Thursday, 25 October 2012

No more 'settling' - only the BEST 'seeds' for me now!

I found a video created on 6 October 2012, which I can't believe was the last time I visited my allotment garden.  I'm really missing it.

London has been very wet and rainy, for too many days now.  Even when the sun shines, the ground is still sodden (no good for gardening.)

Soooo many times this last fortnight I decided to visit my allotment, and each time the weather changed my mind.  

One day I even got as far as the bus stop! But then the skies opened again and (feeling a bit of a wimp) I sloped back home.  
I'm getting to the stage where I am determined to go.  Rain or shine.  Sleet or snow.  I just need to see it. 

I want to check-in with my garden, even if the soil is too wet to dig, and even if I can't yet plant out my broad beans and oriental lettuces.

The broad beans are just some of the new seeds that arrived recently from  I decided I could not wait for Santa, so I ordered a little pre-Christmas-batch, just 5 packets.

(Believe me, I could have bought many more). J
..... It's okay Santa, I still have a big list for you.

To make room, I cleared out my old seed boxes, and have decided to give away any seeds that are not organic or Real. 

It's organic seed only for my darling allotment garden, from now on.

Because of the endless sorry-no-gardening-today rain, I've satisfied my green fingers (or green thumb), with a bit of Indoor Gardening.  

I've planted some herb seeds (basil, rocket, and chives) and am thrilled that they have grown into beautiful little seedlings. 

Plus, this week I'm getting myself back into raw food so I'm sprouting beans and grains (to eat).  The cold weather sent me scurrying back to cooked food, but I'm missing the fresh raw - and it just feels right for me lately.

So here's the video -  I've enjoyed watching it ... and seeing the sunshine again, and re-connecting with my little garden, albeit from afar.

I imagine when I eventually get there (hopefully this weekend) it will all look very different. 


It occurs to me that I am also clearing out old seeds from my life.  
Things I thought I wanted, that I have decided I do not want after all.

I have been very honest with myself, and decided that no longer will I settle for anything other that what I really want.

I am planting new seeds - in the form of ideas for new projects, and new ways of working.  And I feel very excited about the seedlings that are already beginning to emerge.  Strong and vibrant, and grown with love.

It's funny... even though everything is dying down at the allotment, it still looks so beautiful to me.  The Autumn colours and dying-leaf patterns are amazing.

I feel excited about all the new organic Real Seeds I have in my seed box. Ready to plant, when the weather, time, and environment is 'right'.

I know the organic Real Seeds I have are good ones, and I'm confident that the resulting plants will reap me an abundant and beautiful harvest.

So let's see how my garden and my life mirror that confidence. Can't wait!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Planning for Growth and Abundance, Beauty and Joy

Have you planned your garden for next year yet?!

Yesterday evening I spent hours online, and with pen and paper, scribbling down which seeds to buy and veggies to plant in the coming year.  With Christmas coming I thought I could create a Seeds from Santa list, so that 'Santa' (in all his friends and family forms) would not be stuck for what to buy me.

Then throughout the year, when I plant, grow and harvest my plants, I will think of all the people who gave me the seeds, and made such abundance possible - how lovely.  

Already I'm having fantasies about the beautiful rainbow-coloured harvests, bending in the breeze and basking in the summer sunshine.  Well, naturally I'm dreaming of sunshine.  It is October, very chilly, and currently pouring with rain. Too soon to put central heating on I think, so I'm wrapped cosily in a blanket, and drinking lots of hot tea and coffee (and a rather yummy butternut squash soup for lunch).

My favourite place to buy seeds at the moment is online at Real Seeds.  A seasoned plot-holder recommended them, and he always seems to do brilliantly with his plot - winning many Best Plot awards.

I love that Real Seeds are a very small business (Ben Gabel & Kate McEvoy - and a few friends) who grow and harvest much of the seed they sell.  They also eat the produce grown from their own seeds, so they know their products very well.

At Real Seeds they encourage seed-saving and have instructions on how to do this.  Also, none of their seed is genetically tampered with and is totally without chemical treatments (phew.) Full details about the source of their Organic Seed is here:

All the seeds I have bought from them so far have done brilliantly, and I'm looking forward to selecting and planting more.  I think you are guaranteed that you will be getting fresh, healthy seed every year.

They have some interesting rare, ancient or just unusual varieties - and that really appeals to me. I love the idea of growing veggies my ancestors grew over a hundred (or several hundred) years ago.

In addition to my usual favourites, this year I am also going to have a go with the following:

* Climbing 'French' Beans 

(text below copied direct from RealSeeds website)
'Cherokee Trail of Tears' Pole Bean 
 Simply the best bean there is. This bean was originally from the native North American Cherokee people.
In 1838 they were driven out of their homelands in the state of Georgia by the US government to make room for more European settlers , a forced march known as the 'Trail of Tears'. This bean is one of their heirlooms they managed to keep with them and has been passed on from generation to generation ever since.  Early Pole Snap/Dry. Tall, purple flowers, rounded green/ red pods. Black seed.


image from Brummett Echohawk, The Trail of Tears, in the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
This is another pic I found online of the Trail of Tears bean:

* Lemon Basil 
(text below copied direct from RealSeeds website)

Lemon Basil NEW FOR 2012
Our latest basil has a strong lemon scent! Use it with salad dressing, fish, peas & some sweets, as well as making a nice tea.
Green, lemon-scented basil medium-sized leaves.

* Quillquina 
(text below copied direct from RealSeeds website)

'Quillquiña' (Porophyllum ruderale) 
With a citrus spicy scent and flavour, this is used in South America to make delicious salsa, & can also be used anywhere you would use fresh coriander. The plants have pointy leaves with an attractive blue-green colour & grow eventually to around waist high. 

Particularly good with bean dishes and potato cakes.    3' Tall. Spicy-citrus flavour.

* Yellow Mange-Tout 
(text below copied direct from RealSeeds website)

'Golden Sweet' Yellow-Podded Mange-tout pea
This is a beautiful yellow podded pea that is very sweet eaten fresh or cooked. A rare variety, so do keep your own seed if you like it.
We have grown many mange-tout peas (if you've not tried them, you eat the wide flat pods) over the years but this one has always stood out head and shoulders above the others. It is a superb mange-tout pea, with beautiful yellow pods, tall productive vines, and a delicious crisp flavour.
The flowers are purple, & the pods are a wonderful lemon yellow colour, so we actually grow it in our front garden as a decoration! The yellow pods easy to see for picking, and great both raw in salads, or cooked as a vegetable.

* Giant sugar-snap pea 
(text below copied direct from RealSeeds website)

Bijou' Giant Sugar Pea (HUGE edible-pods) This sort of pea - real old fashioned Giant Sugar Peas with 7 inch edible pods - used to be very popular but are now almost completely extinct.  The huge pods (the peas inside the pod in the photo are full-size) are sweet and juicy, the children just munch them straight off the plant.
Here it is then, after a 5 year project starting with a handful of peas found in a jar in a cellar, this is our own reintroduction of a proper Giant Sugar Pea as used to be grown in the 1880’s.
It matches the original description and engravings perfectly, even down to the pattern on the seeds and the number of seeds per gram.
We hope you enjoy it! You eat the whole pod raw or cooked. They're sweet and tender - & so huge that just a few pods are enough for salad or supper.
We've had really good feedback about Bijou since re-introducing it, with several people saying they would only grow this variety from now on.
Very rare, practically extinct. The pods are so big they're just silly.


Well, that's just a taster of their seeds (it's 'Growing-with-my-garden-Claire back again by the way)!  

There are lots more on my unusual list, including: Giant basil and conversely, the Tiniest leaved basil; shiso herb; chinese/garlic chive; papalo herb; coriander (that's particularly good for 'Coriander Leaf' harvest, not Coriander gone-to-'Seed' harvest), mitzuna, mustard greens, and raab (which is a bit like a green sprouting broccoli).

All in all, I love the way the Real Seeds website and the details of their seed and veggies is written - in a very friendly, natural flowing style (natural, like their produce.) 

Maybe you might like to take a look for yourself?
By the way, I'm not an affiliate and have no vested interest in promoting RealSeeds, I just love them and what they do.  And as far as I know, they don't have (or need?) an affiliate programme.  I imagine they already get a lot of word-of-mouth recommendations - me for one.

So what's the Growing with My Garden Metaphor in this blog post?  

Well, I think it relates to the planning I am currently doing for the coming year, in all areas of my life, but including my business.  

However, I reckon you can sum up my Big Plans by saying that they contain:

1. Stuff I Love, and
2. Action relating to Stuff I Love.  

That should keep me busy ... and joyful in the coming year J

Happy growing!


Monday, 8 October 2012

Another Year of Nurture

Today I paid my annual allotment fees, proving my commitment to my allotment garden (and myself) for another whole year.

So, with my commitment to my plot, can I also commit to this blog I wonder? 

Looking back, I did not do too well last time!   But I think this time will be different.  

Whenever I visit my little plot I shall take my video camera with me, and I will post my Plot Progress!

Yup, I was happy to pay the allotment fee (although some plot-holders feel it's too high).  But for me, the price for my own personal piece of nature to nurture is a bargain.

It's not just my allotment garden that receives the nurturing, it is my very soul.  I just love being there, listening to the wind, the birds, and watching the life all around me.


This Saturday was warm and sunny, so I paid my little garden a visit.  The most exciting thing for me to see was that the bees are still alive! They were busily bombing in and out of their nest in the compost heap.

Why did I think they weren't alive?  

Well, I had had some help from a friend some months back, and unfortunately she unknowingly buried the bees nest under a huge pile of cleared weeds and hacked down brambles.  

She, quite rightly, thought she was just putting rubbish on a compost heap, not on a bees nest.

Anyway, I tried to play it down, but secretly I was horrified.  I thought the bee's home had been totally crushed.  

I watched helplessly as the worker bees returned to their home, only to find the entrance completely gone.  They searched in vain for a way in, as I tried to clear the 'rubble' off the nest, but the foliage had entwined itself and it was impossible.

I thought that was It for the bees.

But lo and behold, this weekend, there they were again!  I feel so relieved.

So here is a video of my beautiful bees, to-ing and fro-ing - and of me, rabbiting on about them.

What does this 'bee thing' say to me?

It says that the bees are more resilient than I gave them credit for.  That they and their hard work are not easily destroyed. 

That even if their nest was destroyed, they built it back up again.  

Last but not least, that one person's rubbish heap is another's haven or work of art.


I feel as though I have been given a reprieve, not just the bees. The message for me, is that there is always another opportunity to start again - and to build things up again, better, and stronger.

This kind of ties in rather well with my old website, that I felt I'd outgrown, and with the new website that I have now created. 

The old website was a little cluttered and full of all kinds of things.  If it interested or inspired me, up it went on the site.  

I think this made it a little hard to decipher exactly what I was offering.  Perhaps it looked a bit like a jumbled compost heap.

The new website is much more planned and organised.  I think it's now a clearer picture of what I do, and what I'm about.  At least I hope so.  It's ever evolving, just like my garden.

I really wish I'd kept up with this "Growing with My Garden" blog, and posted about what's been going on in my life these past months.   

But, for whatever reason, I didn't.  And I have decided not to beat myself up about it.

Instead, I am going to start again, like the bees.