Smy Indoor Garden - Week One 11/02/11

Plants and herbs do not seem to do well inside my flat but there's an unheated area outside our door which catches a lot of sun. I used to keep herbs out there on some wooden shelves and they did really well. I had lent the shelves to neighbours who moved out last week. As soon as I saw the shelves I decided to start a new little project. I knew that I would refill them with herbs but then I thought, why stop there? Ages ago my dear friend Sophie bought me a fantastic book,

Window-box Allotment by Penelope Bennett

, thanks Soph! It's a beginner's guide to container gardening that is full of all sorts of information outlined in what you could be doing month-by-month. I have dipped in and out of the book over the years but thought as I was picking it up again in January I could, should and would follow it throughout 2011.

Most of my family seem to be blessed with different skills, abilities and knowledge of plants, flowers, fruit and veg. My boyfriend thinks that this has skipped me entirely and charmingly has nicknamed me the Harold Shipman of plants. I reject this distasteful moniker and blame the lack of light and balmy nature of our lovely flat. Also, in the past we have both tried to look after the plants and they've end up getting over-watered. But 2011 is about me reclaiming my green fingers - I vow to look after all our existing plants inside the flat, to expand our plant kingdom to outside the flat and cultivate plants that we can bring back inside and eat.

I decided that I would try to sow some seeds and get some container veg going - tomatoes, rocket, etc. I try to get to Columbia Road Flower Market most Sundays for flowers but last Sunday I went specifically for Smy indoor garden. I always buy herbs from

Mick and Sylvia Grover

as they grow all their own herbs, give you great tips and are so lovely. I had a really nice chat with Mick and I was telling him how much I've learned about the market from the The Gentle Author and his amazing site,

Spitalfield's Life

. I asked Mick if anyone on the market sold seeds and he said in his forty years at the market he didn't think anyone had ever traded seeds. I also bought a lovely rhubarb plant and a blueberry bush that are both doing really well.

I found some seeds and supplies and got stuck in. Here is what I have sown thus far:

The first night after sowing the seeds I dreamt that they were unfurling and growing right in front of my eyes,

a la BBC time lapse (this one is great!)

. The next morning there was a wee bit of movement but I will try to post about their progression as a way of keeping a little log for myself. Here are the shelves that my other herbs, fruit and veg are kept on and where I will keep my containers once my seeds have sprouted:

I am really lucky to have my Mum and aunties, as well as the book, to refer to throughout this experiment. Watch this space and hopefully there will be a rhubarb crop with which to make rhubarb crumble!

and remember...

it's not your chutney (or indoor garden)

it's Smy Chutney (or indoor garden).

Bank Holiday Weekend in Orford

Smy Chutney went home to Orford, Suffolk this past bank holiday weekend. It was the Orford Flower Show which is not to be missed! Auntie Chrissie has a stand at the Flower Show and she along with other allotment holders and members of the community generously donates the fruit and veg she grows on her allotment to charity. Smy Chutney donate jars of chutney and this year they raised almost £600 for charity! Auntie Chrissie always send us home with mountains of produce for Smy Chutney for which we are SO grateful and nothing really compares to time spent with family in the country.

These are some of the ella bellas, damsons and greengages that we picked for the stand:

Here is a big, beautiful country is really heartbreaking to think that bumblebees are struggling all over the world and falling in numbers, they are such hard-working creatures and so crucial to nature and the food chain!

and's not your chutney
it's Smy Chutney.