on chitting but am more familiar with the in ground process I feel!

We shall see! : )

The Good Life In Practice on ‘The Forget-me-not Cultivation’ Blog:

The Good Life In Practice is one of the featured gardening/allotment blogs Sophie talks about on her lovely list on her blog ‘The Forget-me-not Cultivation Blog’ here is the link to read the article: http://sophiecussen.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/10-great-gardening-blogs/

Yay! Thankyou very much Sophie for the mention : )

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/