In The Garden

It’s been a busy few weeks continuing with weeding, clearing, sowing, and generally keeping on top of things. I love this time of year because we are just at the point of harvesting the first few crops of the year. Here’s a quick update:

I’ve covered the strawberry bed with straw to try and cut down on weeds and keep the fruits off the ground. There aren’t actually many on this year as they’re quite young plants (I wish I could remember the variety).

The polytunnel is coming on well. I’ve got various tomatoes, chillies, aubergines, peppers, and cucumbers on the go in here.

I have the first flurry of courgettes!

The next lot of plants waiting for a slot in the garden are coming on nicely. Here I’ve got sweetcorn, squash, chard, spinach, more tomatoes, possibly some kale.

And my first harvest! These are the potatoes I started off in the polytunnel back in February and they seemed to take off well. These are (I think) Nicola. We’ll be having these for lunch today!

The harvest so far…

One of the main purposes of adding the garden to what was supposed to be a crafting blog was to try and keep better records. As well as what’s been sown when I’d like to track my harvests too so here is my first harvest report of 2023:

Potato, Nicola = 720g/1.5 lbs

Strawberry Thief!

And finally, here’s Bill! He’s clearly made himself at home in my strawberry patch and might explain why I don’t seem to have many strawberries. Annoyingly, he’s not even waiting for them to ripen! And he’s quite brazen about his thievery as you can see.

Year of Projects: Week Forty Seven

In the Garden

So this week’s YOP is pretty much just a garden update, but I have been busy out there this week. It’s been a super sunny weekend here. Of course, having spent months complaining about it being too wet to get on with things I am now grumbling about it being too hot out there! Still, things got done this weekend.

Planting out

First up I’ve planted out a few bits and pieces in the vegetable beds. This includes:

  • The basil, coriander, and parsley plants
  • Tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, peppers, courgettes, and chillies
  • Spinach, spring onions, and something that might be chard or could just be more spinach!

This year I have a few different varieties of tomatoes on the go so it will be interesting to see what works best. My beds have more or less worked out as being root, herb and salads, fruiting plants, leafy veg, strawberries, and peas. Then I have a few crops in pots like potatoes, beans, Jerusalem artichokes and some other bits.


It’s strange what seems to struggle some years. Last year my courgettes and squash failed, and this year I cannot get my lettuce seeds to germinate. Still I’ve done yet another sowing this week so fingers crossed. This week I made my final May sowings for:

  • Sweetcorn
  • Lettuce: Rosso di Trento
  • Spring Onions: Lisbon
  • Chard: Bright Lights
  • Green Beans
  • Rocket
  • Cabbage: Summer Jewel

I also took the opportunity to get my seed tin back in order so that I have all my seeds arranged by date of next sowing. This is really helping with keeping on top of successional sowing.

Wildflower patch

I admit that this corner of the garden has never really been what I’ve wanted it to be. It is basically an overgrown grassy spot, although well loved by slow worms. Every year I sow some flowers and every year they fail. This is my second sowing this year so I’m hoping something might appear. My rabbit Dylan died earlier this year so I also took the opportunity to scatter his ashes to join his companion, Efa, at the same time, so I really do hope it takes off.

I also found some old marigold and Cosmos seeds so I scattered a few of those in various blank spots and empty pots just to see if they take.

That’s it for this week, I have a few plans for the coming weeks. I need to get some straw for my strawberry bed as the fruits are already starting to set. I need to water in my nemotodes which I’m trying for the first time this year to see if they help with the slug and snail population. I also need to make a start on the mess that is the side border. I want to clear it, get some weed membrane and wood chips down, and then think about getting some raised beds put in.

Most importantly though, I need to make sure I keep up with the little jobs so that things don’t get out of hand. I’m always surprised by how much can happen if I just take a couple of weeks away from gardening. Thank goodness housework isn’t the same!

Year Of Projects 2023: Week Forty Six


Some progress at long last I finished my Advent Calendar Gradient. It’s not as consistent as I’d like, but I love how the colours work together..This is destined for a cowl if I can just stop getting my cast on twisted! Time for attempt number three!

I’ve also started spinning the second half of the yarn I started for TdF in 2022. I’m focusing on consistency and hitting a lace weight for the first time.

Crewel embroidery

I’ve bought two more embroidery kits that I am forcing myself not to start until I’ve finished my current one. The problem is I am stuck on one specific leaf and no matter how many time I try, I’m just not happy with it. I WILL finish this. Probably.

