Monthly Archives: February 2013

All Tucked Up!

All tucked up

Despite the sub-zero temperatures the work has started on the Two Chances Plot. The mixes for the long parsnips and carrots have been made, passed through the shredder and the pipes are filled. I was going to sow this weekend but it’s too cold so I spent the time fixing four layers of bubblewrap around the pipes, then a couple of layers of fleece, then two bench covers – hopefully this will help warm the soil ready for next weekend’s sowing. There’ll be 6 pipes for the parnsips and 16 for the carrots so I should get some good ones for the end of August show I’ll hopefully be entering. The varieties will be Palace (parsnips) and New Red Intermediate (carrots) and I also have some bins to sow a stump carrot variety Sweet Candle.

Apart from starting some chillies and aubergines off indoors, planting the garlic out, and a few shallots and broad beans in the greenhouse that’s all I’ve done so far. I think it’s going to be a busy March,hopefully with some milder weather!!

Too cold!

A day off today as it’s half term and I thought I’d get some jobs in the garden done whilst supervising the children. But it’s far too cold – bitter – and it’s just started snowing again.

On the veg front there’s chillies (Joe’s Long) and aubergines (moneymaker) in the propagator, garlic on the plot and broad beans and shallots in the greenhouse. The only harvestable veg left are parsnips and artichokes. I am yet to get really motivated for the season ahead, a spell of mild weather would help.

To change topic – as there’s not much veg growing happening – one thing I have been concentrating on is losing a few pounds – which had crept on in the run-up to Christmas (and recent years!). This has developed into a challenge to get somewhere near the weight I was when I came back from travelling, thirteen or so years ago now. Turning 40 and a recent MOT at the doctors has helped spur me on as well.

But the real catalyst was watching the Hairy Bikers – “Hairy Dieters” – series. They like and eat the same food as I do, not diet food, but hearty meals – pies and curries etc – so I thought if they can do it and lose 3 stone a piece so can I. Now I’ve never been skinny (well maybe when I was 8 years old) but according to google I should be 15 stone for my height of 6’5″. I’ve set myself a target of 16 stone – like I said I’ve never been skinny and I’m 40 now – which when weighing in on Jan 5th left me with a 3 stone 12 oz weight loss target. Quite a bit to shift but so far so good as I’m 1 stone 10 oz down in 5 weeks. It’s not revolutionary though – it’s not the latest craze, the 5 day 2 day diet thing, just eat less and exercise more. Plan the week’s meals in advance, cook everything from scratch, no processed rubbish – quite timely with the horsemeat scandal – and count the calories. 1200 – 1300 a day which is roughly half or the normal daily allowance for a man. 300 for breakfast, same for lunch, 400 for dinner and 200/300 for fruit, snacks and milk during the day. A 2 lb a week loss will get me to 15 stone by the end of August.

I can recommend buying their book from which I have cooked many of the recipes. For example last Sunday was bacon with poached egg and balsamic tomatoes for breakfast, chicken ceasar salad for lunch and chicken jalfrezi for dinner.

All I need to do is keep at it and I’ll let you know how I get on – and try and do some more gardening as well!!

Where there’s muck……

Lovely sunshine today and whilst bitterly cold it was dry, the first chance I’ve had to get a few jobs done around the garden. The raised beds needed a bit of attention. I built them quite cheaply six years ago using 6 foot gravel boards from Scats (£2 each) and a couple of them had rotted through. But at that price they’re easy to replace and it wasn’t long before they were all fixed up.

Veg beds

I have three raised beds in the back garden – the smallest is 6′ by 6′, then 12′ by 6′ and 18′ by 6′. There’s also a narrow strip at the side of the greenhouse. In the front is a bed for soft fruit and another 12′ by 6′ veg bed – this will be home for the winter brassicas and leeks this year.


With the beds repaired I gave Stanleys a call and within 30 minutes a delivery of manure arrived – they’re in Pitton just down the road and always have decent stuff available. Then it was just a case of transferring it to the beds leaving half a bed free from manure where the root crops will go.

Not much happening on the sowing front just some broad beans (Longfellow) and chillies (Joe’s Long) on the go. And the potatoes are all set out for chitting. The next priority is sorting out the mixes for the parsnips that will go in by mid-Feb followed by the long and stump carrots late Feb into March. The serious work has started!