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Sunday, 31 May 2009

A Busy Week But Not Much gardening

Well this half term was a busy one but one where very little gardening got done.
Tuesday I woke to rain lashing the window panes and the garden looking properly soaked. The rain did stop and the sun started to break through at about 11:30am. The girls and myself spent the day emptying their wardrobe and going through the clothes to see what fitted and what didn't. Out grown clothes from my eldest were put into the loft for the youngest when she's a bit bigger and the little one's out grown stuff was bagged for the charity shop.
I soon realised that they both needed a whole set of new things as almost all their clothes were to small for them (they grow as quickly as the weeds outside, so maybe I was gardening after all) :)

Thankfully the older one has always taken very good care of her clothes so I had two storage bags full of hand me downs to go through to practically suit out the younger one in summer wear but no such luck with the older one, so a shopping trip was imminent.

When I did get out into the garden, I sowed some khol rabi and swede directly into the vege beds. I also potted around checking over everything and putting misplaced stuff to right. I think one of the cucumber plant's stem is broken, whether it will mend or not is to be seen. I think I'll be sowing a couple of seeds in the greenhouse, they should germinate and grow quickly with the current warmer weather. I have never had so much trouble with cucumbers before, I normally would sow four seeds get four plants, transplant when big enough and harvest a pretty decent crop. Ah well maybe nature is just trying to keep me on my toes this year.
Photos taken:

Wednesday was 'S' day, yes Shopping Day. So armed with a list of what they both needed to prevent impulse buying and over spending as sandals was also needed we set off to the shops. The weather was still lovely and in between shopping and a sit down lunch we also fitted in an hour at the museum to take part in one of their fabulous craft activities events.

At the end of the day almost everything was got from the list only a couple stuff to get which won't take too much time the next time I go into town.

Found this little critter inside upstairs so I moved him/ her into the conservatory onto my aphid infestered luffa plant.

Thursday was spent doing the girls laundry (Friday is my dedicated laundry day) because my older daughter was off to Brownie camp on Friday I needed to ensure all her clothes was clean so packing would be easily done later in the day. The garden saw me from time to time but it was more pottering and looking around than anything else.

The aphid infested living willow bench is really attracting the predators.

Friday was an early start as we were taking the bus halfway to her campsite destination, a friend of mine who lives in the area took us the rest of the way. The little one and I then visited with my friend and her baby till mid afternoon before heading back home. The rest of the day was spent doing the rest of the laundry that still had to be done. I was also able to start to plant out the amaranth plants but had to stop as I ran out of cardboard which I was using as a weed suppressant.

I couldn't resist temptation and bought another hardy carniverous plant for my boggy area.

Saturday I started the day harvesting all my pak choi and mizuna as the were quickly going to seed, my mom thankfully washed chopped and bagged the lot which was then thrown into the freezer. It was a blazing hot day so gardening was a little challenging so I took my little one to visit with some playmates as she was a little lonely without her sister.

When I returned home I was off again this time with my OH to do the monthly grocery shopping.

Piccies of today:

Caterpillar of the The Vapourer/Rusty Tussock - 'Orgyia antiqua'.

Sunday I woke early to do some watering mainly to the plants that are grown under shelters; the tomatoes, sweet peppers, aubergines and the germinating corn which by the way there are fourteen strong shoots. I think the recent hot weather basically fried most of the germinating seeds in the soil. So I uncovered the bed but placed soda bottle cloches around each of the young plants. Then it was time to get myself and the little one dressed as we all had a baby christening to go to.
After the service we ran a couple of errands and returned home for lunch. Before I left for the church I did put twenty one sweetcorn seeds to soak after I ate lunch I resowed them. Using my finger to create planting holes, I noted how warm the soil was and I had on gloves.
I also noticed today I have mangetout peas, I'll aim to harvest them at the end of the week to give the really little ones chance to grow. The cranberry plant that is still waiting to be potted up in its final purpose built 2ft square container is in flower (naughty me).

That done it was time to collect the eldest from her camping weekend.
Whew!!! no wonder I'm knackered I feel all exhausted again writing it all.
Piccies of today:

Fledgling goldfinch seen in pairs feasting on the aphid covered willow.
Oh by the way the robins appear to be raising another rood in the earlier used nest box. My neighbour have only seen one bird flying back and forth with food, so we are asuming the female may be in there on eggs.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Plodding Along

At this time of the year I find that I hit a wall, its when I have lots of plants in pots that need to be planted out and are becoming dangerously pot bound, yet some how I can not find or sustain the motivation needed to get them all into their optimal growing conditions. This normally means by the end of June I have way to many plants going into the compost heap.

