Soccer Training Guide – 7 Day Soccer Drills & Equipment

Take a look at this training guide, a useful schedule to keep you in top form, whether you want to train like a pro, or just keep up with other amateurs and avoid making a fool of yourself. Either way, this routine will have you thinking, feeling – and playing – like more of a player than you thought possible.

What is DOMS? DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness, which is a common feeling of mild discomfort the days after exercising hard.

Each section is split into days of the week, with a section for professionals or amateurs.

The Full Soccer Training Schedule

MONDAY – The pro session

DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is the pain you feel the day after the day after your workout. In other words, 2 days after a period of high exertion, like a game or a heavy practice, and your body will let you know its displeasure.

If you played a game Saturday, chances are your body is really feeling the recovery burden on Monday. The best way to decrease the pain is to get moving – but it doesn’t have to be high impact. Some mobility training, yoga, or simple stretching will help get the body warmed up and remove some of the discomfort.

stretching soccer mobility

Once that’s done, move on to doing drills for about a third of the time played on Saturday. So if you played 90 minutes on Saturday, do 30 minutes of drills that use similar movements you did during the game. This will help muscles to recover and will lessen the pain.

The good news? The more consistently you train, the less you’ll feel DOMS, if at all.

Monday – The amateur session

Getting to the gym is a great way to work some of the weekend soreness out of your muscles. You won’t likely be with your team, but it helps to have a workout buddy so you can keep each other consistent and loyal to that hour (or so) of workout time.

Start by warming up the muscles on the bike or treadmill. This should be low-intensity and last only 15 minutes or so – just enough to raise the body temp and help those muscles to expect a little work. Some flexibility exercises are next, just like the pros. Since you probably don’t have a coach or flexibility trainer on hand, have a look on YouTube for yoga or mobility routines. With sound off, or headphones in, you can watch these right in the gym while you do them.

Round off the routine with some more low to medium-intensity work. The bike, treadmill, foam rolling, or swimming are all great choices. Mix them up for a varying routine.

TUESDAY – The pro session

Monday eased your sore muscles from DOMS; today will run them through the paces. A warm up of calisthenics, treadmill or bike work is first, followed by flat-out sprints over 30, 40 and 50 meters to condition and protect the hamstrings.

After this, we do intense ball work, then some small-side games (like 5v5, 7v7, or even 2v2). The small teams mean high intensity and constant work.

The day finishes up with intense straight line running drills or shooting.

The whole thing lasts 90 minutes (plus warm-up).

Tuesday – The amateur session

Warm up first, then do four straight-line running drills at about 70% intensity, for four minutes each. Rest for two minutes between each one.

Follow this with six 20-second sprint drills, with 40 seconds between each one to recover.

I prefer players do this on the pitch, but if you want you can use a treadmill – the effect will be similar. Get (or keep) your body in shape and it will pay big dividends on game day.

WEDNESDAY – The pro rest day

A ‘rest day’ doesn’t mean doing nothing, it simply means doing nothing intense. Taking a walk will not only help you clear your mind, it will also make Thursday’s workout a lot easier. Doing nothing for the day will break the rhythm of regular workouts.

Let the day be a rest for your mind. A rest from high intensity… but don’t be a couch potato.

Wednesday – The amateur rest day

If you work all week, especially at an active job that has you moving around or doing labor most of the day, you’ll need a day off from training. Put your feet up. Your job gave you a moderate workout (or more), so you don’t have any dues owing when the quitting time rolls around.

THURSDAY – The pro session

We’re a couple of days from game-time here, so we don’t want to drain the body of everything it has. That said, we want to do some shorter, explosive drills and training that will sharpen skills. The key is low volume.

Something like 5-10 seconds of agility training with a minute and a half of recovery between sets. There will be a lot of coaching and fine tuning during these sessions, so watching others can be as valuable as doing the drill yourself.

