Week in review: 31 [2019]

Two weeks missed on updates because of absence but I can assure you the garden kept on growing while this blog waited patiently!

We’re all back from holiday now. Still in the slightly unusual pattern of summer holidays with Robin off school, but our main absence for the year has been achieved. While we were in the sun in Dorset our housesitters firstly baked in a heatwave and then suffered a whole week of torrential rain. The rain was good for the garden.

This week’s previously unseen photo: It’s me! I’ve just hand weeded out some of the wild zone in the drizzle and feeling very proud.


1 kilo of green beans, thank you very much gardening!

The pride of place this update goes to our first ever harvest of green beans. Some are a little fatter than you might get at the supermarket, because they ripened while we were on holiday, but all are edible.

These are climbing French beans. The variety is Blue Lake and they are stringless. They have been grown organically in our back garden: the seeds were started indoors on a windowsill and transplanted outdoors later. No greenhouse. No special equipment other than something to climb on. (We use bird netting to discourage the chickens from digging up the roots but if you don’t have chickens you probably won’t need that!)

I planted them, watered them, and waited. No sprays. I didn’t feed anything this year since the beds are new. No chemicals.

Tada! Green beans. I’ll be freezing most for the winter.

Why don’t you try growing climbing beans next year? Tag me on social media!


Chicken field shelter and feed trough.

This Make update just has to go to my new chicken feeder trough. Which became a bit of a field shelter when I added the roof. I threw this together with some scrap pallet wood, a bit of old guttering, some plastic cover and a crap ton of very bright blue paint. And nails. Lots of nails.

I’m really pleased to report that since it’s been in use, it has held up to the weather. And to bantams climbing on top, they love the flat roof as a platform! It’s a definite success story.

I posted the blow-by-blow build up on social media.  With a few hand tools and some scrap items, it’s possible to build things that work just fine even without plans or special techniques.


Seams are sometimes the first to go on fast fashion items.

I learned to sew from lots of places: school, books, looking at how things were made, the internet. It’s fashionable now to go on courses, and these are definitely helpful if, unlike me, you didn’t learn how to use a sewing machine in Home Economics at school.

Hand sewing – like growing vegetables – is not difficult. You need a needle, thread and some scissors. If you’re going for invisible mending, it’s helpful if the thread is about the same colour as the item you’re mending. And then you just need a little bit of patience. Use an internet search engine to look up hand mending if you’re a bit anxious. Look at how the garment was originally held together and try to put it back the same way. Jersey fabric, like this hoody, is incredibly forgiving to mend a seam on.

And if you really don’t think you can, go ahead and search for a fixer’s cafe event in your area. It’s a good way to connect with people who are used to mending things.

Give it a go – save an item from the bin.


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