So far I have been able to work through this mental barrier of sorts and have just about kept up with what needs to be done but it is a struggle and I find that although I'm getting things done, I'm still not accomplishing as much as I could be on a day to day basis.

Well before this becomes one of the most depressing posts I have ever written, let me fill you in on what I have accomplished over the last two days.

Sunday - dawned very hot and sunny but I spent the early half of the day on mummy duty and took my youngest to the swimming pool as a treat because her older sister and playmate was away for the weekend on a sleepover.

When I returned and got out into the garden I started sifting a mound of soil removing any large stones and weed roots and begun filling some containers to finally begin planting out the oca and ulluca which have all definitely out grown their 3" pots.
This was extremely hot work and my energy was soon sapped. So after filling and planting two of the containers I stopped and moved to a cooler part of the garden and proceeded to plant out the last lot of sweet peas I was growing, these I planted out by the picket fence bordering the lawn area. I had six plants but found three of them to have some sort of stem rot at the base, these ended up in the compost bin.

With the heat up watering was a other task that got done.

Oh and look what has begun to flower, fresh peas aren't far away now :)

Monday (today) - was a holiday so I had my mum home she and a friend of hers proceeded to completely weed all the remaining footpaths around the vege beds that needed weeding YEAH!!!! thanks a bunch guys.

The weather was very hazy to start with so I returned to the boring task of sifting the mound of soil I started yesterday. I got another four done before stopping for lunch, the sun by this time had broken through the cloud cover and was beating down so after lunch I spent a lovely hour or so nattering with my neighbours. After we had righted the world of its problems I went back to the mind numbing task and got another two containers filled and planted.

The heap was now exhausted and I moved on to removing some soil from the front of the compost bins. This does need to be done anyway to level the ground in preparation for laying down some paving slabs. While doing this the heavens began to open slowly with great rumbles of thunder in the distance, so I put away the sieve and simply shovelled up the soil and placed it into a very large plant pot, covered it to keep out the rain, to be sorted out tomorrow hopefully if the weather is favourable.
After securing the soil I tidied up and retreated inside to let the thunder storm get on with it.

Wildlife up date - On Sunday five orange butterflies showed up in the neighbour's and my garden. They returned on today in much larger number and I counted eight in all. My neighbour helped me id them as Painted Lady butterflies. They hung around for hours in the mid afternoon sunshine visiting a wide variety of flowers; chives, nigella, flowering purple sprouting broccoli, pansies and flowering shrubs next door, etc. The were quite placid at times and with the aid of a butterfly net my older daughter was able to catch two quite easily.

Having so many butterflies in the garden was magical and reminded me of what it use to be like when I was small before the use of pesticides had make an impact on the environment insect population, in the West Indies there is also a terrible reduction in the number of butterflies, etc due to these poisons.

Sunday into Monday was also very noisy with the influx of starling fledglings screaming and begging their parents to keep on feeding them, the sky was busy with their flight. Other fledglings I saw were song thrushes, see picture.

Do you remember the exquisite water aven flower I showed you about a week back well its developed its seed head check it out now.

Monday on the aphid infested living willow bench I observed some hoverfly larva enjoying the feast and there were two ladybugs yeah!!

A toss up between a UK 13 spot ladybird / a Succinea Harlequin ladybird.

A UK pine ladybird.
Nice beetle not sure what it is I'm awaiting correct id from a entomologist.

Whats blossoming -
Bladder wort
The water lily is getting there:

and I'm sorry our computers don't let us smell, as these roses have the most divine scent.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

The Planting Out Continues

I'll just start shall I......

Thursday - with my rickety hot/ greenhouse still standing I decided it was time to plant out the sweet peppers and aubergines in their new home. Gave one of the aubergines to my neighbour with the strict instructions not to actually grow an aubergine if I didn't succeed :) I interplanted them with french marigolds to repel greenfly, a red curly basil, pot marigolds and coriander.

I also planted out the two cucumber plants and sowed two more seeds in situ. The plants weren't properly hardened off and I have been wrapping them in a fleece blanket each night but they are beginning to show signs of cold damage. I hope they pull through and that the seeds germinate, might even sow a couple more in the greenhouse as back up.

And now there is more space emerging in the greenhouse I have finally potted on my ochroes and moved them into the greenhouse (ignore the mess I'll sort it out, I promise). They were potted into a mixture of compost, rotted rabbit droppings and bedding with a generous dose of blood fish and bones. Then today I remembered I had a special mixture of rotted rabbit droppings and bedding rotting down further with some lawn clippings which I was to use to pot up the ochro, duh, haven't really got anywhere else to use it so it will have to be thrown back on the compost heap.

