Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Kitchen table nursery

This is the state of my kitchen table, covered with all my little seedlings growing away.

I have patio doors there so it is the place with the most light.  On there I have 4 types of tomato, 4 types of bean, rainbow chard, sweet peppers, 2 types of leek, 2 types of lettuce, butternut squash, peas, sweet peas, sunflowers, basil and cress.  The beans are way too early and will probably get chucked except the dwarf ones which are actually starting to flower!  The tomatoes got a little bit scorched when I put them out in the sun but have made a stirling recovery and I think they are going to be ok.  I’m a bit scared to put them out into the mini plastic greenhouse as they might all die and I’d be left with nothing.

I bought the packet of cress seeds in Morrisons, but it doesn’t look like the cress I’m used to…..these are like little umbrellas

I tasted some and it was quite peppery.

A lovely member of my local knititng group very kindly gave me some terracotta pots last week as she is moving away and can’t take everything with her.  I got quite a haul and am very grateful….thanks Sarah!

I ordered a few more seeds yesterday from MoreVeg who sell small quantities for 50p, cos I don’t need many.  I’ve got a couple of different squashes coming, some alpine strawberries and asparagus peas (and a few others, ahem!).  My veg patch is going to be absolutely heaving in the height of the growing season!!

In the next few days I shall be sowing some nasturtiums and pot marigold seeds which Flighty kindly sent me to use as companion plants and attract insects, and hopefully getting the rest of my seed potatoes into the ground as their chits are getting rather long now.  Looks like it is going to be warming up a bit again at the weekend although it could be a bit damp.

I shall also be going to The Chester Food & Drink Festival this weekend.  We go every year and my favourite bit is the lunchtime hog roast,  yum!  On Sunday, Eaton Hall is open to the public for the day so depending on the weather we may go along to that.  We went at the end of the summer last year so it will be interesting to see the difference at this time of year.

Big Green Smile

Happy New Year!!

I’m a bit late off the mark but there you go.  I’m not going to do a round up of last year’s gardening and green efforts because basically I was just getting started.  This year will be the one to really get going but again I’m not going to list resolutions because I never stick to them.

So for my first post of 2012 I want to praise great service.  Back in August I posted about some items I’d bought through Planet Organic.  One of these items was the Eco2Life cleaner system where you initially buy the product with the spray bottle and subsequently just buy refills thus cutting down on packaging and waste.

Eco2Life system

When it came time to order refills I discovered that Planet Organic no longer stock them so I had to find another source. After “googling” I came across a site called Big Green Smile.  They have a great range of eco-products so after having a look around the site I put an order together.  That was yesterday morning.  My order arrived this morning!!  How quick is that??  It was well packaged in a cardboard box and the filler was more scrunched cardboard so all recyclable.

If your order is over £10 you can request 2 free samples – I chose to try Yes to Tomatoes face wash and moisturiser (the two sachets in the middle of the photo).  Also if you refer a friend they get a £10 voucher off an order over £25.  So if anyone would like to take advantage of this offer, let me know and I’ll refer you. (in the interest of full disclosure I would also get a voucher!)

I will review the various products as I use them.  I currently have a load of laundry in using the Method laundry liquid, and I’ll be attempting to clean my oven in the next few days.  I didn’t have much success using baking soda, salt and vinegar so I am going to try the e-cloth first (we’ve used the glass one and it’s amazing!) and if I struggle with that then I’ll try the OrangeMate.

As for the Eco2Life cleaners, they are really good.  There is no horrid chemical smell and they clean really well.  I even got some permanent marker off one of my tiles today with the multipurpose cleaner.  And the bathroom one keeps my bath sparkling!

Not very exciting to be talking about cleaning products, but if you care about using fewer chemicals and not harming yourself or the environment, give Big Green Smile a look.


No liposuction required………

……….but I have a lovely new butt!!

This one is to go on the patio.  We have a drainpipe that collects all the water from the new extension roofs and existing rear house roof so it shouldn’t take too long to fill once it is connected.  It is a narrow “space saver” water butt, 100 litre capacity.  I ordered it from in their clearance sale for £19.99 plus a stand for £7.99.  I have got a connector kit separately from this seller on ebay, so that’s a job for the weekend when we find a suitable tool for making the hole for the connecting water pipe to fit.

You get free delivery if you order over £29, so because I was a little short I ordered this (rather substantial when it arrived) dibber and a pair of very fetching knee pads!!

