Lots of Lettuce

I decided to grow lots of lettuce this year.

This tray of lettuce is a mixed Italian Bowl variety and it seems the more I cut it, the more it grows!

It’s supposed to cope with four cuttings but I’m sure we’ve eaten more than that so far.

There are some really good reasons to grow lettuce like this:

  1. They grow in a shallow tray – less soil/compost needed
  2. They’re easy to maintain – just water regularly
  3. They are organic and delicious
  4. The initial cost of seeds and a little soil is minimal compared to how much organic ‘super fresh’ lettuce you can buy in a shop, even if you COULD buy organic ‘super-fresh’ lettuce.

I tried this method last year but the plants got too much sun and bolted – ran to seed – very quickly. Shading them a little from the hottest parts of the day is the best way to go, and make sure the soil doesn’t dry out.

Growing in (well-drained) pots and trays is practical, especially in a smaller garden. But pots can dry out quickly so keep an eye on them.

The same goes for tomato plants. If they get sporadic watering rather than a regular drink, the fruits can be affected.

Although we have lots of rain in Cornwall, on hot days, everything can dry out very quickly. One thing we invested in last year was a rain barrel – in fact we have acquired two now 🙂 – and I only water the plants in the garden and greenhouse with rain water. I don’t know if that makes a huge difference but, as I filter the tap water to drink myself, I figured the plants may not like all the added stuff we get in the water supply either.

The lettuces seem to be thriving anyway!

Sow some seeds now and in a few short weeks, you could be picking your own organic lettuce.

The seeds I bought cost £2.49 from Ebay – Italian Salad Bowl, Cut and Come Again.

Happy Salad Days!

Linda x

The April Garden

We’ve had a few chilly days and even chillier nights lately in Cornwall and I worry about my baby plants – so much so that I carried a lot of them indoors on the coldest night.

But the sun’s shining today and it is April after all so wrap up warm if you need to and get out in the garden! These are some tasks you may need to tackle in the April Garden.

Care and Maintenance:
Remove any unwanted weeds or moss trailing close to, or in, your planting areas. Although we are surely in Spring now, there will still be wet days to contend with. When you’re in tune with your garden though, you tend to listen to your intuition a lot more. So nourish the gardener in you!

All mulch should be removed by now to give the plants some fresh air. If the soil is particularly dry, water existing plants if necessary. But only if it’s dry. Don’t waterlog the ground or the roots could perish.

Preparation and Plans:
Finish preparing your beds and layer on any well-rotted manure or compost, if you haven’t already done so. Dig in gently. It MUST be well-rotted or the strong chemicals, although natural, will burn small plants.

Keep notes of when and where you added compost.

There isn’t much you can’t plant by now. Although, with climate change comes weather changes so again, use your intuition to help you get the best from your garden.

Asparagus crowns can be planted. Many seeds can be sown and many young plants will be able to go outside. Always check on your seed packet for further growing instructions. Or, if the instructions aren’t available, do a quick search online to make sure your particular variety of seeds or plants can be put outside this month.

April can be a month of pots and dirty fingernails! Make sure you have enough pots and/or seed trays before you start. Sow seeds in an organic seed compost rather than soil straight from the garden. Planting outis easiest if you’ve used degradeble pots. But if not, soak the pot first and ease out the plant. Avoid touching the roots and then pop it into prepared hole. Gently ease the roots out if the plant was pot-bound for some time, then fill in the hole with crumbly soil or potting compost, gently firm in the plant with your hands and water gently.

This is probably the planting month generally. Keep lots of notes and remember to put plant markers in all seed trays, pots and lines of seed in the garden. So easy to forget which brassica is which, especially when they look very similar.

If the Spring is dry, you may have to make your first lawn mowing expedition of the year. Keep grass clippings to put on the compost heap. Layering lawn clippings in your compost helps keep the heap warm and working.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. This text was taken from My Garden Journal – a printable you can ( and should!) use every year. Find it at Gran’s Choice on Etsy.

My Garden Journal

This handy garden journal is printable and usable every year. Although buying expensive journals in bookstores is delicious, printing out just what you need when you need it can be a great help to your pocket and also the resources of the planet. Not all journals you buy are recycled or recyclable after all.

A simple document folder is all you’ll need to keep your pages safe.

Every month has some gardening job suggestions for temperate climate dwellers. Adjust to your region and weather conditions as you need to. Gardening has to be a flexible hobby simply because we can’t control the weather!

