A Tour Of My Kitchen Garden & A Bradgate Park Dog Walk

Last weekend we took part in a ‘Bradgate Park dog walk’ with Judy our rescue dog.  This is what their website says about the walk:

“A chance for you and your dog to get out for a walk at Bradgate Park in the company of one of our Rangers who will talk about the history and wildlife of the Park while dog behaviourist Steven Havers gives tips on how to ensure that a walk in the park is a positive experience for you, your dog and any other people and animals you may meet.”

I have got to be honest and say the only reason we went was because Steven Havers is our dog trainer and I feel confident when he is around.  The last time we attempted to walk Judy on our own in Bradgate Park a few months ago, we ended up hiding up a hill behind trees as Judy reacted so much to each and every dog, regardless of how far away they were!…….but not this time.

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At the start of the walk she barked a bit as there were lots of dogs, but after a few minutes she behaved really well and took time out to relax and have a lie down….I was so proud of her!


Bradgate park is beautiful and the views from ‘Old John’ are spectacular as it stands on Bradgate’s tallest hill and Leicestershire’s second highest point – some 690 feet above sea level:



Old John:

This Folly or Prospect Tower was built in 1784 by the 5th Earl of Stamford. The circular stone tower replaced a former wooden windmill (which had been made unsafe in an earlier storm).

On the 31st October 1786 a huge open-air fire was built on the Hill by the 5th Earl of Stamford to mark the coming of age of his son, George Harry.  Legend has it that a bonfire timber burnt through, falling amongst the guests and accidentally killing an old retainer of the Bradgate Estate called John.

After the accident, the 5th Earl is reputed to have decreed that the Tower be named in affectionate memory of “Old John”. It is said that the stonework at the side of the Tower was altered so it looked like a handle – perhaps knowing the old man’s liking of ale, it was deliberately modelled to give the Tower its familiar beer tankard shape of today”


You can read more about Old John here if you are interested.



This week in my kitchen garden:


This week I planted some Cosmos just behind the new wire fence that I put up last week.  Hopefully they will grow and look pretty later in the season and because they are behind the wire fence my daft dog won’t be able to destroy them.  Again I planted them through the weed suppressant:


I also had four spare tomato plants which I planted in this area as well.


As I said last week, I’m not sure how well these plants will grow as I haven’t prepared the soil in this area at all….I just dug a small hole for each plant and used a small amount of blood, fish and bone and filled the hole with compost…..it will be interesting to see the results!



I also decided to give my old garden chair a face lift by buying a new piece of wood for it and giving it a new coat of paint.  It does need a second coat but it certainly looks better already:

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My new kitchen garden:

Considering it is the first year of the garden, it is doing really well.  I thought today I would give you a tour:


In the photo above you can see the whole kitchen garden with the new area in front that I created last week.

The new front area has mangetout, dwarf peas, a bag with potatoes growing in it, strawberries, sweetcorn and four tomato plants:

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In my onion and root beds I have onions, garlic, parsley, parsnips, spring onions, beetrrot, radish and lettuce.  The lettuce will shortly be replaced with leeks:

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I have two beds with potatoes in – ‘Marfona’ a second early and ‘Desiree’ a late main crop potato:


In my legumes beds I have broad beans, french beans, runner beans, climbing peas and lolla rossa lettuces:

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And in my brassica beds I have cabbages, curly kale, swedes, kohl rabi, outdoor cucumbers and two butternut squashes that will hopefully grow up my washing line post:

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At the back of my plot I have herbs in pots and fruit trees (apple and pears) and I have autumn raspberries along the side fence:

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On the shady side of the garden I have rhubarb, comfrey and jerusalem artichokes.

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And at the front I have blueberries, red and black currants and a gooseberry bush too:

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In my greenhouse I have cucumbers, tomatoes, radish, peppers, basil and two melons:

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And elsewhere in the garden I have courgettes, patty pans, outdoor tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, corriander and two dwarf plum trees…..

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….and as usual I have squeezed as many flowers in as possible to attract bees and other beneficial insects to my plot:

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I’m sure I have missed one or two things, but never mind I’ll write about them another time when I remember them.

So I am hoping over the next few weeks I will get some lovely crops, but for the moment we are enjoying some delicious salads:

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Thank you for reading my blog today.  I will be back on Friday at my usual time.

Have a good weekend!

34 thoughts on “A Tour Of My Kitchen Garden & A Bradgate Park Dog Walk

  1. Wow, amazing results with Judy! The kitchen garden looks fab too. Are you able to say how you have achieved such good results with Judy? I have a reactive terrier too and am looking for inspiration…..

    • Hi Trudi, yes ofcourse. It really is awful having a reactive dog isn’t it. I still have a long way to go with Judy but we have come so far in the last 9 wks.

