The art of penny pinching for the gardener…part one

Being an utter cheap skate, there is nothing I find more rewarding than knowing that I have prevented a financial catastrophe. Money seems to run through our hands like water, or our pockets haemor…

Source: The art of penny pinching for the gardener…part one

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The start of a New Growing Season

What lovely weather it’s been today!

Our first opportunity to get out in the garden as a family and get the growing season up and running for 2016!

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It was also our first chance to introduce Henry to the garden, thanks to my Mum who spent the day walking him round, entertaining him, and pushing his pushchair at naptime!

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Continue reading “The start of a New Growing Season”

Garden Planning 2016

I love this time of year! When it’s cold, dark and everyone’s a little bit miserable, it’s a great time to snuggle up in front of the fire on a dark night and start planning the year ahead in the vegetable garden! I’m making this sound very poetic aren’t I!

I always create a list of the vegetables I want to grow and do a rough guide of where I’m planting each one by using the Growveg.com app, but I have to be honest I never stick 100% to my plan. I vow that I’ll grow everything from seed but then end up also buying plants from the garden centre; and of course every year, some things I’ve attempted just don’t come off!

I create my wishlist of vegetables first, then plot where to plant them. The app is really helpful with this as if you use the same plan year on year, it’ll highlight in red where you’ve situated a particular crop previously so you can avoid planting in the same bed in consecutive years.

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When I’m deciding what to grow, I start by listing the vegetables that we eat most frequently, or that will be most useful to us (and our family and friends!) Then I consider what else I want to achieve from the growing season, usually it’s to try something different or unusual or hard to grow, but this year I’m going for productivity over ambition!

We’ve got a new little mouth to feed and I want to make sure Henry eats as many fruits and vegetables from the garden as we can possibly grow, so sucessional sowing is the key this year! I need a constant supply of staples such as carrots, tomatoes, beans and courgettes, as well as introducing different tastes to him throughout the season!

Finally, a #teething aid that’s actually effective! #carrot #weaning #blw

A photo posted by Helen Lee (@pickleshlee) on Jan 13, 2016 at 12:26pm PST

 

Here’s my list for this year:

  • carrots
  • courgettes
  • runner beans
  • french beans
  • potatoes
  • cauliflower
  • sprouting broccoli
  • sprouts
  • lettuce
  • radish
  • kohl rabi
  • pumpkins
  • parsnips
  • tomatoes
  • chillies
  • spinach
  • leeks

I’m not going completely ‘straight’ when it comes to plant varieties this year, there’ll definitely be some purple carrots thrown into the mix and my one experiment is going to be with ‘flower sprouts‘ which we’ve had from the supermarket a few times and they’re very tasty! I’m also going to make an effort to grow from seed as much as possible, rather than buying plug plants.

Here’s my planting plan for 2016:

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The other thing I love about the Growveg app is the fact that you get a ‘cheat sheet’ (my terminology not theirs!) giving you rough planting and harvesting times! Of course you need to refer to the specific growing instructions for whatever varieties you’re planting, but it’s a handy place to start!

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A New Arrival in our Garden!

We’ve been a bit quiet on the blog and Facebook page for the last few weeks, but we have a good reason for that!

We’ve been nurturing our new arrival to the garden:

HenryGarden6Henry Roger Lee was born on the 8th August 2015, weighing 8lb 6oz!

HenryGarden1 Continue reading “A New Arrival in our Garden!”

3 Ways to Make Cauliflower Rice

For the past two years I’ve had surprising success with growing cauliflowers, given that they’re quite notorious to get right, and I have to ‘fess up I’ve done nothing special with them, just planted them alongside other brassicas and been pleasantly surprised when I see creamy white heads hiding underneath the giant leaves!

Bit of a surprise today, cauliflowers everywhere!!

A post shared by Helen Lee (@pickleshlee) on

I find they do all tend to be ready within a few weeks of each other, if not a few days, so I tend to make a lot of cauliflower rice that I pop into the freezer in portion sizes bags that can be grabbed and cooked from frozen in a variety of ways! Continue reading “3 Ways to Make Cauliflower Rice”

Lavender Recipes

Apart from growing fruit and vegetables, I’m also a little bit obsessed with lavender!

It looks beautiful, smells divine, can be dried easily and you can also cook with it!

Here are a couple of my favourite lavender recipes that go very well together for an alternative Afternoon Tea! Continue reading “Lavender Recipes”

Creating a Fruit Garden

When we bought our derelict house and overgrown garden in August 2013 we had no idea of the amount of land we had, and definitely didn’t realise that we had at least 20ft of space at the side of the house!

Side of the house and back door
This is all we could see of the side of the property when we bought the house!

Continue reading “Creating a Fruit Garden”