Thursday – The amateur session

Like the pros, you’ll want to do some short, explosive drills (after a warm up of course). A 5-10 second shuttle run is a good example, taking a full minute between each one to recover. Concentrate on the speed, triggering those quick-twitch muscles to build and strengthen. More info on soccer sprinting science here.

Don’t overdo the number of sets either. Save some oomph for game day.

FRIDAY – The pro session

Tomorrow is game day. We do much the same type of workout as we did on Thursday, but we add a greater element of fun to it. Relay games, sometimes with the ball and sometimes without, are a great example. Make them competitive, but with high rest periods.

The point is to work the body, yes, but also to bring the mind into a positive, competitive state, ready to get into the groove of game day, adding the training to the skills and applying it all to the dynamic situations in an actual game.

Friday – The amateur session

Since you’re working and, by Friday, probably tired, you don’t need to work out again today. Do make sure you are properly hydrated though, and that you get sufficient sleep. A good carb-centered meal is a great idea too, so you have the needed energy on hand the following day.

I know it’s Friday, but avoid the booze. It will dehydrate your body, and make your sleep less restful.

SATURDAY – The pro matchday

Players meet for a communal breakfast at nine. It gets the day into a team-oriented mode right from the start, and allows us to do stretching and mobility work together. At quarter to twelve we serve the pre-match meal. A bit of a break follows, then a team meeting and we’re warming up by 2:20. The warmup is a little less than half an hour, and moves from low-intensity activities to those that mimic what will be needed in the game.

Then we leave it all out on the field.

Saturday – The amateur matchday

Get to the venue early to familiarize yourself with the place and to get your head into game-mode. Do some flexibility and general warmup activities, then add a ball and warm up with a few kicking drills followed by shots on net or quick passing. Always start running drills in straight lines, then move to easy turns before doing the quick, darting motions. Do a few sprints to get the lungs open and ready, and the heart beat a bit elevated… but don’t overdo it.

After the game, do a warmup in reverse – a cool down. It will decrease the DOMS and have you ready for the next workout.

Some Important and Useful Soccer Training Equipment

The right equipment can really help with your soccer training.

adjustable soccer hurdles

You want to have a good set of soccer goals for training games, but also consider having some smaller pop-up goals for shorter or smaller skill based games, which help to add a competitive element to the play. A soccer rebounder is also great for practicing solo, as it allows you to have a wall to bounce the ball off to set you up for volleys or passing. You can make use of training equipment like adjustable hurdles or a speed ladder to help improve footwork and speed / agility during your soccer practice.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Best Women’s Cashmere and Wool Cardigans

Pullover jumpers are deadly to a good hairstyle, and few are the jackets that really complement an outfit – if you want to have the option to add a cosy layer without ruining your look, then look no further than a good cardigan. From the budget and hardy-wearing types to luxury cashmere for elegant events, there is a cardi to suit every need and budget, and few items are as effective at adding versatility to your existing wardrobe.

Here are a few great choices.

Cashmere Crew Neck Cardigans

Boden has been selling tons of these cardis every year for a decade or more. They are currently available in thirteen colours too, so there is one – or more than one – to suit every item in your wardrobe. It’s worth having a few on hand to complement your look, no matter what it might be.

Mustard Cable Knitted Cardigan

Chunky cable knit, complete with elbow patches, this wonderful item comes in mustard yellow or cobalt blue.

Sophie Aztec Cardigan

In popular Aztec print and at a price point that won’t break the bank account, this cardi comes in five colours to suit a wide range of looks.

Next Long Cardigan

If you prefer a longer line, this belted cardi adds a level of elegance to even a casual outfit. Throw it on over leggings and a tee, and suddenly you’re fit for a fine brunch or smart-casual dinner. Available in petit and tall versions, a perfect fit is just a moment away.

Animal Print Cardigan

Le them hear you roar in one of these luxurious animal print cardis, machine washable and easy to wear.

