Grow Your Own, Recycling

Pop up shop!

After a previous post I decided to sell on a few of my extra plants from this years sowings. I prepared price and identification labels using stickers with the children as printed labels were not necessary for a home project.

I set a tiered stand to hold a variety of trays, including one I built from recycled pallet wood. A hammer and nails and your set just choose two side pieces for the width and use the pallet boards for the base and sides set length ways.

All of our tomatoes, Crassula, Heuchera, calendula and watermelon plants were presented for sale and set outside in a hope a few may be sold. After a few days we sold twenty eight plants at a pound per pot, their was enough for me to purchase a few more plug plants.

The watermelons plants in 9cm pots were added to the potato bed last week, some rows I left for an autumn regrow. The plants being so healthy it seemed a waste to restrict them in pots when they could be added to the ground bed. When I return they should be settled and preparing for stretching out and setting fruit.

I am choosing plants I would like for my empty pots, the cost is equivalent to paying for one or two large plants, the amount I receive I can make the most of the spares, the additional plants can be sold or donated. I have managed to fill a few of my pots with the smaller plants which most would have discarded for their need of a little revitalising.

So as the rain waters our allotment, something I am always thankful for I shall leave the weeds to another day and focus on home.

Happy Horticulture!



Home Craft, Recycling

Craft – Pyrography

Pyrography is basically burning onto wood, whether it is writing or drawing I find the craft therapeutic, the smell is an acquired taste as you smoulder designs onto the untreated wood. Untreated wood is preferred as you have only wood, no paint, varnish or plastic fumes when working inside with even with ventilation. Any varnish should be added if required after the burning is complete and you are satisfied with the result.

To complete you will need a wood burner, soldering Iron and your project piece; this can be as intricate as you decide, it depends on your resource to what can be achieved and I have been inspired locally however structured pieces aside I find the simpler the better. I recently bought one for ten pounds at Aldi’s, which is half the cost of those at craft stores. The packs include hot iron, letter templates, nibs and stand all you need is your chosen resource or wooden piece to work on.

This project is an adult only for safety reasons as the hot iron is permanently on and holds heat for a long time, so it is best completed when children are asleep. This is how I complete the projects and find the concentration required benefits from peace and quiet. If placed on skin or a flammable surface it will burn, so it really is something that requires considering before you try it.

A few months ago we collected some logs for free, after choosing the most unusual shaped piece, after a little time I chose to make a hedgehog character, I used a marker to set the features and choosing a sturdy nib began to cover the lines until complete.

Once completed I un-plug the wood burner and place on a tiled side or metal drainer to cool before replacing in the box. It is a rough design but effective and is perfect for any home garden.

So if you craft or draw this is a great kit to have, if not give it a try!

Happy crafting!


Crop - Seed to Table, Grow Your Own

Watermelon: seed to table

Yesterday I decided to share the results of our watermelon experiment; Last year we sourced seeds from our snacks during the holidays which made wonderful Seedlings, but due to late sowings they did not have time to produce fruit.

Last Easter we repeated the project, saving seeds and planted around forty seeds. With around twenty plants set at the allotment I was amazed to see the plants already setting fruit in our new ground bed.

As with all cucurbits, the seeds are ideal for planting with children and transplant easily as they are strong. Once potted on until the plant is well established they have taken hold and are growing well in the freshly manured ground.

These seedlings were down early but only began to germinate in June once the temperature levelled off, however I will still sow them around April as each year is completely different when it comes to germination.

As you can see this week we have several varieties setting fruit, these were again seeds sourced from our food, this week I plan to set some more to see if we can extend the growing season. Once pollinated the fruit forms at the base of the flower, swelling until it is eventually a fruit, courgettes, pumpkins, strawberries, apples, pears and plums all produce fruit from pollinated flowers.

The flowers which are a vibrant yellow can be fried in batter, edible additions. I am sure omelette recipes, summer salads are readily available, but adding bacon(if your non-vegetarian), onions, peppers with them to a stir fry or omelette would taste fantastic… I shall have to experiment.

Additionally I find it satisfying to grow on from seeds that we all eat, fair to say I buy melons and pineapples to stretch fruit until the weekend, as our children love them, they vanish quickly. So if you grow your favourite fruit and vegetables they will never go to waste… they will  require a lot of water though to produce good fruit but hopefully well worth the wait!

