Spring time progress: mushrooms, recycled planters, seedlings and a birthday

Here in England we have had the most perfect spring week of bright sunshine, so we have been away from our blog getting lots of work done on converting the garden into a potager.  Here’s a little update on how it’s going…

With thanks to our online friends, we have our slug problem humanely under control using grapefruit peel.   The brussels (that were munched almost down to stalks in just one night) have recovered wonderfully with fresh new leaves.

Throughout March we collected all of our soup and vegetable tins, and my husband has drilled holes in them so that they now have a new life as planters.

The basil, thyme, dill, chives and coriander seedlings are coming along nicely.

As we are working in a relatively small plot, we are experimenting with using garden wire to hang the tins from the fence as a vertical herb garden … more on that later!

The french beans on the camping table suddenly had a growth spurt one night and started to try and attach themselves to the ceiling light fitting (!) So they’re now in giant pots on the kitchen floor, trained up large bean poles … safe inside until after the May frosts.

The little raspberry plant is growing very quickly now, which is such a relief after it arrived in a terrible state.  Around the pot you can see the remains of soap nuts.   We use this brilliant little nuts in our washing machine to clean and condition our clothes, then we are able to recycle the husks on the garden to enrich the soil.

Then it was my birthday, and my husband and children built me a raised bed as my present …

… and my friends and family were really supportive of the way we are trying to live as sustainably as we can; hand making or sending virtual cards, giving us plants for our home and garden, or books to help us learn about how to make the most of this year’s surplus.  I have one kind friend who bakes me a wonderful vegan chocolate cake every year, even though she’s an omnivore herself.

And then finally, great news on the mushrooms we are cultivating.  The tiny domes of baby mushrooms are just visible – and we have some great photos to share in our next post.


We are now moving onto the next phase for this growing year and have many new seeds planted and more gravel boards and posts on order from the local timber yard – enough for three more raised beds!

Happy spring gardening everyone x


    1. Thanks Tara xxx I’ll let you know πŸ™‚ It’s a work in progress … I did start with wanting to put holes in the side of the tins for string until I realised how sharp they would be! πŸ™‚ But I’m starting to get the herbs up on the fence with wire now… and so far, they’re staying put πŸ™‚


  1. So, because I’m curious….did you sprinkle grapefruit peelings around the garden? Here in Oregon, USA, we have a very similar climate to England, and we have a huge slug problem. I’m always searching for ideas!–Becky

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Becky – a reader of my blog (Carolee from HerbalBlessings) advised me to put out grapefruit halves at night (after you’ve eaten the grapefruit bit) – and then in the morning, all the slugs are in there waiting to be moved to somewhere else, and this has really helped. I’m also about to try copper tape around plant pots – I’ll let you know how it goes πŸ™‚ -beck

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice post! FYI – we recycle everything on our little farm- including cans. Found the best thing at Walmart (but it is also here on Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Besiva-Smooth-Stainless-Opener-Handle/dp/B01M0DLHSR/ref=sr_1_3?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1492267716&sr=1-3-spons&keywords=can+opener+smooth+edge&psc=1 ) It is a “smooth edge” can opener. It is the best investment we ever made since I do so much crafting with tin cans. It takes that top lip/edge off – AWESOME! Though you may be interested since I see you put plants in yours (never did that here – just use them for crafts). When you go to transplant, that lip may be in the way – taking it off to start with should help you bunches. No, I am not a sales person for either – just a small farmer/crafter/gardener that looks for little ways to make our life easier. Hope this helps you too! Just wanted to share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! This is incredibly useful – as I’ve been trying to avoid buying tins without a ring pull because they end up
      being to sharp to work with safely … definitely looking up your link for the opener! πŸ™‚


        1. I used to work for the local council and there was one chap whose entire job was to be on the phone for people who had fallen ill after eating mushrooms, and letting them know whether to go to hospital (!) I think morels are nice and safely distinctive πŸ™‚


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