A Summer Harvest & A Cheap Makeover

It’s nice to be back blogging after two weeks of decorating.  Unfortunately I started painting on the hottest week of the summer and I have got to say I struggled with the heat.   I wasn’t the only one to struggle with the heat, poor Judy didn’t know what to do with herself and most of the time she sat in front of a fan we constantly had on:


Though we have had some cloudy days since, the ground was still dry and the rain we had on Tuesday this week was very welcome….though not enough to fill my water butts.


In my garden over the last two weeks:


I finished picking the last broad beans in my garden and the last peas and mangetout (though I let the mangetout grow a little bit too big, but I won’t waste them)…..

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….And I froze most of them to use another time:

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I chopped the old broad beans down to ground level, leaving the roots in the ground to rot down.  The nodules on the roots will provide the ground with extra nitrogen as they rot, which will benefit future crops:

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I then added some blood, fish and bone and gave the area a really, really good water and then added some home made compost to the area:

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Incidentally, I now make the compost in galvanised dustbins as I am very conscious that the compost I used to make at the allotment always seemed to attract rats (even though I was very very careful what I put onto the heap).  The galvanised dustbins don’t have any holes in the base and yet they still make wonderful compost as you can see below:


I then sowed some more french bean seeds as I use a lot of these during the year and they are great to freeze.  I decided to put the seeds under bottles in the hope that they germinate pretty quickly as I am really a bit late sowing them – however, if we have a good Autumn with late frosts then I should get a good harvest.  The bottles will also give them some slug protection too.



The french beans I sowed earlier in the year are giving me a harvest now and I am picking them often:

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And my runner bean harvest is just beginning:



 I absolutely love this time of year when the flowers I have grown from seed are all in bloom….

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…..and my vegetable plants that I have also grown from seed are producing lovely fruits and vegetables daily e.g. my greenhouse cucumbers, greenhouse tomatoes, oudoor cherry tomatoes, courgettes and patty pans:

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I have also picked a few raspberries this week too:


And the chives that I cut back after they flowered have once again grown and we are now picking them yet again for salads, together with nasturtium leaves and the pretty petals on the calendula flowers:

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“When I am in the garden amongst the fruit and vegetables that I am growing, I feel very privaledged to share this area with the wildlife that visit our small backgarden. 

Each day there is something new for me to see and I still feel excited when I spot something that will soon be ready to harvest……Nothing else gives me as much satifaction than growing and cooking with home grown produce”


….This week I noticed that my blueberries are nearly ready and I also spotted some outdoor cucumbers growing:

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Extra jobs this week in the garden:


I have continued dead heading every few days around the garden so the plants produce more flowers.

I have also removed some of the lower leaves on my tomato plants this week, so the tomatoes can now ripen better in the sun:


And I also ‘summer’ pruned my apple and pear cordons. My trees are quite young so I’m not expecting any fruit for a while:

  Summer pruning of apple and pear cordons / fans and espallier trees,  restricts growth, whilst winter pruning encourages growth”

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A problem with my Busy Lizzies…


I’m not sure if you remember, at the beginning of June I planted some Busy Lizzies around my bay tree.  To begin with they flowered well but the last few weeks I have noticed the leaves all began to fall off  the plants:


After doing some research it seems they have suffered with an airbourne fungus that you can read about here.  So I destroyed all the plants and nipped to my local nursery and found they were selling off trays of twenty four bedding begonias for just £3….a fantastic bargain!

So I planted these around my bay tree and even had spares to dot around the garden too…..so I was very pleased:

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Over the last two weeks at home:


About a month ago at a car boot sale I spotted some curtains with nice material to use around the house, so I brought them for £2.  It wasn’t until I got home that I discovered they were Marks and Spencer, fully lined and ‘weighted’ curtains (dated 1995) with a pelmet included and they were in excellent condition…. they weren’t even faded……they must have been really expensive when they were first purchased!

I quickly measured the curtains and found they would fit perfectly in our bedroom around our bay.  The curtains we already had were very cheap and they had been in the bedroom for fifteen years already and didn’t really fit properly.

So this is when we decided the bedroom needed a new lick of paint…..which I did on the hottest week of the year so far this summer!

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I attached a new curtain rail in front of the exisiting rail to hang the pelment up too.  But I then found the pelmet was too long so I set about altering it:


With the bits of spare material, I made a matching pair of tiebacks…..and I am really proud of how it all looked in the end (it may not be everybodies cup of tea, but we like them):

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Our furniture in the bedroom is really old and nothing matches, but we will have to wait and save up for new furniture another day.  However we decided to make the best of what we do have:

I store al ot in our bedroom e.g. birthday and christmas presents, toilet rolls, photo,s etc. and so up until now we have used ugly plastic boxes and our daughters old toy box…..so I set to work to glam them up:

First I painted the toy box white and used an old wall paper off -cut to paste around the sides:

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And then I again used wall paper off-cuts to line the inside of the plastic boxes so the contents can’t be seen:

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And I was really pleased with the results.

The bedroom isn’t quite complete, but I’ll tell you about it next week.


Finally (while my paints were still out),  I painted an old bedside table to finish off my daughter’s bedroom that I decorated last October.  I sanded it down and gave it three coats of paint and painted the ‘knobs’ black (using a tester pot) to match the furniture we brought for her last year for birthday/christmas.

Mr Thrift laughed at me as I used potatoes to paint the knobs so they were easy to handle and could dry without touching anything:


I was very pleased with the result (the photo on the right is the chest of draws we brought last year and the photo on the left is the newly painted bedside cabinet):

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I must say, her bedroom looks like a showhouse bedroom now and I can’t quite believe I managed to do it so cheaply by decorating it myself, making the curtains and cushions and now by ‘up-cycling’ the bedside cabinet!….I’m very pleased and she loves it:


Thank you for reading my blog today.  I will be back next Friday as usual.

Have a great week!


32 thoughts on “A Summer Harvest & A Cheap Makeover

  1. Curtains look lovely and so does all the painted furniture. I paint anything that sits still long enough and then sand in places where it naturally wears. I love the effect and as the kiddies grew up it never mattered if they knocked or chipped anything, it just added to the patina! Your harvest is wonderful, you must be so pleased with how your garden has turned out, glad you’re back!x

    • Thank you Helsbels, I am pleased with it so far- I just wish it was bigger and I could grow more.

      That is a great idea to paint furniture and then sand it down with young children in the house …I wish i had thought of that when mine were growing up.

  2. Your garden’s producing loads. Our toms are still tiny and green – come on sun! I love those curtains. In our dining room we have some curtains from M&S that are at least 25 years old! . A floral pattern and nice cotton. Every time we re-decorate I threaten to replace them but there’s nothing wrong with them even after all these years. I also love the lined boxes idea – who’d have thought of that!!

  3. The bedroom curtain are so very pretty, you have such a brilliant bargain. I think we are all busy harvesting and storing now, the seasons do seem to be turning, our swifts left this week, only seems a short while since they came. Have a great week.

    • Yes some things are good and some things are bad this year in the garden….I was dissappointed with my french bean harvest but I have loads of outdoor cucumbers growing (which didn’t do well last year)….I suppose we can’t have it all lol


  4. I like the idea of lining plastic boxes so you can’t see the content, too.

    What are the yellow flowers in your vegetable garden shot with the path in the middle. Your garden looks so lush – I guess you have good soil?

    • Hi Helen, when I first dug the garden I dug in lots of soil conditioner and compost and at the beginning of the year I dug in a few bags of manure in my potatoe beds and brassica beds and I will continue to do this each year to improve the soil. I am hoping my crops will improve each year now.

      The yellow flowers along the path are ‘tegetes’…they are easy to grow (though you have to watch them with the slugs until they are established) and they attract beneficial insects. They also deter whitefly so they are good next to tomatoes too. XXX

  5. PS I’ve today put up a pair of curtains in the dining room I found at a charity shop. They are absolutely perfect for that window, so we’re over-the-moon.

  6. Nice to have you back though I have to say I am very jealous you are doing better with your produce than I am I haven’t had one courgette yet!! And my broad beans were attacked by the birds so waste of time ! And my peas were virtually non existent !! I have other things but I think the jobs for this winter involve making some kind of cage to cover everything from the birds x

    • The birds had all my pea shoots one year but I have never known birds to eat broadbeans-how awful for you. My courgette plants have now succumbed to mildew so I don’t think I will have many more now . It’s funny how some things are good one year and bad the next isn’t it

  7. You are so talented and knowledgable. everything looks amazing. The furniture is giving my much needed motivation for our front room. The harvests are fabulous and next year I must look at companion plants if nothing else. Lovely to have u back and I hope u enjoyed ur 2 weeks off x

    • Thanks Tracy…I’m not sure if i’m talented lol, but I do just have a go and see what happens. My dad was a painter and decorator so I used to watch him as a child when he was decorating so I must have learnt something…but I learnt the most by reading books and now watching you tube if I get stuck-but none of it is perfect if you look close lol

  8. Love the curtains, what a find. What paint did you use on the furniture was it that chalk paint I keep seeing everywhere? Was it easy to do?

    • Lol no….I sanded it down well and used left over white paint and a £1 tester pot for the black handles. I was thinking of giving it a coat of varnish too but decided against it as my daughter will hardly be using it so hopefully it won’t have any knocks or bangs

  9. hello,
    you harvested a many from your garden. this year i have not a only zucchini.and my tomatoes begin to ripen very slowly this year. our summer was wet with a few sunny days.
    love the curtains,really a good find. your daughters room looks beautiful.
    have a nice day,
    hugs regina

  10. Woderful as usual. I particularly like the way you re-use things and keep old stuff until you can afford something else. Too many people “must have” stuff they can’t afford and miss out on the simple pleasure of creating their own environment. Your garden is truly amazing. I first found your blog when I was reseaching polytunnels. I have had one since April this year. I was disappointed to read that you had already given yours up.but so enjoyed reading everything you wrote. You are a woman after my own heart, and my mother’s and my grandmother’s (both deceased). I think you could publish a very useful book.
    Very best wishes,

    • Thank you Annette….unfortunately I had to give my plots up due to family problems and a reactive rescue dog, I still so miss them but I try and make the best of what I have- maybe one day things at home will get better lol

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