Monday 28 February 2022

More Garden Progress - Half Hour a Day

I feel like I might almost be ready for spring if I carry on like this. 

These are the completed beds. I've dug them over to remove every bindweed and couch grass root I could find. crumbled every sod of earth in my hands to check. I've no doubt I've missed loads but I'm hopeful it might give me a head start. 

 I'm going to continue down the garden but also need to think about getting the rotted manure up here to feed some of these beds before the busy planting time starts. 

I also need to move the small greenhouse and concrete in a small base for it as the one it's currently sat on has rotted away. A job I'd like to do before the season gets too far in! Trouble is I think I'll have to take out all the glass before I start to make the new base. I plan to move it 6ft to the left looking at it from this picture, I might then build a post structure with a perspex roof in between the two greenhouses as a kind of "base of operations" where I can tidily keep all my gardening supplies, pots and other items. 

Who else feels almost ready for spring?

Sunday 27 February 2022

Malvern Seed Swap

 Yesterday I went along to the seed swap in our local town Malvern. Was lovely to see a event like this kicking off again. Apparently it always used to have a seed swap in April but I had never got round to going. 

Friday 25 February 2022

Triggers Trowel...

The other day the handle on my long trowel broke. 

Now I have to admit that this had probably been left outside too often, but it had done about 8 years of service as my main trowel! 

I was gutted, but I decided it was far too good of a trowel to throw away, so time to quickly make a new handle. 

Wednesday 23 February 2022

Less Screentime

I'm going to write this post and try not to sound preachy. At a talk the other day I got asked how I keep my children off screens. 

I think it's certainly easier for us here as we have plenty of space and my work fits perfectly around the children. So there is lots for the children to do and I often do and make things with them (we play a lot of board games in the house as well). 

But my answer to the question was really simple. We don't let them. We're the authority here. 

They have access to tablets and stuff, but they get to use them for a few hours on a Saturday and Sunday morning and that's it. If we go out for a meal we don't take devices with us, we try and talk and enjoy each others company, or if it's going to be boring we take a deck of cards to play with. 

I'm proud of the fact our children have great attention spans and will happily watch a whole movie, or do a job that takes upwards of an hour without loosing interest. They also have chores to do and will empty the dishwasher or cook breakfast. 

Last Saturday was the perfect example. I'd kicked them outside (they were playing Lego) and they were wondering what they could do. Middlest asked if they could have a bonfire, but I don't have enough to burn for that, instead I said they could light the pizza oven (goo to light it in the winter as stops it getting too damp). They went and found twigs, some newspaper and the matches, they lit it themselves, I had nothing to do with the whole operation. They then spent hours feeding the fire and playing in the area around it (sword fights with sticks featuring quite highly). 

I love when they end up staying out until it gets dark, perfect winters day! 

Probably preaching to the converted with this post, so I apologise if I am or if I come across "holier than thou" with it!

Monday 21 February 2022

The Floor Is Lava

 These guys were supposed to be moving firewood, but stopped as apparently "The floor is lava". I love hearing them play outside, their days are just filled with laughter and they often stay out until dark. 

They did move some wood for me though. It's nice that I can cut some up then get them to bring it in that evening. Makes them feel part of the process to help keep us warm and they enjoy helping (that's what I tell them anyway).

Always lots of wood to process into firewood here, if I get my act together we have the next few years sorted, especially as it's oak! 

Who else is keeping up with cutting firewood for the future?

Sunday 20 February 2022

No Storm Damage

 I sometimes moan about the fact that we're on a north facing slope, in a wet little dip. 

But when a storm rolls in I'm thankful that we're tucked down out the way. 

Taking a walk around after the winds had settled I was pleased there was no damage. The only thing was one of the tarps blown off a chicken pen - but it was a cheaper tarp than I normally use.

So I put the old one back on and added a new one over the top. Should act a bit like insulation like that! 

How did everyone else fair through the storm? Any damage?

Saturday 19 February 2022

No-Dig Greenhouse Bed

 So for the last ten years (and before in my old house) I've been gardening in the greenhouse with either growbags or, more recently, builders buckets.

These have worked great and I've had some amazing crops over the years from them, making up my own mixes to plant into. A great old post showing this can be found here!

But since the ducks have been in the tunnel in the winter I've been missing out on growing some winter salads and having some early crops. So until I can see an end to winter poultry restrictions I think it's time to set things up a bit differently. 

First job was to lift the slabs and drag out all the bloody bindweed roots. 

