Rainy Day Salad. And A Visitor.


Neglected garden trough


It’s a wet and blustery day outside. And a long walk to the veggie beds to get the salad leaves for lunch.

The trough above has been looking rather sorry for itself for a couple of years. It’s not the most attractive looking specimen in the world but it was bought with a purpose. It is coated in some sort of material that makes it feel very gritty, almost as though it contains bits of glass. If it’s uncomfortable for me to touch, what must it be like for slugs? I’ve cleared it all out and between us we lugged it uphill from the patio below the terraces to just outside the back door.

Trough 002 Wm[1]

 From top left: Mizuna, Red Salad Bowl, Lollo Bionda, Beetroot Bulls Blood (for leaves) and Wild Rocket.

Give it a week or two and lunch with wet hair should be a thing of the past!




It could have been a bit unnerving, inviting a fellow blogger to your house. Up to that point your visitor has only seen the bits of your garden that you feel fit to show. So what would Em, from Dartmoor Ramblings, make of the 75% that usually stays firmly behind the camera?

I tried to set expectations. And suggested that she bring along her wellies..

We walked through the woodland avoiding fallen trees and down to the river where the land is little more than a bog, to parts of the garden that I’ve not ventured into since last summer. There is still so much to do. Over the delicious Waitrose cake that Em stopped off for on the way we had much to chat about. I’ve often said that finding such good virtual friends is what makes this blogging experience for me. And when you feel you’ve got to know someone well from their writing, meeting up face to face really does provide the icing for the cake. Thanks Em, for being such good company. And for finding some polite things to say about my soggy scrap of hillside.


2018-03-27T18:35:29+00:00April 26th, 2014|Tags: , |


  1. elaine April 26, 2014 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Your trough is looking great so convenient to have them nearer the house. How lovely for you to meet your blogging friend sounds like a good time was had by all.

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 7:10 pm - Reply

      I meant to plant up the trough last year, never got round to it and regretted it every time it rained!

  2. Denise April 26, 2014 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    I like your cunning ‘trough-too-rough-for-slugs-but-not-for-salad’ plan! Marvellous!!

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      I hope it works, the super-slugs around here might be tempted to have a go at anything.

  3. islandthreads April 26, 2014 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    I thought of you when I looked out the window this morning at the impressionist view of my garden after you prediction of rain on my blog, 🙁

    Jessica I think the trough is a cunning plan to out wit the slimy devils, it looks good too, I am cutting salad from my windowsills, too windy and cold out side, how nice to meet a fellow blogger and enjoy time together, especially when they bring smackerals, yum, yum, did you track any hephalumps 😉 Frances

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 7:18 pm - Reply

      I couldn’t have anticipated the amount of rain we’ve had this afternoon though, it’s been torrential. Did a couple of hours in the greenhouse to try and feel productive, but still cold and wet (it leaks).
      No hephalumps, sadly. We did see some rather large, and unidentified, footprints in the neighbouring field though..

  4. Crafty Gardener April 26, 2014 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    That looks like a lovely trough to use for greens, and having it closer will be much quicker for grabbing the fixings for a salad.

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 7:20 pm - Reply

      I just need to make it the emergency salad bed, rather than the lazy salad bed, or else there will be no leaves left when I need them!

  5. Leanne April 26, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    Hey Jessica,

    Your little bit of England sounds utterly gorgeous. Imagine having bits of it you haven’t ventured into since summer!! I love troughs like these, and I have little sympathy for snails or slugs. Me and Pops collect them in a bucket and feed them to Beryl & Jean. And I call myself an animal lover….
    Thanks for recent comments on my blog. They are very much appreciated.
    Leanne xx

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      I had similar pangs of guilt yesterday trying to entice a robin with a small worm on my hand. It didn’t work, conscience survives unscathed for another day.

  6. AnnetteM April 26, 2014 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    I hope your garden trough works to keep out the slugs and snails – ours seem to get over everything: sand, eggshells and sticky tape. How nice to meet a fellow blogger in person and also to see a garden in reality that you have only seen bits of.

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      You have to admire their tenacity.
      It was lovely to meet up with Em again. Just by virtue of the fact you both blog gives you something in common, but there are many other things besides. When people visit us here they do appreciate the enormous challenge (stupidity) of what we’ve taken on.

