A Lovely Day in the Garden!

Just a quick post with a few photos from the garden today!

The baby slept for a whole hour in his pushchair then happily sat and watched us while we finished our jobs – he loves being outside!

Got lots of planting and weeding done, the raised beds are starting to fill up!

the sun setting on the veg patch
the sun setting on the veg patch

Continue reading “A Lovely Day in the Garden!”


100 Happy Days of Eating from the Garden

As soon as our vegetable garden was up and running in 2014, I set us the challenge of trying to eat something from the garden for 100 days before the end of the year, and I’m pleased to say we achieved that goal!

I recorded the challenge by posting a photo of what we ate or something relating to it every day (on Christmas Day it had to be a photo of Rich clearing the dishes in his party hat, as I forgot to photograph the brussels sprouts before we ate!)

I’m pretty proud of what we achieved in those 100 days, it taught me a lot about eating with the seasons and planning meals around what we had available rather than relying on the ‘oh so convenient’ supermarket shelves, so here’s an overview of some of the photos I posted!

To see the whole 100 days, as well as all my other Instagram content, follow me at @pickleshlee – hope to see you there!

Constructing Raised Beds

Once we’d planned our vegetable garden, the biggest challenge was plotting and building our raised beds.

We rotivated the land that we’d earmarked for the veg beds, as it was covered with old turf and years of weeds, roots and ivy.



We’d decided on a very informal, unstructured design to aim for a ‘cottage garden’ look, hopefully with the suggestion that the garden had evolved over time!

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That said, we needed to get all the beds built in one go, so we spent some time mapping them out in the allocated space by using pallets, canes and string (and the old shed door) so we could get a feel for how the finished result would look and also how practical it would be. We made sure we could push a wheelbarrow between the beds and that none of them were too big to reach into the middle for planting and weeding.

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We wanted the beds to be sturdy and rustic looking, we’d made raised beds from cheaper ‘diy store’ timber before but that was never going to have longevity. Fortunately our next door neighbour had built some similar and directed us to a local timber yard that sold relatively inexpensive sleepers, and even cut them all to size for us before we collected them, which was a huge bonus! We made the beds 2 sleepers high as we wanted to ensure that we’d got a good depth for root vegetables to grow.

IMG_5220Richard, my mum’s husband Neil and our new friend Sam from Selwyn Trees spent several days putting the frames of the raised beds together then fixing them into place in the garden using stakes and six inch nails!

IMG_5197 IMG_5180 IMG_5179 IMG_5212 IMG_5227 IMG_5234The next challenge was to fill the beds with suitable topsoil. Fortunately, when we dug out an area to create the driveway, we were left with several huge piles of soil which was in excellent condition, as it had been left uncultivated for at least 20 years.

Digger action

052-2It was laborious work to move all the soil and we also had to sift it though a makeshift ‘riddler’ to rid it of roots, weeds and even shards of glass that had accumulated over time, but it was worth the effort and left us with perfect growing conditions! The soil did end up being a bit light once it had been sifted, meaning water tended to puddle on top of the soil, but it was essential that we cleared the debris before it was safe to use.

IMG_5269 IMG_5270 IMG_5852 039-2We ended up with 11 raised beds in total, most of them can be seen in this shot taken from the scaffolding round the house!