Nobo Oversized Cardigan

Want to get lost in the comfort of a good oversized cardi? Here’s a great choice. Wool blend for warmth and comfort, ample pocket sizes, and with a style that hints at fun while exuding relation and a laid-back vibe.

Geo Sherling Drape Cardi

Cardigans run on a spectrum from those that aren’t much more substantial than an open-front tee-shirt, to those that are almost coats in their own right – and this one sits closer to the coat end of the range. This will keep you warm when it starts to get cooler, and will do it in style.

Navy Kris Cardigan

Cool and classic, with just enough edge to make this Danish brand recognizable, this oversized cardi is soft, fluffy, comfortable and bold of appearance. A great combination!

Cashmere Hooded Zip Cardigan

This piece is one that you’ll want to treasure and love for the long term. Cashmere luxury with a classic style that will be ‘in’ year after year, means that the higher price tag brings great value with it. Dusky pink or pale grey options will add a sophisticated elegance to whatever you have on underneath it. Cashmere wraps are also great for the winter.

Campione Cardi

This 80% lamb’s-wool garment is super-warm and very comfortable. The asymmetrical design is an eye-catcher – in a good way! – and they haven’t forgotten the details either, like real wooden buttons.

Our Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for an open cardigan (one with no buttons), then go with animal print or Aztec design. Either one will look great. For a buttoned version, you can’t lose with classic design and wide range of colours. Adding two or three to your wardrobe will ensure a comfortable cool-air option no matter what you choose to wear underneath it.

Instant style, every time.

You can find out more about cashmere cardigans here:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why reclining garden chairs are ALWAYS the best option for entertaining family and friends


Updated for spring/summer 2018, we look at how you can enjoy your garden with a brand new reclining garden chair, and why it’s going to be the best weather in the UK yet.

Let’s be honest, when we organise a summer garden party, our main goal is that we want our family and friends to enjoy themselves. There are many things that go into a successful and enjoyable outdoor gathering, a few of those being:

  • The weather (especially in the UK!)
  • The food (burnt BBQ & uncooked chicken are no nos!)
  • The drinks (well stocked…obviously)

But one thing that can make or break your garden party is actually the way you furnish both patio and lawn areas of your garden.

If done right, you can really invigorate your outdoor space, creating a sociable and comfortable environment to help spark conversation, and keep partygoers enthusiastic throughout the evening and into the early hours.

Flexibility is a must

Simply put, you will have varying amounts of people, all with different comfort needs and seat preferences. The best garden furniture will give you the flexibility to move things around, and customise are you wish, without making your garden look like a jumble sale from the local caravan park.

Also having an adjustable table provides the flexibility to dine upright in a formal setting, then lower the table for a more relaxed casual drinks feel.

Comfortable Garden Furniture Beats all Else

Nothing makes guests enjoy their time more than a garden chair or sofa that’s extra comfy. If you can lay back and get lost in the cushions, relaxing in the afternoon sun then you’re on for a winning set. The ability to recline is an added bonus, and high backed chairs allow those with poor posture or back pain to rest while also being fully supported. We recommend the reclining garden chairs from Garden Centre Shopping, as they are UV stabilized rattan with an aluminium frame, proven to be weatherproof furniture that can be left outside all year round.

The best solution – Reclining Garden Furniture

After testing various types of furniture, we’ve come to the conclusion that the most comfortable and flexible garden furniture sets are those that are reclining rattan, specifically those from Majestique Rattan, a premium provider in the UK.

The Best Majestique Reclining Rattan Retailers

If you’re looking to buy this garden furniture online, then we recommend the following retailers, as they stock Majestique and have UK home delivery available on their website. These retailers have proven themselves time and time again to be very good when it comes to garden furniture, and have a range of products including reclining chairs, rocking chairs, reclining sofas, reclining dining sets, and high backed arm chairs which will be your new favourite place to sit in 2018.

Further Reading on This

If you want to read more about this type of garden furniture, or simply want to browse the references in this article, then check out the following links:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grow Hair Loss Foods with Biotin in Your own Back Garden

There are so many naturally occuring vitamins and minerals that can help you with hair loss related problems, so in this post we will go over the main parts of it.

And as always, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments!

Vitamins that help with Hair Growth

There are several types of vitamins that aid hair growth, and we will go over them below.


What’s biotin?

Biotin is A vitamin which belongs to the”B complex carbs” group. Additionally, it is sometimes known as vitamin H. Like other B vitamins, biotin helps the human body to convert food to energy. Having quantities of biotin is connected with having hair, luminous skin, and nails that were sturdy. Biotin is vital for maternity, and it is contained in prenatal vitamins. Biotin has also been discovered to encourage a healthful and well-functioning liver.

Biotin Can interact with some drugs, but it has been discovered to be normally nontoxic for people who are frequently subjected to it. It is also possible to boost your biotin intake, although you are able to buy supplements at health food shops and in the drugstore. Continue reading for a listing.


Biotin is Present in egg yolks. Egg yolks should be cooked until they are absorbed, even though the total amount of biotin wills reduce you are getting. It seems sensible that egg whites are one, Due to the purpose Zinc serves in the growth of an embryo.


Almonds Which are roasted, salted, or raw include elevated levels of biotin. Nuts and beans generally are a supply of vitamin . The vitamin may be found in green beans, peanuts, legumes, walnuts, and pecans. By grabbing a couple of almonds as a snack, you will be given nourishment and vitamin E in addition .


Raw Cauliflower comprises 17 micrograms per serving of broccoli. That is a great deal when you think that many Americans get between 100 and 300 micrograms of biotin every day. Eat cauliflower for the most benefit since Zinc is water-soluble. Try out slow-roasting it or make rice and creative that your cauliflower once is prepared by you.


Most Dairy products include some quantity of biotin. Cheese and blue cheese have been found to possess the biotin at a study of 23 kinds of cheese. Cheese and cheddar are full of biotin.


Mushrooms’ content helps protect them From predators and parasites as they grow. Eating them raw is better, although mushrooms at a saute functions to secure you biotin. Try mushrooms at a salad with almonds and a few egg yolk tossed in to get dinner or a simmer and biotin-infused lunch.

Sweet Berries contain a number of the greatest degrees of biotin. They are good to eat if you are trying to increase the look of your skin since sweet potatoes include beta carotene. Consider putting some potatoes at a origin that is conventional, such as mashing potatoes or scatter them and roasting them.


Spinach Contains among the biotin levels one of the leafy vegetables. Freezing spinach does not make it any less powerful. Because of and fiber-packed it will be spinach is perfect.

Biotin for Hair Loss – Grow Them At Home in Your Garden

Foods such as Almonds, Cheese and Eggs are rich in Biotin, but often hard to grow at home for obvious reasons. But you can get Biotin from Cauliflower, Mushrooms, Spinach and Sweet Potato, making it a fantastic chance to grow these things at home. As you can see from the list of foods that contain biotin, there is a whole range of possibilities!

Biotin Can be within your body. It’s fabricated as part of your purpose on your intestines. It is not likely you’ll overdose on biotin if you would like to have a supplement. But remember that while it is wonderful to include biotin it might not be needed by you.

Biotin Can be bought add to smoothies or shakes. In addition, it can be acquired in a liquid infusion and at a form. Many include biotin, When you take a close look at the components for goods promising epidermis that is better loss or hair.

Most Individuals do not possess a biotin deficiency but it doesn’t hurt to Take in vitamin via your diet plan. Be Your skin is not looking its best, it is probably not due to a biotin deficiency. It might be a result of another underlying health issue.

Biotin can also help with hair skin and nails.

Possible risks and complications

Biotin Can interfere with certain medicines. Ask your doctor if it is wise that you take supplements if you are taking medication for seizures. If you are pregnant or nursing, you are probably receiving high levels of biotin on your daily vitamins. Avoid unless your doctor suggests doing this, taking kinds of vitamin.

