Monday 30 March 2015

'The One-Pot Gourmet Gardener' Book review

It's a fact; I instantly fell in love with 'The One-Pot Gourmet Gardener' as soon as I unwrapped it. The texture of the front cover, the feel of the pages - pure quality. It's a beautifully written, straight forward guide which will get everyone hopping from foot to foot ready to grow their own yummy meals in their own backyard.

(N.B. with these recipes, illustrations and photographs your mouth will water and you'll simply drool like a fool, read with caution and preferably whilst alone, haha)

'the one-pot gourmet gardener' book~

With this genius book in your hands there are no excuses to not grow your own and fall deeply in love with the experience. All you need is a balcony or patio with room for a pot or two and you're set. No worries about digging up your garden or having to have an allotment.

No prior knowledge about vegetable gardening is needed; Cinead McTernan has it all laid out in easy step by step stages; the variety of vegetable best suited for pot gardening, best type and size of pot, tools needed, best compost, where to place your pot, how to sow or plant up seedlings and caring for your babies and harvesting/storing them.

'the one-pot gourmet gardener' book (2) ~

Goodness if you'd recently been hit over the head by a galvanised watering can and woke up with no gardening experience at all, this book would have you sorted in no time.

'the one-pot gourmet gardener' book (3) ~

Then we come to the best part...Unlike many cook books, this contains recipes you will actually want to grow the ingredients for and you can!! There are picnic foods, soups and salads, quick suppers, tasty accompaniments, plus drinks and puds. All achievable, easy and super impressive looking. More than that however, each recipe details the best variety of seed, size of pot and soil conditions, when and exactly how to plant up your pot, when to harvest and then a gorgeous recipe.

'the one-pot gourmet gardener' book (4) ~

I recommend this book to everyone! No matter what, these pots look stunning and are edible - put one buy your front door or under the kitchen window, let's see a revolution in gardening where it isn't all bedding plants in pots.

Published by Frances Lincoln Limited
Written by Cinead McTernan
Photography by Jason Ingram
Out on the 2nd April

To order One-Pot Gourmet Gardener at the discounted price of £12.99 including p&p;
p* (RRP: £16.99), 
telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code APG311. 
*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

Love Carrie

Brother Handheld Garden Label Printer

Since my last post it's all gone down hill in the Gault household; we have been hit by a plague of phlegm and my poor hubby has a chest infection. As he is the driving force on all things allotment, his sickness (and boy it's bad) has meant that nothing has gotten done, not a seed sown, not a bed weeded, not our new greenhouse loved and photographed. *sad face*

As you all know I do allotmenteering as a form of therapy and coupling that with a horrendous mental health bout since the start of the year, well, I haven't been much use. I need my hubby to get me out of the house, to encourage and support and he has simply been too ill.

So it's been a good time to review the Brother GL-H105 Handheld Garden Label Printer 
I was sent. Nothing much like being crafty and trying to organise oneself and be of use. Okay, so none of the seeds are planted yet but there's no harm in being prepared :)

This fun and rather easy to use handheld label printer has many applications in the allotment world, from labelling seeds, to marking your tools and of course writing those jam jar labels. Plus it is resistant to drizzle, easy to grip and has a sharp cutting tool built in.

It is a little hard to get used to the keypad as it is alphabetical rather than laid out like a keyboard and working out the length of label you need took me a little practise, but what you get is a very sticky, robust label with perfectly clear lettering in un-smudge-able ink.

There are 3 type sizes and with the help of the really easy to use instruction leaflet and large screen display you can create simple borders and very fancy ones too (especially for those handmade jams and pickles you gift to friends). I'm afraid I fell for the sweet flower border as you can see but I did resist the many emoticons, plus I decided to stick to bold print when there were a lot of fancy print types tempting me.

The lightweight printer takes 6 AAA batteries and there are 4 widths of tape, 3.5, 6, 9 and 12mm available in a variety of colours. The tape lasts a surprisingly long time too and in my photographs I have the 12mm black on white. I really would recommend this largest size.

Fun though it is for the garden/allotment (or ideally in commercial nurseries where many trays/pots are being labelled in a batch). I do see this as unrestricted to horticultural purposes; as a crafters product, a practical tool in the office or any situation where you wish to label something neatly!