  7. Chloris April 26, 2014 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    It is a good idea to have salads near to the house., especially if you happen to have a slug proof container to hand. It is nice to have a chance to meet a blogging friend. I bet she really enjoyed seeing your garden and woodland.

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      I hope she did. And I hope she comes back when it’s looking a little bit smarter!

  8. CherryPie April 26, 2014 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    I really like that planter and hopefully it will keep the slugs at bay. I agree it is always nice to meet up with blogging friends 🙂

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      I’m leaving some moss to grow on it. Not enough to make it easier for the slugs, but enough to give it a bit more character!

  9. Jane@hoehoegrow April 26, 2014 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    I think your soggy hillside sounds fantastic ! Loving the idea that you have bits you have not ventured into since summer ! I think all us bloggers show our best sides to the camera and keep the less than beautiful parts well hidden ! Good to be selective !

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      Much of our land is more wilderness than garden and without proper paths it’s not really accessible in winter. After all the rain we’ve had today the river level is at least two foot higher than it was when we were walking down there on Thursday. The boggy bits are probably impassable again now.

  10. sustainablemum April 26, 2014 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful idea and slug proof to boot! I am a wet hair lunch salad eater. One salad leaves are currently in the polytunnel which is not really potable enough to move nearer the house!

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      There is of course a flaw in my cunning plan. If it rains for more than a couple of days running I will use up my emergency supply of leaves. By Day 3 I will be a wet hair lunch eater again too!

  11. Sue@GLAllotments April 26, 2014 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    I think my blogging pals would be very disappointed if they visited my harden in person.

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      This is what I had feared Sue. I did try to warn her… more than once!

  12. rabbitquilter April 26, 2014 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Hope the local wildlife aren’t eyeing your lovely salad-y trough up!! Isn’t it lovely to meet someone nice through rather unexpected circumstances?!!

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      It is rather at beak height for some isn’t it. Oh dear..
      Making friends through blogging, virtual and real, has been the biggest and most unexpected benefit.

  13. Cathy April 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Whew! I thought your visitor might have been a feathered one with a name beginning with Pt…. How lovely to be able to show a fellow-blogger round your garden – I understand your qualms but I think we would all be exactly the same and would understand each others concerns anyway.

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      Pt has a woman. I am hoping that will be enough to keep him distracted. Although I have seen him about early morning. Perhaps that is when the nest is being cleaned and he is thrown out.

  14. Janet/Plantaliscious April 26, 2014 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    Its great to meet virtual friends in the flesh, I’ve sometimes been surprised by what they look like but never disappointed in the experience. And any gardener would surely get the less-than-perfect bits? Genius on the trough, salads -and herbs – need to be stupidly convenient for me to remember to use them! Hope your slugs don’t wear hobnailed boots…

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      The photographer can be highly selective, I was banking on the fact that a fellow blogger would understand! The slugs will be googling hobnailed boots as we speak..

  15. Sarah April 26, 2014 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    We have had a salad crop by the back door for a few years now it does make a difference as even if it’s raining we will go out and pull a few leaves. It must have been show Em your lovely home and garden. Sarah x

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      It’s encouraging to know that it works. Once we’re self sufficient I stop ordering supermarket leaves, so if it rains I have had no option but get drenched!

  16. snowbird April 26, 2014 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    It’s always wonderful when a virtual friend becomes a flesh and blood one, it sounds like a good meet up! I love the little trough, that should save the hike for lunch. I’ve planted mine outside the kitchen door this year, I don’t know why it took me so long to twig!xxx

    • Jessica April 26, 2014 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      I must resist the urge to plunder it too often, or when I really need it they’ll be none left!

  17. Amy at love made my home April 26, 2014 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    Hi there, just catching up. Hope that you keep the slugs off as it will be lovely to have some fresh lettuce close at hand! Hope that you are having a good weekend. xx

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 12:58 am - Reply

      Hi Amy, welcome back. They will have to be pretty determined..

  18. Lucy Corrander April 27, 2014 at 1:18 am - Reply

    There’s a new fortune to be made – gritty paint that’s horrid from slugs but more sightly than rough concrete. Good luck lettuces!

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      Hi Lucy and welcome to rusty duck.
      Day 2 and all’s well…..

