DIY Jam and a Touch of Green Stuff

I’ve been spending my mornings inspecting my garden veg patch and I take delight in seeing my produce grow. This morning was no different apart from my poor tiny cucumber plant had been munched by some little critter (slugs I expect). So with a quick question to my Facebook gardening community, I got outside dug it out of its little space in the veg bed and re-potted it. Turna out it was far too early to be planting a cucumber outside anyway. Lesson learnt! It’s now safely inside the propagator/mini greenhouse with the hope it might survive it’s near death experience.

Miniature Cucumber plant; clearly the slugs had a party.

Lettuce, kale and radishes are doing pretty damn perfect in the veg bed. The peas are peeping, the carrots have started to sprout, rainbow chard is popping up left, right and centre too. Leeks are few and far between with only about 4 sprouting so far but beetroot looks good at the moment. My chillie plant on the other hand is inside on the kitchen windowsill and it is thriving. It makes me ridiculously happy to see it all doing so well.

Chillie plant.
Red lettuce
Carrot seedlings
Peas peeping

Today had been awfully miserable weather wise. We’ve been tuck inside our four walls, jigsawing and baking. Dee and I made some fruit and cherry scones and some homemade jam. Bit of a use it up/budget bake to be honest but after just paying for our new kitchen (doing a little dance) which has used up our savings entirely we should be watching what we spend so it’s not a bad thing.

The jam was easy. Frozen mixed berries I used about 500g from the freezer along with sugar to taste (about 2 tbsp) boil the heck of it. Mash the berries together a little Take it right up to 105c and then pour it carefully into a pre-serialized jar. We like the seeds in but strain it if you dont, but please be careful as it’s like molton lava when its finished cooking. But yum, how easy!

Mixed Berry Jam.

Happy jammin’

Love,

L, xox

Garden Tales: The Watering Can Edition

Finally the post I have been most excited to write. I couldn’t because it hadn’t happened yet, but now it has. We have now got a filled and set up veg plot. When I say plot I do mean raised bed. It maybe small but it has been highly anticipated in my household, well at least by me.

We started with some old decking that was plaguing the garden when we moved here last year. We cut it into 6ft and 2ft pieces and joined with extra long screws (very technical I know, but we were winging it and didn’t have too much to hand). We’ve lined it with pond liner tapped in with some small nails and made drainage holes in the bottom. I’ve layered in some torn up cardboard because I had read that somewhere (admittedly I cant remember where now), then the compost. Since we’ve been on covid-19 induced lock down, we’ve been sourcing everything we can as locally as we can. When I found out our local garden place was offering a delivery service I got super excited. I ordered what I thought were going to be seeds, picking tomatoes, chilies, kale, lettuce and mini cucumber. They arrived at my door and they were not seeds in small paper packets, but seedlings; growing already and perfectly ready for transplanting.

Dee, of course, helped out. Sticking her dirt covered fingers in to the soil over and over. She was loving every second. She’s a little bit rough with the seedlings and determined to water them – a lot. More especially when my grandma sent over a small watering can for her that she no longer used any more, Dee will certainly use it. All the time. She is already trying, I mean we just had to go out and water it all again before bedtime.

I’ve also planted some seeds, along side a kitchen scrap celery stalk. We’ve done some beets, radish and leeks. I am waiting for runner beans to arrive and a couple of other seeds. Feel like I’m starting a little late, but this is all about trial and error for us. I am seriously hoping that my Grandad is watching from where ever he may be now and is sending his wisdom about everything plant based. He passed just about a year ago this week, and my heart aches for him. I miss him dreadfully. I keep revisiting a post which I published last year close to him passing; My Grandad; Snippets from Charlie. I equally smile and cry when I think of him at the moment.

Watering (lightly) twice daily at the moment, results are anyone’s guess. I will however keep you updated. Keeping the little busy in between watering times feels like Easter exploded all over the downstairs of my house. We’ve been painting, sticking, making, baking, painting some more and of course eating our bakes. And that’s just been today. Please feel for all parents out there at the moment, not having the ability to take a walk to public park and let them kiddos run wild for an hour is a killer. Check on your parent friends, we are run ragged.

Off to sink some Gin, but I wish you all have the best Easter Weekend and stay as sane as humanly possible.

Love and Bunny Hops,

L, xox

Thoughts of a Secret Garden

I’m dying to start my garden. I’m hoping to plant some veggies this year and get a little bit of a working garden going. The weather has been against us so far, but I’m hopefully to get my veggie bed set up this weekend coming. I did start with some seeds about a month ago, but the wind smashed that up when it threw my put up propagator across the garden even though it was weighed down. My own fault when I underestimated the storm after storm situ. Luckily the garden fence has survived.

I was bought a book for Christmas which I intend to follow to get me started. I’m really hoping that it works and my will power will stick to it. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for an age and now we actually have a garden I can get stuck in to.

Roses from my love

On the flower side, I got two different roses I planted last year in the front garden and a hybrid hydrangea too. The flower bed is only a couple of meters longs, so it’s not too big. I’ll stick to pretty flowers in the front garden. Considering peonies at the front but research is required to get them in the right place. We only get the sun on the front of the house first thing, as it travels over we are lucky enough to have the sunshine flooding the back garden all afternoon. I’d like to grow some lavender tubs to sit by the front door; I’ve always wanted that lush floral smell as you walk in the house, and of course to be lucky enough to dry and use the herb too.

In prep for my vision, Delilah and I have started seed planting. We’ve planted mainly herbs so far, as we need to set up the veg bed. We’d planted Chives, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Lavender, a couple of different types of tomatoes, Sunflower seeds and some misc flowers which I’m not sure what they are. Pictures below of what weve planted up so far. Please excuse the flags they need a wash down. But as you can see nothing has happened 2 days since planting, but my already established Parsley is doing pretty well with Delilah’s fairy door sharing the space.

Delilah had so much fun getting dirty hands, drawing on the labels and watering the newly bedded seeds. I really hope that they all work out, but I guess as a novice its al trial and error. In the meantime I’ll have fun with my little explorer getting it right. Hands in the dirt, I’m finding it therapeutic so far. I’m sure this is a trait I’ve collected from my Grandad.

My mind constantly drifts to him these days, and being honest I don’t think I dealt with his death in the slightest. Think I just got on with it. I’m hopeful I can transfer that energy into a garden he would have loved to have sat in with me. Where we could play his favourite music and just enjoy the peace of it all. I’ll be learning as I go knowing that if he’d have been alive he would have been able to give me some pointers. He always had the most beautiful gardens and I was frequently by his side causing chaos in them as a child. I truly miss that man.

Love and dirt covered hands,

L, xox

The Herb Don

Here we have a herby update! My original post and when I planted my little seeds was the 28th March. I’m not sure why my seeds are little in this instance. I think most seeds are. I’m no horticulturalist.

So first up, my tomatoes. These beauties look pretty strong and in dier need of re-potting now. A task for tomorrow morning I think. Dinah sneaking in the picture too.

Thyme. Now I’ve grown this, but I’ve never actual used fresh thyme (that I can recall) in any of the recipes I have ever made. So another task is to come up with or source a killer recipe that has thyme in it. It looks like a woody plant, the leaves are small and rounded but my seedlings are growing pretty good becauae I didn’t forget to water them. This for me is amazing!

My chives are not looking as impressive. They look all weedy and sparse. I watered these too, maybe I just didn’t put enough seeds in the cup. Again, I’m no gardener. Im just a woman trying to grow some god damn herbs.

My sweet favourite basil. Beautiful big green leaves. It’s flourishing, and I love it. I really can’t wait to use this one. Teacup basil, it’s the way forward I’m telling you.

Parsley, over used in my opinion cooks and chefs seem to throw it in just about anything to add some green. I don’t mind this one and it’s growing fairly well, but it’s probably not as full as what it should be. I have no idea, but here’s a picture because well this is a picture post!

So there you have it, an update on my herb teacups. Small and delicate. Edible? We will find out, and if there are no more posts you can assume I’ve been eaten by the dodgie looking chives.

My grandma gave me a plant today too. It’s an outdoor one thank goodness. At least that way if I kill it I don’t have to look at it so much. It is one of my favourites though.

My orchids are in bloom too. Maybe I’m better at this gardening thing than I initially thought. Just call me Don.

Love and flower power.

Xoxo, Don Lotty