Crops & Compost

Garden Established 2021

Gardening for Beginners

We are still very much beginner gardeners, experimenting each year with what we can grow and the best way we can grow it using methods sustainable both by ourselves and by the planet. We are making lots of discoveries and embracing failure.

We’ve started out concentrating on growing food for our family, and in 2023 my focus is on trying to find a balance between growing crops, caring for nature within our space, and living within the space as a family.

  • Shed Improvements

    Revamping the outside of the old lean-to shed was one of the jobs that I first tackled not long after moving in. By March I had taken the dark brown exterior of Alan’s Shed to the bright pink of Mimi’s Shed, which is really a shed for us all, but I spend time in there, whereas Russell and Bean really only visit to drop things off or pick things up, treating it a bit like a library for garden tools.

    I, however, treat it like a little home from home, where a warm drink and some music on the radio are good company for some seed sowing.

    The problem has been that for the past three years the brown-ness of Alan’s shed has remained inside. We never met Alan, and I am hesitant to speak ill of a man who could find 600 unique and different ways to hammer nails into improbable bits of furniture at new and exciting angles for seemingly no reason at all, but the interior of the shed; the keep to Castle Codd, was as brown and as dark and as foreboding as the exterior was on the day we rocked up to our new home.

    In many ways, The Shed encompassed everything that an old man shed should. Plates of glass without a home (half of them broken, because of course they would be) big sheets of plywood, and offcuts of melamine worktop hodgepodged together to make work surfaces that had then been liberally re-worked to a dull canvas of spilled superglue and splashed paint.

    We aren’t in a place to replace this little refuge of Alan’s at the moment, but with a little bit of imagination we could rework it to be a bit brighter and a more vibrant a place to stand and sow spring seeds.

    The back wall and work surfaces have been brightened up with lengths of vinyl tablecloth. Watercolour flowers just bring a bit of bold colour in to replace the almost black stained back wall, and the lighter worktops bounce the light from the window around the space a bit more. Russell has re-hung the rack of gardening gloves to another space so that the window is left free to let in as much light as possible (the window faces North, so it is never going to be a sun trap, and every ray of light is precious).

    We found that we had to remove the shelf to hang the flower print vinyl table covering, and the screws had to be drilled out as they were rusted in place. We took the opportunity to replace the shelf with an off-cut we had saved from another project, replacing the brackets as we did so, to make the shelf more sturdy.

    The Shed has not been well maintained in its long life, but it is an important space in the garden until such a time as we are able to replace it, so we continue to do all we can to make it as useable and as useful to our needs as we can. A bright and comfortable space is as important as the need for storage, and I feel more positive just opening the door and finding brighter surfaces to greet me when I want to put the radio on and do a bit of ‘pottering’.

    Alan, I’m sure you’d be shocked at the shed if you could see it, but we have kept your tabletops and many of your strange joinery decisions in situ. We have, however, got rid of the rusty nails.

  • Slate Plant Labels

    I made a set of slate plant labels to finish the set up of the new herb bed in the garden and to replace the plastic labels that some of them started out with. As spring arrives and we start to spend some more time in the garden I want to bring our recent additions…

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  • Growing Saffron

    At then beginning of October last year I was browsing online, looking for something to plant and grow in those days when the summer harvests were coming to an end and I wasn’t yet quite ready to embrace the shortening days. Quite by chance I found some discounted saffron crocus bulbs online, and the impulsive…

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  • Garden Planning 2023

    an open clear plastic case, containing 10 visible, smaller, plastic inner cases in different colours is open in the top left corner of the photo. Multicoloured packets of seed (sweetcorn, onions, parsnips and flowers) are next to the case, and it all sits on a scarred wooden table.

    Late January feels bitterly cold, with snow still on the ground and new layers of frost that build upon each other with no relief from a thaw. It’s a time when I want to be out in the garden more as a new year is calling, but the cold this year is a painful one…

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  • A Garden Of Our Own

    It is approaching the two year mark of when we got the keys to our own house, and with the house the thing that made us choose this as our home: the garden. Background: The Flat Until February 2021 we had been living for ten years in a rented flat. I don’t know if we…

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