  19. Mark and Gaz April 27, 2014 at 7:35 am - Reply

    It’s great to meet fellow bloggers, you immediately get a connection with them by virtue of shared interests and activities 🙂

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      And you already know a great deal about their lives… it’s like meeting up with an old friend you maybe haven’t seen in a while.

  20. Rosie April 27, 2014 at 8:45 am - Reply

    Glad you had a lovely meeting with your fellow blogger. It is a very rewarding experience. I’ve met with three fellow bloggers over the last few years – two of them I’ve met twice now and it is always such a happy experience. We got our first salad leaves out of the greenhouse this week it is a good idea to have them growing as close as possible so you can nip out anytime and grab lunch:)

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      My trough is quite small, so it MUST be an emergency rainy day supply, the rest of the time I’ll have to walk down to the ‘plot’. I can see just what’s going to happen otherwise..

  21. BadPenny April 27, 2014 at 9:53 am - Reply

    It sounds good to have something keep the slugs off !

    Lovely – a Blogger friends meet up x

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      I hope the scratchy trough works.. those salad leaves are sitting there looking very vulnerable!

  22. Vera April 27, 2014 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Now that trough is a good idea, although perhaps not do-able for us until we get the chickens and geese out of the courtyard as they would take first pick at the newly growing salad leaves!

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      I’d have the geese any day, and move the trough to higher ground!!

  23. Philippa April 27, 2014 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Meeting other bloggers can be so lovely … although once I suggested to a German knitblogger that we meet at my favourite yarn shop, which turned out to be closed that day (I hadn’t checked), I was late, and mutual affection wasn’t enough to paper over the cracks in our differences. It was awkward and I feel sad, still, and so sorry.

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      That’s a shame Philippa, I guess it doesn’t always work out. But don’t let it put you off trying again. Great friendships have been made in blogland.

  24. Philippa April 27, 2014 at 11:34 am - Reply

    Hm. The blogsphere seems to have eaten my comment. I would be honoured to eat your homegrown salad!

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 7:39 pm - Reply

      I had to fish you out of spam. Not sure why, but now that it’s done it shouldn’t be a problem again. Askimet learns (I hope).

  25. Christina April 27, 2014 at 11:36 am - Reply

    That’s a great idea for the salad, this year has been dreadful for snails hasn’t it? I’ve seen more in the last month than in almost all the time I’ve been here. I’m glad you had a good time with your blogging friend, I’m just about to meet another blogger for the first time!

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      Snails and slugs. They have already reached mammoth proportions. A legacy of the mild and wet winter! Hopefully your summer sun should see them flee.

  26. Em April 27, 2014 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    I loved that 75%! Looking forward to Rosemoor. x

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      We probably wouldn’t get down to the river now after yesterday’s biblical rain. The water level rose about two feet temporarily and even the lawn is back to a quagmire. Everything is looking a lot greener though!
      Glad you enjoyed. x

  27. Jo April 27, 2014 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    That trough is a great way to stop the slugs from munching your lunch. How lovely to meet up with a fellow blogger, nice to hear that you got on just as well in real life.

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 7:52 pm - Reply

      Well the trough is certainly getting a good test.. it is very soggy here today. The slugs’ Christmases have all come at once.

  28. Simone April 27, 2014 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    I hope the slugs keep away from your scratchy trough! How nice to get a visit from a fellow blogger who brings along cake too!

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 7:53 pm - Reply

      The cake was delicious!

  29. Marian April 27, 2014 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    Love that trough full of different salads! What a great idea!

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      Marian, I just hope it works. Wouldn’t the slugs just love to get their teeth into it!

  30. SeagullSuzie April 27, 2014 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    We have a pair of herring gulls cleansing the garden of slugs at the moment – it’s great. I hope the salad comes along nicely in the lovely trough.

    • Jessica April 27, 2014 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      Lovely job, I could get used to that! Save me a fortune on nematodes too.

  31. Wendy April 27, 2014 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    That is a great idea having an emergency, wet-weather salad bed. I think I might be tempted to raid it a bit too often, though, because everything would look so green and tempting and close!
    I’m glad you had a lovely meet-up with Em.

    • Jessica April 28, 2014 at 12:07 am - Reply

      That is exactly what I am afraid might happen to the salad leaves in the trough. Although a little picking may be in order occasionally, to stimulate the plants into further growth and stop them from bolting? (You can see I have the excuses ready.)

