Friday, 29 May 2015

Vegetable Gardening Tips for every sized garden

No matter what size garden you have, you will find edible plants suitable for growing in something as small as a large yogurt pot to a large allotment patch. 

As for me I favour growing in pots on the patio or raised beds, easy to reach and less bending. I have also tried some companion growing in previous years, onions and carrots together, to help deter that pesky carrot fly. You will find some very helpful suggestions in the guide below.


Thursday, 28 May 2015

Garden Furniture Decisions

Summer is just around the corner, and along with pottering in the garden there is nothing better that sitting relaxing and enjoying your handy work. Of course it also means the weather is nice enough to eat alfresco, invite family and friends round for a barbecue, a garden picnic or one of my favourites Afternoon Tea.

My current wooden garden furniture is past it's best, although stored in the garage over Winter and regularly coated with teak oil, it is close to the end of its life. Finding the right replacement garden furniture is not an easy task, and not one to rush into. I want garden furniture that will be comfortable, durable and last for many years.  Although I do confess to having had my eye on a swing seat for many years now, so if I can find one comfortable enough, it will be high on my wish list.

Before you start a Garden Furniture Wish List, it may help by asking yourself the following questions.

What material do you like: Rattan, Wooden, Metal or               Plastic furniture?   
What size table do you need? 
Will it be large enough for entertaining? 
Would a round table be best suited?
Bench, Chairs or Loungers or both?
Will the furniture be stored outside all year round?
Is it easy to fold down for storing in a shed or garage.
Do you have somewhere handy in the Summer to store the           cushions?

I found the pros and cons guide to what your furniture is made of at Tesco Direct very informative. Answering question on how durable, lightweight the different materials are. I am not too familiar with rattan and wicker effect furniture, and it was most helpful.

My Garden Furniture Wish List:-
  • A swing seat, ideally movable and storable during Winter, so possibly not wooden.
  • A wooden round table with 4 to 6 wooden chairs, and cushions for the chairs.
  • An adjustable matching lounger
  • An ornate metal bistro set
Now that's not asking too much is it?

Disclosure: Thank you to Tesco for inspiring me to write this post

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Fruit Cake Recipe made with Oil

This recipe for Fruit Cake made with oil is one of my cakes I can continue to eat as part of my 'healthier bakes' for lower Cholesterol.

I am choosing to bake less with butter and baking fat, and instead using more olive oil or rapeseed oil. This is a favourite bake Fruit Cake recipe made with oil. A great cake recipe to bake a few days ahead of time, as it tastes better a day or two later. 

Recipe - Fruit Cake made with oil

  • bowl
  • 18cm round cake tin
  • parchment paper or cake tin liner
  • scales  
  • measuring jug
  • wooden spoon  

225g plain flour
2 level tsp baking powder
150g caster sugar
150ml (1/4 pint) olive oil or vegetable oil
2 eggs
3 tbsp milk
450g mixed dried fruit

  • oven temp 170 degrees C, Gas mark 3
  • grease and line the cake tin
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, and add the sugar.
  • Measure the oil in a jug and add the eggs, and 3 tbsp of milk. Beat together and mix into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add the fruit and mix.
  • Pour into the tin and bake for 1 hour, then reduce the temperature to 150 degrees C, gas mark 2 and bake for 1 1/4 hours.  Using a skewer check to see if the cake is cooked, it should come out clean. If required it may need to bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the tin.
Tip - if you think the top of the cake is browning too much, cover the top with some parchment paper or foil. 

This cake is best eaten a few days after baking, store in an air tight container. 

This recipe is based on a recipe from the Good Housekeeping Cookery book that originally used vegetable oil.

Other recipes you may like to try:-
Cherry and Coconut Cake 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

First Garden Bouquet of the Year

This may not quite be a bouquet of many flowers, but it is the first vase of blooms from my garden this year. All from the Lilac shrub, which is in full flower at the moment. It is so nice to smell the scent of fresh flowers from the garden in the house again.

Lilac picked from the garden
Lilac picked from the garden

Delicate Lilac flowers
Delicate Lilac flowers

I am hoping for more varied bouquets of cut flowers, as I have sowed quiet a few new varieties in the past few months. Asters, Zinnia (inspired by the BBC's Allotment Challenge program), dwarf Phlox, Diascia and more dwarf Sunflowers.

Sarah Raven cut flower seeds
Growing more cut flowers

Monday, 25 May 2015

Serenata Flowers and Hampers - Garden Pamper Hamper Giveaway

Serenata Flowers are offering one of my blog readers the chance to win a Pamper Hamper. The perfect hamper for a garden lover, it includes a watering can and gardening gloves. Along with a few toiletries for those times you end up with grubby gardening hands, a nail brush, hand wash, hand cream and a bar of body soap. 

How to enter
To be in with a chance of winning this lovely prize confirm your entry using the Rafflecopter widget, for extra entries complete the additional tasks. If you can not see the Rafflecopter widget below, you may need to refresh your page using F5. For more information on how to enter you can watch this Rafflecopter video or visit fellow blogger Super Lucky for a simple guide on using Rafflecopter. 

Remember if you enter the competition by tweeting be sure to include the link to your tweet. If any of the links are not working on the widget leave me a comment or tweet me.

Closes 19 June 2015. Winner must respond within ten days of being notified, after which time a new winner will be selected. UK entrants only. For Terms and Conditions click the link on the Rafflecopter widget. All entries will be verified.

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway