Category Archives: Gardening

Building a Vegetable Box

I have always wanted to have a vegetable patch to grow my own organic vegetables! Here is the process of building the vegetable box, planting some small plants and seeds and the joy of watching them grow in the glorious sunshine we have been having lately!

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The box is built. Now we filled it with some rich fertiliser on the bottom layer and some top soil for the top layer.

We added a ring of copper plating around the upper inside of the box which the slugs can’t grip to to prevent the slugs from getting in and eating the leaves. No need for artificial pesticides!

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I planted the sweet potato plant I had been growing on the kitchen window sill from half a sweet potato in the top left hand corner of the box, and the small mung bean plants in the bottom right hand corner, grown from some old mung beans that I had in the cupboard and just scattered over a planter tray containing nutrient rich soil! I also planted a row of some old carrot seeds I found in the drawer in the back right and some chive bulbs planted in front of the sweet potato plant that were left from last year.

Also I planted a couple of medjool date seeds, hemp seeds and broccoli seeds! Will be interesting to see if they sprout!

We also put a scaredy cat plant next to box which gives off a smell that repels cat when they touch it, so the numerous cats in our neighbourhood wouldn’t use it as a litter box!


The plants are getting very big! The sweet potato plant with the heart-shaped leaves has grown so tall and is winding around the bamboo sticks like ivy! Nearby are the chive plants. As you see we added a curly-leaved parsley plant which is doing really well in the sunshine, and tastes delicious. The mung bean plants have overtaken the vegetable box! You can just see the row of carrot leaves in the back row which are growing very quickly in the glorious sunshine!

I can’t wait to be able to pick my own sweet potatoes to bake for lunch! And I’m already using the parsley in my Quinoa & Lentil Burgers and will eventually use the carrots to make Carrot & Coriander Soup when they get big enough in the autumn!

It’s so convenient just to pop out into the garden to get your herbs and vegetables.

Rosemary Beetle on Lavender Plant


This pretty, metallic beetle with red and green stripes is now a widespread pest in England, having originally invaded from South America. It plants its’ eggs on lavender or rosemary plants which eventually hatch into larvae that look like little grey slugs with dark stripes and eat the plant.

To save the plant, pick off the adult beetles by hand and cut off the parts of the plant that have eggs laid on them. Unfortunately we had to bin the invaded lavender plants as the eggs had hatched and the larvae were eating the plant and had caused damage.

The Royal Horticultural Society is currently monitoring the levels of these pests in the UK. You can report your sighting here:

Black Spots on Basil Plant Leaves


I recently popped into the garden for some fresh air, glanced at the herb plants on the window ledge and noticed that some of the leaves on the basil plant had black spots on them! Oh no my plant is ill!

The black spots are most likely caused by one of many fungal infections, collectively known as blight. Damp conditions caused by the recent bouts of rain can encourage the fungi to grow. Lack of nitrogen in the soil is also a common cause of blight. Good nutrition is important for plants as well as people!

The plan is to repot the basil plant tomorrow in fresh, nitrogen-rich compost. The infected leaves can be cut off and the plant watered at the base to prevent the leaves from getting damp. A good natural fungicide is mixing baking soda in water and spraying it on the plant.

Hopefully the basil plant will make a full recovery! Basil gives a wonderful flavour to tomato soup.