Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Getting our Garden ready

I was never a gardener until I moved to England. Mainly because we always lived in subdivision with lots of rules such as no vegetable gardens, no clothes lines etc, etc. Never really bothered me but now that I live in England I am a getting the green thumb. We still live in a subdivision but the rules are much more relaxed here. You can have a clothes line and yes I do hang out my laundry on warmer days, you can have pet chickens in your back yard. Our neighbor has 4 and we chicken pet sit whenever they go out of town. Having a small vegetable garden is practically mandatory here if you have any land to your home (no matter how small). I love going into garden shops here because they are so unique and unlike anything in the states. You can find the most interesting gardening tools, supplies and anything you need to do gardening no matter the size of your property.

This weekend we got our first chance to get outside to prepare our garden for planting. So after hitting the garden shop for necessary supplies the children and I got started. First I had to rethink our garden plot and made big decision to move one of the bushes left by the landlord. I originally planned to transplant this bush to a new location in the garden but the root system proved too much for me and after struggling for about an hour I gave up and got out the garden shears. My daughter was quite upset that I choose this path!


I didn't take a picture of the before bush, trust me it was huge. This is after taking the garden shears to it.







My daughter's face watching me cut down the bush. There were real tears and I did feel a little bad about that -- but I had a goal, bad Mommy!:(. Princess clung to those branches for at least an hour. I think we have read the books the Lorax and the Wishing Tree to many times:(! I still need my husband to dig out the main roots but at least now I have a bit more room to place our raised beds. Goal accomplished but at what cost to my child's emotional well being....




My son's contribution was to collect all the slugs and snails found in the garden
and toss them over the garden fence. I would have used the slug/snail killer formula I had bought at the garden shop but after the bush ordeal I thought better of it. I am sure I will see those snails again, and when the kids aren't looking.....




Every year the Potato council, from Scotland, sends free potato seeds to schools and homeschoolers and this year we received two varieties the Rocket and Rudolph potatoes. Along with the seed potatoes comes planting directions, lessons plans, charts and recipes to try. They also have a school contest to see which school produces the largest crop of potatoes. We did this last year and we had a great crop, so I was excited to try again this year!


Planting and watering our potato seeds.






Next I got a nifty little herb container for my kitchen window and planted some coriander and mint. I might get another one and add a few more herbs to my kitchen window. I use these herbs when cooking Thai meals:)














After mopping around for about an hour, Princess finally got over her shock, dismay and disappointment of my need to destroy a perfectly good bush (these are her words).

Her smile returned and she played in her sand box and created a Pokemon castle. WHEW!!!:)











I will be linking up to the Homeschool Garden Challenge once a month. If you would like to join in go here:





29 comments:

  1. Visiting from HHH. Love the herb container...I need to start thinking about my garden...but I live in Alaska so we have to wait for the snow to melt!

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  2. Visiting from HHH. We are all looking forward to planting season here. NY is still a little cold for most plants!

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  3. We're planning a garden this year (just blogged about it.) I'm thinking about growing Yukon or purple potatoes too. Visiting from HHH!

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  4. Oh fun, a garden challenge! I'm going to be checking that out! Princess is just too cute, I could see one of my girls being that way over a bush. You bad mommy, you! :-) I love gardening, though I'm not too good at it and our house faces the wrong direction, so all our plants need to be 100% sun or 100% shade plants, we have no somewhat shaded areas. BTW, for slugs and snails, you can leave out a plate/bowl of beer and the they slugs/snails will go in to imbibe and never come out (alive that is). It seems less cruel for some reason, so might go over better with your kids - maybe??? Of course, you do have to throw out the carcasses. When I have tried it, I just kept emptying plates of slugs one after another. I finally just gave up, because apparently we have about 1 million slugs around here and I don't have time to kill and dispose of all of them. Hence, I do not bother trying to grow pansies anymore, which is what our slugs seem to favor eating. Then, they're not a problem anymore and we cohabit peacefully.

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  5. This post inspires me to try vegetable gardening! I have the space, but I feel like I lack the time and motivation to start! :/
    Princess' sad face is priceless and I'm glad she was in a happier mood by the time you were done :) Yes, I can't imagine what she would have said if you put poison on the slugs! Best wishes with the potato growing! It looks like so much fun! I love your herb container on the window! It looks lovely! I clicked a vote for you today and yesterday, but I can't remember if I commented about yesterday's! Have a good day and happy gardening!

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  6. We've done a garden in the past but haven't the past couple years. Need to get back into doing it again. And I wish I had neighbors with chickens so we could chicken sit...lol!

