How to build a Garden Fire Pit

Pic Credit

It is well known that the summers here in the UK are often short, but if you enjoy sitting outside well into the evenings a perfect way to keep warm is to have a fire pit – which creates a cosy atmosphere while keeping warm. You could always buy a chiminea, which is a type of freestanding chimney, but these can deteriorate fairly quickly (depending on the style, and how much you pay for it). Fire pits can be a real investment, and can last for years and is a great way to add year-round focus to your garden.

You don’t need to be a builder, there are a vast amount of designs that are easy enough to build this blog has fire pit designs with lots of different styles. Regardless of what design you choose, some points you need to remember while building you fire pit are : leave small gaps between your bricks/stones and try to make the pit somewhere between 50 – 100cm diameter for a good sizes, safe fire.

Now that bits out the way, here is how to make a simple brick fire pit :

What Will You Need?

  • Enough bricks to build your pit. For a simple square pit, you will need 28 bricks per layer and around 4 layers, depending on your design, if you want a buried fire pit you may want to do more layers.
  • Gravel
  • A spade
  • Firewood (click here is great for finding local firewood around the UK)
  • A bucket of water or sand, safety first and all that

Where to Build a Fire Pit

Now, it might be obvious to say this but fire is incredibly hot and destructive, you need to take this into account when you choose where to put the fire pit. There shouldn’t be any over hanging branches or bushes nearby that can potentially catch alight. 

Something else to consider when deciding where to build this fire pit is what seating (if any) you plan on having around the pit – you don’t want to build it and then discover there isn’t enough room to sit. You could always use some creativity with your seating – i mention some good ideas here.

It might be worth laying out the chairs before you start building the pit, to check  how much room you have, and if you would be a comfortable distance from the fire, being too close would make it too warm. Thinking about it at this stage, will make the whole process alot easier!

Building the Fire Pit

This simple design is from a wickes design, you can watch the video below to see the step by step instructions on how to build it:

Now you have you pit – how about a fire

Fire building is considered something of an art form, but the basic idea is to start with some sort of kindling. This is  to make the flame catch. Once you have a flame you should start to build up the layers slowly. Then add larger logs once the fire is established, when it comes to building a good fire, the teepee shape is usually successful.

Disclaimer: You must ALWAYS Keep an eye on your fire, and never let your fire get out of control. If you do feel that your fire is getting out of control, put sand over the fiercest parts to calm it down or over the whole thing to extinguish it.

Never leave a fire that is still glowing, use water or sand to make sure that all the flames are gone and have no chance of reigniting.

 

Now that you have your fire pit ready, its time to toast your success! Get some friends over, open a bottle of wine and talk and laugh the night away! 

If you have great ways to improve your gardens that you want to share, comment or message me! I would love to hear from you!

Sunshine and Potting flowers

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Last weekend was truly beautiful! After what felt like a 5 month winter (I blame you GoT fans with the constant “Winter is coming!”) I just couldn’t resist being outside and getting some well needed jobs ticked off! For one, my lawn was so long I felt like I needed to mount an expedition to discover the new forest that it had grown into!

I bought some spring/summer flowers to add some much needed colour around the edges, as much as I love growing fruit and vegetables In these few months before everything is in full bloom, my garden can seem a little… bland!

With that in mind, on Saturday morning I traveled to the next town to spend some time with family, and walked up to the local garden center (on of my favourite pass times).

During my browse, I found these beautiful flowers, I picked a selection of different flower types and went for a white and pink / dark pink colour scheme – this was mainly because (although you can’t really see it here – might be able to if you enlarge the fist picture) This is where my raspberry is growing, so I thought it would complement the berries nicely.

Following this theme I also planted one of my rubarb plants at the end – which will be next to my greenhouse when it’s built.

Talking of my greenhouse, after my last post about how to build your own greenhouse P3 , I had to have a bit of a break from it. My weekends were either too wet or we had other plans, then my other half and I had our Honeymoon. So it has been somewhat delayed, but I have made plans to work on it again this weekend with the help from family. I have also purchased some membrane and plastic ready for when we worked on it again!

