My Garden Shed Makeover

When I painted the exterior of the shed with Cuprinol Garden Shades in Spring 2015, the plan was always to paint the inside of the shed too. I didn’t anticipate that it would take me almost four years to get around to doing it but there we are.

It was the end of the summer and I had a few days off with Faye before she went back to school, so I decided it was the perfect time to get some painting done.

I used Cuprinol Garden Shades ‘Country Cream’ and it took about three coats to fully cover it, painted over three days. It was a lot of work but I had a merry, old time listening to an audiobook while I worked and was very excited as the shed got brighter and brighter with each coat.

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I painted the floor cream at first and then quickly realised that it would always look dirty, so I repainted it with the Cuprinol Shades ‘Lavender’ that I had left over from my two-seater bench.

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The drawered cabinet that I had in the shed previously belonged to my grandad and I hadn’t the heart to get rid of it when my Dad was clearing out his house. It couldn’t be used as a proper piece of furniture as there was a giant hole in the back! The drawers were ill-fitted and difficult to open; the cupboard doors posed a problem as I had to remove the bikes from the shed each time I wanted to get in the cupboard! However, it did fit the space to the left of the inner frame so perfectly that it seemed silly not to utilise it.

My dad (to the rescue again!) turned it into a shelving unit and I attacked it with the remainder of the Cuprinol ‘Country Cream’. We added a shelf above too.

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I spent an entire day with Rob going through all of the, ahem, junk that we pulled out of the shed. We got rid of quite a lot. Then it was time to refill and organise. It’s hard to make this kind of thing look pretty but I did my best. It’s no Pinterest image, but…

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It’s not quite finished yet. I still need a stool and some fairy lights, and I’d quite like to make some curtains and bunting to make it look extra pretty (Pinterest has a lot to answer for).

All that time painting got me thinking about how I’d like to write a blog about my garden… all the little notes I make would now happen whilst I was in this shed… and ‘Notes from the Garden Shed’ was born!

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When I started writing this blog, I almost jumped straight in with this post but decided that I’d like to share my journey of how I got to this point first, as it has been very long, and I think that is more realistic of how most peoples’ journeys go.

I’m not picture-perfect, or even prose-perfect. I’m certainly not garden-knowledge-perfect! Though I hope that will encourage you to read rather than put you off. Because you don’t have to have all the know-how and tools and amazing Pinterest pictures to grow a garden. Anyone can do it with a bit of love.

 

[I just wanted to add that I am in no way connected to/affiliated with Cuprinol paints, I just really like them!]

Weather Rules

So here we are in 2018. I have almost caught you up on my gardening journey so far. This has definitely been a year where the weather was king and we were at its mercy.

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I sowed some more sweetpeas in January again; many more than the year before after acquiring some root trainers for Christmas.

We had lots of snow in December but it carried on and on and I wondered if winter would ever end! I found it so frustrating that I couldn’t get outside and start digging and cleaning the polytunnel but the wait was finally over by the end of March.

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Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of chance to sit on my purple bench and enjoy the daffs popping up around me but it was a beautiful sight.

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A sight that could not be beaten were the absolutely stunning tulips in pots – oh my! My family thought I was mad gushing over the flowers and boring everyone to death on social media with my tulip spam!

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My sweetpeas were extremely leggy and knotted up when I finally got around to planting them in baskets, of which I acquired two more this year. They put on a decent enough show but the hot weather and shallow baskets were not a good mix so by mid summer, I gave up and put them on the compost.

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I experimented with growing lettuce leaves in washing up bowls and this has worked very well, using up less compost than a deep pot with more surface area for more leaves. I shall definitely do this again next year.

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I wanted to implement lots of changes this year – New border shapes and splitting the raised bed to make things easier for me. This took a lot of work and in a never-ending heatwave too, but we got there in the end and I’m so pleased with the results.

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I made rhubarb and vanilla jam – my first foray into jam making and definitely not my last.

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The heatwave was like nothing I can remember before. I have lived in shorts for months, could not imagine a time where I would feel cold and need a coat or not be able to wear my flip flops! A heatwave to surpass all heatwaves. Two hosepipes broke and I gave up and began watering everything by can instead which took much, much longer but was also quite enjoyable.

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The sun was now king and we were at its mercy. It made gardening much harder in many ways. Watering seemed to take over our lives!

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The courgettes loved it. I have never picked so many. I still have lots of grated courgette in the freezer to add to bolognese sauces over the winter and to make more courgette chocolate brownies and lemon courgette cake. My family have asked that I don’t grow it next year as they are sick of it! It’s like the runner beans all over again!

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We have also enjoyed peas, beetroot, carrots and yellow squash this year. I had a year off from polytunnel growing (i.e tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers) so in that way things were a bit more relaxed. I found time to actually sit and enjoy the garden this year, reading, knitting and soaking up some sun, and that has been lovely.

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I successfully grew hollyhocks and cosmos from seed and even now into October, they are both still going strong and are absolutely beautiful. I have been picking Cosmos flowers for the house since early August.

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As I was so late getting the veg sown this year due to all of the digging and changes, I decided to sow sunflowers in one of my raised beds and they have been a pure delight.

Not everything worked, however, I forgot all about the dahlia tubers I had purchased on whim in B&Q and didn’t get them potted up until late May. I kept them in pots to grow on but they did not work. I think I had two flowers before they gave up! This was mostly due to the enduring hot weather, I think. When I removed the spent cornflowers from the border in July, I decided to transplant the dahlias from the pots into the border to see if they could do better there. They finally began flowering last week so not all was lost. I am thinking about how I can grow them next year as I absolutely love dahlias.

I am growing winter brassicas and leeks in the raised bed for the first time this year and despite a bit of slug damage, they are doing quite well.

I also gave my shed an interior makeover, but more on that next week.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my garden journey up to this point. It has been rather a sweeping round up but I wanted to show you how many things I have got wrong in the process to where I am now. I’m still a long way off a beautiful, functioning garden, but making progress all the time.

Notes from the Garden Shed

Thanks for joining me! I’m Gemma and I live in Staffordshire with my husband, ten-year-old daughter, our pet rabbits, Ginny and Luna, and our pet guinea pig, Fred (who it turns out is actually a female but the name has stuck!)

Over the last few years I have been working on changing my end-terrace garden into a home allotment and haven. There is still much to do!

Here I hope to share with you lots of changes, successes, and failures in my gardening journey along with things to do with your produce – an area I’m trying to learn more about all the time.

I will also share where I went wrong so you can avoid making the same mistakes. I make a lot of mistakes so this will be a prevalent part of the blog!

I hope I can encourage anyone to just give it a go no matter who you are, what job you have, how big your garden is or how much you have to spend. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing those first shoots poking through the ground from a simple seed, eating something you have grown from seed or indeed just sitting outside with a cuppa and watching the birds.

I love spending time in the garden. I find it a lovely way to relax. I hope I can translate that onto the page (or screen, more specifically).

Feel free to post comments, follow me on Instagram @notesfromthegardenshed or ask me any questions about growing your own.

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