we have moved!

hello readers! it’s been a while, i know.

just to let you know that i have started a new blog – same idea as this one but i needed a new name to go with my fresh start.

hop over to http://nestingmyappletree.wordpress.com/ to follow me šŸ™‚


ginkotree a.k.a mrs hart xxx



Well, the moving men have arrived with all our boxes of stuff, and with my Hazel cat. I missed her so much over the last two weeks, and she’s settling in nicely. Found herself a nice safe place up on top of the kitchen cupboards. Now where did i put my camera….?!

If only you could see the lounge right now. I’m sitting on boxes, with boxes around me and in front of me and overflowing out the front door (and up the stairs too). And i threw out (to charity shops) about 3 full black sacks of stuff! Crazy.

Time to get back i suppose, although i’d rather just watch Hazel! Or my tomato seedlings which have come gingerly up.

No pretty picture today, sorry! Too much mess!

Ginkotree xx

we have life!

Right on cue, 7 days from planting, my broad beans have come up! How lovely, it feels warmer just to have them around.

I was a little worried by the mould you may be able to see growing on the outsides of the tubes. I’ve figured it’s because the kitchen is dirty, the spores must be in the air. But they have come up anyway, so i’m not worrying. I’ve also started my onions, sweet peas and some basil.

I’ve started digging in the garden but had to stop because it was raining so much the last 2 days. This morning i had words with the sky, saying i wanted to dig some more. It started snowing, i kid you not.

But i have these in the house:

I defy the snow.

Ginkotree xxx

sowing my seeds

Please skip past my vegetable ramblings if you can’t (or don’t want to) keep up, and find ‘Seed Planting for the Poor’ further down.

I’ve been planning my vegetable garden for this year since January first, but i still can’t decide between permaculture (mixing in veg and flowers, letting them grow as naturally as possible)Ā  and allotment-style (in rows) veg growing. I believe permaculture benefits plants by hiding certain veg from insect predators…but I don’t know if it will be harder to manage and get good crops that way. I think i’ll do a bit of both, but we’ll see what develops when it starts getting warmer!

My ‘must grow this year’ vegetables:

  • Cavolo nero (black tuscan kale) – best tasting cabbage leaf for steaming/braising, and i think i can get my man to eat it. I think.
  • PumpkinĀ  – mine’s a blue-skinned heritage variety called Hubbard Blue, and i’d really like to grow some decent sized fruit.
  • Broad beans – varieties The Sutton and Karmazyn last year iĀ  only managed to harvest enough for one bean salad (pathetic).
  • Salad leaves and herbs – lettuce, mizuna, land cress, regular garden herbs, wild garlic and salad burnett – more on that later.
  • Carrots – never grown them by myself. I’ve got Early Nantes which you harvest quite small.
  • Potatoes – a great Christmas present from my parents, can’t wait to recieve them! Will be growing in ‘pots’.
  • Beetroot – of course. Can’t live without it. I got reliable variety Boltardy…guess what it’s bred for.
  • Courgettes – also a must. Heritage variety Early Yellow Straightneck.
  • Blackcurrants!!!!!! (and Raspberries) – thanks Mum!

Other things I’m growing:

  • Flowers for my wedding in the summer (Yes! Wedding!) – Nigella, Sweet Peas…and i need to find some Nicotiana seed.
  • Spinach, Chard, Climbing beans – because they’re easy and can freeze.
  • Tomatoes – first time and i won’t lie, i’m dead scared about it! Planting outside an Italian Plum Tomato variety. (You’re planting an italian tomato outside on the scottish border? Yes, I am.)
  • Have I forgotten anything?

And now to the tutorial/recycling ideas!

This is something i remember seeing on Gardeners’ World years ago…mum will probably remember who’s idea it was. It’s been copied since but i don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it!

