Busy Bees

It’s been a busy week at Agents of Field HQ. The house has been full of builders (we’re not onto the new kitchen just yet, but hopefully it’s not too long before we can get started on that!), our new garden shed arrived, Ade’s been dashing back and forth to London at the crack of dawn to guest present on the QVC channel, we’ve just started featuring on BBC Radio Suffolk who will be following us over the coming year to see how our attempt at living ‘The Good Life’ progresses, and (drumroll, please) we did our first ever live event.

Hence the silence last weekend. Apologies for not blogging, but things have reached new and unexpected levels of chaos in our household.

Look, there’s even a cement mixer in our living room.

Anyway, we were delighted to be asked by Ellen Mary to talk to her No Fear Gardening group at the fabulous Gin Temple in Norwich on Wednesday about our grow-your-own journey.

Despite being thwarted by technical failures which rendered our presentation completely unplayable (hence our panicked faces above), we somehow managed to talk for an hour and met all sorts of wonderful green-fingered and homegrown-foodie-loving folk, as well as sampling some of Norfolk’s finest gin. Yes, Norfolk, it transpires, is a hub of artisan gin-making activity. Who knew?

Back home, the kitchen garden has really started to take shape. The greenhouse is up, as you know, but the arrival of the shed this week has made a big difference. I was quite surprised when Ade said he’d chosen a black shed as I thought it would look a little sombre at the bottom of the garden, but with it’s white trim, cedar tiles and Georgian windows, it’s one of the prettiest sheds I’ve seen in my life. It’s a bit like a doll’s house really – not sure that was quite the look he was going for!

Anyway, I’m sure Ade will give you a full update next week. But in the meantime, you can hear us talking to Luke Deal on BBC Suffolk’s Saturday Breakfast Show on 2nd March about our garden plans right here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p070v806

and on yesterday’s show here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p072008r

We’re on from about 02:07 in both shows, and they should be available online for the next month or so, if you fancy hearing what we’re up to. Luke will return to our garden in a couple of months to see how we’re getting on. Hopefully, we might actually have some veggies growing in our raised beds by then!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And Sow It Begins…

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful festive break and that 2019 promises to be a productive year for us all.

It’s been a surreal few weeks here at Agents of Field. The upheaval of relocating to the country and then the sudden, heart-breaking loss of Ade’s Dad just before Christmas has been disorienting to say the least. We’ve spent much of the last month shuttling back and forth between Suffolk and Bristol, Ade’s home city, which is an eight-hour round trip. We were apart over Christmas, Ade was with his family and I was with mine, so our time together in our new home has been limited. Everything is still in boxes and is likely to remain so for a while as the house needs a lot of work.

Our kitchen, outdated but more or less functional when we arrived here, is now in tatters, and its’s about to get a whole lot worse. Part of the mess is because we’ve moved the boiler, and replaced it with a more efficient combi-boiler, so cupboards and water tanks have been ripped out leaving gaping holes in the middle of the kitchen. But then there was also a near-fire which happened after a leaking kitchen tap (which we knew about) had been steadily dripping onto an electrical socket (which we didn’t know about) hidden behind one of the kitchen units. The water softener was connected to it and the plug had been quietly smouldering away for the entire time we’d been in Bristol just before Christmas. I came back here for a few days by myself, got up one morning and was greeted by smoke as I walked into the kitchen…. and this was, I’m not kidding you, about half an hour after I’d discovered the ground floor bathroom underwater. Yes. What an eventful morning that was!

But we’ve made a start on things at least. Aside from the new boiler, we’ve had the electrics fixed, we’ve knocked down one wall, built another, and had some new windows put in. And there have been some changes to the garden as well, but I’ll let Ade tell you about those when he’s back next week. We also managed to squeeze in a fun and festive radio interview with the lovely Ellen Mary on her Future Radio gardening show which you can listen to here. It was pre-recorded at the start of December, before everything went nuts, hence our chirpiness!

But now it’s January. With no new homegrown produce to cook with, and a kitchen I’m trying to avoid like the plague, I’m nudging my way into Ade’s territory as I rediscover my own green-fingers. I came across a couple of micro-green growing kits which we’d picked up as freebies at the GMG Awards last year, and decided to put them to use. I love growing micro greens – they’re quick, easy and it feels a little bit deviant to be eating your own homegrown salad in January in England! 

A five-minute job at most, Johnsons have simplified the task of growing micro-greens even further, by providing a kit which includes two growing trays which sit on a water tray, negating the need for any compost. You literally sprinkle the enclosed seeds onto a moistened paper towel placed in the growing trays, and that’s it. The perfect solution for anyone wanting to have a go at growing their own food, but who doesn’t have the time, the space or, as was the case with me this morning, who’s just feeling a little bit lazy!

Admittedly, I’ve never sown basil or coriander in January before, I usually grow pea shoots at this time of year and although the kit says the seeds can be sown at any time, I’m not holding my breath. I’ve never had much luck growing coriander even in summer. But I’ve popped the tray on a warm window sill and have given the seeds an encouraging pep talk, so we’ll see.

The first seeds of 2019 have been sown – let the games begin!