Winter sowing! 

I’ve decided that it’s time to start sowing seeds. January has almost passed and although there is still a bit of morning snow on the ground, my trusty books and seed packets advise me that you can show seeds under cover in these winter months. 

I decided to plant some cauliflower in small pots, cabbage in modules, broad beans in a large piece of guttering and peas in the small piece of guttering. The guttering (with drainage holes) allows easy transplanting with minimum root damage and will be kept in the greenhouse. The cauliflower and cabbage are resting nicely on a south facing window sill as I doubt they will germinate otherwise!

Where possible, I get my seeds from Chase Organics, The Organic Gardening Catalogue. You pay a few pennies more per packet, but it is worth it for me to support non GMO and non chemical growing practices. I had great success from last years’ seeds, so fingers crossed this year!! 


Pallet picket fence

We have loads of pallets lying around so decided to make a picket fence out of them to stop the chicken going on the veggies.

The difficulty in working with pallets is that they break easily so it is worth watching a few YouTube vids to find the right method for the right type of pallet. This vid (although long and annoying) was the one I found most helpful.


Firstly we measured the picket fence spikes and used a jig saw to cut them out. You will also need to jig saw all the back bits as per the above vid.


Next was brute force. You will also find that you can’t help singing Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”. I still have it in my head….


Dealing with the nails…..

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Knocking posts in and screwing the pallets in.

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Finished product! I am awfully chuffed with our basically free fence!!! It just needs a bit of paint now!

Favourite Five Broad Bean Recipes

Great source of tasty protein! 🙂

Spade Fork Spoon

favorite five I’ve mentioned earlier this month that the first broad beans of the season are a real delight for me. I like the fact that you can plant a few beans in October or November and they emerge in the last of the autumnal sun, brush off whatever the winter throws at them, then rapidly grow as the days warm in spring. One single bean brings one plant, but a whole basket of harvested pods and countless beans. They are one of the easiest of crops to grow, only being slightly blighted by black fly and bird attack. I’ve found that overwintering the beans seems to cut down on the black fly attacks, but opens up the possibility of birds like pigeons feasting on the new shoots. So I often use a net to cover the plants in their infancy, and also pinch out the tops of the plants when the beans are formed; which I’m told reduces…

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Save room for dessert!

Mmmm. I might try this at the weekend! 🙂



Meringues with homemade fresh fruit jam/sauce

2 days ago I really wanted to eat something sweet  but I didn’t want the usual slice of cake, I wanted something different, that required few ingredients and produced a different texture and I came out with this idea of making small meringues (crunchy outside and soft inside) and on the top I decided to put my own jam/ fruit sauce. My husband and I loved it and I wanted to share the recipe with you.

To make this recipe you will need:

3 eggs white

A pinch of salt ( helps the egg white stand up in high peaks)

1 cup of sugar or 115 gr of granulated sugar

For the fresh fruit homemade jam/sauce you will need:

1 cup of fresh strawberries

1 cup of fresh  blueberries

1 1/2-2 tablespoons of sugar (it depends how sweet you want the jam to be)

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Planting on a Budget…Harvesting seeds from your own garden

Will definitely be trying this recipe!!

Mrs. Robinson's Pantry

Gardening on a budget need not take that much extra effort, and the idea is to save money by eating your own vegetables – so it makes no sense to spend a fortune on seedlings and seeds from garden centres when you can harvest your own!

Letting a few plants go to seed isn’t a crime on your vege patch.  When they do, cut them and dry them out.


When you are ready to use them, separate the seeds from the dried stalks.

Alternatively, the seeds can keep so you can put them in little labelled envelopes like these: Image

If you are a stationery fan like I am, you can make labels and enveloped seed packets into little tokens or favours for friends too! It’s always nice to let people know you are thinking of them with a DIY gift, especially a keen gardener.

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Healthy Vegan Cookie Dough Dip

Another healthy yummy treat! 🙂

Shine On Beautiful

Healthy Vegan Cookie Dough Dip

By Amy DiPaola

1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
2/3 cups creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
2 Tbs – 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped or blended

1. Place garbanzo beans, peanut butter, agave nectar and 2 Tbs water in a blender or food processor and blend. Add water as needed (you want a thick cookie dough texture).

2. Cool the cookie dough in the fridge for 30 minutes before stirring in the chocolate chips. Serve with anything! Fruit, graham crackers, pretzels. Use your imagination! This also makes an amazing sandwich spread, like Colin’s favorite Strawberry and Cookie Dough Sandwich. If all else fails, grab a spoon and gobble up!


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Early Rhubarb Jam

Yummy….I will definitely try this!

Southbourne Gardens

Saharan dust clouds aside we’re in the midst of perfect spring days here in London.  Heavy dew and light mists of the early morning giving way to sunny skies and the lightest of breezes. I must admit to having gone a bit Fotherington-Thomas yesterday, skipping around the plot photographing pear blossom and recording the birdsong.  It’s the perfect gardening weather. I should tell you that I’m only able to indulge in this because I’ve got Derek doing the digging and he’ll be handing the spade back next week when he returns to work.

Rhubarb Jam

I’ve have also finally got enough forced rhubarb to make jam. This has felt like months in the planning but the variety is Victoria which normally  arrives late in the season so no surprise. Anyway I’ve now picked two and half kilos and made two batches.  The recipe I followed was from The River Cottage Preserves Handbook…

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