There are also a few handy gardening tips and resources you may find helpful. Keep the journal on your desktop or whichever digital space is most easy to access and print out the ‘notes’ pages as and when you need them. In busy months, print out more of the same! My Garden Journal

“Grow Your Own Pharmacy”

Strictly speaking we should be able to get all the vitamins we need from nature, but when you see those irresistible bottles and jars of ‘extra vitamin’ supplements, it’s almost criminal not to give them a try. Though more often than not, they get forgotten about or we didn’t need them in the first place..

Save some cash and go au naturel this year..

There are nine main vitamins we can find in everyday food crops and all of them can be grown at home. Vitamins D and B12 are absorbed through sunlight, and in meat and dairy products, so unless you are keeping your own hens, some vitamins will have to be ‘bought’ in – although that still doesn’t mean hitting the pill bottles… buy organic fresh produce as far as possible and grow the rest of the vitamins you and your family need:

Vitamin C:

Garden produce high in vitamin C includes tomatoes, blackcurrants, peppers and strawberries. Peppers and tomatoes should be planted every year, but strawberries and blackcurrants need a permanent patch and will produce fruit for a number of years with just a little TLC.

And did you know rosehips have more vitamin C (gram for gram) than oranges?

Vitamin A:

One medium carrot can provide all the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, which helps vision, and also acts as an antioxidant in the body to help fight off free radicals. Pumpkin is another good source of vitamin A, as well as winter kale, so remember to plant some before the summer’s out. Fresh green veg in the winter will help ward off colds and flu as well.

Vitamin B1:

Vitamin B1 converts carbs and fats into energy so for a boost of daily energy, keep up with the B1. Foods rich in this vitamin are broad beans ( which can be grown twice a year ), sweet corn, hazelnuts and garlic. Garlic is easy to grow in a small space. Sweetcorn and hazelnuts need a bit more space, but are simple to grow and are popular and nutritious family foods.

Vitamin B2:

Although vitamin B2 can be found in spinach and is easy to grow in the home garden, we could diversify a little here and go for different tastes. Salsify is a vegetable that many of us have forgotten about. It used to be called the oyster vegetable and is a great root crop as long as you have a good depth of soil in the veggie patch. Mushrooms are a good source of B2 and can be grown in kit form indoors. There are some amazing varieties of mushrooms you can grow at home.

Vitamin B6:

Potatoes and onions are a good source of vitamin B6. If you worry about potatoes being a weight gaining food, a fresh potato straight from the ground doesn’t need any additional butter, cheese or other toppings to make it tasty! Buy a specially designed potato barrel to save space – and digging! Onions, if stored well, will last for months.

Vitamin E:

Asparagus and raspberries have often been considered to be ‘luxury’ crops – maybe because they are so expensive to buy? Both crops can be grown at home and will thrive for years with very little attention. Asparagus arrives during the ‘hungry gap’ – after the winter crops have finished and before the spring crops begin. And raspberries turn up in early summer usually.


Folate isn’t made by the body so must come from a good source. Luckily it is found in everyday veggies we can grow at home. Beetroot and green beans are good sources of folate. Another source, that we often overlook, is parsley. Chop parsley finely and sprinkle over your food, rather than leave it on the side of the plate as an inedible garnish – it really is packed full of goodness.


Niacin (B3) is one of the most active vitamins in the body and breaks down fats and sugars. It is generally found in protein rich foods such as meat, fish and pulses. Courgettes (zucchini) are a good source of niacin and can crop right through the summer and autumn months. Peas are also high in niacin and can be started off early in the year. Peas are a good vegetable to grow in the home vegetable patch as they can replace nitrogen in the soil.

Pantothenic Acid (B5):

Another of the B vitamins, this one is needed to produce B12 which helps maintain cell structure in the blood. Broccoli and parsnips are a good source of B5. Parsnips are best left in the ground until after the first frost so are a great early winter vegetable. They also store well. Try growing different types of broccoli; dwarf varieties are ideal for container growing.

Don’t forget that all of these crops mentioned have other vitamins and minerals apart from the ones listed above, and the best way to feed yourself and your family is to grow an assortment of fruit and vegetables, and remember to eat them!

Linda x

PS. Garden Vitamins’ has plenty of tips and advice should you want to try your hand at growing some vitamins at home. It’s available at most major online bookstores but you can grab a free copy here for a limited time. Enjoy!