  32. Anna April 27, 2014 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    That trough should soon fill up with delectable salad goodness Jessica. Fingers crossed that the gritty surface deters molluscs from illicit nocturnal nibbling. Glad that you enjoyed meeting your blogging friend – anybody bringing cake is a welcome visitor 🙂

    • Jessica April 28, 2014 at 12:14 am - Reply

      They certainly are Anna. And thankfully the weather was warm enough (just) for us to sit out in the garden with our coffee and cake.

  33. casa mariposa April 28, 2014 at 3:13 am - Reply

    Yum! Cake! It would be wonderful to meet other bloggers. I think we all understand that there are parts of our garden that we don’t love so much. We all have them. I have found other people to be significantly less judgmental than we are of ourselves. 🙂

    • Jessica April 28, 2014 at 9:38 am - Reply

      You’re right Tammy of course. It’s because I have this great vision in my head of how the garden should/could look. And at the moment there’s a huge difference between that and reality.

  34. Caro April 28, 2014 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Brilliant re-use of trough and it looks so nice too! I grow lettuces downstairs (to get the whole gathering my harvest at sunset thing) but for rainy or forgetful days have windowboxes of salad and herbs on my balcony. V convenient … and slug proof. Wish my lettuces were as big as yours, mine are still just tiny seedlings but soon bags of salad will be a thing of the past!!

    • Jessica April 28, 2014 at 7:14 pm - Reply

      Don’t speak too soon.. slugs can be very determined! We’re not quite self-sufficient in leaves yet, but hopefully only another couple of weeks.

  35. angiesgardendiaries April 28, 2014 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    You’ve made a super job of giving the trough a new lease of life – lettuce minus the wet hair wander, sounds wonderful!
    Good to read you had a nice day with your visitor – I’m sure she didn’t have far too look to say nice things about your garden.

    • Jessica April 28, 2014 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      Thanks Angie. I might need to get another trough.. down here we get a lot of rain!

  36. woolythymeS April 29, 2014 at 3:08 am - Reply

    What is wrong with me that I never thought to bring the lettuces closer to the house? I brought the herbs I use…bet I could edge the herb garden with it. You are brilliant! ( I have trough envy, too).

    • Jessica April 29, 2014 at 9:15 am - Reply

      Herbs is next… new bed under construction. For the first time I will have herbs that actually see some sun. They might even grow..

  37. Cordelia April 29, 2014 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    I love growing lettuce. What a perfect place you’ve repurposed for it! My lettuce beds always got eaten until one day I saw birds out there. They were the last critters I would have blamed. I bird netted the beds and now we have fresh green salads every night. : )

    • Jessica April 29, 2014 at 6:19 pm - Reply

      Hello Cordelia and welcome to rusty duck.
      I always blamed the slugs. Or the mice, rabbits, deer.. I hadn’t thought about birds either, well apart from the pheasant. I am beginning to think I have to grow everything in a very big cage with Fort Knox security!

  38. I brought my lettuce up close to the house so that the neighbours wouldn’t see me in my dressing gown at 7 am in the mornings picking the leaves for everyone’s lunches 🙂 When I open my patio doors my herbs are on the steps under the cover of the eaves. The trough is a great idea for the lettuce and I’ve been using wooden troughs though they make life easy for the snails unlike yours 🙂

    • Jessica April 29, 2014 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      The jury is out on my slug and snail defences as yet… but so far so good. If they find it though it’ll be an all-you-can-eat buffet for sure.
      Herbs under the eaves is a good idea. I remain unconvinced that Mediterranean herbs can work in the oh so wet west, but if I can give them more sun they’ve a fighting chance.

  39. Linda April 29, 2014 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    Awesome planter for your tender lettuces♥️
    You guys are so lucky to meet face to face…I would love that!
    Another birthday here…that’s it for a while!
    Enjoy your week…
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica April 29, 2014 at 10:57 pm - Reply

      If you’re ever in our part of the world, be sure to let me know!

  40. Jayne Hill April 30, 2014 at 7:33 am - Reply

    I’ve been fortunate to meet a couple of bloggy people and they have been quite lovely :} Good idea with the lettuce, mine are still in the greenhouse and the slugs don’t seem to have found them … yet.

    • Jessica April 30, 2014 at 9:21 am - Reply

      I fear a bad slug year, the winter conditions must have been perfect for them.

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