Empty toilet roll tubes, Blue Peter style, squshed upright in a watertight tray/box/tin/anything. Because i couldn’t fill the tray yet i put some newspaper in to hold them up. Fill the tubes with compost and gently press each one with your fingers. Then follow your seed packet to see how deep to plant the seeds (ok i just chuck them in). The one thing i remember about planting seeds is for any type of bean seed – put them in the soil on their side. Eg: hold the bean so it makes a happy smile, then hold the top of the smile and press into the soil that way up. If you put them in flat, water tends to sit on top of the seed and makes it go mouldy.

Chuck a bit more compost on and put by a bright window, then water them a gently and wait. Here I planted some of my Broad Beans, and three of my precious, precious Pumpkin seeds. Please germinate!

And another idea: Tomato (and other seeds that like more heat) proagators.

I used big 2 litre plastic bottles, and removed the labels. Then with scissors cut the bottle in half. Chuck away the lid. In the top half you want to cut up from the cut edge about 3 inches. This lets the top half slip more easily onto the bottom half. Now, a sensible thing to do would be to make 2 or 3 holes in the bottom for water drainage with scissors or a skewer. But i didn’t have another tray to put them on so i’m not going to…i’ll just have to be careful not to OVERWATER them.

The bottom half is your pot, fill 2 thirds with compost, plant seeds, and cover with a bit more compost. Water and put on the lids. Keep an eye on the bottles – if they are covered in condensation, take the lid off and let it breathe for a few hours. The temperature should be nice and warm for seeds to germinate if left in a sunny place.

Now we wait.

Ginkotree xxx

about time too

Hello again blog! And hello to Berwick and seagulls and ‘it’s sooo cold’ repeated over and over to C. He loves it.

Well, I found my camera in one of the packed boxes just before we left (by accident actually!) so here’s the wet and rainy view from where I managed to walk the other day. Stuff’s been hard to do since we flew up on thursday – pregnancy is making me so tired, that no amount of sleep can change. Short walks at a time and eat a cracker when im dizzy seems to do the trick.

Will try and brave the cold tomorrow to dig up the lawn. Need to get some onions in soon…not sure whether to start them inside…maybe do half and half and see how it goes! (Mum – look how big the garden is!!!)

That last photo is showing the harder bit of clearing i’ll have to do – brambles!

Will be doing a little seed planting post tomorrow!

Ginkotree xxx

oh dear

I can’t find my camera anywhere.

I must have accidentally packed it in the moving boxes. Oh dear.

I couldn’t take a photo of the pink sky last night. Or the robin on friday morning that sat by me and my friend and ate a bit of my cracker. Or the rain on the river last weekend, and the swans.

I think i might have to, more or less, sign off now until we have moved house! Got a very busy week ahead, but i will be back a.s.a.p with PLANTING SEEDS, KNITTING MACHINES, and THE SEA!

Have a good week everyone, and wish us luck!

Ginkotree xxx

This post was supposed to be a very imformative and visually brilliant (ahhh shiny cutlery!) post called: The Quest for Untarnished Spoons. Alas, to date my mission has failed. But I’m going to post it anyway.

My quest started many sun-ups ago on the day of Christ’s Mass when i was given a great gift from an enchanting Good Witch; my grandma gave me her old stainless steel cutlery set.

I traversed the land (scoured google) for the solution to the curse of Tarnish upon my pretty spoons and fish forks. And thus my journey began…

Get together your cutlery and take pictures because theyre so pretty.

Line a tin with foil and put your utensils in it.

Pour boiling water to cover the cutlery, then sprinkle on a couple of tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda. Make a cup of tea.

Have a cuppa, or wait for 20-30 mins.

Wash them in hot soapy water, dry with a clean tea towel…and cry because they are still tarnished.

Literally hundreds of people online swear by this method. I read several first-hand accounts of this WORKING. Since this disaster i have tried:

  • scrubbing with a paste of bicard and a little water
  • rubbing hard with a dry cloth and vinegar
  • using toothpaste
  • soaking in vinegar and then scrubbing/rubbing
  • shouting at them profusely
  • and, of course, pleading.

None of them has worked.

I like them tarnished anyway…?