Garden Vitamins

This handy digital copy of Garden Vitamins highlights 28 different fruits and vegetables you can grow at home and collect 9 valuable vitamins to keep your family healthy and well-fed.

All these popular fruits and vegetables have brief but concise growing instructions and are categorized by vitamin so you know exactly what you’re getting from your new hobby.

Garden Vitamins

Strawberry Growing Tips

Your strawberry plants should be starting to grow again around now.

Keep plants well watered. Because they are shallow rooting plants, strawberries can dry out very quickly in hot weather, and your crop will be affected.

When the fruits start to appear, cover the ground around your plants with a fairly thick layer of straw. Try and get ‘weed free’ straw. Barley is the best. If no straw can be found, use black plastic.

Covering the ground in this way keeps the weeds down, and stops the fruits being in contact with the soil, where they will rot very quickly or get eaten by the slugs. If you use black plastic, the slugs will still find your fruits. So keep an eye on them or use any trick in the book you can to keep them away.

We’ve found a good slug proof material this year. The pure wool found in food packaging. It’s organic and the slugs hate the fibres. Anything dry and fibrous should repel slugs and snails.


Growing strawberries in your garden will encourage just about every garden bird you can imagine. The trouble is, they will ALL eat your strawberries …… if you let them!

Make a small wooden frame to stand over your strawberry bed, and cover in fine netting. Don’t use heavy materials, as you will want to move the cover every day during cropping season. Use light wood, and perhaps tent pegs or the equivalent to secure it against being blown over by the wind or knocked over by cats and dogs.

NB:Always use wildlife friendly fine netting so birds don’t get their wings tangled.

Remove the ‘runners’ – little plants coming off the main plant, before they root. This will encourage your ‘mother’ plant to produce more fruit. Re-pot or re-plant these ‘baby’ plants in a new bed.

Pick your strawberries every day in season.

With good weather and a fairly long growing season, strawberries can produce up to 3 crops a year.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. This handy download will help you get the most from your strawberry plants and it’s super cheap!

How to Grow Strawberries

Whether as a perfect accompaniment to champagne or a summer afternoon treat with cream, strawberries are a popular garden fruit and can be grown in containers, specially designed planters or in a regular strawberry bed. You may even be able to start your strawberry bed with free plants.

How to Grow Strawberries is a mini guide to growing these luxurious vitamin packed fruits at home. Treat yourself and your family to the freshest, tastiest fruits that keep the family healthy and coming back for more.

Choose from your favourite online book store.

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Apple Books , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble , Etsy

A Change in the Weather

This week, in Cornwall (UK), we’ve had a change in the weather – finally! How long it’s going to last is another matter but for now, when the skies are blue and it’s not raining, it’s definitely time to be outside if you can.

Even if you have a small garden, spring can be a busy time. Clearing up the winter debris is probably the first job to tackle.

Before you start strimming or shifting boxes or upturned pots that may have been out all winter, make sure there are no hedgehogs or other delightful creatures hibernating. Give them a chance to wake up and move to a new home.

If, however, you find a nest of the bad bug variety, now’s the time to exterminate! I must have killed at least twenty slugs over the week. All of whom were waiting for my lettuces to feast on.

The west country has plenty of rain and slugs and snails are numerous. Seek them out and get rid of them before another change in the weather brings back their favourite habitat!

While the temperature seems to be increasing, sort out your seeds and plan what plants will go where.

Many seeds can be started around now, depending on the climate in your region.

In the UK we can sometimes be blasted with a fresh spell of cold and even snow in April. If that’s a possibility for you, be a little patient before sowing all your seeds. Seedlings that have germinated very early can sometimes become stunted and later sowings will catch up very quickly.

Starting them off indoors or in a warm greenhouse is best of course.

Then re-plant your small plants outside when all danger of a frost has passed.

I’ve been enjoying the change in weather this week and have lots of stuff prepared for the oncoming season and I’ve already sown some tomato and lettuce seeds. This year I’m going to try and grow some purple tomatoes – why not?!

I bought them from Amazon (UK) – I don’t know how successful I’m going to be, but generally tomatoes are fairly productive so fingers crossed.

These are the seeds I bought from Premier Seeds. They don’t come with instructions but you can find out more on their Amazon sales page or their website.