Biotin is A vitamin does not keep it. Taking supplements thing in the morning may help your energy level. On the flip side, taking B vitamins could interfere with your sleep cycles, so once you choose any vitamin B vitamin supplement, be cautious.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Autumn Glory Turns to Winter Wonderland 2018

It’s been a long, sweet summer.  Beautiful weather (though of course no rain really, an official drought), great sunsets, lots of time to spend at home with John getting ready for our wedding festival.  The wedding day was absolutely perfect in every way, even more than we expected.  Unbelieveable fun!

Visit the backyard kitchen garden for more great guides.

I somehow still kept up the garden, surprisingly, and my two jobs in Ithaca.  Thank goodness for the long days up here; this summer I’d typically only come indoors after sunset, around 9:30, not leaving a whole lot of time for dinner, relaxing, and sleeping.  Luckily my body made the shift too and it all fell into place.  It was a grand ole time.

We didn’t have a camera all summer, which might be a blessing in disguise. Now that I’m packing in the photos before the first frost, everything looks amazing.  No scorching sun and 90-degree days with no rain for months.  Every plant is mature and getting regular rain and the nights are cool.  Things are happy.  I think I’ll go ahead and share our slice of paradise:

Sometimes I’m not super enthralled with the cosmos ‘picotee’ I’m growing, but I love how wispy and prolific they are.  They’re not super consistent with the colors and edging, but there are a few special flowers that catch my eye, perhaps enough to keep me planting them next year.  That’s right, I’m already planning next year’s garden!

The 40-degree nights are making the kale and baby bok choy look like they’ve been reborn.  Big stocky leaves almost untouched by cabbage moth caterpillars.  The slugs have been a little more well-fed, though.

Learn more about reclining garden chairs for 2018 here.

This variety of kale, Vates Dwarf Scotch Curled, was seeded in midspring.  I tried to plant a fall crop that didn’t germinate well for several reasons, but it seems like it doesn’t matter…these plants look great!  I had even planted some fall lettuce right up against the kale since I figured I’d be ripping the kale out a few weeks later as the lettuce sized up.  But then it just looked too good to end its life so soon.

Glad it’s still with us.  The lettuce doesn’t seem to mind being partially shaded by such a heavy feeder; in fact I know that the big-leafed kale gave the lettuce quite a relief during the hot days of summer when I transplanted it.

And a new addition to our homestead:


We have two ducks, a lady on the left here (a Magpie and a phenomenal layer), and the drake on the right is a Cauyga mix, an adventurous but sweet guy who already flew over the fence and across the street.  We clipped one of his wings to ensure he wouldn’t stray too far from his lady.  They are total BFFs.

They go everywhere together.  They seem to enjoy hunting for slugs with their bills right next to each other…the kind of behavior a chicken would get pecked in the face for.

But ducks are not chickens.  Oh no.  We thought we could just slide them on into the chicken coop one night with the chickens, and they would all become one happy extended poultry family.  For three mornings we woke up to blood-curdling chicken screams at the break of dawn, only to come outside and see the alpha chicken chasing Magpie around the coop while she was attempting to lay her morning egg.  Terrorism.  We immediately built them a sweet little duck hut in a ladder in another section of the yard, complete with his and hers swimming pools.

The chickens and the ducks still don’t love each other, but they do often wander around the yard 20 feet away from each other.  Thankfully the drama has subsided.  I think the chickens are taking a “know your enemy” approach.

Another new addition to our homestead is our wood-fired sauna, a.k.a. our wedding gift.  This is by far the best wedding gift, better than a bunch of “stuff” that would lie around and break.  And the evening saunas are complete luxury.

Oh yes, and those are the rest of the leeks that we’ll be eating this fall and winter.  We harvested a ton for the wedding that we planted in our generous neighbor’s field…so tasty!  We will forever be addicted to leeks.  They are one of the most versatile members of the onion family, and so hardy.  And these are the same ones we’ve nurtured since January!  Pretty much members of the family.