Friday was a dud day - zilch in the garden done.

Saturday (today) - I walked into my greenhouse and the ochro was sulking even though I was mindful to open the door before the sun became to intense. The plants were visibly suffering from the heat in the greenhouse so I pulled my finger out and sewed together the two net curtains I purchased in a charity house approx two weeks ago, leaving a gap for the window to go through which will allow me to open it easily. Then I draped it over the house and what a difference it has made, in the autumn it will simply go in the wash.

When that was done I sorted out any watering that needed doing and then cracked on with planting out or potting on of plants. So the remainder of annual salvia were planted out among the three brassicus beds. I also planted some borage and pot marigolds in and around the beans bed and pot marigold at the edge of the globe artichoke bed and brassicus bed.
I really hope vege plot should look pretty this year as I really stuck to my plan to get lots of flowers into and around the beds. I have also left most of the selfsown poppies, calendulas, nigella, fever few and others to just get on and do what they do best, that is look pretty.

The young globe artichoke plant was planted out in its final position. I prepared the soil with more rotted rabbit dropping and bedding with a another generous helping of BFB (really wish I had remembered about the forgotten bagged stuff) anyway hope it grows away beautifully.
At the edge of one of the beds which has perpetual spinach, chard, lettuce and spring onions already in it, I planted the five young red orach plants that grew from the ten seeds I sowed. These plants selfseed really well I'm told so I want them to do so into the brick path where in the future I could leave them to grow in the corners to look pretty as well as to have lazy grown food :)
Some coriander seedlings were also planted out into the corner of the tomato bed, again to encourage the seeds to fall into the brick footpath for easy/ lazy growing of the herb.
The sweetcorn experiment is off to a flying start with two seedlings emerging hopeful more will appear soon.
In between all the planting I got some weeding done and potted up the last of the brassicus seedlings which I'll plant out either tomorrow or Monday and I gave my surplus plants to my neighbour.
All in all got most things I wanted to do done and enjoyed being outdoors in the lovely sunny weather.
Take a look at what started to bloom today and the bees have already found it but I wasn't fast enough with the camera.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Am I Saving Myself Money (check in often to see my updated savings).

So one of the main reasons for growing your own is to save money, although if you re just staring out and want that finished look straight away any saving you do make would probably been eaten up with the initial outlay, (there are ways to offset this and that is by being frugal and reusing other people's throw aways, etc). Once you are up and running though there are certainly savings to be had.

I'm not really going to look at the moneys I have spent this year but my garden is pretty much put away so my out goings this year is pretty small. From memory I have bought compost for sowing seeds = approx £30.00, and another £50.00 pounds on a mixture of stuff such as; bamboo canes, seeds, netting, planting containers, a couple willow hurdles and other bits and bobs. I will probably spend at least another £20.00 or so before the end of the year but I most likely won't need too.

So starting from my first harvest of the year I will list according to month and date my harvests their weights/ amounts and the cost of the equivalent according to Tesco's prices as that is where I do my shopping.

P.S. you can always find this posting by clicking on the link titled My Supermarket Savings which is on the right hand side.


02/04/09 -

  • Lettuce (Little Gem): 4oz/100g - 88p
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli (PSB): 8.5oz/230g - £1.82
  • Spring Onion: 2 medium stalks - 13p (approx ten in a bunch)

12/04/09 -

  • PSB: 13.5oz/ 380g - £2.43

13/04/09 -

  • Chinese Leaves (picked as pak choi): 200g - £1.18
  • Spring Onion: 2 med stalks - 13p
  • Oregano (no price available but will price re rosemary prices): 20g - 39p
  • Parsley: 20g - 32p

15/04/09 -

  • Spinach: 9.5oz/ 350g - £2.59
  • Rhubarb: 1lb 8.5oz/ 700g - £3.05

18/04/09 -

  • PSB: 4oz/ 100g - 79p
  • Chives x approx 1 bundle - 68p
  • Oregano x approx 1 bundle - 79p
  • Parsley x approx 1 bundle - 68p

19/04/09 -

  • Spinach & Chard (Tesco does not sell chard so pricing is as spinach): 9oz/ 240g - £1.78
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p

20/04/09 -

  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Chives x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 38p

21/04/09 -

  • Baby Carrots: .5oz/ 22g - 15p
  • Pak Choi: 3.75oz/100g - 60p
  • Chives x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 38p

22/04/09 -

  • Parsley x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 19p

23/04/09 -

  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Chives x 1 bundle - 68p
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 38p

