Hello! I’m Stephanie, welcome to my website and blog.
I’m a professional organic no dig kitchen gardener, plant based cook, award winning author and writer, small scale homesteader and mum of three.
In this blog I share my gardening experiences (the successes and the disasters!), recipes for plant based food, crafts and natural products for home and garden. And some of my adventures and outings too!
This blog is all about enjoying the space you have, small scale homesteading wherever you live.
I live in Bruton, a small market town in rural Somerset where I grow delicious vegetables, fruit, flowers and herbs in my garden and allotment using no dig methods. I love reading (I studied Literature and Art History at university and worked as an English teacher), crafting, visiting interesting places, exploring the countryside, trying out new recipes and food, making potions and learning new skills.
Using vegetables, herbs and flowers that we grow, I make delicious plant based, affordable, seasonal healthy food. We worked out that a lunch of 16 different dishes plus homemade bread cost around 60p a head for 20 people!
I live in a semi detached ex-council house with my three young adult children. