Going potty

That first time at The Bistro Chez Snail

The past year has seen many changes in our approach to life. In particular, our relationship with ‘home’ has evolved as we have been forced to spend so much time here. I don’t think this has been a bad thing, and there are certainly new habits that are really positive. For example, early on in the first lockdown in 2020 we were feeling glum about not being able to eat out, so I created “The Bistro Chez Snail” in the limery, and immediately we realised how lovely it was to play at going out and to make use of our growing space as our eating space. There have followed, for more than a year now, many excursions to our fantasy eateries, and even when we are not pretending to go out, we continue to eat in the limery almost every night. It was never really the plan to do anything much but grow plants in the limery, but I’m very happy that we have found that it’s good for nurturing us as well.

All this time at home, however, has raised the issue that our garden was very full of growing things and there was hardly any space for people. This hasn’t been a problem whilst it was just me and Mr Snail – we had a lovely corner to occupy where our two deckchairs and a small table would fit. However, as it’s been increasingly clear that welcoming visitors to our home is safest outdoors, we came to the conclusion that we need to make more space for this. I outlined my ideas for some changes to Mr Snail and he launched himself enthusiastically into the project(which he’ll be blogging about very soon). However, making space for people means less space for crops, so I’ve decided to move over to growing more things in pots. On a recent visit to Sue (Going Batty in Wales) I was impressed by potatoes that she has growing in large plastic pots. Mr Snail measured them and worked out that they have a volume of 50 litres, so once we were back home I sought some out online. I could have got very cheap ones, but I was determined to buy some made of recycled plastic (if I am using plastic, which is essential for such large pots if the are to be moved about, I’m certainly going to make sure it’s made from existing stuff). So, the pots were found, an order placed and a few days later, I had more mobile growing space. Combined with some 30 litre pots that I bought a few years ago and lots of other containers collected over the decades, we’ve now got various options. Currently, many of the new large pots are planted with potatoes and these are out on the tarmac at the front/end of the house in a space that is otherwise pretty useless and where I’ve done some container growing before. We had to dig up the horseradish during our garden remodelling, so that’s in a 30 litre pot, as is the oregano, which also had to be moved.

The combination of the garden remodelling and the very cold weather this spring mean that lots of crops are still indoors, but hopefully the weather will be kinder from now on (an incredible hail storm two days ago notwithstanding) and I can plant some things out and sow some seeds outdoors without fear of them being killed. I’m toying with the idea of buying a large wooden trough on legs for growing herbs in, and I’m sure I’ll have other ideas about suitable containers, so watch this space.

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24 Comments

  1. Excellent solution! Your plants look great. And what a charming for a meal, whether for the two of you or for entertaining guests. Finally, I am green with envy that you got to meet up with Sue. Wish there were a portal I could whisk myself through for a socially distanced visit outdoors.

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    • Sue and I try to see each other every few weeks, but it has been difficult at times over the past year, so I’m hoping that the new outdoor space will help. I have to say that meeting Sue has been a particularly lovely outcome of writing this blog – we probably would never have met otherwise, despite living so close. If you ever manage to get over to Wales, we will all meet up and have a party.

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  2. Going Batty in Wales

     /  May 13, 2021

    I am so glad you were able to get some pots like mine – I have had them for donkey’s years and use them a lot. I shall come and inspect the outdoor entertaining space soon.

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  3. We have spuds in tubs too. Some by design, that REALY need more compost adding and putting outside, and some because there were more seed potatoes than bed to put them in. 🙂

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  4. Watching that space alright! 🙂

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  5. An excellent use of otherwise useless outdoor space. I can’t use anything like that because a) black plastic pots ‘cook’ their contents here and b) the plastic would deteriorate very quickly in the sun and would last perhaps a season before it started to become brittle and crack. I’d probably have to make wooden troughs to put the pots into, to keep them cool and shaded. At which point, I suppose, I’d be better off making raised beds! I hope things warm up soon and that you will see signs of life out there.

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  6. Excellent pots for potatoes and a lovely ‘couple nurturing’ space in the limery. It’d be a bit of a squeeze in the greenhouse for us.
    We are lucky in that, whatever weird things the previous owner did with the garden, she did at least divide it into vegetable growing space over by the garage and ‘pretty’ i.e. flower beds and seating areas near the house.`
    What is it with this weather? Hottest day in March for umpteen years, coldest, dryest April in years, 60mph winds. The denizens of our new village assure us this is all really unusual so let’s hope they’re right.

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    • We had a huge hail storm, complete with thunder, a couple of days ago. The hailstones were the size of raspberries. I am really, really hoping that things settle down a bit now and I can actually plant some beans and peas out doors and maybe even get my courgette and citrus plants outside without fearing for their lives.

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  7. MrG keeps all his spent tomato compost each year for topdressing his spuds – he plants them in a trench, piles up his left over compost round the edges, and then rakes it over as required. Seems to work well, but there’s never enough compost, no matter how many bins we have and how much we make! This looks a very cunning and effective method of growing. those post look fabulous..

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    • I’m pleased with them – they are heavy when filled, but the handles mean they can be moved about by two people. I will need to keep the compost for use a second year in them, I think.

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  8. Pots! dammit, bloody fat fingers. Wish there was an edit for comments!

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  9. Chez Snail is a delight! I really like this idea.

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    • Thank you… Chez Snail is currently fed up with the rain… ho hum

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      • Oh, how I wish we could take some of that rain off your hands. You know how they have carbon offsets; I wish they could sort out rain offsets so those of us that got a measley five inches this season (typical is 15 inches), could use some of the excess. Sigh.

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