Welcome to Scarecrow Cottage where we try to live life as simply and self-reliantly as possible. Let me begin by admitting that I don’t know anything about proper gardening – I’ve no idea about the Latin names for plants and I’m not even remotely interested in flowers that need to be fussed over. What I do know about is old-fashioned cottage gardening, which is basically growing plants in tune with nature and the seasons. I think Scarecrow Cottage must be doing something right because we’ve hosted visits from local schools, opened for the National Garden Scheme (Gardens Open for Charity) between 2014 – 2018, and welcomed a group of garden enthusiasts from Austria, who sandwiched a visit to us between Highgrove House and The National Botanic Gardens of Wales. I post about simple living on Instagram using @scarecrowcottagewales. My Twitter feed – @marialalic – is generally on a wider range of subjects but occasionally about what’s happening in the garden.
Scarecrow Cottage Garden (27th March)
If you’re new to vegetable gardening, it might be useful to track what someone else is doing but bear in mind that everyone’s plot is different. My advice is to start small and manageable, then only grow vegetables that you like eating! Scarecrow Cottage has a big garden so we grow almost all of the fruit and vegetables that we need but there are some I don’t bother with (radish because I don’t like them) and others I always make room for (pumpkins because they look nice in autumn). What we don’t use in season, we preserve by storing, freezing, bottling or by making jams and chutneys. At the moment, I’m digging the vegetable beds over even though I won’t be planting for a few weeks. This is because we’ve had a lot of heavy rain recently and the ground (we have clay soil) is what’s called ‘claggy’. Turning the earth over means that the sun and wind will help break the big lumps down and in a couple of weeks I’ll be able to rake it. We have four vegetable beds and this morning, I dug up quite a lot of rogue potatoes, swede and carrots that have been sitting in the ground over the winter.
Scarecrow Cottage Kitchen
Random Harvest Soup
Ingredients: 1 onion, any vegetables (chopped to roughly the same size), 1 stock cube, a tablespoon of oil (if available)
Chop the onion and fry gently in the oil. If you haven’t any oil, cook the chopped onion in a small amount of water. When the onion is soft, add the chopped vegetables, stock cube and enough water to cover well. Give a good stir. If you’ve got a slow cooker put the soup in there and leave for about 4 hours on a low setting. If you haven’t got a slow cooker, think about getting one but in the meantime, put the soup in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and turn down to simmer for about an hour. Taste and adjust seasoning. Depending on whether you like soup lumpy or smooth, you might choose to liquidise or blend before serving.