Thursday 17 February 2022

Apple Tree Pruning - Year 10

I can't quite believe I've had these trees in 10 years. Not all of them have made it, not all of them have grown that well in this shady little corner of our plot, but some have done brilliantly. 


I've only took photos of a few. This one I was going to graft over as it hadn't cropped, but last year gave us great apples for a change! 

Tuesday 15 February 2022

Some More Seeds Sown

We've been sowing lots of seeds again, can't seem to help ourselves! 


Last weekend we put some early "Alaska" peas in, with the idea to maybe crop these in the greenhouse, meshed up to stop the mice (hopefully). 

Sunday 13 February 2022

Skinny Chilli

Over the years I've grown many chillies here, we don't use that many but they look so beautiful as plants. I tend to dry them or make them into jam. 

This year I only want a few plants to grow on the bedroom windowsill. I wanted small compact plants that were almost topiary in appearance. tony, at the seed swap, brought a pot of tiny chillies labelled as "Skinny Chillies". He said the plant stays small and will be perfect for what I want. 

 Breaking the seeds out of some naturally dried chillies is a sheer joy.

What's not sheer joy is forgetting you've done that then rubbing your eye an hour later! Pain! 

I've got these on my heated propagator and I'm hoping they germinate. 

What is your favourite chilli to grow?

Friday 11 February 2022

Seed Swap Haul

I love coming back from the seed swap, tired but fired up about the garden year - Maybe this is what was missing from my gardening last year and why I seemed to have no mojo about it all!  

This is my haul, a lot of seeds, but then I took about 100 packets as well so I don't feel too guilty! 

Wednesday 9 February 2022

Hereford Seed Swap 2022

 After last years seed swap couldn't go ahead I was almost worried about how this one would be received and whether we'd have to build it back up. 

Quite the opposite was true! The Seed swap was a huge success, so many attended and I've never seen so many seeds, even before we started the tables were swamped with packets. 

Monday 7 February 2022

Battery Chainsaw - First thoughts

So although I own a two stroke petrol chainsaw which is brilliant, I've been thinking about getting a battery one for sometime now. 

I went for Makita for the simple reason that all my other cordless tools are on this 18v platform so it just makes sense for me to go that way. 

Saturday 5 February 2022

Boba Fett Stick

This is probably the most dangerous thing I've made with my son! 

We've been watching the book of Boba Fett after the kids swimming lesson each week as a little treat together (before my wife gets home from work as she is not a star wars fan). A few weeks ago Boba got a stick from the tuskan raiders and my boy decided he'd quite like one. 

Thursday 3 February 2022

Artichokes & Cordoons

I'm always chomping at the bit to get stuff planted early in the season. 

When we first moved here I had some brilliant globe artichoke plants, although they didn't last out the winter. And over the years I've grown them a few times since. Always a real treat to eat (if a bit of a faff) and some real structural plants for the garden. 

So I thought we'd put them in again this year. The instructions say that planted this time of year they'll be annual so it has made me think that might be why they didn't make it through last time. 

I've always fancied growing cardoons as well. I know they take up a huge amount of space but that's not something we're short of here. I've never eaten the blanched stems but have wanted to ever since seeing it on Victorian Kitchen Garden many years ago. 

My boy helped me plant them. I love how careful he is with seeds, such a delicate touch as he plants them. 

I've decided this is going to be a good gardening year so fingers crossed I don't start to let it slip before we even get properly growing! 

What have you been sowing lately? Keep me on my toes! Who has peas in already? 

Tuesday 1 February 2022

More Garden Progress (Half Hour A Day)

 I feel like I'm making such good slow and steady progress with the garden this year. It's only been just over a month doing my half hour a day (and a few extra units of time at the weekends) but it's really moved things forward. 

I've decided to alter the layout slightly as well. Before you walked in and out on a narrow strip of slabs and it was always a bit of a fight to get in and out, the gate made from old wood is also on the way out so I think I'll make the entrance bigger and have it slightly further away from the greenhouse.

Also a much wider slabbed area as you first walk in. This will be great for setting out pots when hardening off and I'd really like to get it so I've got somewhere to sit in the veg garden. I had a bench in the veg at our last house and I was thinking that would be nice to do again. 

The slabs are only set rough on the soil, but that means I can change it again in the future should I want to do things differently. 

So far I've had 8 bucketful's of bindweed roots from the patch where I'm now going to make the new entrance. I'm also thinking about investing in a bit of sweet chestnut pailings and possibly an arch way to train two apple trees up. We'll see though as I'm terrible for getting carried away! 

Anyone else altering the layout of their garden at the moment?

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