Sunflowers in the back garden

It’s been quite a productive summer in the back yard. Despite being a typical concreted suburban Manchester yard we have tried to grow a few things in pots with some success and failure. 1 word – slugs! But more on that later.

Sunflowers in the back garden

We have managed to grow some stringy and french beans, tomatoes, courgettes and lots of different types of herbs and salads (Parsley, Rocket, Basil, Comfrey, Mixed Oriental Salad Leaves and Radishes)


Then there were nasturtiums, marigolds, geraniums, sunflowers. All of which made everything look a bit brighter and it was great to have dinner and a glass of wine outside on a warm summer’s evening.



The courgettes were a bit of a failure, loads of effort for a few puny courgettes – I think that shows you really need a good amount of soil as they take a lot of energy to grow. Oh and of course the super impressive sweetcorn! They were cool to watch grow unfortunately they do need lots of other sweetcorn with which to pollinate.

We also had a real problem earlier in the summer with slugs (didn’t everyone?). Every night I would be out there with my torch dispatching them carefully into the wheelie bin for transportation to slug heaven at the tip. Alternatively the times when I discovered one of them 80% through the stem of a courgette or bean plant they would find themselves being hurled 20 metres to hit the wall opposite – not very “vegetarian” I suppose.

It’s late September and the tomatoes are ripening slowly, hopefully that will happen before the frosts come or they’ll be used to make green tomato chutney.


We’re also starting to think about winter things, maybe putting some garlic gloves in pots and some indoor herbs.

Fungi Foray & Coconut Shy

On Saturday we went on a fungi foray organised by the Mersey Valley Countryside Warden Service. We assembled near Sale Water Park and headed off around Hardy Farm and Chorltonville so pretty much the route we cycle down towards the river. The mushroom count was pretty low – it was a really warm day and the conditions were not quite right. Still we saw a few and I managed to spot the first; a Clustered Domecap:

Clustered Domecap

We also saw a Weeping Widow, Turkey Tail, Dead Man’s Fingers, Stinking Dapperling and Artists Fungus. Photos here.

Because the French, Italians and Eastern Europeans have a much longer history of foraging for Wild Mushroom, they tend to have a lot more common names. In Britain, because the mushroom has always been slightly feared, we are really lacking in non-Latin names. So much so that the British Mycological Society had to invent some common names.

On Sunday we took our vast coconut shy expertise to the Heaton Mersey Farmers Market. It was a really great day and we raised about 100 quid (minus the cost of the coconuts!) for charity.


It was more exhausting that we thought. I suppose spending 5 hours with kids is knackering. Plus all the stalls were giving away sweets to anyone who didn’t win so by the end they were even more hyper.