And that brings us to the greenhouse, who we all met this spring as the Gigantic Leek Transplant Producer.  It has spent the summer in full tomato production. We’ve got big beefs and sungolds looking super healthy.  John made some hardware cloth screen doors to keep the indoor temperature down and the chicks at bay.

And the flowers!  Who said that spring is the season of bloom?  It’s autumn-heavy here in our backyard, with all sorts of annuals holding it down.  Nicotiana sylvestris self-seeds here, and I really have a hard time weeding it out since it looks and smells so nice!

I think you can smell them from here:

And the zinnias.  True workhorses of late summer.  I love this heirloom green one, it’s such a weirdo in the garden, and blends real nicely with other pastels.

I’ve grown Benary’s giant purple zinnias for a few years, and just this year I thought they looked a little too hot-colored in my pastel-ish garden.  Autumn is teaching me otherwise, though.  They do look great in a fall garden.

And the morning glories!  A newfound obsession.  Heavenly blue really outdid itself this year.  The highlight of a summer morning is counting these puppies.  The record number of simultaneous blooms on this one vine was 46!

I must mention the roses, too, since they are also beautiful and prolific!  One rose blossom is a little more sacred than a morning glory, and really stops you in your tracks when you spot it.  Thanks for reblooming, Pearlie Mae!

And this is Ilse Krohn Superior, who’s about to give us a fall finale:

All in all our prettiest garden yet.

I’ve been thinking how to make it even more beautiful and bountiful next year.  I’m going to expand my zinnia color spectrum, and add some gomprena, and stick with the vines.  As far as food goes, we got maybe 20 pounds of potatoes (all the best kind too: Rose Finn Apple fingerlings!), we’re swimming in beans (Maxibel filet beans), and we have all the carrots, kale, and lettuce we want right here for the harvest.  It’s been a wonderful growing season, aside from the garlic debacle of course.   Wow, it’s such a good year I almost forgot about the crop failures!  Now that’s saying something.

Thanks for reading!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Backyard Gardening and Natural Eco Friendly Products

Update February 2019Biotin foods for hair loss – grow your own!

Now Picking: First Spuds of the Year

It’s always a bit of a gamble, with bag-grown spuds: when exactly is the best time to attempt a harvest? Main-crops are a bit easier, you can usually wait until the foliage has died back – usually at the end of Summer, going into Autumn – and then get them out of the ground before the weather turns too wet or the slugs get too adventurous.

But if, like me, you’ve been growing spuds in old compost bags, and you ideally want to harvest them at the salad-sized new potato stage, then knowing when to trim the stems and empty out the bag is a fair bit trickier. Because once you’ve taken that step, there’s no turning back. And if the spuds ain’t formed yet, then you’ve wasted a whole bag’s worth of effort.

Last weekend I braced myself and took a gamble on the first of three bags of Charlotte potatoes. I’m very happy to say I struck gold:

New Potatoes, July 2013

Not a huge haul, but enough for four portions. Steamed and served with butter and a sprinkling of sea salt, they were delicious. Nutty, spuddy and very, very creamy indeed. You really can’t get anywhere near as good in the supermarkets and it drives home the point of the whole GYO, back yard kitchen garden endeavour: enjoying some of the freshest best-tasting food you can possibly get your hands on.

Reclining Garden Chairs for Better Garden Entertaining

Browse our recent article about how to upgrade your garden furniture for a better garden party here: Reclining garden furniture – more comfortable chairs.

Now Picking: Courgette Striata di Napoli

This year I grew about a dozen courgette seedlings and planted the strongest four in two large, round plastic tubs. Two each of Striata di Napoli and Zucchini. The all began flowering about six weeks ago and the first Striata di Napoli fruits were ready for picking about ten days back:

Jo and I ate those first two sautéed in butter with mushrooms and garlic. Absolutely delicious. A lovely fresh, almost nutty flavour. Very good raw as well (I couldn’t resist having a nibble).

