The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Garden, beds and bugs

Photo: Honey bee in hollyhock

Photo: Honey bee in hollyhock

We have chunky tomatoes in the greenhouse that are just beginning to blush orange. I’ve spotted doll’s house sized runner beans on the canes. We splashed out and are growing two types this year: White Lady – a sweet and stringless bean recommended by Maurice and a nameless bean donated by John Coe.
“These have wonderful long pods and bright red flowers.” He winked. The seeds were a motley purple and black colour.

The kitchen garden is doing better than any year before and we’re half thrilled half terrified of being hit by the dreaded blight. This year I took HFW advice and sprayed our spuds with Bordeaux Mixture (considered organic until a year ago) and am hoping that just the one spray at the end of June will suffice.

There’s a small patch in front of the cottage where I’m growing outdoor tomatoes, squashes and one stately sunflower that some resourceful bird planted this spring. To the right of the front door we have a giant tub containing three blueberry bushes laden with fruit.

The only life that appears not to be flourishing is mine. I’ve been laid up in bed with a lurgy these past few days. The doctor suspects glandular fever. They can test after a couple of weeks.
“Until then you must rest completely.”
So here I am, sleeping a lot, feeling exhausted and hoping that it’s just a bug.

Useful links:

Thompson and Morgan sell White Lady ruuner bean seeds for £3.29

Unwins sell a slightly bigger pack for £2.79


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15 Comments

  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Linda

    I may be laid up but with the new laptop propped beside me I have more time for the blog! In between snoozes.

    Hello Michelle

    Good point. Fiction or non fiction – can’t decide which route to take.

    Hi Linda

    They are growing much more strongly than the White Ladies. Looking forward to the first harvest.

    Hi Joanna

    Thanks so much for the good wishes.

    Hello Veronica

    I’ve no idea what I’ve got but I’m finding it hard seeing poor old D flying about – under pressure at work and having to look after me.

    Hi Magic Cochin

    I must look out my copy of Mrs Beeton immediately!

    Hi Kate(uk)

    Normally pretty energetic, it’s very odd to be holed up in bed and unable to do anything much. I’m resting hard.

    Hi Jess

    I listened to the link. Wonderful. Thank you so much.

    Hello Casalba

    Thanks for your good wishes.

    Hi Wendy

    Yes I have been jostling for space in the human dog basket. In fact D removed the Min Pins this morning and they have spent the day downstairs. The bed is now an oasis of calm.

    Thunderstorms for the past couple of days here too.

    Hi Pamela

    I hope that it’s not glandular fever too. It’s strange, lying in bed for days.

    Hello Domestic Executive

    Oh those first few shoots of garlic are such a thrill! We have been using some of our freshly harvested garlic – tangy and clean tasting. You’ll be tasting yours long before we harvest our next crop!

    Hello Toffeeapple

    I’m resting like mad. No point in fighting it.

    Hi KarenO

    Your polytunnel sounds like our greenhouse – a jungle of green leaves and life!!

    We planted our squashes outside in pots and they seem to be happy with leaves the size of elephant’s ears.

    Chilly wet weather here for the past two days but with enough sunshine to lift the spirits.

  2. karenO

    Sorry to hear you’re unwell again fiona – try to take all the advice and get lots of rest. The gardening is very relaxing isn’t it. My beans are like yours but my tomatoes aren’t as far advanced. I think I made a mistake by planting my courgettes and squashes in the polytunnel tho – it said 18 inches apart (I’ve never grown them before). I was quite good with the 18 inches but they’ve taken over and it’s like a jungle. Hubby stuck his head thro the door and said “we have got a path in there?” Hope your potatoes don’t succumb to blight – it’s been such a lovely start to the summer I was hopeful we may not see it but weather wise things have taken a downturn this month here in the SW. Still if it’s horrible weather bed is the best place for you to rest!

  3. Toffeeapple

    So sorry to hear that you are unwell again, do take the advice, it can lay you up for weeks if you don’t. Get well soon.

  4. Domestic Executive

    Sorry to hear you’re not well – hope rest will bring recuperation. Great news about your garden. I’ve had a downer on mine this winter till I spotted the garlic coming through this week. It cheered me up no end. Take care!

  5. Pamela

    Oh Fiona I do hope it’s not glandular fever (or even glangela fever as a parent once wrote it in a sick note to me at school). My brother spent last Christmas in hospital with that. I was tested for it once and told that although I didn’t have it then I had already had it! I have absolutely no idea when i might have had it though. We have had the rain for 2 whole days now with barely enough dry weather to pick a few raspberries. Get well soon.

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