In the garden

Mixed success for the past few weeks. All of the upheaval with the kitchen put me behind with a lot of garden planning so I’m trying to catch up a bit now. It’s not been helped by losing a lot of my seedlings to slugs when they went into the polytunnel. I have dialled up the war on slugs as a result, which I do feel bad about. But not that bad, I feel they have brought it on themselves.

Anyway I’m hoping my seedlings will recover but in the meantime I bought a few slower growing plants to start me off, so I do have chillies, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers to be going on with. This week I’ll get my herbs into the herb bed and hopefully the spinach. I also sowed carrots, beetroot, and swede which I need to document properly in the week so I remember what kind.

My pea wigwams are up (and I’m two pea plants down due to slugs already).

I have had some successes this week. I was really surprised to see how well my February planted potatoes had done in the polytunnel – especially as I kind of neglected them in terms of watering. Still they’re looking pretty healthy. I have two of these early bags and two March sown ones, as well as my main crop which are coming on. I’ve also noticed the first flowers on my strawberries.

Finally I just want to celebrate this little plant. I’m not sure what it is (maybe a Helianthemum?) but it is one of only two flowering plants I seem to be able to grow reliably. It’s hugely rewarding for very little effort!

Year of Projects 2022/23: Week Forty Two.

In The Craft Room

There has been some progress on the craft front this week. As we approach the end of the kitchen renovation we’ve been able to put our living space back together which means I can get my wheel out at last! I started where I left off by picking up my Fellview Fibres advent calendar. I started off spinning them individually with my default spin but it wasn’t really giving me any joy so I spread the remaining rolags out and thought about how they might work together in a yarn.

Nineteen days of advent

First up is this gradient-style spin which has been a really lovely project to ease myself back into crafting. I’m aiming for a heavy lace, but I’ll just see what it is at the end. It uses rolags 8 9, 17, and 18. I’m not sure what my next one will be, maybe something using those darker rolags, 4, 6, and 10. I’m not great with colour and tend to play too safe (dull). What would you put together?

Gradient spin

In The Garden

We’ve had a lot of rain this week so there hasn’t been much actual work in the garden. I did manage to get my maincrop potatoes in before things turned too bad. I’m still harvesting a few leeks and the early potatoes I planted back in Feb/March and left in the polytunnel have really shot up this week, I need to get those bags topped up with compost.

I did check on my compost bin this week. I’m a compost novice and at the end of last season I had a bit of a sludgy mess which was disappointing. I haven’t added to it over winter and have left it to slowly do it’s thing and after turning it over this week it now looks like this.


It’s a bit woody in places but I think this looks about right, right? It’s taken since 2020 to get it to this point, so around two and a half years. I’m not really sure how long it’s supposed to take but I’m pretty happy with the (small) amount I have here. I guess it’s time to start getting it filled up again. I wonder if my slow worms will be back this summer? I didn’t turn it much last year because I didn’t want to disturb them, so I’m giving it a good turn regularly now.

In The Kitchen

We are very nearly at the end! It’s been two and a half months without a functioning kitchen/dining room. It’s been very stressful at times, and I was really starting to tire of microwaved things, but here we are.

An oven! And many other very useful things. Like floors. And ceilings.

I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out and what a difference it has made to how I feel about my home. I’ve been putting this project off for a few years so I had really run the old kitchen into the ground and I felt quite depressed about the space. It’s obviously still a small space, but I’m finally enjoying cooking again and the light, both real and artificial, is so much lighter and brighter.

In Other News

That’s it for my round up this week. We did have a trip to Hay on Wye to trawl for books – it did not disappoint! We also discovered the Hay Distillery which is a lovely local venture. They make their own very lovely gins so we took the opportunity to have a few birthday cocktails! I’m not usually one for cocktails but we’ll definitely head here again.

A Gimlet and Negroni

In The Garden

In the garden this week we are starting to see a bit of progress. It’s been very wet and rainy here but today and the rest of this long weekend look to be sunny. I showed my peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes at the end of March and these are slowly making progress on the window sill upstairs. I’ve also sown a few lettuces, spinach, and made a start on my peas this week. The first earlies I planted in bags and left in the poly tunnel have started to peep through so I topped those up with compost to two thirds of the bags. I’ll wait until they come through again and top the up and probably move them into their final position. I do think the poly tunnel has given them a bit of a head start even though the weather has been pretty cool here lately.

This week I have started another two bags of Nicola and Maria Peer. I planned to position these alphabetically so that I remembered which was which but as with the previous planting I’m pretty certain I mixed my ‘M’ and ‘N’ up! I made a start digging over my back bed for planting my main crop potatoes and found a nice haul from last year.

