The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Update on the young: teeny winter salad leaves sown under fleece and Beatyl our diminutive baby cockerel

Posted in Vegetables | 5 comments

Update on the young: teeny winter salad leaves sown under fleece and Beatyl our diminutive baby cockerel

When the dogs stopped playing with the fleece, things progressed very quickly with our winter salad leaf seeds. They germinated within a week. I also realised that the mini poly tunnel ‘self waters’ the two rows of leaves that it protects when condensation builds up with the heat exchange. It drips onto the soil morning and evening. The seedlings are so young that I was concerned that they might have been knocked on the head by the heavy frosts last week. Apparently, seeds sown mid September should have grown into robust plants by January....

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Flowers from the garden: December

Posted in Flowers | 13 comments

Flowers from the garden: December

It’s quite fitting that the last day in the year should end with the final monthly instalment of Flowers from the Garden. This was a challenge that I set myself in January 2007. Having been an extravagant flower buyer for over 20 years I decided not to buy flowers for the house from a shop or even a wayside stall. For the period of a year all flowers for the cottage had to be picked from our garden. With the exception of flowers given to me. This required a phenomenal strengthening of character. After two months of floral buying cold...

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Jerusalem Artichokes

Posted in Vegetables | 17 comments

Jerusalem Artichokes

I didn’t realise that I was growing Jerusalem Artichokes for a couple of years. As a close relation to the sunflower, I planted one Helianthus tuberosus in a dry area of the garden where I was assured that it would thrive. And it did. By the second year there were six of the giants. It was only when I planned to move the group elsewhere that I found these tuberous roots. Initially I wasn’t at all sure what these knobbly roots were and was concerned that they might indicate some sort of ghastly disease. So there was a frantic...

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