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  7. HI Debbie, Contessa, and Heidi thanks from stopping by from the hop. Hope you will stop by again:)

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  8. HI Maureen,
    We have dozens of snails and slugs in our garden. After a rain the kids like to go outside and collect/count how many they found. I have heard of the beer solution but we don't drink beer, however I do have English cider in the house wonder if they will drink that, it has alcohol in it:)

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  9. Hi Tracy,
    Gotta to give gardening a try with the kids we keep garden journals and once a week measure how much each plant has grown - kids love it. Usually I concentrate only on vegetables but this year my daughter wanted to try some flowers so she will be concentrating on that. She is still upset about the bush, last night I found her watering the bush telling me she is hoping it will grow back. Talk about the GUILT.;)

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  10. Hi Christine,
    Chickens are so much fun:) The benefit of pet sitting our neighbors chickens are we get the fresh eggs. There really is a taste difference to fresh eggs. Thanks for stopping by and commenting:)

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  11. That's so funny that you got a picture of your daughter's face, and of your son throwing snails over the fence. LOL! You are a true blogger. My husband laughs at me when I take a camera wherever I go, but you never know when you'll need a good picture for a blog entry!

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  12. Your daughters face is so funny. I know how she feels though. Our new manager is having all the trees around here trimmed or cut down. It is so sad. Have a wonderful Thursday, Anna-Marie.

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  13. Hi Susan
    Yes my camera goes everywhere with me.LOL

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  14. Hi Lynda,
    Oh dear sorry about the trees being cut down. This was only a bush and an ugly one at that but my daughter is a real environmentalist:)LOL I think she really got the earth day topic down last year:)

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  15. Hi Anna-Marie,
    Stopping in to say Happy Friday! I hope you enjoyed your field trip today! Clicked a vote for you!

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  16. Hi Anna-Marie, it must be warmer where you live because we are no where near ready to garden! We even had snow flurries yesterday. I can't wait for warmer weather. Happy gardening!

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  17. I love getting the kids involved in the gardening, it give them real responsibility to remember the watering and weeding and nothing makes them happier than the scrumping (helping themselves to the fruit and veg when they are playing in the garden.
    BTW chickens are a great way to get rid of slugs and snails - everytime we dig a patch over I always make sure the chickens help :)

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  18. Hi Anna-Marie,
    Happy Saturday and clicked a vote for you today :) You're back in the lead! :)

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  19. Hi Noreen,
    the weather is warming up here thankfully but it is still a bit unpredictable. We have a very very small green house which is where a lot of our seedlings are going waiting for the weather to warm up.

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  20. Hi Tracy,
    Thanks for the visits and votes. I am seriously considering pulling out of PF when they reset next time:) But we will see:)

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  21. Hi Anna-Marie,

    I love the picture of your daughter holding the branches to the poor bush. Very touching. I can't wait to see how your garden comes together. I bet it is fun to grow potatoes. I have never tried. We have done veggies in the past and the kids have really enjoyed it. With the addition of Bella, our dog, we have not been able to plant for a couple of years. I am thinking of giving it a shot this season, as we are redoing our backyard and I am hoping to have a dog free space. We will see. Thanks for sharing your garden story. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  22. This will be my first year growing potatoes, I'm excited. We have lots of snails here and I just throw them out of my yard into the ally as far as I can. It does keep them down.

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  23. I can't tell you how glad I was to read on and find that bright smile! Love it! Happy growing! P.S. Next link up is April 28th 10am EST
    Susan - The HSV TEAM

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  24. Hi there! :) Awesome blog - I loved reading this post!! Your garden's looking good!

    I am your newest follower from the blog hop. Would love a follow back!

    Alex
    http://www.thekidisrich.blogspot.com/
    EDUCATING KIDS AND TEENS IN BUSINESS, MONEY MANAGEMENT, AND EARNING MONEY.

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  25. Hi Zonnah
    Good luck with your potatoes we had a great harvest last month.

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  26. Hi Susan,
    I am raising a real nature lover which is usually a good things but this day I could do nothing right in her eyes. Luckily she is easily distracted:)

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  27. Hi Alex,
    thanks for following and I will stop by you blog very soon:)

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  28. lol your daughter's face in that 1 picture is priceless! You are doing a great job momma and kiddies!

    Peace to your day!

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  29. I love that herb container. And how wonderful to try out potatoes. That is something I've never really grown, but think I'm going to give it a go this year.

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