24/04/09 -

  • Baby Carrots: .5 oz/ 22g - 15p

25/03/09 -

  • Lettuce (Little Gem): 2oz/ 50g - 44p
  • PSB: 8oz/ 230g - £1.82
  • Spring Onions: 2 medium stalks - 13p
  • Pak Choi & Chinese Leaves (used and picked as pak choi): 600g - £3.54

26/04/09 -

  • Lettuce (Little Gem) (pricing is now each) x 1 - 44p
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 38p
  • Chives x 1 bundle - 68p

28/04/09 -

  • PSB: 7oz/ 200g - £1.58
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 19p

30/04/09 -

  • Radishes: 6oz/180g - 60p
  • Spinach: 12oz/ 340g - £2.52
  • Parsley x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 38p
  • Chives x 1 bundle - 68p

Total not spent in the supermarket this months was: £36.51


01/-5/09 -

  • Spinach: 3oz/ 85g - 63p

07/05/09 -

  • Parsley x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 38p

09/05/09 -

  • Radishes: 3oz/ 90g - 30p
  • Lettuce (Little Gem) x 1 - 44p

10/05/09 -

  • Spinach: 12oz/ 340g - £2.52

11/05/09 -

  • Radishes: 4.5oz/ 145g - 49p
  • Lettuce (Little Gem) x 3 - £1.32
  • Chives x 1 bundle - 68p
  • Parsley x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 38p

14/05/09 -

  • Radishes: 5oz/ 150g - 51p
  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 19p

15/05/09 -

  • Radishes: 3.75oz/ 110g - 37p
  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 19p
  • Parsley x 1/2 bundle - 34p

16/04/09 -

  • Radishes: 3oz/90g - 30p

17/05/09 -

  • Turnips: 1lb 4oz/ 575g (no price available at Tesco, this is Sainsbury's price) - 80p
  • Turnip Tops: (froze 1lb 5o/ 600g) + (used 7oz/ 180g) prices not available, so used kale as a comparison - £3.04
  • Chard as per spinach: 7oz/ 180g - £1.34
  • Parsley x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Chives x 1 bundle - 68p
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 38p

19/05/09 -

  • Mizuna (no prices available, priced as pak choi): 7oz/ 200g - £1.19
  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 38p
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p

20/05/09 -

  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p

21/05/09 -

  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 19p
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p

24/05/09 -

  • Chives x 1/2 bundle - 34p

25/05/09 -

  • Parsley x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Chives x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Oregano x 1 bundle - 76p

26/05/09 -

  • Lettuce (Little Gem) x 2 - 88p

27/05/09 -

  • Turnips: 1lb/ 450g (Tesco's has in stock now) - 72p
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 19p

29/05/09 -

  • Mizuna (no price available, priced as per pak choi): 13.5oz/ 395g - £2.35
  • Parsley x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 38p
  • Chives x 1/2 bundle - 34p


  • Pak Choi: 2lb 10oz/ 1.2kg (on sale) - £6.00
  • Mizuna (priced a pak choi): 1lb 11oz/ 790g - £3.90
  • Parsley x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Chives x 1/2 bundle - 34p

Total not spent in the supermarket this month was: £37.49. That is 98p more than last month.



  • Chives x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 38p


  • Oregano (picked for drying to bottle for winter use): 10oz/ 280g - £7.28 (this price won't be included in this month's total, once dried I'll re-weighed I'll calculate to get the actual purchasing price).
  • Oregano (for current use, stored in freezer) x 1 & 1/4 bundles - 98p
  • Chives (glut stored in freezer): 1lb 4oz/ 500g - £13.50
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p


  • Turnips: 1lb 4oz/ 500 - 70p


  • Lettuce (Butterhead): 15oz/ 450g (Tesco's closest match is their seasonal lettuce, prices per lettuce) - 68p
  • Chard as per spinach: 5oz/ 124g - 92p
  • Mangetout Peas: 15oz/ 425g - £2.27
  • New Potatoes: 1lb 14 & 1/2oz/ 870g - 69p
  • Parsley x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Basil (Greek): 1oz/ 28g - 73p
  • Thyme (lemon) x 1/4 bundle - 17p


  • Mangetout Peas: 8oz/ 200g - £1.07


  • Parsley x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Chives x 1 bundle - 68p
  • Spinach: 1lb 1oz/ 750g - £5.56
  • Lettuce (Lolla Rossa): 14oz/ 400g (Tesco's closest match is their crisp summer lettuce, prices per lettuce) - 99p


  • Strawberries: 3oz/ 86g - 38p
  • Mangetout Peas: 12oz/ 350g - £1.87
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 38p
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Chives x 1/2 bundle - 34p


