The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Garden, beds and bugs

Posted in General care | 15 comments

Garden, beds and bugs

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...

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Hampton Court Flower Show 2009. A great day out.

Posted in Flowers, Reviews | 9 comments

Hampton Court Flower Show 2009. A great day out.

Although it’s almost a twelve hour round trip, I wouldn’t want to miss the final day of the Hampton Court Flower Show. Danny always gives me two tickets as a Valentine’s Day present. Fills his company car with diesel and happily waves me goodbye for the day. He doesn’t do shows. I have tried taking him but within 20 minutes he is back in the car with a newspaper. He’s happy for about an hour overall and then he gets dramatically restive. He might not even survive a visit to the Hampton Court Flower Show. It’s a great day out if you...

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Harvesting garlic without the Delphic Oracle

Posted in Vegetables | 9 comments

Harvesting garlic without the Delphic Oracle

The new laptop was sent to Cardiff by mistake. It should have arrived today. At least it will have toured some of the UK before we receive it on Monday and it enters a life with little rest. Meanwhile I have harvested our garlic. I bought three succulent heads from The Garlic Farm (Isle of Wight). The company was showing at Hampton Court last summer. I dried the heads in our airy greenhouse and planted the cloves in our sunniest spot in late September. Apparently the winter frosts encourage better growth. I need to keep a gardening diary...

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Updates

Posted in Cottage tales | 12 comments

Updates

I love this time of year. I watched a pair of butterflies canoodling for ten minutes this afternoon. Settling on the grass and then opening their wings for each other. If I had wings that beautiful, I think that I’d have opened mine too. They fluttered about the garden in between the wing displays, beautiful and intimate creatures on a mission. Meanwhile I had been getting acquainted with giant spiders. The higher you climb on a ladder propped against a house, the bigger the spiders you meet. At the apex of the barge boards I met a giant. It...

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Flowers from the garden: July 2008

Posted in Flowers | 9 comments

Flowers from the garden: July 2008

I haven’t bought flowers for the cottage since January 2007. This has saved money and fast tracked the development of the herbaceous borders. Although we have now have quite a wide range of plants that flower in July, I’ve chosen an edible posy of flowers for this month’s entry. Nasturtiums and feverfew. I’ve always had a soft spot for nasturtiums ever since I spotted that the guinea pigs in a Beatrix Potter story were using them as parasols. We have nasturtiums growing in the kitchen garden. John Coe thinks that...

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Flowers from the garden: July

Posted in Flowers | 7 comments

Flowers from the garden: July

I still haven’t bought any flowers this year. Now there are loads of flowers in the garden it is not quite so hard to roll the trolley past the flower displays in the supermarket. Although when there are those large bunches of sweet smelling stocks the trolley often makes a small veer towards the buckets. I picked this bunch early in July. Sometimes I don’t worry about clashing colours I just want to smell roses when I open the kitchen door. The scent of these was so sweet. Most of the roses are modern roses that were here in the...

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