I have cut and loosely laid the membrane down ready for the weekend too. Ideal I would like to build the greenhouse directly in the dirt, allowing me to plant some plants directly in the greenhouse, but the patch has got a lot of weeds that have been comfortably growing for countless years, so I plan on having membrane then laying fresh compost down – at least to start!

The final thing i did was a general tidy around the vegetable patch and patio. This mainly consisted of de weeding the pathway and patio, but one thing I managed to do was add a border to the vegetable patch. My ultimate plan is to make it into a raised bed. I used some of the left over reclaimed wood I had from my greenhouse project to create one wall. I just need to add the other 2-3 when I can get hold of some more.

All in all I had a fab weekend outside, something I have been looking forward to all year!

What jobs did you get ticked off last weekend? Do you have any planned for this weekend? I would love to hear from you.

Easily Liven Up Your Garden In Time For Summer

If you are anything like me, you are probably starting to get a serious hankering to start some little garden projects again now that spring is now finally here. You have likely already begun planting out some of your seedlings and preparing the soil for the coming seasons.

However, you might also want to think about what you can do to make your garden a bit more interesting, and a bit more original to look at. As it happens, there are always plenty of things you can do on this front, and that is worth remembering if you ever find yourself at a loss as to what you should be doing to make your garden more of a lively and interesting place. In this article, I am going to look at some of the best ways to make your garden more lively in time for summer. 

Pictue Credit

Bordering Wildflowers

If you have a couple of beds which you would like to decorate in some way, a good way to do so is to get a seed mix of assorted wildflowers and scatter those around the edges. You can even get some fast-growing ones which will guarantee to bloom within forty days, so if you are in need of some fast flowers that could be the ideal way to go. Having some bordering wildflowers will immediately add a great deal of colour to your garden, especially if you use a mixed pack. What’s more, you will be providing much needed food for our bees, something that I am keen to encourage as much as possible – It’s good for them, and good for your garden.

Sculptures

If you are looking for some decoration not on your beds, but just dotted around your garden, then you might want to think about finding some sculptures. At one point, people might have chosen the classic gnome, these days there is a massive variety of options available to you. It’s up to you – whether you want a gnome, a collection of frog sculptures, or even a single large statement piece in the centre of your garden. Using a feature piece such as a this is a great way of bringing a little extra something to your garden, it can provide a focal point can help bring a theme to the space or just provide some enjoyment. 

Picture Credit

Vegetable Patch

More and more people are growing their own veg these days (hands up to all you grow your own folk), and this really is a great way to reduce produce costs, while also providing you with a hobby that allows you to get outside – the allotment community is always growing! If you are able to grow your own veg, you will find that you spend a lot less at the supermarket and the produce you do grow, will taste so much better.

Growing vegetables is simple: you don’t always need a dedicated vegetable patch I have seen people grow tomatoes between their rose bushes, or cucumbers in containers by their back door, all you need is well-draining soil and a nice sunny spot (depending on what you want to grow). You can even purchase starter plants which removes the need to grow from seed.

As well as being useful and tasty, many vegetables produce beautiful flowers – providing you with a lovely splash of colour. I really would recommend growing your own to anyone looking for a rewarding project this year.

Picture Credit

Bold Statement Flowers

Finally, a brilliant way to really liven up your garden would be to add some bright and bold flowers. A great example of this is the sunflower, which is truly one of the gardener’s best friends for the way in which it grows fast, strong and has such a well-known distinctive and beautiful flower. Bees love sunflowers, they provide brilliant colour to the garden, and once the season is over you can use the seeds either for recipes, a snack or if you have hens, the heads are a great treat for them! 

Could you ask for anything better??

I hope you get some inspiration for your garden, and enjoy the beautiful weather!

What Your Garden is Missing

Your garden is your own little mini haven in the outside world. It’s a place you can sit back and relax under the sun, with the gentle breeze on your skin, and plenty of bees busy pollinating a nearby flower bed. But have you done as much as you can to make the most of your outside space?

