June 2014 Update

As you will be able to see by the blog and article in the cheese section of the website, June was a time for holidays, also I had to spend some time with my father due to ill health, so June in the allotment was a month of little activity for me. Yes, I weeded and set plants out that needed to be set out but I just had the time to do the minimum required.

On my return, after over two weeks away, the weeds had of course done very well, but also, so had the crops both in the garden and the greenhouse.

The Courgettes I planted out before I went away were actually producing crops, the Onions( Fig 1), Shallots and Garlic had all matured so are ready to take up for eating and put in store. This year I am going to attempt plaiting the Garlic. I have taken up some New Potatoes (Fig 2) which were very tasty.

The Gooseberries (Fig 3) and Redcurrants were ripe so I have picked the former and will harvest the latter very soon (before they become over ripe).

Broad Beans (Fig 4) are in abundance and I am picking them as and when we need them, but will need to harvest them all soon to put in the freezer.

I have been a little late planting out my Climbing French Beans and my Aubergines, but they are out now in the garden along with the dwarf French Beans and Borlotti Beans.

The Chillies and Tomatoes I planted out before I went away are doing well along with Parsnips, Carrots and Beetroots. The herbs are doing well too, we have been picking fresh Sage, Thyme, Oregano and Rosemary, but also Lavender flowers which are perfuming the house at present.

I now need to plant out my Leeks, and greens, but I am waiting for some rain in order to give them the best chance of establishing themselves once planted out.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4

April 2014 Update

Hurray, the good weather is here again. I am aware that for some, snow is still falling, or it’s still very cold, but for us in Hampshire UK, April for the most part has been a lovely spring month.

Read more: April 2014 Update

Travels in Tuscany

Sadly we are back now, but what a fantastic time we had whilst we were staying in Tuscany. We have been going to a place called Zampugna (Fig 1) just outside of Montefollonica, between Pienza and Montepulciano, for several years; it is bliss, so quiet and tranquil, such a refuge from the pressures of everyday life.


As usual, we started the holiday saying this would be the last year at Zampugna, and by the end of our time there we were planning our return next year. This was because both Jan and I agreed this had been the best holiday we have ever had in Tuscany.

  Figure 1

Read more: Travels in Tuscany

Melt in Your Mouth Chicken

Here's a very simple chicken recipe from our Canadian friend.


So much better than fried!!! Melt in Your Mouth Chicken Breast:


1/2 cup parmesan cheese,
1 cup Greek yogurt -plain
1 tsp garlic powder,
1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp pepper,


Spread mix over chicken breasts, bake at 375°F for 45 mins.

  Melt in Your Mouth Chicken Breast

May 2014 Update

Hello folks, not much to report today – people say it's been a warm spring, but I have found the soil has been too wet to be warm; I have had seed potatoes rot in the ground because of the rain and I was late putting them in. It's been so nondescript in Hampshire I have had to add another dressing of fish blood and bone on the onions to ensure they are still growing.

The greenhouse has been slowly warming up, but thanks to a family of mice getting in and eating all of my Beans and Aubergine seeds things have been a little slow in developing to the point where they can be planted out.

I have just managed to get my Sweetcorn, Courgettes, Tomatoes and Peppers planted outside, but it's still not ideal; I've had to utilise the old Plastic bottle trick.

I did get some Broad Beans planted to help cover the gaps caused by the mice and have just set some more climbing beans in the Green house, also some Lettuce seeds, can you believe the mice even decimated my Lettuce seedlings.

More next month with some pictures perhaps.

Mushroom Soup

A creamy mushroom soup recipe from Donna McMurtry in Alberta, Canada.

Read more: Mushroom Soup