Thursday, 5 January 2017

Ten Raised Garden Beds To Inspire You

Raised garden beds, they seem to be the way to grow these days, so if you have been thinking of making some for yourself and are looking for some inspiration, look no further. 

Use logs to impart a rustic feel to your raised beds.

You could also get that rustic look by using old corrugated galvanised steel in different shapes.
Credit for this image has been given to this website, but I have been unable to find it there.

Source unknown
This  gorgeous garden is actually part of a school playground in Clapham, London,  I think all schools should follow this example.

Try using different shapes in the garden to add some visual interest like this garden designed by Casa Smith Designs.
The owners of this garden have planted a dwarf lemon tree in the centre of the star bed.

Using retaining wall blocks makes it easy to add curves to raised beds.


Add some whimsy to your vegetable garden by using a bed as a bed.
Source unknown.

If you only have a small space to grow in try one of these ideas.



So there you are, just a few ideas to get you started, if you decide to use one of these ideas let me know I'd love to see it.

Disclaimer: I try to give credit to the owners of all the images I use, sometimes this is not possible, those images where the source is unknown will be assumed to be in the public domain. If you are the owner of any of these images (source unknown) and would like them removed or credit added, please let me know

Monday, 2 January 2017

The Garden in December

This post was meant to be my last one for 2016, but I got busy with other things so instead it is my first post for the brand new year.

While I might not enjoy the heat of summer it seems the garden does.  The butternut pumpkins are doing fantastically well this year and are starting to outgrow their beds and onto the pathway, they are producing lots of female flowers which I hope the bees are busy pollinating.

The zucchinis are doing the best of all the vegetables I planted and are all ready providing me with more than I really need, I don't know what I'm going to do once they really get going.

The green ones are sweet and creamy, totally different to shop bought ones.

The Yellow Crookneck has a much firmer texture than the green ones, but they taste good and at the end of the day that is what it is all about.

The watermelon and rockmelon (cantaloupe) are covered in flowers so fruit shouldn't be too far off.

The first planting of corn is doing well,

 and the tassels are starting to emerge.
I waited too long between planting the first and second lot of corn and so it will be quite a few weeks before the second crop of corn is ready which may not be a bad thing.

But not everything is doing as well as I would like, the Turkish Turban pumpkin which at first did well and produced lots of little pumpkins,
The only pumpkin that seems to have been successfully pollinated so far.
took a turn for the worse and looked like it might die, luckily it seems to be recovering now and is starting to put on some new healthy looking growth and maybe even some more pumpkins.
I have since sown another seed which will hopefully grow into a strong healthy plant and produce masses of pumpkin. #agirlcanhope

Some of the beans are doing well and producing, like the Tender Delight,

while others like the Borlotti, which at first was doing fine and had produced masses of bean pods,

suddenly turned up their toes and died.

The unnamed volunteer that popped up in the garden and is still unnamed, but I'm starting to suspect it might be a Kent pumpkin is going great guns and there is the real possibility that it could take over the melon garden if I'm not careful.

The eggplant that I overwintered, survived the powdery mildew and has started to produce fruit again and will shortly be joined by two more eggplant, a Rosa Bianca and a Snowy.

My last job for December was potting up the very slow to grow tomato seedlings.
I honestly did not think that the tomato grown from store bought seed was ever going to get big enough to transplant into larger pots, in contrast the ones that were grown from store bought tomatoes, sliced, and lain on top of the soil are much further ahead with their growth and look healthier too. Hopefully now they are all in pots they will flourish.
Tomato seedling grown from store bought tomatoes.
This one was grown from shop bought seed.
Just a couple more photos to share of the damage done by the storm that came through South Australia last week.
The trellis that I had been using to hold the shade cloth off the corn was blown over, luckily the corn was only bent not broken and was standing up straight again by that same afternoon.

The damage that upset me the most was my greenhouse which was a birthday present from my daughters last year. Even though it was tied down and had survived other storms this time it ended up over the neighbours fence and is unfortunately beyond repair.
I know I'm lucky to have sustained such minor damage it could have been so much worse and was for a lot of people.
So, that was the garden in December, I'm expecting a lot more produce to come out of it over the next few weeks and I will be back at the end of this month with another update.

Wishing you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR and I hope the year ahead brings us all an abundance of the very best that life has to offer.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

A Repurposed Christmas

A post to (hopefully) inspire you to look at old things in a new way.

This post should have been up long before now, but time has just gotten away from me, so there may not be any time to make them this year, but that gives you a whole year to decide which ones will feature in your Christmas decorating next year.