You’ve laid down the base, and got a good green lawn, you’ve built yourself a little deck, with plenty of your own style and influences on it, now it’s time to do something with the rest of your garden. There are so many ways to introduce little hints of beauty, colour, and some natural fun you could introduce into your outdoor space, so while the weather is fine it’s the perfect time to implement them! Here are a couple of ideas you could try depending on the size of your garden;

Image from Pexels

 

Some Cute Critters!

Something I feel quite strongly about, is that we need to do more to help protect the local wildlife. Animals are what make a garden a lovely experience to sit out in, I love a garden with birds chirping in the trees or bees buzzing around somewhere close by, maybe a frog quietly croaking from a small pond. It sounds so picturesque, doesn’t it? Well, this fantasy is so achievable for your very own garden! Simply by putting up some bird feeders and houses under the trees you can encourage more birds, planting bee friendly flowers and introducing bee/bug hotels around is also a great way to encourage some of the smaller inhabitants.

For those of you with a lot more available space, or those who perhaps have livestock you could give the stable the ultimate upgrade with a designer building from Vale Stables.

Regardless of  how big your garden is, there are always ways you can encourage more animals to your garden to really bring it to life. It’s not just plants that thrive in these environments, so make your garden as creature friendly as possible; you’re helping their world, and in turn improving yours!

Some Good Seating!

If you don’t have a bench in your garden, you’re really missing a trick. Without seating, there’s only the ground to park on, and that can mean a wet and muddy bum and often dirty clothes when you stand back up, and in the party season, that’s not something you want to show off to your friends.

You don’t need to fork out a lot of money for traditional seating, a great way to compliment your garden is to use something natural. For example, you could take a tree stump you’ve got left over after clearing that tree from the back of the garden and turn it into a stool. Alternatively, you could use an old log and create a lovely rock garden. Or you could hang up a hammock between the trees (if you have them), and have a nice shady area to relax in when the temperature gets too much for you.

Your garden is something you can do a lot with, and not all of it needs to cost you money! You’ve still got plenty of time to make sure it’s the perfect for having your friends and family over for barbecues this summer.

Whatever little projects you plan on starting, I hope you enjoy yourself!

Build Your Own Budget-Friendly Decking

Now that the weather is [finally] starting to warm up, if your anything like me, you are going to want to spend more time out in your garden, and what better way then to sit out on a DIY decking!

Decks are great for enjoying the summer sunshine, relaxing with family, and even entertaining guests. As the bridge between your indoor and outdoor life, they are a great way to extend the liveable areas of your home and increasing the value of your property, no matter the size of your garden.

If you’ve always dreamed of having your very own deck, the good news is that building one is possible with enough guidance – even on a budget!

Below are some steps to build your own outdoor sanctuary. So keep scrolling!


Image credit: Thomas J. Story

Step 1: Create your decking plan

Good planning and plenty of research is important to make the most of your available resources and avoid costly mistakes. Study the layout of your garden and where you would get the most from the decking.  Something important to consider is what the primary use will be for the decking – Will it be a hub for your thriving garden herbs, a centre for al fresco dining, a place to simply soak up some sun, or a combination of the three? What you plan on using it for can help decide where you should build it.

You can use decking to enhance your garden as a whole, too. Wood Magazine explains that even the most difficult problems like steep slopes and unsightly views can be easily solved through smart decking.


Image credit: Anthony Tieuli

Decisions like these will guide you when figuring out the size, shape, and layout of your project. Of course, smaller decks will be less expensive to build than larger ones, as is ground-level decking compared to raised or multi-level decking. (It might be worth noting now, that depending on your area and the size of the decking you will be building, you might need to look up your local laws and see whether you need to obtain any building permits)

Step 2: Lay down the foundations


Image credit: This Old House

Decks need a bottom supporting structure to ensure that the boards don’t touch the ground, which is especially necessary in our notoriously wet English climate. This is comprised of rim joists or beams, ledgers, and interior joists. A good foundation also ensures that the structural integrity of your deck will be strong enough for years of family use. I know that all sounds complicated, but with a little research anything is possible – and google is an amazing resource!