  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 19p


  • Strawberries: 5oz/ 150g - 66p


  • Chives x 1 bundle - 68p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 19p
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p


  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 19p
  • Lettuce (Palmorosa): 1 head (Tesco's match is their Red Gem Lettuce) - 48p each
  • Garlic Chives x 1/2 bundle -(none available at Tesco so I have priced the at the high end of the herb prices) - 38p
  • Basil (Greek) x 1/2 bundle - 38p


  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p


  • Mangetout Peas: 8oz/ 200g - £1.07
  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • New Potatoes: 2lb 1/2oz/ 125g - 89p


  • Lettuce (Lolla Rossa): 12oz/ 350g - 99p


  • Chives x 1/2 bundle - 34p


  • Chives x 1/2 bundle - 34p

Total not spent in the supermarket this month was £41.28. That is £3.79 more than last month.



  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p
  • Strawberries: 10.5oz/ 300g - £1.31
  • Mange tout Peas: 5oz/ 125g - 93p


  • Chives x 1/2 bundle - 34p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p


  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p


  • Lettuce (Lolla Rossa): 13.5oz/ 390g - 99p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p
  • Sage x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p


  • Mange tout Peas: 1lb 14.5oz/ 875g - £6.52
  • Courgette: 1lb 11oz/ 775g - £1.43


  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p
  • Chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p


  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p
  • chives x 1/4 bundle - 17p


  • Chives x 1/2 bundle - 34p


  • Lettuce (Lolla Rossa): 3.5oz/ 100g - 99p
  • French Beans (I have grown a purple variety, I've priced them as regular F.beans but I'm quite sure Tesco would have sold them at a premium price): 9.5 oz/ 312g - £1.54
  • Mange tout Peas: 4oz/ 112g - 83p
  • Podded Peas (priced as per frozen peas): 5.5 oz/ 160 - 27p
  • Carrots: 4.5oz/ 127g - 11p
  • Mixed yellow Cherry Tomatoes (Tesco has various mixed tomato trays now): 1.5oz/ 30g - 22p
  • Runner Beans: 7.5oz/ 212g - £1.40
  • Springonions (the bunch I would normally buy has ten in a bunch) x 2 - 13p
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 20p


  • Opium Poppy Seeds (couldn't find them online at Tesco, so the price is from Sainsbury's): 8oz/ 225g - 87p
  • Perpetual Spinach: 1lb 8oz/ 675g - £2.69


  • Garlic x 1 bulb - 30p


  • Courgette: 1lb 11oz/ 775g - £1.43


  • Sweet Peppers: 20z/ 55g - 60p
  • French Beans: 11oz/ 325g - £2.88
  • Runner Beans: 15.5oz/ 435g - 65p
  • Springonions x 2 - 13p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p
  • Thyme x 1/4 bundle - 17p


  • Garlic Chives (figuring this is a maybe classed as a high end herb, I've priced it according to the more expensive herbs) x 1/2 bundle - 20p


  • Courgette: 1lb 3oz/ 550g - £1.01
  • Kohl Rabi (priced as per turnips): 2oz/ 60g - 36p
  • Springonions x 2 - 13p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p
  • Chinese Cabbage: 15oz/ 425g - 88p
  • Garlic x 1 bulb - 30p


  • Lettuce (Lolla Rossa): 1lb 2.5oz/ 525g - 99p
  • Blackberries: 2.5 oz/ 75g - £1.00
  • Runner Beans: 1lb 6oz/ 625g - £4.14
  • French Beans: 7oz/ 200g - 99p
  • Springonion x 2 - 13p
  • Thyme x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p
  • Garlic x 1 bulb - 30p

30/07/ 09

  • Courgette: 1lb 5oz/ 600g - £1.10
  • Carrots: 8oz/ 225g - 20p
  • Mixed tomatoes: 4oz/ 110g - 82p
  • Mini Ochro - cute but negligbe :)

Total not spent in the supermarket this month is £41.24. That is 4p more than last month, not a great amount more than last month but then I didn't actively harvest much at the beginning of the month as I stupidly bought to much vege from the grocery and didn't want to waste them.