Bed springs can be used to make the cutest little Christmas trees.

A few of these simple decorations would make an unusual centrepiece for the table on Christmas day.

These are actually necklaces, but I think they would look beautiful hanging in the tree.

If you don't happen to have any old fashioned cotton reels lying about you could use corks instead. 

Mindy at The Happy Scraps used a Cricut to make her flip chart Christmas countdown, but the same thing could be achieved using scrapbook paper, cardboard numbers and old Christmas cards.

Mindy at Prudent Pennypincher shows us a cute way to make a hanging countdown to Christmas using empty toilet rolls.

Old picture frames can be decorated and used as an alternative the traditional Christmas wreath.
 Source unknown

Source unknown

If you lucky enough to have a fireplace this would make a fantastic focal point to all your Christmas decorating.

But if you don't have the wall space for a gate, how about a bicycle wheel.
Source unknown

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a 


I hope you have a joyous and peaceful day spent with the ones you love.

I will be back with a garden update as soon as I can take some photos, we are on day two of a heat wave and the veggie garden is covered in shade cloth at the moment. 

Disclaimer: I try to give credit to the owners of all the images I use, sometimes this is not possible, those images where the source is unknown will be assumed to be in the public domain. If you are the owner of any of these images (source unknown) and would like them removed or credit added, please let me know

Monday, 12 December 2016

The Garden In November

By November the pickings in the vegetable garden were pretty lean, the broccoli and cauliflower were long gone, and there were only a few peas left on the vine,  the only other things left of the winter plantings were the broad beans and the garlic. 

It was my first time growing broad beans this year and I have to say I was very happy with the harvest I got. 

Being my first time growing them, I had no idea what to expect in regards to how many beans each plant would produce, but now I know that I need to grow at least double the amount next year.

And while I was happy with the broad beans, the garlic was another story.
I planted 52 cloves of garlic this year knowing that I use roughly one bulb a week that amount should last me all year. Of the 52 bulbs planted only 49 sprouted, but I was OK with that. 
Garlic late July
The plants grew well and I had high hopes of harvesting all 49 bulbs, unfortunately not all went to plan. 
With all the rain we had over the winter and well into the spring some of the garlic bulbs began to split apart and started to re-shoot, while some bulbs never developed separate cloves.
Not a great photo but can you see the undeveloped bulbs and the new shoots that have grown?
So for all my hard work the garlic harvest this year was meagre indeed only ten bulbs.
I guess when you are growing your own vegetables a few setbacks are to be expected, so with that in mind, I will look forward to next year and hope for a better harvest.

In the beds where the peas grew, the vines were all cut down, but their roots were left in place to add some nitrogen to the soil, and there are now Butternut pumpkin (squash) and True Gold sweetcorn growing in them.  I am succession growing the corn so as not to be overwhelmed by a glut as I have been in the past.

In the bed next to the Butternut are my fruiting vines, two watermelons, Sugar Baby and Luscious Red, one rockmelon (cantaloupe) Hale's Best, and a as yet unknown volunteer, as well as some Double Delight sunflowers.

On the opposite side of the patch in bed 1 the broccoli has been replaced by a Yellow Crookneck and an All Green Bush zucchini plus some Sun King sunflowers.

Beds two and three are planted out with beans, Tender Delight, Brown Beauty, Red Kidney, dwarf Borlotti and Golden Wax. I did have to do a second sowing as earwigs killed a few.

As you can see in the picture above in bed 4 there is another pumpkin, this time another first for me, Turkish Turban.

Everything has grown quite a bit since these photos were taken the and I've even had my first small harvest of beans and a couple of zucchini, I'll show you the photos in the next garden update in a couple of weeks time. How is your garden growing?  

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Broad Beans

I had never grown broad beans before this year, I had tried them once many years ago and didn't like them so I never bothered with them.  
Since becoming a vegetarian earlier this year I found I needed to expand the variety of vegetables I eat so I decided to give them another go and I'm glad 😊 I did. Apart from the fact that they are easy to grow, and the flowers have the most amazing fragrance and the bees love them, they are delicious! What's not to like?

There are several varieties that you can grow, the type I grew this year was Early Long Pod and despite the fact that I didn't sow until July they still did exceptionally well. 

Next year as well as growing the Early Long Pod again I want to grow the Crimson Flowered variety too if for no other reason then the  gorgeous flowers.

Have you grown broad beans before? What was your experience with them?