Leftover Ratte from last season

I think these are Ratte so I’m going to boil these and have them with a bit of butter and asparagus tomorrow as a light birthday lunch. I also planted two bags of Jerusalem Artichokes. I have no idea if I even like these so I might stick the two plantings and just see how it goes this year but I do have quite a few leftover and can’t seem to give them away!

I think that’s it on my planting update. I making a start with clearing some of the beds and pruning some of the things I should have pruned back at the end of last year. Hopefully I can get quite a bit tidied up before the rains are due again on Monday when I’ll probably turn my attention back to sowing. I hope your plans are coming along.

In The Garden

After two very cold weeks things are finally starting to warm up here in West Wales so I’m turning my attention to the garden. This week has been quite productive, even if only on the planning front. I have gathered together most of my seeds for the year and made a tentative plan for where everything is going. I also have my first seedlings of the year appearing which is always a pleasing sign.

I’ve planted my first lot of potatoes this week. I usually try and get an earlier start on these by a couple of weeks but the very cold snap and the chaos of the kitchen renovation has delayed things a bit. This year I’m planting second earlies Nicola and Maris Peer. I’m growing these in potato bags again this year as I found these worked really well last year and it saves the beds for other crops. I plant 3-4 potatoes per bag depending on the size. I think most of the ones I have are 30-40 litres each and I get a reasonable crop. I’m starting them off in the polytunnel to make the most of the warmth and protection it provides. I’ve only done the first two bags for now and will try and spread out the plantings over the coming weeks to try and avoid a glut. I’m leaving my main drop potatoes for a few weeks to let things warm up a bit.

Image of seedlings in a seed tray
Chilli, basil, and aubergine seedlings

The chilli, aubergine, and basil seeds I planted back in mid-February have sprouted this week. They’ve been on the windowsill in the warmest room in the house and they’ve still taken a good month to get going. I’ve got a lot more sowing to do this week so hopefully I’ll have all of the next lot of seeds underway by the weekend.

Otherwise for me it’s a case of getting on with planning. I think I have just about worked out how to fit in everything I want to grow combining my raised beds and a few pots and planters. Last year’s winners included shallots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and chillies. Overall the new polytunnel was a huge success and really made a difference to my fruiting crops. New additions to the garden this year include trying to grow more green leafy veg and I’ve dedicated space to spinach and chard this year. I’m also going to try sweetcorn again. I wasn’t very successful in terms of the amount I grew last time this but what I did harvest had the best flavour.

That’s it for this week. I’m going to try and keep a reasonably weekly timetable for garden postings, at least while things are busy. I look forward to seeing your garden plans develop in the coming months.

Year of Projects 2022/23: Week Thirty Five

Well there has been some small progress in a few areas this week, even if only small progress.


In the garden this week I’ve been continuing to tidy up and start getting things ready for spring. I’ve cleared the last two of my vegetable beds of brassicas that seemed to rally briefly and then give up. This means all my veggie beds are ready for some topping up of compost and then they’ll be ready to go. I’ve put some black barrier fabric down to help start the process of warming the soil and to prevent any weeds getting a sneaky head start while my back is turned.

I also bought some squash seeds and Jerusalem artichoke tubers this week. I’ve never tried Jerusalem artichokes before so they’re a bit of a garden and kitchen first for me. I’m not sure where I’m planting everything yet and I think I need to sit down and work out what will be going where. I think I might have got carried away with my seed buying.


I’ve finally started a bit of crafting this week. The only easily accessible project is my crewel embroidery kit so have gone back to that. Some of the stitching on the large blue leaf is sloppy and I’m thinking of ripping it out. It’s been fun to pick up again and I’m hoping I’ll be finished up in the next week or two.


We’re at the end of week four with the kitchen and we are, I think, over the worst of the rectification stage. To be fair, the builders haven’t been working solidly in that time as we’ve had to wait for bits and piece to dry out in between. So far they have taken down the dividing wall between the kitchen and dining room; rerouted all of the pipe work for the heating and plumbing; laid a new floor; dug a new drainage trench outside; fitted an outside tap; and redone all of the tanking along the back and side walls. It’s work that has added significantly to our original plans, but I’m hoping it’s really going to make a difference in the long run.

This week I think we’ll start to see some progress with the walls going back up. Once it actually looks more like a room and less like a building site I think I’ll start to feel a bit better about the whole thing.

So that’s it for this week. Hopefully there will be a bit more progress in all areas for next week’s update.

Year of Projects 2022/23: Week Thirty Four

Kitchen update

Well the kitchen project enters its third week. This week the plumbers were really busy (apparently we had the worst plumbing ever seen…) and a new concrete floor has gone down. We also have an outside tap at last so that’s going to help massively in the garden with washing off old pots and things. It should hopefully cut down on dirt being tracked into the new kitchen, too.