Dear friends, I warn you, if you are lucky enough to get one of these as a gift you will find it fun and dare I say it, slightly addictive. And it will nestle well with all your other necessities in seed sowing :)

Much love

Many thanks to Brother and to Robyn from Citypress for sending me this model to review x

Thursday 19 March 2015

March at the Plots

Saturday saw a great change in my allotment activity; instead of merely writing about it as it seems I have been doing for a while now, I went and worked.  Maggie supervised as usual, she's a slave driver though you wouldn't know it from her cuteness :) (She has had her hair cut since this photo!)
maggie ~

The plot (24a) didn't know what had hit it, I can tell you.

24a ~
Whilst Andrew was working is redesign magic over in 14b I ripped, tugged and destroyed every blasted weed on the other plot.  It may not sound like much but in almost 2 hours the place was a spotless dream and my big pink trug was almost full (that's about a zillion weeds right there). I didn't even wear gloves, that's how hardcore it was!

Here are some sexy photos of our purple sprouting broccoli which seems really healthy this year :) Plus there are wonderful fat buds on our apple trees, blueberries and the garlic is well on it's way - happy times.

purple sprouting broccoli - 24a ~

happy buds and garlic bulbs- 24a ~

Pity the place was practically empty and still, STILL, the plots beside us are over grown wildernesses. (Though kindly a volunteer group strimmed them back). I could squeak with anger and occasionally do, at the thought of these people who just purchase a plot and do nothing with them. Gggrrr. There is a waiting list for genuine people who really want a plot!

Anyway, on Andrew's part he laid out then drew an amazing picture on top of a photo to illustrate the progress and planning for 14b. You can just tell he's a senior archaeologist and well trained in the art of capturing the scientific detail of places ;) 

Andrew's fab instagram/ drawing ~

OK so this may need a little interpretation, haha. The pink square denotes my 2 flower beds and the brown is the edible forest garden. All the yellow lines are box plants making up a four part parterre; the two on the left will be asparagus beds, then there's the rhubarb bed you can see and finally the back right bed is for squashes. Hurrah!! 

Now it's down to the planting of seeds...

Hugs and love

Friday 13 March 2015

Spring is umm... springing

It's only a wee change but these brighter blue skied days are making me feel a tiny bit happier :) The gorgeous little tete-a-tetes in the back garden cheer my soul like they do every year but somehow I simply feel overwhelmed. It sounds rather stupid but the thought of spring (this year) has me worried about all the work that needs done and the fact that I haven't been able to help.

happiest in yellow ~

I haven't been at the allotment for goodness knows how many weeks now and Andrew has been working hard and getting loads done. I am so proud of him. He took a photo of all my other tete-a-tetes down there for me and brought home another glorious harvest of our leeks.

last of the leeks  ~

Andrew planted our first seeds of the season - 'Aguadulce' Broad Beans and I tried to be enthused, take photos and everything but not once, until now, have I thought about them.
planting the broad beans ~

Back home he was out in the shed, clearing room for new seed trays and found some more perfectly well stored beetroots too, yum! And talking about seed tray room, we have great news - we have a greenhouse coming our way soon .... Hoorah :)

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Plot plan 24a

Patience is a virtue that has just about been completely depleted in this house. We're getting ants-y; even Maggie can't stand still and she attacked the rug this morning in a cry for help. It's the weather see, it's just not cooperating and we can't get to the Lottie or get planting seeds yet when it's so damp, cold, windy and frosty/snowy.

There is of course the fact that I am sleeping all night and practically all day these days. I have utter exhaustion and finding out it's March already was a shock. I reckon I have slept the equivalent of a month this year already. It's not good but I see the Dr in a couple of days again - fingers crossed for help and answers.

So what can one do when one is so very impatiently waiting for the bloody weather to get it's act together? One plans, schemes and makes colourful drawings of what is going to happen once someone changes the sky and injects me with dangerously nuclear grade caffeine.

I desire to be a tornado of productivity.

24a plot plan ~ ''

Okay, so this isn't the best plan I have ever drawn but under the circumstances of super sleepiness and thus worse double vision than usual, I'm rather pleased it makes sense at all. Naturally it is very much subject to change ;)

Much love