On Sunday morning I planted out my 7 cabbage seedlings and covered them with fleece until the cabbage collars arrive.  And I think that is now it for the sowing and planting until the spring.  I currently have onions, garlic, cabbage, peas and broad beans in the veg bed, turnips in the patio bag and the last of the tomatoes desperately fighting to ripen on the patio.  It is quite sunny (but cold) today so fingers crossed for a few more before I have to bring them in.  I cut down and hung my French beans in the shed to dry for seeds.  But I have no idea what the original plants were, (which I bought as small plants unlabelled at the local hardware store,) let alone if they are F1s so I will have to get some other seeds as well, I was thinking of Blue Lake as they look the most like the ones I had this year.

I did have a slightly amusing tomato, a siamese twin…..

I am currently reading a book called Allotted Time, an amusing account of two guys who decided on a slightly tipsy night out to get an allotment when neither of them had ever gardened before.  I’m about two thirds through so will review it when I’m done.  And I have been adventurous in my cooking with two recipes from River Cottage Veg Every Day last week and another planned for tonight.  The River Cottage TV series to accompany the book just started on Channel 4 on Sunday evening and I am very pleased to say it doesn’t clash with the Strictly results show!!

New books

Ok, this is it now, any more books I want I’ll see if I can get from the library or it will go on my Christmas wish list, but just before that happens……….these just arrived

Purely by chance one day last week I flicked on the TV at lunchtime and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was looking very dapper on Loose Women (oh the shame!), talking about this new book.  I looked it up online and amazon had it for half price!! (and still do).  Well you can’t turn down a bargain like that can you?  The other two happened to fall into the basket on the way to the checkout (ahem!!)

A local shop for local people

A few months ago I discovered our local hardware shop.  I kind of knew it was there but it hadn’t really been on my radar – I’d maybe been in once or twice in 15 years.

However, since the gardening bug bit, I’ve been there much more.  The French beans I grew this year came from there, as did the pot and the canes to hold them up.  My blackcurrant bush also came from there – a steal at £3.95.  I’ve bought some other plastic growing pots and compost this year and this morning I collected my spade and hoe which they had had sharpened for me.  While I was there I got a long-handled three-pronged cultivator for a fiver.

They currently have some fruit trees and bushes – apple, pear, blueberry, redcurrant – all at reasonable prices but I’m resisting for now until I’ve decided on the layout of the plot.  Plus any fruit would have to be well protected from the dog who is just a complete dustbin!! (That’s labradors for you).

If you go inside the shop I think you could probably ask for anything and they would have it.

It is run by a little old man well past retirement and his son who is probably near retirement.  I hope there is someone else to carry on the business, else we will probably lose it at some point.  But in the meantime, I shall go there for bits and pieces as and when I need them.  It is just far away to need to pop in the car but nowhere as bad as going at least 10 miles to the nearest garden centre.


I picked up a pretty little variegated acer in Morrisons yesterday. It was £3. I’ve been quite impressed with Morrisons for plants so far this year.


Mini greenhouse

So this is what Colin bought me for my birthday (although there is something on the way in the post which hasn’t arrived yet!).

It’ll be great for protecting seeds and small plants from the weather.  I haven’t put it together yet because the place where it is going to go isn’t ready.  It is going behind the shed but we are going to have to shift the compost bin a bit to fit it in as Colin recently sited the water butt round there too so there isn’t quite enough room to squeeze the growhouse in.  It shouldn’t be a problem as there isn’t that much in the compost bin yet, despite the efforts of a couple of neighbours who keep leaving me their grass cuttings!!  The growhouse is 5’3″ tall, perfect for me at 5’1″!!

I was very impressed with the garden centre we went to, it had some lovely planted borders and even an example veggie patch.  I took some photos of how I would like the non-veggie part of the garden to look…….

(Click the individual pictures for larger versions – for some reason I can’t edit out the two doubles from the gallery)

Unfortunately at the moment it looks like this…….

We’ll get there!!

Planet Organic

It’s my birthday today so I got a timely delivery of goodies!!  It all came in a recycled box, with compostable packing chips (the ones that look like Wotsits) and biodegradable bubble wrap around the fragile items.

I have recently upped my efforts at being more environmentally aware and chemical aware, and to that end I have been looking into more organic products.  I heard about Planet Organic on my favourite podcast More Hip Than Hippie and found out they have a UK website, PlanetOrganicUK.  So off I went to have a look.  I wanted to try the Eco2Life cleaning products which they carry so ordered those, but then I found the chocolate section!!  Yikes.

Well you have to try a selection to know what you like, right??  I’ll get back to you when I do the taste test comparison!

I’ll give an opinion on here as I try each product, obviously I have other stuff to use up first, but as and when…..