#NABLOPOMO: Browncoat braves comic con


I’ve never been to a comic con, I’ve never wandered around the city of Birmingham in a costume. I did yesterday. I did, and I was brown coat. I like the Whedon-verse, Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Serenity have been watched over and over for years. There are lines from the shows that I know backwards. The highs, the lows, the tears and the tantrums, are an anthem to my youth.

A very dear friend of mine saw that Comic Con was coming to town, and asked if I fancied joining her. Yeah, sure, I would love to, I said. There was kicker, though. We’d be in Cosplay. There would be costumes. My friend went as the female version of The Pied Piper, so there were high standards.

I would be dressing up. What would be simpler than being a brown coat. Thank fully, I wasn’t the only cosplayer, there were quite a few there. I wasn’t the only brown coat either, I am sure there were a couple of them floating around.

A bollywood brown coat. You couldn’t make it up.

#NABLOPOMO: Thinking about next year on the plot

I really should think about what to sow and grow next year. Reflect on the squashes, chillies and other vegetables that might find themselves being played with on the plot.

We are getting closer to the festive period-the first of December marks the start of Advent, so I will wait til then to feel festive-and that means sowing chillies days after the turkey has been eaten and left overs dealt with. The first thing that I want to sow and grow, I do need to think about what varieties of chillies I would like to have. From cayennes, to habaneros and super hots, there are a number in the seed box.

In the coming weeks, I shall rifle through the seed box and see what the state play is.

#NABLOPOMO: Petal Power



I awoke this morning to read that Petal had landed in California. California is thousands of miles away from Birmingham, England so you can imagine the feeling.

She is also on her way to Massachusetts, with copies of the book.

Petal has found herself to now exist in a number of guises. She is now also occupied with Thompson and Morgan’s illustrious plant hunter Michael Perry. She’s in good hands there, there’s not a lot that one of the UK’s top 20 Horticulturalists doesn’t know about gardening.

Not only is Petal national, she has now gone international too. I think she is yet to land in Wales though, or make her way to Eire. There may have to be a map of Petal’s progress at some point.

There is one more item to be revealed and added to the range, but more on that in the future.

(For all questions about the  goodies, get in touch with horticultural ‘obbit via FB and twitter)

#NABLOPOMO: Three years down the line



WordPress has just informed me that the blog has been running now for three years. I feel that is a really nice milestone, the blog is now officially a toddler.

Growing has been going on a little longer. However three years ago, I decided to make a more formal. more public record of what I had experienced and what I had learned. Initially, I started to record, but this developed to become more about sharing and allowing readers to get a deeper awareness of what was happening on the plot.

I am fortunate, in that I have a lot of help with the plot. From the gallery you will see that both my parents do have an involvement in one way or another.  Mum does all the digging, and then also helps with the preserving experiments. Dad is the engineering and structural advice, as well as the leaf mold gatherer who lugs along compost as well.


There has been a great deal of progress. Both with the cultivation on the plot, and also beyond in developing a brand and writing a book. The book, builds on the experiences that are documented on the blog and also contains Mum’s recipes. You can rest assured, that she sat next to me and dictated them all whilst I listened and typed.

When I first took on the allotment, I had no idea how much I would learn, and what the journey ahead of me would be. Since then, so much has happened, it is still very difficult to fully understand it all. I still enjoy the plot, and feel very passionate about. Having an allotment is not necessarily a conventional hobby, and there are still many people with a view that I should perhaps occupy my time with something more interesting and socially defined as being acceptable.

I have no plans to leave it, so I guess that I should really carry on….

#NABLOPOMO: An apology!

A profuse one. This time last year, writing for NABLOPOMO was a really good experience. I did my best to post daily, trying to find something new for people to read. This year is more challenging. It has become more difficult to write and then post blogs that will be interesting, engaging and allow the reader to take away something away from them.

That does not mean that I am giving up, not at all. I am just going to try alternative strategies to keep going. Hopefully, I shall come up with something to make up for the lost days.

Sorry for missing a few days, but normal service will be resumed shortly.

#NABLOPOMO: The Chillies…no, not the band


Even then, the chillies in question are purple.

This year, for the first time, I had a purple chilli in the poly tunnel. Along wit the Dorset naga, these were bought from Seas Spring Seeds at the Edible Garden show in March. We have come along way since then, and the two plants are still in the poly tunnel.

I have had a purple chilli before, albeit a rainbow chilli. The fruit changed from purple to an assortment of bright, vibrant colours. This particular plant had fruit that started off purple and then ripened to a lovely shade of red that we normally associate with a cayenne. It was a productive plant, and there were a number of fruit produced. I do like to sow and grow chillies, they have always been a presence in my growing adventures.

Next years chillies adventures are likely to start days after the Christmas celebrations occur, so I will be looking into my seedbox to choose what will sown.

#NABLOPOMO: That Patch of Earth

That patch of earth has seen a number of changes over the years. From being entirely covered in weeds, to having dips and depressions that needed to be filled, the topography of the plot has changed a great deal.

All of that has been a process. Nothing has happened instantly or over night. The process is actually on going, and will always be; there is always something to be done on the plot.

It is not always easy to go there, and spend lots of time there. Real life, as it were, does take priority. However, spending even half an hour walking around is incredibly valuable. There have been days where I have been doing planning, marking; and simply walking up and down through the roses bushes has helped to alleviate stress and tension. This makes me a great believer in gardening being valuable and a tool for mindfulness.


#NABLOPOMO: Zombie tomato pull up time

cream sausage tomatos
cream sausage tomatos

This was one of the many different varieties that was growing this year in the poly tunnel. The tomatoes this year had under performed. They just didn’t do what they were supposed to. As the weather has changed, and the season has given way from summer to autumn; the time has come tidy up the poly tunnel.

I term them has being zombie tomatoes. Only as they were no longer green, leafy or pretty looking. Mottled, moody looking, the foliage was dying a death. The tomatoes had finally given up the ghost. I spent a brief time today taking the plants up and popping them into a raised bed to rot down. There is genuine sadness for the tomatoes, they really didn’t do well this year. There are a number of things that I will need to think about before I sow them next year.

Tatty bye tomatoes, see you next year.

#NABLOPOMO: Beyond the book, Brand Petal

Not only can you get the book-available on Amazon as a paper and ebook-you can also get the book swag too. There is the canvas bags and tea towels for now. For the bags and tea towels, you just have to message via facebook, twitter and instagram. (And I will get back to you, about the logistics)

Last I checked, petal was on two continents. So it would be interesting to see how far she can go. I might joke about world domination, but at least that’s something to aim for. I never ever expected her to travel across the pond, but she did!

There are a few other things that are actually in the pipeline. I will update with those as soon as possible. You might, for example, want to have a cuppa with petal or haver cooking with you in the kitchen. Watch this space!

Brand petal is not a new idea, petal has been the avatar for the blog, the FB page and the preserves for over eighteen months. The blog, has after all been going now for a few years. It is only recently, that she has unfurled her wings and started to take off on a commercial level.

Petal’s potted preserve is an emerging small British Business, so all successes, no matter how small, are victories to be celebrated. Hopefully, we have lots of folks who can share in them.