PREMIER SEEDS DIRECT Tomato – Indigo – Apple – 10 Finest Seeds

Just a sidenote, a change in the weather doesn’t mean you automatically turn into Superman/woman. Take it slowly and steadily until your muscles get used to the activity, especially if you don’t have a physical job. Even if you’ve been exercising regularly all winter ( hhmm ), muscles you don’t normally use can come into play in the garden, so don’t expect too much of yourself and remember to listen to your body. Don’t overdo the digging!

Aside from gardening, just getting out in the sunshine will nourish your mind, body and spirit.

During the winter months I found myself taking a walk to my local shop every day or so, but that was about the extent of my exercise – and social life if the truth be known! But a change in the weather has encouraged me to take a walk in a different direction and it’s so satisfying to take a new look at the world 🙂

Even a 10 or 20 minute walk can inspire and delight if we allow it to.

Allow an extra few minutes to walk to the next bus stop (if possible) if you travel to work by bus.

Could you walk or even catch a bus to the shops rather than sitting in your car? – remembering the skyrocketing fuel costs!

Exercise outdoors if you can. You don’t need to take a five mile run every morning but a few star jumps in the back yard may be just the job for pushing that motivation button.

Previous generations worked and often lived outdoors far more often than we do today – I’m generalizing madly here, but it’s true to say there are far more indoor and sedentary jobs these days, including of course all the freelance writers, web designers and online entrepreneurs. While this change has it’s upside, balance needs to be maintained to retain your healthy mind body and spirit.

When I was a kid, the rain didn’t matter so much – actually I still love to walk in the rain 🙂 – but now I see people putting up umbrellas as they get out of their cars so as not to get a drop if rain on them. If you’ve just had your hair and make-up fixed, I get it but otherwise, it’s only rain!

A change in the weather is welcome, believe me, but we mustn’t forget that without water there is no life. Embrace the spring rains as they help grow your crops and complain about the rain in the summer if you need to!

I hope the sun’s shining in your world today.

Linda x

Healthy Alternatives

We’re pretty much all aware of the chemicals in processed foods these days and try to buy organic when we can.

Unfortunately, there is often a price to pay.

Organic sauces and flavourings can be expensive and sometimes they aren’t necessarily as healthy as we want them to be. Added sugars, however natural, can cause insulin disruption in the body and – horror – also put on weight!

These five herbs are excellent healthy alternatives to flavour your sauces. A tin of tomatoes and a bunch of chopped coriander can make a delicious sauce, even better with fresh tomatoes of course!


You can eat every part of the chive plant. The edible flowers add colour to the salad bowl or use to garnish any recipe. The grass-like leaves can be cut up and added to cooked potatoes, salads, sauces and even sandwiches, and the bulb can be used in place of a mild onion. Chop finely and sprinkle over cheese on toast. Chives have similar healthy properties as onions but in a milder form.

Coriander (Cilantro)

The coriander plant is two plants in one – a spice and a herb. Chopped fresh coriander will add a mild curry taste to any dish, which means you can save on buying or making curry sauces. And the seeds can be used in pickling recipes. It’s been grown for many centuries as a medicinal and culinary herb. The Chinese believed it to have life-lengthening powers, and it has been referred to in history as an aphrodisiac.


Sage has been used as a stuffing or an accompanying vegetable to poultry dishes for eons! Sage and onion stuffing is easy to make and can be served with vegetarian meals, poultry dishes, crumbled into stews to thicken and flavour, or sliced and added to sandwiches. It is a strong tasting herb and should be used sparingly. It’s also been shown that a small glass of sage tea everyday will help with hot flushes.


Add a little thyme to all ‘herby’ recipes. A few leaves tossed into a salad or sauce will liven up the taste buds.
Try adding a lemon thyme leaf to a long summer lemonade and a leaf or two to ice cubes. Thyme is also an excellent addition to fish or cheese meals. Drink thyme tisanes through the winter months to help prevent colds. A healthy alternative to cold and cough medicines.


Basil is known as the tomato herb and really does enhance the taste of your tomatoes. Use sparingly. Chop finely and mix into a tomato salad, or use the shiny leaves as an attractive, and edible, garnish. It is also a great addition to green salads throughout the summer. A pot of basil near an open window can help deter flies from entering your home. Rub the leaves occasionally to release the scent.

All these herbs can be grown outside in a moderate climate. If you have the space, create a herb garden – A place of tranquillity and healthy alternatives to create your own organic masterpieces in the kitchen.

