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Vivi’s Kitchen Garden: Brassica massacre rescue!

The slugs and snails did a proper job on all my lovely brassica seedlings…….so toady I am on a rescue mission…..even the tiniest sign of life on a plant will put it into the rescue pile! They have also destroyed half of my precious Coco de Paimpol…….so they’ll need to be reseeded too! It’s a bit disheartening……..but won’t stop me from keeping going.

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Vivi’s Kitchen Garden: Cucumbers, tomatoes & beans.

Today it’s all about assessing and remedying the damage caused by slugs after a day of rain. The cucumbers were badly hit and the ones that remain look rather sickly so I’m going to try something I’ve never done before……plus explain how I build my cucumber frame each year. The tomatoes need a bit of attention too……..and then I check on my pot sown climbing beans…..

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Beyond Frugal: A wage-free life…the truth about the hours.

Since leaving my job four years ago I’m often asked ‘but what do you DO all day?’….or ‘you’re so lucky you can potter in the garden everyday’…I think there can be a misconception that I have somehow retired and am now a woman of leisure! Here I outline an average week……it changes a lot depending on the season and how busy the food production side of things is….but this is how my hours are at the moment. I hope by sharing this it gives a realistic idea of what your hours might be like too if you are considering going the wage-free life route. The hours are long but I couldn’t be happier!

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Vivi’s Kitchen Garden: The last bed…and why I love my soil!

Today I am finally getting on with my last bed…….this one has had masses of organic matter added so I’m hoping it will be an improvement on the previous three beds I tackled. It’s also the day for the last of the seedlings/plants coming to the garden from my home – Pelargonium cuttings. There’s a little bit of shed chat, as usual, some quiet time just getting on with the work…..and a fork in the soil test.

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Vivi’s Kitchen Garden: June Garden Tour (’21).

The kitchen garden is showing signs of new life as we go into June…..I celebrate that…..but I also can’t get away from all the outstanding jobs which really should have been done a month ago. I am going to say ‘never mind’ yet again (!)…….and hope for the best. The truth is, growing a vegetable garden means starting from scratch every single year…….it takes time and a lot of work……I simply have not had the time but I hope to make up for it with the work.

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Beyond Frugal: Entire bathroom reno for £250 ($355).

You’ve been asking for ages to have a nosey round the Cottage in the Sky so here it is….starting in the bathroom. I talk you through how I managed to entirely gut the old bathroom and replace it with this one for just £250 ($355) including all the ‘furniture’…….and a bit of graft! There has never been much money to make the Cottage in the Sky comfortable and homely…….but always plenty of imagination, skip diving and hard work. Come and have a nosey…..

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Vivi’s Kitchen Garden: Broad beans, Blackfly & Garlic.

I’m feeling quite excited today….the sun is shining and we have warmth again…….and I’m right on the cusp of my first harvest of this new season! But first I need to tackle a pest issue……yes, I have Blackfly…grr…….but I share with you my gentle, organic solution. The varieties talked about today are: Broad beans both Claudia Aquadulce and Aquadulce Super, Celery Green Utah and Garlic Violet.

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Vivi’s Kitchen Garden: Thoughts from the shed & climbing beans.

On a very stormy morning I get myself organised in the shed for my next lot of seed sowing; today it’s climbing beans………I talk about the different types and how I use them. I also take a moment to reflect on lessons learned last year and how I hope to apply them in future. The seeds I’m sowing today are: Gigantes, Coco Sophie, Borlotti, Trail of Tears, Helda, Scarlet Emperor Runners, Madeira Maroon and Black Churchill.