The allotment is set for a break in the heat, so after a day bringing water in as the heat wave continues, or in our case buying a shallow pool including fabulous inflatable creatures and play balls, today was due to be adventure day, but as it was too warm to venture far. I cringed momentarily at the Hawaiian skirts and flowers, but all in all my husband did well and they all had a great day, which will end with me cooling my feet in the water.

Happy propagating!


Gardening on a budget, Home Craft, Recycling

Lining Hanging Baskets

Todays small project is about re-cycling old hanging baskets, I have several wicker style which were heading to bug house heaven. Also I had acquired several metal baskets without hanger chains, the end result were combining the two and creating several wired baskets which I could plant up with my surplus plants.

Effectively I wanted a hanging pumpkin and salad garden to add to our decked area which would eventually trail down. The cost of basket likers at a pound each put me off, there are several ways that you can find using home items to save excess spending.

Bin liners, circles of carpet, or as I had found a woven tarpaulin for a pound seemed ideal. After using a large pot as a template I found the perfect size and cut out several to fit into the baskets, once lined I added compost, chains and hung them out with a selection of plants.

A few I added lettuce, salad leaves around the circumference, the small crop will be finished as the pumpkin establishes itself in the basket, perfect place to grow in a small garden. I also tried, mini popcorn, runner beans and pumpkin, the idea being to trail production down.

They are growing well at the moment, however they will require a good feeding routine to produce fruit. All in all a pound tarpaulins would line ten baskets, a saving of nine pound, I prefer this to using plastic as the woven material drains well, supporting the growth of the plants and requires no further work once planted.

So if you find yourself a few spare baskets try your own vertical allotment: courgettes, radishes and beetroot as with most vegetables can be grown in a hanging basket. Whether  flowers or trailing vegetables, the possibilities are endless…

Happy  Horticulture!




Allotment, Harvests

Harvest July 2019!

This month has been dull up to now, the weather switching between climates has meant this is our first visit this week. The potato bed and it’s variety of unusual volunteers were my first area to focus on, after clearing two thirds of the bed and harvesting a punnet of potatoes I left a few in for a potential winter crop. Once I had cleared the first three rows I added a mix of cucurbits as I hoped to get a second crop in the space as it will be manured next spring it will not loose nutrients.

The pumpkin, sweetcorn and courgette bed again held surprises, several fruits are setting including watermelons a great bonus considering our climate. Tonight I am setting some more seeds as they are doing so well, along with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, leeks and early purple sprouting for winter crops.

After clearing the broad beans, picking and watering tomatoes and collecting apples from our tree we set off to escape the sunshine. So an hours work did not change much however a few more visits and it will be back from bee bliss.

Despite the vast amount of plants that germinated, they seem to be taking a long time to establish… patience

Happy Harvests



Allotment, Grow Your Own, Propagation


This month started with frosts, and the usual  family commitments which has set back the seedlings, but finally as the sun shines I have set up a stall to sell on my excess plants. The children are prepped with lists and prices to hopefully allow a few to find interest, Heuchera, tomatoes, watermelons and a few Dahlia cuttings are just a few we are already growing on.

At the allotment everything is setting off, courgettes, potatoes ,sweetcorn and a wide selection of Brassicas are growing well. This years strawberries are setting fruit, the first harvest to be collected this season, hopefully the first of many.

My plug plants finally arrived in the smallest  of trays and I have to say were very impressive, the Heuchera treated me to ten extra seedlings which I have divided from the multi set trays. I chose Purple palace as it has a wonderful contrast against our vast array of green within the levels of our garden. I got 52 plants for the cost of one established plant, I plan on scattering through our pots and baskets, growing a few on to sell or donate.

Weather permitting, the crops will be setting soon, courgette and pumpkin flowers are starting to form and will soon be filling the space … I have found a few packs of seeds which I would have left usually however , Salvia, zinnia’s  and cosmos have been set in the plug trays, these will happily grown on and with tlc add colour later on.

Along with finally setting narrows, sausages and pumpkins, I will sow a few more cabbages, broccoli and lettuce to ensure a winter crop, along with leeks and a second sowing of climbing beans. These will hopefully replace the broad beans, I have set seeds so i may have to add a wigwam to the tractor tyre border if they have managed to get germinate.

I bought a tarpaulins for a pound and cut large circles to line some old hanging baskets I had been given, I planted a pumpkin in each, adding lettuce seeds  and salad leaves  for a extra crop this month. I planted runner beans, sweetcorn and a pumpkin in two as an experiment to see how much can be planted in a small space.

The warm weather finally revitalising the new plants, enjoying the season as it begins to take shape.

Happy Horticulture!