Hampshiresgreenbook’s Blog

Grow Your Own
March 26, 2009, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Gardening

Follow my attempts to grow my own fruit and vegetables…

Last weekend I finally made it into my garden. It’s not like I had to cross the English Channel to get there, I just had to overcome a huge amount of reluctance to go out into the cold! Sunday was a lovely, sunny, spring day and I couldn’t wait to start growing things.

I thought I would just spend an hour or so tidying up first. Two and a half hours later I hadn’t managed to sow a single seed, but I was quite pleased with what I had achieved.I spent most of my time weeding and moving the containers and generally tidying up the garden. Whilst I was tidying up, I also thought about what I wanted to grow in the garden this year. My number one priority is fruit and vegetables.

The back garden is home to three raspberry canes, a jostaberry, two blueberries, and a huge bay tree…as well as a small lawn surrounded by osteospermum, roses, buddleia, a very large pettisporum and an even larger conifer which is threatening to take over the garden, if the ivy doesn’t manage it first.

The raspberry canes are just outside the back door and are showing signs of life – small, green shoots. We’ve only ever had two or three raspberries from the three canes – which is pathetic really, but I’m hopeful that this year will be different. Surely.

Next to the raspberry canes is a jostaberry tree – a cross between gooseberries and blackberries. Although I wouldn’t really know as it has never produced any fruit, or anything more than a few leaves. It also has some green shoots and I don’t want to give up on it, so whilst I am still deciding what to do with it, it can stay there…

There’s a large, empty space next to the fruit trees – the whole area is covered with wire mesh and nets to stop the cats and birds getting in…I’m thinking of growing cucumbers there.

Last year I had a go at growing onions in a few containers – they were doing really well until all the slugs got to them. During the winter I bought some copper ‘slug stoppa tape’ which I hope will deter the wretched slugs… I live in hope….

There are also two blueberry bushes in large containers and I was really excited to see that they survived their first winter. But most exciting of all is the small container of parsley. I sowed the seeds a couple of years ago and the parsley just keeps on growing. I picked some the other night to add to a risotto.

In need of a rest, I sat down in the kitchen with my jar of seeds. I keep the seed packets in a sealed glass jar in the fridge. I had completely forgotten what was in there – sadly, most of the seeds were well out of date. So I set off to the garden centre. There are three garden centres near where I live.

I was looking for organic seeds – specifically salad leaves. Mizuna has done well in my garden, so I wanted to have a go at growing more salad type vegetables. At the garden centres, there was a dazzling array of seeds, but very few organic seeds, especially salad leaves. However, I came home with some organic ’cultivated rocket’ and radicchio seeds. And some organic potatoes – Orla – and organic potato fertiliser. I’ll let you know how I get on, next time.

If you would like a free listing or to advertise in Southampton’s Green Book and Directory please email info@southcoastbooks.com

To order your copy of Dorset’s Green Book and Directory see www.southcoastbooks.com

January 20, 2009, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Recycling

I was on the phone to a friend and we started talking about Freecyle.

“You must join,” she said. “It’s so easy and it’s so useful, especially at the moment!” my friend enthused.

She then started to rave about all the things she had picked up over the years as a result of ‘freecycling’ and all the great things she had been happy to give away because she or her children no longer needed them.

“I have tried to join my local Freecycle,” I said, “but I just can’t work out how to do it. I would really like to sign up, especially as I want to write about it.…!”

“It’s so easy!” Michelle said, again.

Her enthusiasm was catching.

I was sitting in front of the computer,  so I googled ‘Yahoo Groups‘ which came up with http://groups.yahoo.com. Under ‘Find a Yahoo! Group’, I typed ‘Freecycle’ and clicked on search. Over 11621 entries!

“You’ve got to search for your local area,” Michelle said patiently.

So I went back to the ‘Find a Yahoo! Group’ page and typed in ‘Freecyle’ and the name of my local  town and clicked on the link. Then clicked on ’Join This Group’.

At this point, I decided to go it alone and thanked Michelle for her help and for encouraging me to get started.

I needed to create a Yahoo! email account. That was easy enough. Then the screen said I was 3 steps away from joining. The 3 steps included dreaming up an original alias (or you can use your email address- for identification), and explaining in less than 200 words why I wanted to join the group.

After completing the three steps, the screen said:  “Your membership request has been submitted to the group.  You will receive a confirmation email when your membership has been approved.”

So what exactly is Freecycle?

 According to their website: “The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,650 groups with 6,243,716 members across the globe. It’s a grassroots and entirely non-profit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and thus keeping good stuff out of landfills.

“Membership is free, and everything posted must be FREE, legal and appropriate for all ages. To view the items being given away or sought in (your area), you must be a member of the local group.”

In the week since I joined my local Freecycle group I’ve received over 200 emails! I receive emails as and when people post them, but there is an option to receive a daily digest. The emails state clearly in the subject line whether the objects are ‘Wanted’, ‘Offered’ or ‘Taken’, what the objects are, and where the person is based. So you can easily choose which ones to open.

There’s a truly amazing range of items on offer – from baby and toddler clothes and toys, to dining tables, old televisions, sofas, musical instruments, computers, you name it. Some people have also posted wanted items, including tumble dryers, pieces of wood and toys.

