My Bit for the Planet. 
What made me decide to write this separate blog? Well it all started with Christmas and brussel sprouts! Let me explain. When I was little I used to spend a lot of time helping my grandfather (Grampy to me) on his allotment and in his greenhouse, with it's little paraffin heater in the winter (I think it was his escape from my Gran!). Nearly everyone I knew back then who had a garden grew vegetables even on the smallest patch of earth - no sign of decking, hot tubs or large patios.  I remember being amazed whilst he dug up plants that we had helped him sow months before. And we scrabbled around in the soil searching out potatoes as he lifted the plants and in the summer having stained fingers from picking blackberries and black currants amongst other fruit. At Christmas there were fresh parsnips, potatoes and brussel sprouts to pick - nothing tastes better or is more satisfying than fresh vegetables or fruit that you have grown. When I first left home I lived in a flat and forgot about gardening - never did I think I'd grow up to love being in the garden. When Clive and I moved into our first house together and money was tight I cleared a small patch in the garden and started growing a few vegetables. When our son was a toddler he liked nothing more than to help me in the 'veg patch' by digging a big hole and when given seeds would, of course, simply throw them over the soil rather than place them in neat rows. In the summer our patch was known as a 'mixed salad' with various lettuce growing mixed in with carrots and shallots. My fruit and veg patch was never big enough to grow my sprouts and it's become a bit of a family joke me saying each Christmas for years,  'One day I'll be able to go outside on Christmas Eve and pick our sprouts'. 

Roll forward  a few years, a couple of house moves later and still our current garden didn't seem big enough to have veg patch. The garden is sloped, with a rockery and lots of conifer trees and bushes squashed in together. However I was not to be thwarted and have continued to grow what I can in pots: from lettuce and tomatoes, to peppers and dwarf beans (which seem to do exceptionally well!) but still those brussel sprouts eluded me. Until this year and my mission to help the planet and 'do my bit' in a small way started to grow and take shape!

Having made the decision not to move I took another look at our back garden and decided I could make room for a veg patch - why had I not seen it before?! By digging out a few (well OK as it turned out a lot) of conifers and bushes we could have a reasonable sized raised fruit and veg patch. Did I forget to mention I already have two apple trees that were hidden at the back of our small garden? By re-designing the back garden we could have more lawn (Clive likes to cut the lawn - no artificial lawn please!), build a decorative wall from the rockery stones (nothing to be wasted) which would hold back the soil and I could have my very own shed - now known as my SHE'd - to potter in. I've also started to eye up the front of the house. We do have a couple of token patches of soil with plants in and a border by the front door. The rest is block if I lifted some of that paving, and made it a garden I could grow more plants: it would not only help the insects, improve water run-off but also look much nicer. The other thing I've realised by having a front garden is when I'm out there gardening it's amazing how many people you get to know because they simply stop to chat as they walk by. A friend commented that they only knew one neighbour, as they rarely see anyone when they are all going in and out of their houses, and how did we get to know so many? Could something as simple as not having a front garden to look after have impacted so drastically on getting to know our neighbours and therefore contributed to the loneliness so many people feel?  

I digress... 

Like a lot of people I have become so much more aware of our impact on the planet: the plastic we use, the unnecessary chemicals that have found their way into our homes and lives, the clothes and things we throw away and started to think, how could I / we as a family do our bit? I'll be honest, I'm not one for joining marches (I'm too lazy!) or looking for others to take responsibility but I wanted to do something, however small! If we all do a little bit it WILL have an impact. As the saying goes 'No single raindrop considers itself responsible for the flood' - if I can contribute to the flood of change by writing this blog about what I'm doing and it inspires others do something, then even better.  So reader, if you want to learn about what I'm doing, the successes as well as the failures, then check back here regularly. And you never know you might just get to see those brussel sprouts being picked!

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