Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017.

I'm so busy this month in the garden, I have so much I want to get done!

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

I've been planting seeds all over the place, down the side garden I've planted Californian poppy, crimson clover and vetch seeds around my apple tree.  Clover and vetch are used as green manures, their roots help the soil structure and fix nitrogen, I'm hoping by planting them here I can improve the soil a little, it's really poor in this bed.  I've also planted a little clematis up the fence at the back.

Lots of raspberry suckers have popped up this spring.  I'm really happy about that, because yey, I get free plants and free food!  Nothing else really grows very happily here, apart from weeds and Mediterranean herbs, so if the raspberries want to take over that's fine by me! 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

I made a cute little washing up bowl pond this month.  This is recommended by the RSPB as a good way to attract wildlife into your garden.  Mum gave me a bucket o' pond weed and frogspawn from her pond so I'm really hoping I get some frogs!

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

I decided it was high time I cleaned out my greenhouse, it's all shiny now.  And I've planted a LOT of seeds (see here for a list of everything I'm planting).  That packet of mixed perennials cost about 70p on sale last year, I can't wait to see what grows from it! 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

I've been seed starting in cut down loo rolls and egg boxes, and propagating in our conservatory.  I'm starting the seeds in there, then moving them to the greenhouse once they've grown on a bit.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Look at the buds on these blueberries - can't wait!  'Scuse the weeds.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Joe's been working hard on the hedge at the back of the garden.  He's trimmed a lot off the height, the only problem is it's quite thin now and people walking down the alley keep noseying in our garden! 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

The next job is to dig away some of that bank of soil at the base of the hedge and reclaim the garden!  The soil there comes out several feet and we're going to have to put that soil somewhere, soooo... I bought a couple of raised beds.  They're phase one of our project to get rid of the (horrible, patchy, weedy, bumpy) lawn.  I've only put one together so far, but there's another exactly the same.  We're going to fill them with soil and plant them up, then start mulching and planting over the lawn.  Until it's all gone.  Buh-bye lawn. 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

It's looking very 'work in progress' right now.  I must finish painting the fence before summer kicks in and there's too many plants to get through.  I've got to get rid of that table too, it's been in the middle of the garden for ever, can you tell I'm not quite sure what to do with it! 

How's your garden this month?






Friday, 24 March 2017

Charity shopping, wherein I buy the best retro plates.

I shouldn't really be buying anything else from the charity shops, but I just had a quick peek in and this happened, 

Charity shopping, wherein I buy beautiful plates. By charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #thriftshopping #opshopping #ukblogger

At least there's only 2, right?  I keep seeing this Bacchus design as a full set, with all the plates, cups, bowls, teapot and the whole shebang, which is great, it's my favourite retro plate design, and I would love it, but I have absolutely no room for it.  I'm only allowed to buy orphan retro plates, so I snapped these up, even though they're not in the best condition.
Kiln Craft Bacchus plates, £1 each, local Air Ambulance charity shop.

Charity shopping, wherein I buy beautiful plates. By charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #thriftshopping #opshopping #ukblogger

I also bought this little Japanese bunny.  He has a little chip on his toe, but it's not much bother to him in his new life living in the top of a large plant pot containing a rubber plant.
Japanese bunny, £1, Sue Ryder charity shop.

Charity shopping, wherein I buy beautiful plates. By charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #thriftshopping #opshopping #ukblogger

Aaand this skully bracelet.  Beacuase it's so rainbowy.  But also quite heavy which may be why it made it's way to the charity shop in the first place.
Skull bracelet, 49p, Oxfam charity shop.

Have you had any luck in the charity shops lately?
P.S. Check out my other charity shop posts for more!  



 
 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Make one small change, regrow spring onion scraps.

Making one small change at a time can make becoming eco friendly loads easier.  Lots of small changes add up to a big difference.

Make one small change, regrow spring onion scraps.  By UK Eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #ecoblogger #springonions #scallions #regrow

Make one small change, regrow spring onion scraps.  By UK Eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #ecoblogger #springonions #scallions #regrow

Make one small change, regrow spring onion scraps.  By UK Eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #ecoblogger #springonions #scallions #regrow

The spring onions I buy from the supermarket were grown in Egypt.  I'm not sure where the ones I buy from the market are from, not England though because all the English produce is labelled.  There are some serious food miles attached to my little green onions, so I want to get the most out of them.

It's the easiest thing in the world to replant spring onion scraps. I store my spring onions in a mug of water in the fridge door, which keeps the roots nice and juicy - if you don't do this then you might need to add a step, and stand the cut off bits in a little water for a couple of days to get the roots rehydrated.  Cut off about a centimetre of the white from the base of the spring onion, make a little hole in a pot of compost, poke the spring onion scrap in, cover the roots as best you can.  Keep the pot watered and pop it somewhere nice and sunny, like a windowsill.  You can keep adding rooty scraps to your pot as you go, until it's full.  Take out any that haven't worked (it can happen to anyone!) and use that space to regrow new onion scraps.  

You can cut off your regrown spring onion greens and add them to all your yummy salads and meals!

Don't forget to check out my other small changes to help you live a greener life!





Friday, 3 March 2017

Life lately, winter 2016 and 2017.


Healing - so, I'll start with this, as I started with it last time, and I think it's important that we talk about miscarriage, so many people go through it.  I'm feeling a little better after my miscarriage last year, it's funny (aka horrible) living with something you'll never really get over or feel better about, but I feel happy sometimes and that can only be a good thing.  I had a real run of feeling poorly and sorry for myself last year (was 2016 good for anyone?!) nauseous pregnancy, miscarriage, then I fell over and twisted pretty much everything, then had norovirus and then a cold, but I've been ok the last few weeks and I'm trying to look after myself now, eating lots of greens and going swimming.

Swimming - I'm back to my swimming, it feels really good!  I'm really slow again though, so lots more practice needed.

Auntie-ing - My day off work is the day mum looks after the niblings, so I go to play most weeks which is lovely.  Big niece asked me to walk her into nursery school last week and I felt all warm and fuzzy.  We do lots of drawing and playing dollies and reading books and watching either the Gruffalo, We're going on a Bear Hunt or Peppa Pig.


Reading - I've been loving anything by Holly Bourne and lots of gardening books.

Watching - at the cinema we've seen La La Land and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, and the new Star Wars and that's about it, winter is the season of hibernation after all, not gallivanting to the pictures.  And hibernating in front of the TV is pretty much all I've felt up to this winter, I loved the new Gilmore Girls, and loads of other stuff on Netflix - iZombie, Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Santa Clarita Diet, Riverdale.  I've rewatched my Ugly Betty DVDs too and I loved that. 

Listening to - I saw a band called The Small Glories and I've been listening to them loads ever since, and the La La Land soundtrack.  On repeat.  I'm really sad that my Taylor Swift CD is lost somewhere in the house and has been for months - come back to me Taylor I need to shake it off!

House renovationing -  Mum paid for us to have a beautiful new front door, Joe painted it pale blue and tis lovely and warm.  Joe's mate is a blacksmith so we've commissioned him to make us door numbers and a DOOR KNOCKER IN THE SHAPE OF A SNAIL - oh yeah!  We bought a fireplace too, and lots of picture frames so we can get some art on the walls.  Joe demolished the old shed too and I'm having a worrying urge to dig up the lawn and turn it into a flower bed!


Guiding - I've started helping at a new unit, I only go once a fortnight because of work, but I stay for Rainbows and then Brownies straight after.  They're lovely.  Some of the Brownies used to be my Rainbows, so it's nice to see them again.  We did a happy smile challenge badge too.

Eating - it's a hard job but husband and I have decided to try every curry place within delivering distance to find the best.  Our usual has been replaced (they started putting egg in the bhajis!!!!), my current favourite is called the Blue Elephant (though I like Bangla Pride too), but there's still more to try.

Looking forward to - we've booked our holiday in May to Aberdovey and I'm sooo excited to spend some time by the beach!  The touring production of Wicked is coming to Birmingham so I'm going to try to get tickets to see that too.


Working - the whole of 2016 was spent wondering if I'd have a job, we were told in January 2016 the library service was being severely cut, and basically prepare for the worst.  The date we could reapply for our jobs kept being pushed back, until the week before Christmas we were told we would be 'slotted in' (those who were left put into  jobs as close to their original hours as possible, as well as losing some staff to voluntary redundancy) so at least there was no need for interviews.  After something like 350 days of waiting to hear if I had a job I've ended up with in the same post with the same number of hours.  It's a relief, but it was an irritating and stressful process and we've lost a lot of good library people along the way. 

Gardening - so much to do, I wish for nice dry weather so I can get out there more I want to the garden to be beautiful this year.

Blogging - I wrote a little thing for Cut out and Keep's blog and one of my real life friends started her own blog so you should go and check it out, it's called Book Forager.  