  • Blackberries (foraged): 4.5oz/ 125g - 3p
  • Spring oniions x 3 - 24p
  • Garlic x 1 - 30p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p
  • Thyme x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Chard: 1lb 2oz/ 500g - £1.97
  • Carrots: 7.5oz/ 212g - 25p
  • Runner beans: 1lb 8oz/ 687g - £3.44
  • Frenchbeans: 9oz/ 250g - £1.04


  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p
  • Chives x 1/2 - 34p


  • Cucumber (are sold @ 60p ea) x 1 = 1lb 1oz/ 475g - 60p
  • Tomatoes (mixed) [Tesco sells a mixed variety tomato punnet]: 7oz/ 200g - £1.49
  • Sweet pepper x 1 - 50p
  • Beetroot: 10oz/ 275g - 65p
  • Spring onion x 2 - 16p


  • Runner beans: 1lb 3oz/ 540g - £2.70
  • Frenchbeans: 13oz/ 375g - £1.56
  • Spring onion x 1 - 8p


  • Par-cel (herb similar to parsley so I will price it as flat leaf parsley) x 1/4 bundle - 32p
  • Oregano x 1/2 bundle - 40p
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 32p
  • Chives x 1 bundle - 68p
  • Thyme x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Perpetual spinach: 2lb 6oz/ 1.75kg - £6.88
  • Hungarian Sweet peppers x 2 - £1.28
  • Carrots: 3.5oz/ 100g - 12p
  • Tomatoes (salad): 3oz/ 75g - 15p
  • Scotch bonnet chilli x 8 - £2.17


  • Tomatoes (mixed): 3.5oz/ 102g - 69p
  • Tomatoes (red cherry): 3.5oz/ 102g - 30p
  • runner beans: 6oz/ 175g - 88p
  • Scalloped squash (priced as butternut): 15.5oz/ 440g - 57p
  • Garlic x 1 - 30p
  • Cucumber x 1 = 1lb 4oz/ 555g - 60p
  • Frenchbeans: 5oz/ 150g - 63p


  • Cherry Plums (foraged): 8lbs/ 3.25kg - £12.19

The above savings will be calculated by the finished products it produced below:

  • Jars of Jam x 3 = 1020g - £2.24
  • Jars of Fruit Syrup x 2 = 680g - £2.92
  • Pie x 1 - £1.60
  • Cake x 1 - 78p
  • Fruit Bars (priced as per Jordans Fruit Bars which is the only type I buy) x 12 - £3.40
  • Chinese Plum Sauce x 1 jar = 340g - £2.18
  • Plum BBQ Sauce x 1 jar = 340g - 79p


  • Onions x 2 - 58p
  • Scotch Bonnet x 1 - 10p
  • Vietnamese Coriander (priced as regular coriander) x 1/4 bundle - 37p
  • Lemongrass x 1 stalk - 34p
  • Garlic x 1 - 30p


  • Tomatoes (red cherry): 3oz/ 95g - 28p
  • To,atoes (mixed salad): 6oz/ 190g - £1.42
  • Tomatoes (yellow cherry): 3oz/ 95g - 71p


  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 32p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p
  • Thyme x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Par-cel x 1/4 bundle 32p
  • Runner beans : 1lb 1.5oz/ 500g - £2.50
  • French beans: 2oz/ 55g - 23p
  • Scoth bonnet x 1 - 10p
  • Chard: 10.25oz/ 295g - £1.16
  • Tomatoes (red cherries): .5oz/ 10g - 3p
  • tomatoes (yellow cherries): 3.5oz/ 100g - 75p
  • Tomatoes (salad): 8.5oz/ 240g - 47p
  • Greek Basil: 60z/ 175g/ 9 measuring cups worth - £4.55

The above basil harvest will be calculated by the finished products it produced below:

  • Pesto x 2 jars = 680g - £7.14


  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p
  • Garlic x 1 - 30p
  • Scotch bonnet x 1 - 10p
  • Chinese leaves: 9.5oz/ 270g - £1.18
  • Tomatoes (mixed): 6oz/ 170g - £1.27
  • Tomatoes (red cherries): 1oz/ 15g - 4p
  • Tomatoes (yellow cherries): 3.5oz/ 100g - 75p
  • Beetroot: 7oz/ 200g - 47p
  • Carrots: ".5oz/ 75g - 9p
  • Par-cel x 1/4 bundle - 32p


  • Cherry Plums (foraged): 2lbs/ 920g - £3.45

The above savings will be calculated by the finished products it produced below:

  • Plum Jam x 3.5 jars = 1190g - £2.62


  • Cucumber x 1 = 1lb 2oz/ 520g - 60p


  • Courgette: 1lb 4oz/ 575g - £1.06
  • Cucumber x 1 = 1lb 5oz/ 590g - 60p
  • Sweet pepper x 1 - 50p
  • Scalloped Squash: 13.5oz/ 380g - 46p
  • Tomatoes (mixed): 8.5oz/ 248g - £1.85
  • Tomatoes (yellow cherries): 2oz/ 50g - 37p
  • Tomatoes (red cherries): 3.5oz/ 95g - 28p
  • Tomatoes ( cooking plum varieties) [these are generally what is used to produce tin tomatoes and so I have priced them accordingly]: 2.5oz/ 60g - 5p