Don’t know where to start? Check out the Herb Books and Herbs & Healing posts and you’ll be growing your own herbs in no time!

Happy Gardening & Eating!

Linda x

10 Garden Decorations

While you’re planning what to do in your outside space this year, give a thought to garden decorations. There are lots of fun and interesting things you can do without spending tons of cash…

1.Wind-Chimes – There are some beautiful wind chimes on the market, and you should be able to find some that suit your style and budget. However, you could go one step further and make your own. Study how they are made, and get the kids to join in! Wind chimes are soothing and very compatible with gardening, so position your chimes well.

They must be in at least a slight draught, which you should be able to find outside with ease. Also, they can scare the birds away from your fruit bushes. Hang them on the patio and in the vegetable garden.

2.Lights and Lanterns – For those smooth hot summer nights. Choose candles for calm nights and opt for lanterns if there’s a breeze about. Solar powered lights are a good choice as there aren’t any cables, batteries or plugs to worry about. They must be in sunlight during the day to re-charge though. Large garden candles will burn for many hours and are available in all sorts of aroma-therapeutic scents.

3.Garden Furniture – Invest in some comfy chairs for the garden. We don’t spend half as much time as we should outside, simply because we don’t feel comfortable. Look at unique ways of furnishing your garden. Do you have a couple of trees a hammock could be strung between? Or how about a park-type bench with comfy cushions set under the shade of the apple tree? Whatever the style or size of your garden, look for relaxing furniture so you can fully enjoy your outside space.

4.Fake Flowers – Well, hey, we don’t all have mature gardens and fresh flowers blooming all year round! If you have to resort to a little ‘deception’ who cares if it looks good? Hang some pretty silk flowers on a wall, or low roof or even in a tree! If nothing else, you’ll keep your visitors guessing about your garden decorations. 🙂

These are pretty. I found them on Amazon (UK) and they’d look lovely in a corner of the patio

Artificial Flowers for Outdoor UV Resistant

5.Colour it up – If you still need a bit of colour around the place, get the kids involved. No, I don’t mean let them loose with a tin of paint and brushes… what they could do is draw some great pictures of trees, flowers, animals etc, and you can pin them around the patio area or ‘blu-tak’ them to a tree or two. Remember to rescue them if it rains!

6.Cut down on Big Toys – Children’s outdoor toys, such as swings, slides etc; can take up loads of room in the garden, and they’re not always very attractive. Look for something a little less permanent. Maybe separate items you can load away in the shed at night, or go for something completely different and build a giant chess set. Or if you really feel creative, what about a tree-house? They can always go to the park for the swings!

7.Containers – Collect large pots and grow plants you can move around the garden, every day if you like! Grow herbs and flowers and position sweet smelling plants on the patio or round your seating area. Strawberries grow very well in containers as do other useful plants.

Make sure the pots aren’t too heavy for you to move, or invest in a garden trolley if they are. If you grow colour co-ordinated flowers, a wonderful display can be created by positioning your pots well.

I love this style of planter although these ones are quite small. There are loads more designs and styles available. Browse through some different designs. You may come up with an idea to make your own!

3x Barrel Garden Plant Pots – 20cm Height Planters Outdoor Flowerpots Whiskey Barrel Wood and Metal Effect

Vintage Style Round Plant Container Pots

8.Wild Corner – I know this may be hard if you like a neat and tidy garden, but leaving a wild patch can be very entertaining and visually very pleasing. Nettles and other wildflowers attract butterflies and bees, and it’s often surprising how delicate and colourful wildflowers can be when allowed to grow in their own space. If you’re still unsure, how about building a little fence around the area and making a wooden plaque declaring it a wildlife zone…well, it was just an idea!

9.Water Features – are becoming more and more popular and also more affordable. Create a water feature that will suit your garden. Try not to be persuaded by an over-enthusiastic sales assistant trying to sell you a system that will be far too big or even too small for your outside space.

Do some research before you start. There could be a fair amount of physical work involved and you should arrange some strong arm help. You could go for a full waterfall and pond or perhaps a simple water feature on your patio.

I love this simple but very effective design. There are even lights so you can even watch the water flowing after dark!

Kyoto Three Bowl Cascade Garden Patio Water Feature with White LED Lights

Garden Patio Water Feature

10.Rock Gardens – Rock gardens can take on different themes and colour schemes throughout the year with a little careful planning. There is again some heavy physical work involved when you’re putting together your rock garden but well worth it in the end. Make sure you can get to all areas for weeding, watering etc;

A miniature rock garden could be a focal attraction in a smaller garden and will need much less muscle to create. Try out different rock plants and flowers until you feel happy with the overall view, and even then you can change it. Nothing’s set in stone!

These are just a few ideas for garden decorations. Let your imagination run free and decorate your outside space with love.

Enjoy the moment!

Linda x

Grow Your Own Pizza

The Pizza Garden

Try something different in the garden this year. Everyone will enjoy growing a pizza garden. If you have the space, create a pizza shape garden or simply grow the ingredients in pots or beds wherever you can.

To get your pizza shape:
*Put a stake in the ground firmly.
*Attach a length of string to the stake.
*Keep the string tight and walk round in a circle, marking the soil to show the border.
*Divide the circle into wedges.

Try and make the wedges equal if you can to produce an obvious ‘pizza garden’ but you may choose to grow more tomatoes and onions so you’ll need bigger wedges for the veg and smaller for herbs. This is your garden. You choose!

Put stakes around the outside and run a string to the centre stake. Or simply make a line in the soil. The number of wedges depends on the size of your circle.

Ingredients to grow in your pizza garden

If you have six wedges, try for 3 herbs and 3 veg or change it up and grow what you prefer. The 3 veg that come to my mind when thinking pizza are tomatoes, peppers and onions.


Tomato plants can get very big and unruly, although if you have the space you can’t have too many fresh garden tomatoes.
There are different varieties available in most garden centres or online. I found this variety on Amazon (UK) which should suit any garden, especially if you have limited space.

Tomato – Dwarf – Patio – Tiny Tim – 50 Finest Seeds


Peppers are easier to control than unruly tomato plants but again, check on available varieties. And if you like a touch of heat on your pizza, grow a chilli plant. They often produce plenty of chillis.


Onion sets should be started fairly early in the year (in the northern hemisphere). Check the variety you want to grow for recommended planting times. And onions are so versatile, it’s worth growing as many as you can. I’ve had great success with everlasting onions. Plant one and you get a whole bunch. The same with shallots, which are my personal favourite.

And the 3 herbs you could grow are basil, oregano and parsley.


Basil is a must-have if you’re growing your own tomatoes. It really is the ‘tomato herb’. Pick regularly and it will bush out before putting its energy into flowering. In some climates basil is bi-ennial although in the UK and northern Europe its usually an annual so make the most of it while you can! Leaves can be dried, although they can sometimes be a little bitter after drying. The leaves can also be frozen. Frozen leaves retain their taste but they tend to be rather soggy after freezing.


Oregano is a perennial and will keep growing for years with the right conditions. There are a number of varieties. This one I love. Found on Amazon (UK) but check your local garden suppliers if you can. You may find one that grows particularly well in your region.

Oregano Italian – Origanum VULGARE – 6000 Seeds


And last, but not least, parsley. Parsley is such an under estimated herb and is often used simply as a garnish. In fact, gram for gram parsley has more vitamin C than oranges and is one of the few plants that retain iron I believe. Again, there are a number of varieties to choose from. Grow a few plants if you can and use chopped leaves in stews and pies. Parsley is biennial and will produce flowers and seed during it’s second year of growth.

The whole family can get involved in growing your own pizza. If I ever find a way of growing the base and some cheese I’ll let you know. 😀

Happy Gardening!

Linda x
P.S. If you like mushrooms with everything, you can grow those at home too, although not in the same way as your herbs and veggies. Check out my Growing Mushrooms post for some more ideas.

The February Garden

With a glimpse of sunshine every now and then, we can sense Spring may be on it’s way. Are you itching to get out in the garden and prepare for this year’s growing adventure but not sure where to start?

When it’s warm and dry enough, you can get a few things done this month that will help you get the most from your crops later on in the year. Here are a few ideas….

Repairs and Maintenance

There are often many winter days when it’s practically impossible and not very attractive to work outside, but there are probably still a few jobs you could get done this month; repairing tools and fences, getting rid of debris and perhaps building that compost heap you’ve been meaning to get around to for ages.

Edges can be defined or re-defined now. Cut through with a sharp spade and either edge there and then or mark your lines with string for when you get around to finishing the job.


If you already have a mature compost heap, take out any soil from the bottom that’s ready for planting and put it on your planned veggie patch or pots and containers. Make sure containers are well-drained or the soil will get waterlogged in the rain.


Still a dodgy month for the birds. Remember to put some water out and check it’s not frozen. Small birds can’t peck through thick ice and maybe having trouble finding fresh water to drink.


As soon as the ground is workable, things can start happening this month. In a sheltered spot, certain types of garlic, onions and even asparagus crowns can be planted now. Prepare the ground well and double check on the product – before you buy – for growing instructions. Some varieties need a later planting. Also, this month, trees and shrubs can be planted – again, not if the ground is solid with ice!

Established plants can be pruned and generally looked after before they start budding in the spring. Seed potatoes should be chitting by now. Buy from a good supplier and lay them separately in a box in the dark – not too hot or cold – so they can start sprouting.


Harvest winter crops. With a little luck, you may have some winter spinach or chard to eat now. If you can, use them before they start flowering in spring starts. Unless you want to grow them for seed next year that is. Although a quick point here: Many seeds you buy are hy-brids and won’t necessarily produce good seed. Some will though. I’ve had great success with parsnips over the years.

It may be worth leaving one or two plants to do their best but only if you have the space and the inclination! Also, try leaving a bit of the stem of a winter cabbage in the ground, make a couple of cuts across the top and it may produce some tasty spring greens.


Check on planting times and decide when you need to buy the seeds, plants or trees you are hoping to get going this year. Make notes so you don’t forget. Garden centres can run out of seed potatoes or onion sets within a couple of weeks of delivery. Don’t miss out.

Happy Gardening and roll on Springtime!

Linda x

P.S. This post has been taken from a must-have garden journal!

My Garden Journal

This handy garden journal is printable and usable every year. Although buying expensive journals in bookstores is delicious, printing out just what you need when you need it can be a great help to your pocket and also the resources of the planet. Not all journals you buy are recycled or recyclable after all.

A simple document folder is all you’ll need to keep your pages safe.

Every month has some gardening job suggestions for temperate climate dwellers. Adjust to your region and weather conditions as you need to. Gardening has to be a flexible hobby simply because we can’t control the weather!

There are also a few handy gardening tips and resources you may find helpful. Keep the journal on your desktop or whichever digital space is most easy to access and print out the ‘notes’ pages as and when you need them. In busy months, print out more of the same!

Available as a pdf download from Etsy and Payhip

Starting a Garden

If you’re thinking about starting a garden, the most important thing is not to get overwhelmed by the idea. As soon as you start talking about a new interest, experts on the subject come at you from every angle with mostly some great advice, although not all of it will be. Gardening is no exception!

It doesn’t matter what month it is, or whether you think you are too late to start your garden this year… you’re not!

The first and probably the most important question to ask yourself is…

“What do I want from my garden/outdoor space?”

One way to uncover your wants that are appropriate to the size of your garden, is to take a while to contemplate… Sit outside, weather permitting of course, and allow the environment to take over your thoughts. Ideas will turn up unexpectedly, especially if you really are serious about starting a garden.

If it’s really not warm enough to sit outside, grab a coat and wander around for a few minutes or even try for a good view from an upstairs window and consider the layout.

There are many garden ideas you can use to brainstorm to come up with the right ideas for your space, and what would suit you and your family.

Starting a garden should be fun 🙂

Veggie patch: Are you longing to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs to ensure the best possible diet for everyone?

Containers: Are you facing a concrete yard and can’t face the building work involved? Containers may be the answer.

Flowers: Are you a rose enthusiast? Or how about edible flowers to jazz up the family dinners?

Themes: Your whole outside space could be a theme to enhance your home, an attractive outdoor art form, or even a wildlife sanctuary.

If you have the space to explore a few different ideas, go for it! While you’re in the process of starting a garden, the sky’s the limit. The next best thing to do, while still relaxing in your garden of course, is grab a notepad and roughly draw out a plan of the garden and start playing with design. It doesn’t have to be to scale, although it has to be realistic. When you start getting down to work, the plans, no doubt, will be adjusted!

NB:Allow space for fun and relaxation – especially relaxation. Sitting in your garden will encourage more ideas and will also melt away stress.