Michelle advised me to offer a few things before I ask for anything. I have posted my first offer – and I‘m excited to see what happens.

By Debbie Cowan

Please let me know about your Freecycle experiences.

If you would like a free listing or to advertise in Southampton’s Green Book and Directory please email info@southcoastbooks.com

To order your copy of Dorset’s Green Book and Directory see www.southcoastbooks.com

2009 Future Green Events
November 14, 2008, 1:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

MAY 2009

10 May 2009
Hampshire Green Fair
At the Sustainability Centre, Meon, Petersfield
Website: www.earthworks-trust.com

JULY 2009

1 – 31 July 2009
2009 Hampshire Food Festival
Organised by Hampshire Fare
Website: www.hampshirefare.org.uk




1 February 2009
Romsey Farmers Market
Broadwater Road car park, Romsey

ON SALE NOW: Dorset’s Green Book and Directory – see www.southcoastbooks.com.

Later in 2009: Southampton’s Green Book and Directory – see http://www.southcoastbooks.com

Go Green Fair – Southampton
November 13, 2008, 10:37 am
Filed under: Green Events

Go Green Fair – Southampton

Organised by Southampton, Totton and Eling Friends of the Earth and the Arthouse Cafe, Southampton’s Go Green Fair will be taking place at St Andrews Church, The Avenue,
Southampton SO17 1XQ  on Saturday 22nd November 2008. The venue is wheelchair accessible. Entry is free.

The fair starts at 10am and finishes at 4pm.

See the website: www.gogreenfair.co.uk for more information.

Look out for: environmental stalls and

What’s happening!

  • 10.30 Film “The Story of Stuff”
  • 11.30 Transition Town talk
  • 12.30 Cycle Wise talk
  • 1.30 Alan Whitehead MP will lead a talk on Renewable Energy
  • 3.00 Short films

Come and say hello – visit the Hampshire’s Green Book and Directory stall!

Welcome to Hampshire’s Green Book Blog
November 13, 2008, 10:23 am
Filed under: Welcome to Hampshire's Green Book Blog

Welcome to Hampshire’s Green Book Blog.

This blog aims to promote all things green ie natural, organic and environmentally friendly in the Southampton area and to introduce people to a new book – ‘Southampton’s Green Book and Directory’, which will be published in December 2009.

See separate entry, Hampshire’s Green Book and Directory,  for ‘What is Southampton’s Green Book and Directory’?

This blog is quite  new and I will be adding details of ‘green’ events in the Southampton area. Please let me know if you are organising a green event so that it can be included here.

I will also be including posts about my attempts and those of my friends to lead a green or greener life!

Please also let me know about your attempts to lead a greener life.

Many thanks

Debbie Cowan – Editor
Southampton’s Green Book and Directory

If you would like a free listing or to advertise in Southampton’s Green Book and Directory please email info@southcoastbooks.com

About the Editor: Debbie Cowan is a freelance journalist, editor and publisher. For 11 years she published ‘interval’, a free what’s on guide for the Dorset and Hampshire area, and for the past 11 years she has written articles for a wide range of publications including ‘Grow Your Own’, ‘Cycling Weekly’ and the Sunday Times.

To order the first edition of Dorset’s Green Book and Directory see www.southcoastbooks.com

Posted by hampshiresgreenbook

What is Southampton’s Green Book and Directory?
November 13, 2008, 10:19 am
Filed under: Southampton's Green Book and Directory, Uncategorized
About Southampton’s Green Book and Directory

Southampton’s Green Book and Directory is a new book and reference guide to Southampton’s Environmentally Friendly, Fair Trade, Free Range, Natural, Organic, Re-used and Recycled products, services, projects and events. It is a new annual publication, A5 size, which will be published in December 2009 and will be designed and finished to a high and environmentally friendly standard.

The first half of the book includes chapters with information about all things green: eco-friendly Arts and Crafts; For Baby and Children; Building; Carbon Calculator; Fairtrade; ethical Finance; Food; Gardening; Recycling; Renewable Energy and Transport, Wildlife and For Women and much more.

In the second part of the book, the Directory the sub-divisions include Southampton’s eco-friendly: Accommodation, Allotments, Arts and Crafts, For Baby and Children, Secondhand Books, Building, Burials, Car Boot Sales, Charity Shops, Cleaning Products, Clothing, Clothing Alterations, Fairtrade Shops, Food and Drink (eg Farm shops, Health food shops, cafes and restaurants), Health and Beauty, Interiors, Libraries, Local Groups, Reclamation Yards, Recycling, Recycling Facilities, Shoe Repairs, Stationery, Wood Burning Stoves, Wood Suppliers, Workshops, Yurts and many others.


The Directory’s Listings comprise the name of the business or group, address, telephone number, fax number, mobile, email, website and 5-10 words of description. These Listings are free.

Please contact South Coast Books

if you would like- a free listing in the directory

– or to advertise in the directory

– to take some A5 size leaflets to publicise the book

– to have some copies of the book to sell

– or if you would be able to link to the book’s website

– or you would like to publicise a green event in Southampton area

Please email info@southcoastbooks.com or post a comment on this blog.

Many thanks

Debbie Cowan – Editor

Southampton’s Green Book and Directory


To order a copy of the first edition of Dorset’s Green Book and Directory see


Hello world!
November 13, 2008, 9:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

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