Ordinarily I think we’d be at the end of the project now, but with everything they have found we’re still some way off. The damp guy is coming this week to sort out the tanking of the walls, but once he’s done we should start to see some progress with the walls and ceilings going back up.

Garden update

The garden is a mess. That’s my fault for not tidying it all up at the end of last year like I promised myself I would do this time last year. I never listen to myself. Anyway, I got some of my early seeds sown, some padron peppers which did really well last year and some jalapeños which struggled a bit. I have one chilli plant that I have managed to keep alive over winter so that one should have a good start this year. I’ve also started off my aubergines (Bonica) and basil so that’s a good start to the gardening year. If the weather stays dry I’ll make a start on tidying up and trying to work out if those sticks in pots are dead, or if they’ll come back to life in a few months. I’m never really sure!

Crafting update

Nothing to see here. I have, however, promised myself that I’m going to get on with my embroidery project this week, I just need to clamber over the furniture and fridge in the living room to get to it.

Year of Projects 2022/23: Week Thirty Three

Well this is rapidly turning in to the year of no projects but I’m dipping my toe in the water of stuff to get done!

Crafting is pretty much at a complete standstill. We are mid kitchen renovation at the moment and it hasn’t gone all that well so far. We seem to be uncovering one problem after another at the moment, but I’m hopeful we’re finally at the end of the uncovering and we’re starting the ‘putting it right’ phase. Between stress, constant dust , and cramming all of our kitchen/dining room into the rest of the house in the meantime, crafting just feels too much effort at the moment. I have however, bought a box of fibre from Fellview Fibres with a manuscript theme which I am really looking forward to getting down to once this is all done.

While things are in such disarray I do at least have the time to make some plans so as we start hurtling towards spring I’m working on garden plans for this year and getting my seeds in order. It’s a bit difficult at the moment to get out in the garden as we can’t go over the kitchen floor yet, but maybe next week! In the meantime I’ve been thinking about 2022 and what worked well and what didn’t. Definite wins were:

  • The new polytunnel. This really made a difference to fruiting veg like chillies, tomatoes and cucumbers.
  • Shallots. These work really well for us, make the most of a small bed, and pickle brilliantly.
  • Potatoes in pots/bags. Although not super prolific, the use of bags really helped to extend the space available for growing and it was easy to succession sow to avoid too much of a glut at the same time.
Image of bright red chillies
We had several bumper crops of chillies

The things that didn’t work so well last year:

  • Squash/courgettes. No idea what happened, I usually can’t move for courgettes. It want just me with this issue so maybe the unusual heatwave was too much at the wrong time, or perhaps my watering wasn’t enough.
  • Basil struggled despite being really successful the previous year. Again I’m not sure if this was a water issue during the heatwave.
  • Peas in pots. I thought these would be a definite win so I was a bit disappointed at how much they struggled.

All in all I think 2022 was pretty successful. I’m now working on planting plans for 2023. Some of the projects I wanted to work on will probably be sidelined now due to the kitchen overrun, but I’ve still got a good number of beds to work with.

That’s it for my update. Hopefully it won’t be so long next time!

Year of Projects: Week Twenty Four

OK, it’s been quite a gap on the updates. It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve not really felt much like crafting. But this week I’ve finally done something! I mean, not much, but projects are inching forwards.

My knitting mojo has returned, at least enough to get moving with the second sock. I suffer terribly with second sock syndrome but I’m finally about two thirds of the way there now. You may remember me moaning about the size of my partners’ feet, and here I am again asking ‘Really? Does this really actually fit? Are you sure the other one is the right size?’ I’m about to turn the heel on clown sock #2 so hopefully finished by next weekend.

This year I have chosen Fellview Fibres for my advent calendar. I love how Carol turns her inspiration photos into fabulous rolags. I’ve just found time to make a start on spinning them up. This is day one ‘Winter Weekend Walk’, a blend of merino, alpaca, and silks. I love the pop of shine from the silk and the sudden softness of the alpaca. I aimed for a low twist spin with this one to keep the softness, and it is beautifully soft, but it’s quite underspun in places so I need to keep an eye on that with the remaining rolags. Next up is Golden Oak, which is a Shetland, merino, Corriedale and silk blend.

So small progress, but progress all the same. I’m hoping to finish up work this week and start my Christmas leave so I’m hoping to be a bit more productive on the crafting front. We’ve had a real cold snap this week so I think that’s it for me with the garden for this year. I’m looking forward to choosing my seeds for next year over the holidays. I definitely want to start getting some plans ready for next year. See you next week!