Before starting a garden, there will be a few tools to acquire. Not necessarily that many, but you will need a few bits and pieces. Get the tools first; it’s so frustrating when you are on a roll and you have to stop because you haven’t the right tool for the job. Scroll down for more about tools and the ideas you can get started with straight away…

** When you’re starting a garden there are a few essentials, especially seeds, to buy. Amazon is a great place to start looking. Even if you’d rather buy locally or elsewhere online, you can get some inspiring ideas by browsing the garden products available from Amazon . This link takes you to their garden department. Type vegetable seeds or flower seeds etc; into the search box or just go with the flow.**

Starting a Garden… let’s get going!


If you’ve decided to grow fruit, flowers, herbs or vegetables in open ground, the main tools you will need are a spade, fork, rake and probably a Dutch hoe. Buy good quality tools that feel comfortable and not too heavy to use. Smaller tools, such as a trowel and watering can are also important and are needed if you are container growing. For wildlife gardens, you may simply need a sharp pair of shears to cut down any invasive plants from time to time. Check out this article for Garden Supplies

Wear heavy shoes or boots in the garden when you are digging or using any larger tools. And protect your hands with decent gardening gloves. If you’re facing a bramble patch before starting a garden, make sure the gloves are bionic!


Seed trays, pots and a few pot markers are the basics if you’re intending to sow seeds or start off young plants. This is a good moment to recycle and get some free pots!

Collect cardboard tubes from toilet rolls or wash, dry and save yoghurt pots with a few drainage holes punched in the bottom. Cardboard tubes are ideal as they only last for a while and can be planted in the garden without having to disturb the roots of small plants.

Larger containers should also be bought, or acquired, for container gardening ideas. Remember you can buy specially designed potato barrels and strawberry planters nowadays and you can grow many herbs, fruit and veg in large pots and containers. Starting a garden can be as decorative and artistic as you like.

Veggie Patch

In an ideal world, a veggie patch should be divided into four or more sections to allow for crop rotation. In a smaller garden, the vegetable patch should be replenished every year with well-rotted manure or compost, or other food for your soil. Every plant that grows takes nutrients from the soil – a good reason to get rid of weeds!

Consider raised beds and containers to increase the growing area for fruit and veg. And if you are growing food, keep some notes. I put together a printable Garden Journal you may find useful or just grab any old notebook to start! My Garden Journal


Containers can be very useful as well as practical. Grow herbs in containers on the patio so they are available to add directly to your ‘al fresco’ summer meals. Pots of herbs can be grown on windowsills and other bright spots indoors. Many vegetables can be grown in large containers so there’s no excuse if you have a couple of pots lying around!

Look for old and interesting containers in markets or car boot sales. If they don’t have drainage, put a well-drained pot inside and plant into this pot. All plants need good drainage. Water-logging will rot the roots very quickly.

NB: Put pots and containers on a stand to avoid bugs making a nest underneath and to ensure good drainage. The stand doesn’t have to be fancy. A couple of bricks should do it.


There are so many incredible flowers that can be grown at home that you can get lost for days in a seed catalogue! Go for the ones you like, or if you have no idea, consider a few points before you start:

*height and space required

*colours and scent


*support structure needed? i.e. for climbing plants

*ground cover plants

If you are simply crazy about roses for example, experiment and grow as many different varieties as you dare. Flowers can also be designed with colour in mind. Grow flowers to match the decor in the lounge perhaps? 🙂


Again flowers and colour could be themes to stick with, or there are other possibilities. How about a butterfly garden? Or maybe encourage ladybirds to your garden to deal with the greenfly on your roses?

A herb garden can take over the whole space if you so wish and many herbs will grow well in containers.

Starting a garden from scratch or even with a residue of someone else’s past efforts, is probably one of the most creative experiences to enjoy, with many practical bonuses – fresh organic food, sweet smelling flowers in the house, a little physical exercise and a general feeling of well-being. And it’s never too late to start. Many plants will survive and stay green right through the winter as well as the summer months.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

PS. Just in case you’re longing for a herb garden this year, this handy download will help you get started.

The Herb Garden

Learn how to grow herbs indoors or in the garden, in pots and containers, from seed and other propagating methods!

Find the best ways to design a herb garden, whether you’re growing a few herbs on the windowsill or have enough outdoor space to create an outside herb garden.

The Herb garden is packed full of tips on growing herbs indoors, in pots and containers, ideas on herbal displays, different propagating methods, and pests and diseases to watch out for.

This is a comprehensive guide to general growing requirements for many herbs. Choose from your favourite online book store:

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Apple Books , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes and Noble , Etsy