  • Scalloped squash: 14oz/400g - 48p
  • Runner beans: 15oz/ 426g - £2.13
  • French beans: 5 oz/ 150g - 63p
  • Tomatoes (yellow cherries): 1.75oz/25g - 19p
  • Tomatoes (cooking plums): 4oz/ 110g - 10p
  • Tomatoes (beefstalk- Sainsbury prices): 7oz/ 200g - 70p
  • Tomatoes (salad): 1.5oz/ 30g - 6p
  • Tomatoes (red cherries): 2oz/ 26g - 8p
  • Spring onion x 1 - 8p


  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 32p
  • Thyme x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Garlic x1 - 30p


  • Tomatoes (salad): 14.5oz/ 410 - 81p
  • Tomatoes (mixed): 2.5oz/ 70g - 52p
  • Tomatoes (yellow cherries): 1oz/ 25g - 18p
  • Tomatoes (cooking plums): 1.75oz/ 55g - 5p
  • Tomatoes (red cherries): 5oz/ 145g - 43p
  • Courgette: 1lb 2.5oz/ 525g - 97p
  • Lemongrass x 1 stalk - 34p
  • Scotch bonnet x 1 - 10p
  • Veitnamese coriander x 1/4 bundle - 37p
  • Spring onions x 2 - 16p


  • Runner beans: 12.5oz/ 365g - £1.83
  • French beans: 1.50z/ 35g - 15p
  • Spring onion x 2 - 16p
  • Scalloped squash: 14.5oz/ 420g - 50p
  • Perpetual spinach: 13oz/ 475g - £1.87
  • scotch bonnet x 1 - 10p
  • Tomatoes (red cherries): 1.5oz/ 35g - 10p
  • Tomatoes (yellow cherries): 4oz/ 120g - 89p
  • Tomatoes (beefsteak): 1lb 5oz/ 600g - £2.10
  • Tomatoes (salad): 15oz/ 426g - 84p
  • Tomatoes (mixed): 4.5oz/126g - 94p
  • Garlic x 1 - 30p
  • Parsley x 1/4 bundle - 32p
  • Oregano x 1/4 bundle - 20p
  • Thyme x 1/4 bundle - 17p
  • Par-cel x 1/4 bundle - 32p


  • Onions: 6oz/ 175g - 15p


  • Tomatoes (beefsteak): 2lb 1.5oz/ 960g - £3.36
  • Tomatoes (mixed): 1lb .5oz/ 470g - £3.50
  • Tomatoes (yellow cherries): 1.5oz/ 45g - 34p
  • Tomatoes (red cherries): 3oz/ 90g - 27p
  • Tomatoes (cooking plum): 10oz/ 380g - 34p
  • Courgette: 1lb 11oz/ 760g - £1.40


  • Tomatoes (beefsteak): 15oz/ 430g - £1.51
  • Tomatoes (mixed): 1lb 5oz/ 600g - £4.47
  • Tomatoes (red cherries): 3oz/ 95g - 28p
  • Tomatoes (yellow cherries): 2.5oz/ 75g - 56p
  • Tomatoes (cooking plums): 4.5oz/ 130g - 11p
  • Runner beans: 6oz/ 75g - 38p
  • French beans: 1.5oz/ 40g - 17p
  • Onion tops (to be used as spring onions): 12oz/ 130g - 82p
  • Perpetual spinach: 1lb 14oz/ 850g - £3.34
  • Garlic x 1 - 30p


  • Scotch bonnet x 1 - 10p
  • Vietnamese coriander x 1/4 bundle - 32p
  • Onion x 1 - 15p

Total not spent in the supermarket this month is £118.88. That is £77.64 more than last month. The foraged foods and my tomato glut has certainly helped to increase the savings this month.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

A Ricketty Greenhouse????

Another warm sunny day, oh lovely.

I got the all my beans planted out today; the runners, the dwarf and climbing french beans and the borlotti. The dwarf beans were planted in the tomato bed and won't need harvesting till the pods are ripe ad dry, so as to reduce the risk of them getting wet and remaining damp nearer harvest time I thought it would be a good idea to grow them under the same cover.

I also planted out the chard seedlings and my second set of lettuce. Now I need to sow the third batch.

I have lots of flowering plants to plant out as companion plants, today it was some more sunflowers and some of the salvia that were planted out, both went into the bean bed and a couple were planted in the asparagus beds edge and the edge of the swiss chard row.

