Sunday, April 11, 2010


What a great few days it has been!  I love it when we get just a taste of Summer's heat early in the year.  I love it when boys are out playing barefoot all day and reluctantly come in late, muddy and tired - and I especially love little dirty feet.

The violets are out in our spring bed.  This was such a beautifully planted border, which we inherited when we moved into the house.  Over the years, children running through it, footballs,  and marauding hens have taken their toll, but it still does its best every Springtime and never fails to cheer my heart as I walk past.

I am very excited to be growing this ancient and rare variety of Kale.  Kale is a most excellent vegetable here in the cold north - it was one of the few greens that we were able to pick fresh during the Winter.  I imagine this one will be super hardy, so I have planted a lot.  I sowed some on Friday, which was a blossom day, according to the moon calendar, and also more today, which is a leaf day.  Hopefully I will have enough fresh green leaves to see us through another year, and enough plants going to seed to save for next year too.  It is the first time I have really consciously planned this - normally I am just glad to get out there and rush around getting as many things sown, planted and moved around as I have time for. It felt good to be taking the time to think and plan before acting.  I look forward to seeing this working.

I am very keen on the use of herbs - culinary and medicinal.  I  have herbs planted all over the garden at various points.  This is fine for the less frequently used ones, but when I need a sprig of sage, the thought of trekking away down to the very bottom of the plot - through the 2 new hen proof gates,in all likelhood during heavy rain, slithering through the mud -  well, most often I do without, ditto chives and parsley. Finally it has occurred to me to have these things nearer the house (duh!). So I enlisted the help of my 2 super strong masculine presences to heave these old sinks round to the sunny south facing side door for me, and set them up.  Now filled with this fabulous compost, (3 free bags from the council for every citizen!) they are ready to become my kitchen herb planters.  I have already sown some coriander seeds (leaf day - see above) and I have parsley germinating in the greenhouse.  The basil and oregano will go in when it is a bit warmer at night,  and I plan to add sage, thyme, dill and marjoram.  I already have 2 rosemary bushes in the front garden and chives and sorrell in pots.  My big herb idea is to plant a medicinal herb spiral based on  the book 'A Woman's Herbal', by Elisabeth Brookes.  I am hoping to start swing some of the seeds for this tomorrow, and I am really quite excited by this project.  I will write more in future posts about this - it is very exciting.


  1. Lovely. We've got two sets of dirty spring feet around here too.

  2. I always do herbs in pots by the front door, much easier when cooking!

  3. Herbs near the house are essential, and fit in with permaculture design principles - the things you pick regularly are closer to your home, etc. I've been looking forward to seeing your herb spiral. I was tending ours yesterday and took a photo - must upload to the blog, and need to plant more in it too ;-)

    We grow the Sutherland Kale and have overwintered it perfectly, still picking now too - yesterday in fact. I hope it's as successful for you, I know we have very different growing conditions/climate but I'm sure it's very hardy. I see you've been shopping at one of my favourite seed suppliers too.

  4. Thanks Grace - I have to say my own feet are not too clean either :)
    Dawn and Claire - its not that I really ddn't think of herbs by the door - its just the way the house and garden have evolved. When we fist bought the house our entry date was 3 months away, but the owners were happy to let use plant things in the garden. The original herb bed was at the bottom where the growing area was. since then we have added a conservatory and had to widen the driveway - not to mention our crazy chooks, so maybe I should have said I am now in a position to have pots right by the door. Really looking forward to this herb spiral - I was on last week having a look at your post from last year Dawn - so helpful. And thanks for putting me on to Real Seeds - i want everything in that catalougue. xx

  5. Yeah, my tin is brimming with Real Seed packets or at least the instructions from previous years and my own saved seeds ;-)
    They do some great things, and unuual lost treasures too.

  6. Oh, it's so nice to get outside, isn't it? I keep meaning to blog a bit about how my grandmother always had what she called her "kitchen garden" right outside the back door. Sometimes I really miss having one myself. . . .

    Then i think of the reality of bugs/no water/rabbits/squirrels/raccoons and gophers that would completely decimate it the first night.

    I will be looking forward to hearing about your herbs.

  7. Little dirty feet are one of the best things about spring! :)


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