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

  Leave a reply


  1. My beans and tomatoes seem to be at the same stage as yours (despite being constantly stared at and fussed over!) We have had a howling gale and torrential rain all day.
    We are so sorry that you are feeling ill again and hope you will soon feel better. I expect you are jostling for space in the human dog-basket! x

  2. casalba

    Get well soon, Fiona. xxx Sally

  3. Jessica Pollitt

    Oh dear 🙁

    Get better soon, Fiona! I recommend listening to this to bring some cheer:


  4. kate (uk)

    Sorry to hear you may have Glandular Fever- take the advice to rest very seriously- it is a beast to get rid of ( the voice of experience…).X Kate

  5. magic cochin

    Hope you’re soon feeling a little better – sounds like you’re completely run down, so a good rest is very good advice.

    Have you got a copy of Mrs Beeton? Tell Danny to read Chapter 38 – he doesn’t need to cook the food, just read the chapter aloud to you as a tonic 😉


  6. Veronica

    oh no! I really hope you haven’t got glandular fever. Get some rest and I hope you feel better soon.

  7. Joanna

    Hope you do get better soon Fiona.

  8. Your purple and black seeds sound like my Scarlet Runners. They are very avid growers, even in containers…

    Hope you feel better soon.

  9. michelle sheets

    Feel Better Fiona!
    Maybe you could hole up in bed and start the outline for your book?
    Come on, you know you’re going to do it eventually…

  10. You poor thing. You normally seem so energetic, so it must take a lot to confine you to bed. Don’t worry about us – we will wait and survive, although updates on your progress from Danny could be an idea? (see, he’s started something now!)

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