There are a couple more Striata di Napoli fruits on the plants now, which really ought to be picked soon as they’re heading for mini-marrow size. The Zucchini are only just beginning to catch up: slower croppers, those.

Damn. Disastrous Garlic Harvest This Year…

I had high hopes for this year’s garlic crop. Based on results over the past couple of years, where four seed-stock bulbs resulted in forty plants and a harvest of around 36 good-sized bulbs, I was confident of a repeat performance. Last Autumn I used the same seed stock supplier and same planting method again – maybe positioning the cloves a little deeper – and rotated the planting location out of raised bed #2 and into first section of the long veg bed.

All seemed to be going well – strong growth, plenty of leaf and stem, no bolting – until last weekend, when I grabbed my garden fork and lifted the first few bulbs…

A horrible sight greeted me: rot, and lots of it. Some stems just broke away from the mush that maybe used to be a garlic bulb. Some bulbs had barely formed and were mostly mush anyhow. Others could have been halfway-decent, if not for the white mould, black skin and odour of rot. From the 40 cloves I planted last Autumn, I think I can salvage maybe eight or nine bulbs, of which two might be the sort of thing you can pick up in Sainsburys for 30p each.

I think the culprit has to be the piss-poor Spring. The plants seemed to have over-wintered nicely, despite the particularly harsh conditions, but then when Spring was delayed they just weren’t able to get up to speed. Too much cold, too much moisture. Bad luck all round.

So it goes, I suppose. But garlic is such a favourite, and usually such a reliable cropper, that this is a particularly disappointing result. Fingers crossed for better luck next year.

It’s DIY Fruit Cage Time

It’s been a busy few weeks in my back yard kitchen garden – mostly involving filling and emptying watering cans on a seemingly endless loop – and one of the jobs that Jo and I tackled recently was the construction of a cane-and-netting fruit cage to help keep the birds off the raspberries and strawberries in raised bed #1.

First the bamboo cane construction. Eight-footers for height, driven as deep into the raised bed as they’ll go. Then an assortment of eight-, six- and four-footers to form the skeleton of the frame, with plenty of diagonals for stability. I used green plastic plant ties to fix them together rather than string because they’re much quicker to fasten and they make the frame easier to dismantle at the end of the season. Finally, the netting, which of course is the fiddliest part of the whole process as you have to lift it over the canes and of course it keeps catching on cane-ends, plastic ties, splinters, the frames of your glasses… you name it.

In that final shot you might just be able to make out the ingenious methods we use for keeping the netting taut on the frame: bricks on the corners where the netting tends to bunch and gather, and a series of weatherproof screws around the outside-top of the timber frame, which the netting can be looped over, hook-style. One of Jo’s brilliant ideas, of course.

The finished construction is well worth the effort though. Net result: bees and other pollinating insects in and out at will, thieving birds looking on with envy, Jo and I enjoying bowlfuls of luscious soft fruit in the fullness of time, all being well.

Garden Inspiration: Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

When Jo and I were down in Norfolk a couple of weeks ago we made a point of visiting a couple of the local National Trust properties. The first was Oxburgh Hall, home of the Bedingfeld family for centuries.

The moated house is interesting enough, but it was the gardens we were looking forward to. They didn’t turn out to be quite as impressive as we were hoping – mostly lawns surrounding the moated house itself, and a formal knot garden (a bit too formal for us), plus a woodland walk which we didn’t have time to indulge in. But there was a very colourful and bee-friendly border, packed with flower and scent, and a very promising-looking proto-orchard of local varieties, complete with bee-hives. And I spotted a hop plant, which I’m always happy to see.

It was a bit of a dull day and we had to dodge the occasional rain shower, but here are a few pics of our favourite bits of the Oxburgh Hall gardens:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment