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April 01, 2018
Happy Easter folks and happy Sunday to you all too
I literally cannot believe how far behind my garden is this year compared to last year...and there’s still more snow to come tomorrow! Waaaa!
Today was a brief lull in the horrific weather that we’ve been having so I rushed out into the garden to try and get something done...like literally anything.
The only thing I felt comfortable doing was planting my potatoes...and even that I’m not 100% sure about so I’ve wrapped the potato bags in fleece until the cold nastiness passes tomorrow.
This year I’m planting three varieties of potatoes. These are Casablanca, Charlotte and international kidney. I bought them as a potato patio kit from Mr Fothergills which also comes with the planting bags. I’m not hugely experienced growing potatoes so I’m still very happy to receive kits with instructions like a newbie.

I’ve been chitting them all for a few weeks now and thought it was about time they went into some soil. 
I followed the instructions included with the kit. They said to put something in the bottom of the bags such as stone or broken crockery. I found some large stones in the garden which did the job nicely. I then borrowed some soil out of one of the veggie beds and put a layer over the top of the stones. I placed the tubers in and then covered them with more soil. I then gave the whole kaboodle a good watering...and that’s pretty much it. Oh and I also labelled the bags and put some fleece over them to protect from Beast from the East round 3 tomorrow!
I’m really REALLY desperate to put my garlic out into the beds but am waiting until the worst is over. The shoots are coming along merrily in the greenhouse though.
I’m seriously concerned about my onion seeds. I sewed them in the greenhouse about 3 weeks ago and they STILL haven’t germinated. I can only assume that with the extreme temperature fluctuations, they’ve died a death. I think I may have to start again with those...hey ho. That’s life.
How’s your garden or allotment going?

Beast from the East | What it taught me about Prepping...

March 12, 2018
Hello folks,

 A little bit of a different post here for you today but something I feel is quite an important topic.
The weather that we have experienced this past month in the UK is not typical. I bet there were Americans and Canadians watching us on the news thinking that we were pansies for panicking over something like this. But this is literally the worst snow that I have ever encountered and I know that that goes the same for many others. I know that we certainly could have been better prepared for it.

So let's start off by talking about the term 'prepper'. Here in the UK, the term 'prepper' has certain crazy connotations attached to it. When we hear the term 'prepper', we think about those bad channel 4 documentaries we've all seen where some american lunatic is storing 6 years worth of canned goods in his basement in preparation for the apocalypse. But that's not the only type of prepper. In fact, I'd say that today, that's not even a typical prepper. In a way, we are all preppers, and so we should be. Do you carry an emergency first aid kit in your car? That's prepping! Do you keep a box of candles in your cupboard for when the power goes out? That's prepping too! See where I'm going with this? There are varying levels of Prepping, and it's something we should all be doing more of for many reasons.

I think one of the reasons that there aren't that many people that would choose to label themselves as preppers in the UK is because we don't have that many extreme disasters. We don't tend to have giant floods, earthquakes, hurricanes or the like and so we're fairly complacent. The issue with this, is that when something massive does happen, everyone panics and stuff starts to go very wrong. This is something I already knew, but was hammered home by the recent snow storm labelled 'Beast from the East' here in the UK. This was the worst snow that I have ever seen, quite literally it was 3 foot deep in most places, with drifts that were taller than me. Roads were being cleared by local farmers, but were filling up again as quickly as they could be cleared. We live about 5 miles away from the nearest town where we'd be able to go and buy food...but there was no way of us getting there so we had to rely on our own emergency stash.

My husband and I are fairly on the ball with this sort of thing. We keep an emergency cupboard stocked with canned goods, dried pastas and rices, jars of sauces, dry powdered milk etc and we also keep an emergency box with torches, batteries, candles, blankets etc.It's really important to keep your emergency supplies stock rotated to make sure they're always good. Canned stuff lasts a long time, but not forever. So the way that we work this, is that every time we do a big shop at the supermarket, we buy a few canned things, put them to the back of the emergency cupboard and then use a few tins from the front. This means everything is constantly being rotated. I believe the correct term is a 'working prepper pantry'. This recent snow storm was the first time that we've actually had to tap into our emergency supplies and boy were we glad to have them! What could we have done better? Have more! We used a hell of a lot of our supplies during this snow storm, and I wouldn't say we almost ran out, but I'd say that I was getting worried.

Something that we don't store at the moment is water. This is because we have two large running water courses behind the house that spring very close to us. This means that if the water got shut off from our house for whatever reason, we're able to go and collect clean water from these sources and boil and process it at our house. However, if we lived anywhere else, we would be storing water.

Something we really did badly this year was firewood. Last year we had such a mild winter. So we thought this year would be similar, and we didn't have enough firewood processed and stored. It was a big mistake. So we have already gotten a head start on next year's firewood. I can assure you we will not be making that same mistake again. We are going to make sure we have more than enough dry wood for next year! (for those of you that don't have a fire in your homes, firewood takes about a year to dry out properly enough to burn and create heat). Remember you can never store too much firewood. It's not like it goes bad!

Luckily we still had power throughout all this so I was able to keep up with what was going on in other parts of the country. And there were images of completely empty shop shelves and shops having to ration bread and milk to people that were panic buying. Now remember guys, when a disaster comes, not only is everyone going to start panic buying, but the delivery trucks won't be able to get there to restock.

Now I'm not going to pretend to be some Prepping expert. I've only really recently come to terms with labelling myself a prepper, but as someone who wants to be self sufficient in the future, it's something that I will have to learn more about and become better at. I follow a few preppers on youtube that have taught me a few things. Such as Morgan Rogue who breaks things down into easily manageable chunks and isn't cliquey or judgey AT ALL! I now know the difference between bugging out and bugging in. Get me! (I even bought one of her tshirts! ssshhhh!) And as I get better at this whole prepping thing, I may tentatively write out some tips for you, but for now, I'd rather you guys learn from the experts.

Essentially this post was me trying to demonstrate, that this winter took us all by surprise and we could have all definitely been better prepared. Not only that, we also shouldn't be scared of the term 'prepper'. Being a prepper does not automatically make you a crazy person. I'd say it makes you pretty smart actually.

 I'll be trying harder for next winter. Will you?

Growing | Solent Wight Garlic

March 12, 2018
Hello friends!

Beast from the East arrived two weeks ago and caused havoc in my part of the world. I have never known snow like it. This post was supposed to go up just as Beast from the East arrived, but I was kept busy shovelling snow, feeding wild animals, keeping the house warm and such. All good fun. So here are some pictures that you should have been looking at a few weeks ago.

So I have started off my garlic in the greenhouse. I used little newspaper seedling pots that I'd made and have started off around 60 garlics. I have decided this year to use Solent Wight, it's a variety that I haven't used before but I'm expecting good things as they reportedly store well and are very hardy.

I bought 4 heads, and each head had an average of 15 decent sized cloves inside.
They've started to sprout and are looking good, once spring sets in properly here in Northumberland I'll get them out into the vegetable beds.

This week I have also tentatively sown onion seed, peas and some tomatoes. Fingers crossed that we don't get any more horrific weather. My nerves can't take it.

What's going on in your greenhouse at the moment?

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