About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Advance(d) meal planning

We're having a family party here at Easter, and a couple of weeks ago I was idly thinking about what I might serve for lunch, French bread, quiche, salad... Ah - salad. It occurred to me that if I want salad leaves in early April, I'd probably need to do something about it like, erm, now.

I rummaged around in my seed bucket and found a packet of Oriental salad leaves (mixed) that I hadn't bothered to grow last year. Those would do nicely, and into a seed tray they went. I also sowed some spring onions and some tomatoes, though I'm under no illusions about the tomatoes being ready by April; it just happened to be a good time to sow them. In no time at all, so it seemed, I had a forest of little seedlings in the salad leaf tray. Perhaps sowing the seeds wasn't quite as urgent as I'd thought.

This afternoon I carefully disentangled one hundred (I counted) of the tiny, delicate seedlings and transplanted them into deeper trays. The seedlings are now on the windowsill, looking a bit disorientated. I'm hoping that once they've settled in, they'll be able to stay in their new trays until harvest time. I gave them a fairly rich compost mix, so they should be quite well fed, I hope*.

Seedlings on a windowsill

Transplanted salad seedlings are in trays on the right of the picture, those left behind in the seed tray are at the top left. The tall plants in the middle are chillies that didn't come to much last year, but didn't die either, so I brought them inside. They're now, improbably, forming tiny fruits. Between the chillies and the left-behind salad are tomatoes, just coming through, and the little smudges of green that look like camera shake are spring onions. Notice the cat-sized space left on the windowsill. Pebble has strong feelings about this windowsill - if there's any sunshine to be had (which is rare), this is the place to catch it - and she makes her feelings felt in the form of deep paw prints in seed trays, if they take up too much space.


* If anyone who actually knows what they're doing would care to correct me on this, please do. It doesn't really matter for my salad - I'm happy to learn from my mistakes - but other people might read this and get the impression I know what I'm talking about.


  1. Wow... Pebbles must be very well behaved to leave those seedlings alone! My cats pull them all up by the roots if given a chance. I finally bought a clear plastic bin and use it upside down as a little window sill greenhouse. It's strong enough so they can sit on top and with the clip-on lid as a tray, they can't get in to destroy anything (which they always did with my cheesy homemade attempts.)

  2. In that case I guess she is very well behaved. She's quite calculating in her destruction, and generally only does it to get what she wants. Luckily, things she wants on the floor tend to be paperclips and pen lids, not seedlings. She does have us very well trained ;-)


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