Charli's Website!


Tropical scuba


Everyone on my scuba course was going somewhere exotic- Cancun, Cuba, Tenerife... I thought I'd try and outdo them by seeing more fish and wildlife on my scuba diving in the UK- by going to Skegness Aquarium!

Water was a toasty 26 degrees C, and we saw a zebra shark, black tipped reef sharks and loads of fish!

Maximum depth is only 4m, and you have to be massively overweighted and walk carefully round on the bottom- you don't want to scare the fish when they have nowhere to go!

I highly recommend!

Garden in full swing


This year I feel I have ran out of space in the garden, and I start making plans to add in more layers and more beds- then I remember that over two thirds of my growing space is currently out of action! And that it will all be fixed by next year!

The greenhouse bursting at the seams, tomatoes are doing alright and the cucamelons have taken off. My lemon tree is loving greenhouse conditions, and I'll be self sufficient in chillis this year.

Mini apples! I hope for my first fruit from the trees this year!

The wall of japanese wineberries really does resemble a wall, and I hope to have a lot of fruit.

The raspberries are trying to take over the world. They're so big and heavy that the wooden stakes holding them up have broken.. hence their disarray. We are getting sufficient raspberries, and have very well fed blackbirds.

Boston squash and pumpkins growing in an active compost bin.

Fruit tree guilds looking beautiful. Not massively productive.. but the trees are a bit young yet. Harvesting plenty of biomass and herbs.

The building site.. this will one day be a larger greenhouse.

Greenhouse irrigation


My greenhouse has slabs on the floor, so I grow in pots. The larger the pots- the better, but they still need frequent watering. In the middle of summer this can be more frequent that I have time to do! Add in the times we end up in hospital with no notice for a few days at a time- and the plants could quite easily get fried!

So I put in an irrigation system, this consists of a water butt with a battery operated timer on is that opens a solenoid to water to drip-waterers. It is just a timer- so no moisture checking- it will water whether the plants need watering or not. Also no notice if the water butt runs dry or anything.

I use 4mm micro irrigation pipe (someone gave me some tangled up old cheap irrigation kits that included this- it was brittle but dipping in hot water makes it pliable again), some adjustable drippers- some of my pots are higher than others and without adjustable drippers the lower pots would get the majority of the water.

I also use ollas- porous terracotta pots buried up to their neck in the soil that release water into the soil very slowly.

The water butt is filled manually- it isn't attached to a roof or anything for automatic filling when it rains. One day I may fix this- put the water butt is higher up than the greenhouse roof. At the moment I run a hose from my other rain-filled water cistern and manually fill the greenhouse water butt up every few months.

Since fitting this it hasn't stopped raining, so I haven't yet tested if it can withstand a sunny British Summer- I have proved that it can survive a standard summer!