The last thing I got done was to build and erect a mini 'hot/ green house' which I plan to grow my aubergines and sweet peppers in. I'll plant those out tomorrow. The sweet peppers already have flowers and I have been pollinating them with a paint brush (think they are suppose to be self pollinating but I thought it wouldn't hurt to help them along as they are not being visited by any pollinators inside). Both of sets of plants may also be a little pot bound so I hope they grow away once I plant them out.

Check out what's in flower:

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

A Couple More tasks Done!!

Another windy day greeted me on waking but things needed to be planted so I took the plunge, at least the sun was shining warmly.

The sweet corn I put to chit a few days ago were ready so after I removed the plastic and marked out the planting spaces I planted the chitted seeds (see the dark spots in the photo - I got thirty five in the 5ft x 6ft bed), watered and recovered the bed to keep the warmth in and any night chills out.

The other job done involved the tomato bed. I finished the digging and filling the last two holes with rotted rabbit droppings and bedding, erected the last two poles then started to plant out the twelve tomato plants all different varieties.

The varieties I'm growing this year are:

Vintage wine,
Gardeners delight,
Golden Sunrise,
Black Triffid,
Ailsa Craig,
Oh dear I can't remember the rest off hand I'll update the list later......

The french marigolds were already planted on the perimeter about ten days ago, so I added some sweet basil as well but I covered them with 2L bottles to keep them snug against the cold wind especially since they weren't hardened off and came straight from the warm conservatory.

Then I had to stop and cook dinner, so I cut two large bunches of mizuna (the first to be harvested) to contribute to the vege side of the meal. I have never grown these before and will definitely be growing them again, YUM!!

After I ate dinner I went back outside in the fading light to erect the cover that I used last year over my tomatoes. The plan is to keep the worst of the summer rains off the tomatoes, which should then make them less likely to get blight or at least slow down the disease.

Last year it was an experiment based on something I had seen a couple years ago on Gardener's World (in the last two months while rereading my old kitchen garden magazines I came across an article of an Italian gentleman who grows all his outdoor tomatoes in this way on his allotment, with great success, so it has been done before). Well the experiment in a very wet summer of last year was a resounding success, my tomatoes got blight a whole ten days later than my neighbours outdoor crop and when they did get it, it was easy to control with the early removal of the lower leaves IE stopping them from drooping and staying in contact with any wet/ damp soil and following regimented inspections twice to three times a day (yep I'm a stay home mom), I promptly removed any infected foliage and or fruit of which I only lost no more than ten might of been even less tomatoes. And where as my neighbour's crop succumbed to the blight in less than two weeks, I was still harvesting in the last week of October.

So with a successful experiment under my belt I proceeded to attach the anchors to the cover then rope my mum and OH into helping me place it on top the 1"+ thick bamboo poles (thankfully the wind has died down, so it was a quick operation). The anchors made of basic garden twine was then tied to some horse shoe nails which I hammered into the side of the raised bed, done and dusted by 21:37. The flash in the picture make it look completely dark but I assure you there was just a little hint of light left :)

I didn't really have time to admire the flowers etc, but did notice the water aven plants had one flower in particular that was quite exquisite, so please enjoy.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Its A Success

I decided to try turnips this year to see if we as a family who have never eaten it before would like to add it to our diet.

Well I harvested the first lot today and used both the turnip and the leafy tops (mainly the younger leaves) for dinner this evening.

I roasted the turnips with chard also from the garden and sauteed the tops then tossed them in with spaghetti. we had the lot with stewed lima beans. And like it says in the title it was a success, everyone enjoyed them. They were surprisingly sweet and the tops were reminiscent of pak choi.

We'll try them raw next time in a salad or tossed with fried vege rice, haven't decided yet.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Sacrificial Curcubits?????

Woke to a very wet garden and more rain teeming down, all this was finished though by 08:30 am and was replaced by gusty winds up to forty plus.

Today I attempted to build a mini greenhouse to enclose my sweet peppers and aubergines but the forty plus winds showed me the structure needs tweaking.

So onto job number two; decided to plant out my winter squash, pumpkins and courgettes they simply could not be left in their pots any more. So with my heart in my mouth I planted them out in the gusts, I feel as though I am sacrificing them to the wind gods. At least tonight the gusts will be dieing down but are forecasted to return tomorrow evening to last through out tomorrow night, I do hope I do not end up with egg on my face and I'm afraid it gets worse as the tomorrow the tomatoes will be sharing their faith.

Finally I got round to potting up some herbs that have grown out of their pots, some lime basil and Vietnamese coriander.

Oh and here are few flowers that were in bloom today, hope you enjoy them as much as I did.


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