The most popular posts here have been, 






Hope you've had a good winter and you've kept all lovely and cosy and warm!





Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Charity shopping, a retro fabric haul.

I've bought ALL of the retro fabric, look!!

Charity shopping, a retro fabric haul. By UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #retrofabric #vintagebedsheets #retro #vintage #thriftshopping #opshopping

Charity shopping, a retro fabric haul. By UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #retrofabric #vintagebedsheets #retro #vintage #thriftshopping #opshopping

Look!  They're new in their packet!  It's too exciting!  Mum says she had this bedding but in a different colour in the seventies.  She says my Nan and Granddad had it too, in yellow and brown flannelette!  You can see the brown and yellow version on the packet illustration too.
Dorma bed sheet £3.99, pillowcases £3.49, local Salvation Army charity shop.

Charity shopping, a retro fabric haul. By UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #retrofabric #vintagebedsheets #retro #vintage #thriftshopping #opshopping

These are new in their packets too!!  They have their original price stickers on too, £5.75 for the sheet and £1.15 for the pillowcase.  I kind of don't want to take them out of the packets.
St Michaels bed sheet, £3.99, pillowcase £1.99, local Salvation Army charity shop.

Charity shopping, a retro fabric haul. By UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #retrofabric #vintagebedsheets #retro #vintage #thriftshopping #opshopping

These 2 pieces of retro curtain offcut tell me they want to be made into a cushion cover.
Fabric offcuts, £1.99, local PDSA charity shop.

Charity shopping, a retro fabric haul. By UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #retrofabric #vintagebedsheets #retro #vintage #thriftshopping #opshopping

I believe these are Marks and Spencers/St Michaels too, and they look like they've never been used.
Retro pillowcases, £1.99, local hospice charity shop.


Have you had any luck in the charity shops lately?

P.S. Check out my other charity shop posts for more!  
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, 24 February 2017

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017.

I know it's only February but I've already had enough garden excitement to last me the whole year! 

Firstly I enlisted the help of the husband and we emptied the compost bin.  There's really nothing as satisfying and glee-making as homemade compost, it worked perfectly and made beautiful compost! 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

We spread the compost over most of the main garden raised bed, with really thin layers of autumn leaves and hay underneath, to create a bit of a mulchy, nutrient and structure adding, and protective layer. 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

But the excitement didn't stop there!  I weeded and refilled my front garden lasagna raised beds, scattering the veg plant leaves over the soil, then autumn leaves, hay, compost and finally a layer of some topsoil I had left over from when I first made the beds.  They're all ready for planting up now. 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden
 
And then Joe decided to demolish a funny little walled area at the back end of the garden.  There was a tree stump in it and a double layer of bricks in a square round the edge, and then some big chunks of mortar to chip away too.  I'm pleased he did this, because once we've got the paths sorted out I want my little tool shed to go in that space.  I don't have a before photo, but this is the space now. 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

We also dismantled the compost bin, it was too big for us, and a bit rickety around the joints.  Mum passed on this round compost bin to us, I remember it coming from my Gran's garden, and she died when I was in my early teens, so it's obviously a quality, long lasting item!

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

And even more excitement - we rented a skip and Joe dismantled the old green shed.  It was about to fall over and looked disgusting.  I'm so glad to be rid of it.  We'll save up for a new studio shed (which may take some time!), Joe did a jewellery degree and he wants to get back into it and have the space to do it.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden


Behind the old shed was about 2 feet of rubbish (4 children's bikes, bags of rubble, buckets, boxes, bags of junk, a wheelbarrow!) and a bank of soil mixed in with rubble.  We think the rubble is from the old coal shed.  Once Joe's dug through and removed the rubble we can hopefully take the bank way back, prune the hedge and give ourselves some extra garden.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

I planted some bulbs, allium and oxalis, and some bargain echinacea - 3 plants for 99p from Aldi.

I planted my first veggie seeds too, in cut down loo rolls in this fabulous cupcake box I nicked from work to use as a propagator.  I've done a bit of everything I'm most excited to grow, just to get started, and I'll plant more over the coming weeks.  Here we have kale, pink chard, yellow mange tout, lazy housewife beans and minipops sweetcorn.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

All my seedlings live in the conservatory for now.  In the terracotta pots are peppers, tomatoes, giant bulgarian leeks and a couple of lipstick peppers that have hung on since last year.

I've planted some pretty polyanthus too.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, February 2017. From uk garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

How are your gardens this month?  I hope they're as Exciting as mine! 





Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Make one small change - use vegan dental floss.

Making one small change at a time can make becoming eco friendly loads easier.  Lots of small changes add up to a big difference.

Make one small change - use vegan dental floss. From uk vegan and eco friendly blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #ecofriendly #vegandentalfloss

Buying this vegan dental floss is the result of wanting to find eco friendly floss, but not quite being able to find any.  All the biodegradable options are made from silk, which isn't vegan (they kill the silk worms when they remove their silky cocoons).  

So this is a better choice than standard dental floss, but it's still not the best choice.  It comes in a plastic box, with a metal cutter and the floss is synthetic.  But it's made with a lot less chemicals than the floss I used to use.  There's no petrochemical coatings, or teflon, or dodgy antibacterials, parabens or other nasty chemicals, which are bad for your body and the planet.  This vegan dental floss just has natural mint and tea tree, xylitol and vegan wax.  The outer packaging is a recyclable card box, but as I bought the floss online it came in a padded envelope and had to be transported. 

I'll keep looking out for a better option, but sometimes it's just a case of waiting for the market to catch up with what you're looking to buy.  I'm unwilling to give up flossing, after 10+ years of orthodontial treatment I'm really into looking after my teeth!  This is an imperfect small eco friendly change, but it's a small step in the right direction at least.


Don't forget to check out my other small changes to help you live a greener life!


Friday, 17 February 2017

What I ate in a day, a day of vegan meals.

This is what I ate on a lazy Sunday.  All vegan and all yummy,

What I ate in a day. A day of vegan meals from vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganblogger #ukveganblogger #whatIateinaday

Breakfast was a 'bacon' sandwich.  These Vbites Cheatin' rashers are OK, but better if you sprinkle some smoked paprika on while they're cooking. In a toasted pitta with lots of ketchup and a glass of OJ.

What I ate in a day. A day of vegan meals from vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganblogger #ukveganblogger #whatIateinaday

My only real plan for the day was to pop round the supermarket with mum, which I did, then treated myself to a little crispy snack and a sit on the sofa when I got back.  Paprika Pringles are my downfall.

What I ate in a day. A day of vegan meals from vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganblogger #ukveganblogger #whatIateinaday

Lunch was organic rice with sautéed mushroom, onion, garlic, spinach and cashews.  I was even organised enough to make two portions, one to take to work for lunch the next day.

What I ate in a day. A day of vegan meals from vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganblogger #ukveganblogger #whatIateinaday

I had great plans to cook potato and leek bake for tea, but I just didn't get round to it and Joe was late back home from work, so I whipped up a quick and easy baked potato, beans and a little side salad instead.  I know there's a lettuce shortage at the moment, but all winter I've been able to pick up English grown lettuce for 75p from my local market and it's nice to have a salad occasionally! 

What I ate in a day. A day of vegan meals from vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganblogger #ukveganblogger #whatIateinaday

I bought a little vegan chocolate bar as a treat when I was in the supermarket earlier in the day.  I love these Moo Free Bunnycomb bars - they're just like vegan crunchies! 

Don't forget to check out my other vegan blog posts for more vegan meal inspiration! 


 
 
 

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Eco friendly articles and actions.


Happy valentines day!  Show some love for the planet with these easy online actions and inspiring articles, 

photo via scathingly.brilliant.blogspot.com

I love Kate from Scathingly Brilliant's introverts guide to activism.

Sign Friends of the Earth's petition to stop fracking in Sherwood Forest.

The Green Party are asking Theresa May to keep freedom of movement between the UK and the EU.

Climate change is an ever more urgent threat. 2016 was the hottest year on record.
But Donald Trump has threatened to pull the US out of global climate agreements and has packed his team with fossil fuel executives and climate change sceptics.
It’s going to be tough, but let this be a turning point...we can keep the world on track to stop climate change. Millions of people around the world are with us.
quote via foe.co.uk

Pledge to do what you can to fight against climate change in the face of the Trump administration. 

Read about how Costa Rica modernised and saved itself from poverty, without hurting the environment.  


photo via The Guardian

As a Brownie and Rainbow guide leader I loved this little documentary about Radical Brownies.   

Ideally I think plastic packaging should be banned altogether, but until that happens sign this petition asking for a deposit scheme for plastic bottles

A billion black plastic food trays go to landfill every year, use Friends of the Earth's action to tweet supermarkets asking them to change to recyclable plastic.  

I post these kinds of things on twitter all month, so find me there if this is your kind of thing too!