      Previously I tried training with treats and then I tried clicker training and neither things worked. Nine weeks ago I went to a gentleman call Steven Havers (Havers Dog behaviourist) and he is remarkable. He has taught me how to train Judy with praise only (no treats) and has showed me how to be much more relaxed with Judy. It would be impossible to tell you exactly what he has shown me in this reply as there is so much and he says every dog is different. I couldn’t find any of the stuff he has shown me on the internet previously when I spent hours searching, but basically you completely ignore the dog when it’s not doing what you want and give loads of praise when they are….I am now constantly praising Judy as I walk along by using her name every time.

      I don’t know where you are but I know he does travel to people and he has been worth every penny spent. I think he charges £55 for a one off session plus petrol, but it will be on his website. I go to his classes twice a week too and they have really made a difference as there are lots of dogs with problems and Judy has been able to learn to deal with them….this is something I couldn’t do on the park without being shouted at by dog owners.

      Hope this helps

    • Thanks Cath, yes Judy is doing very well though we do still have a long way to go. To think our old behaviourist thought we would be better to give her up as she couldn’t be trained in our environment…..thank goodness I ignored her and kept trying.

  2. Oh my….. You’ve got so much in there! I’m envious as our house move hasn’t happened yet and I’ve grown….zilch so far!! It’s great what you’ve achieved in a year, I look forward to your weekly blog well done!

  3. I’m very envious of your productive garden.I know how new it all is from the time you gave up your allotments so its come on very quickly .the slugs are still snaffling everything I sow sadly. I am trying not to use slug pellets because of the wildlife but its so frustrating.I have only a few skinny runner bean plants left on my wigwam so not anticipating a big crop. I have noticed some gooseberries are almost ready in my garden.I made gooseberry icecream last year with them.Lovely to hear about the interesting local historic places & gardens youre visiting.We went to Tyntesfield(National Trust) the other week which had an amazing garden.You’d have loved it !

    • Ooooh lovely, gooseberry icecream sounds lovely. I bet I would have loved it …i’ll go and check if they have a website to look at the photo’s on it.
      Have you tried placing a half cut plastic pop bottle over some of your plants until they get a bit bigger to protect them from slugs. I do this and it seems to help them. It’s not too late to plant more runner bean seeds either

  4. hi,
    wow…… your lettuce looks wonderful. with the rain cames the slugs and eat my iceberg salad.also my zucchini plant.my runner beans have i planted in window boxes,
    all your plants and flowers looking beautiful and healthy.
    have a nice week,

  5. I knew you and Judy would reach an understanding! A person who cares as much as you rarely gets defeated! She is an amazing dig, and now no one will scowl at her or call her ‘bad dog’ ! 😃😃
    I can hardly tell your garden wasn’t there a few months ago! The set up looks amazing, and comfortable. Like it’s meant to be there!
    I’ve been able to grow stuff straight from the raw ground before. Worst case cenario they don’t get as big as your other ones,
    Fantastic blog, beautiful photos! I’m so glad I got to read it 😄

  6. Brilliant work all around! I am just off to water my yard now, we have had a weird weather year. No rain in June which is usually super rainy. Gonna be 32 deg this weekend, I think I may melt!

  7. I am so very glad Judy enjoyed her walk, what a transformation. Your kitchen garden is amazing you have fitted so much into it. I have a question i have noticed that some of my beetroot is producing a flower spike, bolting, do i pick them now? i have never grown beetroot before so not sure what to do, thank you.

    • Hi Sue. Beetroot can be a big tempermental unfortunately and does bolt easily e.g. if it’s too hot / cold or if it’s too dry / wet. Unfortunately once the flower produces then usually the beetroot doesn’t usually get any bigger so it may as well be pulled up and used….but don’t forget you can still use any smaller leaves raw in salads.
      It’s not too late to sow more beetroot, however it may be best to sow a varity called ‘Bolthardy’ which has been bred so it doesn’t bolt so easily.

      Hope that helps?

  8. Gosh, your post took me back 45 years! My sister and family lived five minutes up the road from Bradgate Park, my two nieces went to the little school in the village. Our visits to Bradgate Park always included a walk to see Old John. How time flies – my elder niece will celebrate her 50th birthday next weekend!

  9. Well done Judy and you.

    We have popped out our spare tomatoes out on the plot – no doubt blight will hit them but nothing to lose is there?

    You’ve certainly got lots happening in your kitchen garden – you are making really good use of your available space

  10. I’m amazed how much you’ve managed to squeeze into your garden and how well it’s all doing, especially considering you stared it all from scratch! Here in Scotland things are growing really slowly and I suspect some things wont’t have enough time to ripen given we’ve had the coldest May and June for decades!

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