Image credit: David Carmack

To start, The Spruce recommends using stakes and a string to outline the shape. Using a shovel remove any grass and weeds within the area and level out the ground. If building next to the house – remove the trim and sliding where the ledger board will go.

As shown in the picture on the right, you cover the exposed sheathing with waterproof membrane to keep moisture out, and then install your ledger boards. These will anchor your deck to your existing house. Cut each joist to the right size you need and screw them together to build your frame. These will provide a level surface for your deck planks.

 

Step 3: Install decking boards

When it comes to the decking boards themselves, remember to choose carefully depending on how much you’re willing to spend not just during your construction, but also later on for maintenance. Decking boards and kits listed on Screwfix come in a variety of materials and finishes to suit every type of budget. A really popular type is composite boards, which are engineered from wood fibres and plastic that don’t stain or fade for up to 25 years. They’re typically low maintenance but can be a little more expensive initially. On the other hand, wood decking can be less pricey but will weather over time and have higher maintenance costs.

deck and garden of Chris and Mary Beddow
Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii

Image credit: Art Gray

Once the frame and foundations are in place, cut your decking boards.

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Methow Valley Cabin

These will be placed perpendicular to the frame using galvanised screws. Depending on the planks you buy, you may need to sand them down to get rid of splinters and rough edges.

An important step that you shouldn’t skip is to varnish your timber to protect your deck from rain and the sun’s heat. It will increase the life expectancy of the wood, and reduce your maintenance costs.

Step 4: Make it liveable

Image credit: Dominique Vorillon

The last step to building your deck is to make it comfortable for you and your family. Sunset Magazine suggests incorporating lighting, fencing, and railing to match your house’s style and suit your needs. You can also choose to add some shade by adding awnings or even training climbers to add shade through a pergola or trellis. Dress up your deck with furnishings, container plants, and even a hammock or two for the warm summer days ahead.


Image credit: Van Chaplin

Are you looking to add more to your backgarden?Maybe you’re thinking of adding a greenhouse and want to makeit yourself?

Check out my guide to building your own greenhouse. Where i provide a step by step review of how I am making it!

Alternatively, if you want to have a little project in the kitchen and enjoy the sweeter things in life, how about making homemade jam?

 

What ever you’re in the mood for making, have fun and enjoy the coming warm weather!

much love,

Mothers Day gift summary

Mothers Day gift summary

Well, I have to say my homemade gift ended up more homemade than I originally planned!

For those of you who read my blog, with remember that my original plan was to make homemade cream tea (you can read it here) – making the Jam and the scones but planning on buying clotted cream – thinking that it was a big old complicated process. Boy, was I wrong!!

The only things you need to make homemade clotted cream is:

  • double cream (pasterurised, but not ultra pasterurised)
  • A glass dish that is oven friendly – I used 900ml of double cream and it filled the dish by 1.5-2cm bare this in mind when selecting your dish
  • an oven
  • clingfilm
  • a fridge
  • 24 hours! – not kidding, you need this much time!

The instructions are even easier then the list of ingredients.

    1. Preheat your oven to 80C. Pour your cream into the glass dish, making sure that the dish is deep enough to hold it, you want the cream to at least fill 1.5 cm of the dish, but I wouldn’t use one so small that the cream is more than an inch deep.
    2. Leave the cream in the oven for 12 hours! (I did this over night)
    3. Once the time is up, carefully remove for the oven. The cream will have a skin on it and might have a slight smell – but this is ok. Leave it to cool to room temperature. (This is when I made my scones)
    4. Once cooled, cover over with clingfilm and place in fridge. Leave for 12 hours
    5. Its done!

    Once my cream was done, I portioned it off into some glass jars, ready to serve with the still warm scones and the selection of jams I made during the week! Could you imagine a better way to spend your sunday?

  1. I would love to hear back from anyone else who has made their food gifts, and what they made. Just leave a comment below.

Mothers Day Special – Homemade Jam

Mothers Day Special – Homemade Jam

With mothers day just around the corner, I wanted to make the decision of what I would like to give my mother this year.

It was from her that I gained the love of homemade gifts, She has always instilled in my sister and I that money isnt everything, and sometimes its the effort that has gone into the gift that means more than the price tag.

With that in mind, I wanted to come up with something that is both something I know she would enjoy, and something that I could make for her at home. In the past few years I have often opted for experiences, giving the gift of memories with her family rather than something she could keep, but this year I wanted to try something a little different.

My mother LOVES cream tea – although she doesnt drink tea, so its more commonly substituted for a nice coffee. I have previously gifted her an afternoon tea with myself for some quality Mother/Daughter bonding but I thought I would go one step further this year, and actually make her a homemade cream tea.

The idea is to present her with:
– Homemade scones
– Homemade Jam (3 flavours: Strawberry, Raspberry and Blackcurrent)
– A nice tea/coffee cup
– and some shop bought clotted cream

I have a week and a half to get everything sorted, so I made a start last night with my first ever attempt of Strawberry Jam!

I followed the recipe for this from the side of the jam sugar I bought from the local supermarket. Which I halved, so i wouldnt end up with a mountain of jam I couldn’t store anywhere.

Here is the original recipe I followed:
– 800g Strawberries / raspberries
– 1KG Jam Sugar
– 1 Knob of butter
– sterilized jars

It seemed simple enough, so I cracked on with my fingers crossed I wouldn’t be left with a strawberry gooey mess at the end.

The first stage was to wash and cut the strawberries before putting them into a large saucepan. From here you need to start crushing the strawberries – using a potato masher works great! Depending on how many fruit lumps you like in your jam is going to depend on how much you crush your fruit, I kinda went for half crushed.

This was also the stage where I washed my jars, with soapy water and stuck them in a large saucepan, and covered them with water. The pan needs to be pretty large, as you need to have your jars raised off the bottom of the pan. I used my pressure cooker (without the lid) which worked great, it gave me plenty of room and there is a stand and tray that comes with it which allows me to have the jars raised off the bottom. I boiled mine for 15 minutes, and then turned the hob off. leaving the jars in the boiling water until a couple of minutes before I needed them.

Next, I added the sugar. The recipe says 1KG to 800G of fruit, but I halved this, so I added 500G of the sugar (as i was using 400G of strawberries). I gave it a little mix round, allowing the sugar and the fruit juice to combine a little before I put the hob on a low temperature and started stirring it all together. The instructions tell you to continuously stir it and not to let it boil until all the sugar had dissolved. This didn’t take too long, a maximum of about 3-5 minutes.

Something I wasn’t expecting to add into jam, but is needed at this point (according to the recipe at least) is a knob of butter! Continue stirring until it is completely melted and then slowly start increasing the temperature until the jam is boiling, and stirring doesn’t stop the bubbles. Allow it to boil for 4 minutes –  i continued to stir intermittently at this point, just to stop it sticking or burning on the bottom.

Once the four minutes is up, some people suggest testing the jam is ready by putting a bit on a previously frozen plate and test if it ripples.. but I didn’t bother with this bit (for one thing the recipe didn’t call for it) I turned off the hob and let it sit for a minute while i sorted my jars out.

I was only using 2 jars, as I plan on giving my mum 2 strawberry, 2 raspberry and (after some sneaky recon) 2 blackcurrant. So I didn’t want to fill my supply of jars up with strawberry – their not cheap! This did leave me with quite a bit spare, but I have an old pickle jar which I sterilized with boiling water and was planning on using over the next few days.

Once I safely removed the 2 jars from the pan, I sat them down on a clean tea towel, upside down to drain out. After a minute I moved them onto the draining board and poured in the jam ( I had poured the jam from the pan to a measuring jug to make it easier to dispense into the jars).

Leaving a cm gap at the top of the jar, and cleaning away any dribbles I popped the lid on, and screwed it up – not super tight, but tight enough.

One thing I did notice, which i am going to have to work on, is that once it was all cooled I was still able to push the lid (where you can test if a jar has been opened or not) I am hoping this wont effect the quality of the jam, and that it will last.

All in all though, I am pretty pleased with my first attempt! I will definitely be doing this again with any fruit I grown during the summer.. although now I know just how much sugar and butter is in it, I may not spread it so thickly on my toast!

EDIT: I have since made the raspberry jam as well, it has come out a lot less runny then the strawberry, and I must say, after trying them both – I think the raspberry is a firm favourite!

I have really enjoyed making it, and it was the perfect little project to do while the snow was coming down! We had a fair amount – though not as much as other people from what I hear!

I would really love to hear other peoples experiences of making jam, is there an unusual combination you tried? Or if anyone has any tips for me please feel free to comment!

Build your own greenhouse – Part 3

Build your own greenhouse – Part 3

This week I had some help from family again, and it has really made a big difference! My aunt has some good experience of DIY projects, and with her guidance I was able to make some important decisions about how I was going to construct the greenhouse.

The first decision I made, was how the frame would sit.

Because of the way I want the plastic-panes to eventually sit in the frame, a lot of the basic design was predetermined  – but the biggest decision of the day was how the bottom would be fixed to the sides.

I had previously pre-cut the four bottom planks, but i hadn’t really thought about how the four corner posts would join to the bottom. If I didn’t want to re cut the planks the posts would sit against the inside corner, creating a sort of lip – which isn’t something I wanted. Instead, I would prefer having the wall of the greenhouse sitting flush, so we re measured how long I wanted the overall greenhouse to be, and then re-cut the bottom planks accordingly. Where I’m using reclaimed wood, not all of the posts are the same width, so the length of the bottom planks would need to adjusted individually to allow the overall length to match.

This then helped with the decision of how we were going to fix them all together –  again, due to the fact I am using reclaimed wood, the thickness made it hard to use screws, so we decided to use brackets. (brackets look like sheets of metal, that are used with nails, when you hammer the nail in, it causes the metal to ‘bite’ into the wood, and therefore holds it together tightly – the more nails you use, the stronger the join).

It was also at this point that we worked out what wood could actually be used for the main structure, and what supplies I would have to go and purchase. We were able to use reclaimed wood for thebottom and the four main posts, but I didn’t have long enough timber to use for the inner posts or the roof, so when visiting the local DIY store I picked up 10 x stick timber which was on offer for £2.57 each. I also took the opportunity to check out pricing for plastic sheeting (my first years plan to help spread the over all cost) and the congregated plastic for the roof.

Once we had all the supplies we needed, it was time to start building.

We used one 3in screw in each join, just to keep it held together tightly, then used the brackets to secure them all. Once the greenhouse is fully constructed, I will go along and tidy up the joins, cutting and bending any overhanging brackets.

While sorting all of the above, it also became clear that one of my pre-laid slabs needed moving – something I was not looking forward to! But with four of us working on the project it didn’t take too long. Two of us started building one of the walls while the other two moved the slab.

All in all, we only actually spent a couple of hours building so only managed to cut and construct one wall, however the planning is just as important as the building and now there are clear plans set in place I know we will make good progress from here on out.

In other Garden news:

I planted a raspberry plant today, and sowed some parsnip, onion and tomato seeds this morning and plan to have them out in the tunnel and trough. With the weather forecasting snow next week I’m hoping the tunnel will protect them from the worst of it. so fingers crossed!

Now that spring is just around the corner I am looking forward to the slightly warmer days and sowing my own veg from seed. Last year I stuck to buying starters which worked really well – but in the long run it would be nice to grow from seed!

 

I would love to hear from anyone thinking of buying a greenhouse, or just starting out on their homegrown adventure! Please, feel free to get in touch!

Build your own greenhouse – Part 2

Build your own greenhouse – Part 2

Phase Two is complete!

Today I completed the second phase of my little DIY project of building my own greenhouse (view phase one here) .

After the success I had last week (with the help of my family) I wanted to get this part done now, so it doesn’t delay me in the actual building of the greenhouse (I’m on a spring deadline!!)

The most important part of this stage was about not only making sure the slabs were level, but that they were level with each other as well. The timber frame will be sitting directly on these slabs (acting as a stone barrier between the frame and the ground) so if they arn’t level the frame won’t be! This can take longer than you may think as well, especially working on your own and if you have nearly no experience in this sort of thing – like me! I used some sand that had been left in the garden, which is a lot easier to deal with then the soil alone. Little by little I got them all level.

The next stage of the build is the most most exciting bit – to actually build the frame! I have a fair bit of reclaimed wood which I have been collecting in preparation of this project, so I will be building as much of it from that as I can, this is mainly to save as much money as possible, but I think I am going to end up buying some supplies to finish it.

In other news..

I managed to go to the local garden center and picked a couple of things this morning, including a 6.6 ft perma-tunnel ready for some early sowing, plenty of compost and a little ‘mushrooms growing kit’ which I mentioned in an earlier post. My other half doesn’t eat them, so this small kit should provide me with mushrooms for a while – the instructions say you can expect to get 3 harvests from this one kit which will be plenty. If they grow faster than I eat them I will put them in my dehydrator and store them for later use!

I also managed to finally do my seed order – something I have been meaning to do for some time now. I’ve only bought what seeds I need for the next few months, with the idea of spreading the cost by buying the rest nearer the time that they are needed.

I have de-weeded, turned over the soil and constructed the tunnel today as well, it always feels nice to start clearing space ready for the new years growth. I am hoping to sow seeds under the tunnel until the greenhouse is fully set up, as well as using the trough I have nearer the house (which will be used for my carrots and parsnips this year).

All in all, I’ve had a really productive weekend in the garden. This week is due to drop in temperature and there is a good chance of snow, so I’m not sure if I will be able to do much next weekend! If I can’t I will set up my mushrooms and start prepping the first lot of seeds ready to sow.

I would love to hear what you have been working on over the last few weeks in preparation for spring. Leave me a comment or send me an email. Advise is always welcome!

 

Build your own greenhouse

Build your own greenhouse

Phase One is complete

This last weekend was just beautiful! I spent some much needed time with my sister and niece (a nice start on one of my 2018 goals – see here for more on that) and after weeks and weeks of planning I finally made a start on building my greenhouse (yippee!). It was bitterly cold when we went to the seafront, and walked out as far as we could, we were wrapped up warm, and treated ourselves to a hot drink after!

Now, don’t get too excited phase one is a bit of a boring phase.. but vital! Let me explain.

The spot that I have picked to build my greenhouse is tucked nicely away behind the shed and is in a prime spot for getting lots of sunshine a large part of each day. The only problem with the spot i picked.. was it was already being used – by a big old Laurel and a lovely climber. I had already made a start on clearing the space, but with just a pair of hand cutters and a hand saw it was going to be a very slow and labour intensive job. I ended up buying a chainsaw, and this weekend was the first opportunity I had to get outside and made a real start of clearing the space up.

With such a beautiful (and surprisingly mild) day we had on Sunday I was able to get the whole area cleared! Even the stumps were either dug up or cut right down below ground level and killed off. It was a lot of work, and I had some help doing it but by finishing it all in the day means I can move on to phase two – which is making the ground level and putting down some slabs for the wooden frame to sit on (because I have decided to make my greenhouse out of a wood, I’m conscious that sitting directly on the ground will encourage rot. The plan is to have slabs just around where the frame meets the ground and then have the inside open soil).

It is at this point I have also re thought about the size I want the greenhouse to be. my original design was to have a 5 sized greenhouse (2 long sides against the wall and fence, and then 3 sides facing out) But I have since put my sensible hat on and realised that although that would look super awesome, the size of the overall greenhouse would be relatively small and as this is going to be my first attempt of building one, i should probably stick to a lot simpler designs! So goodbye cute design, hello practical rectangle design!

I would really love to hear from anyone who has build their own greenhouse, what obstacles did you come up against and what do you wish you had done differently?

Just send me a message or leave a comment!

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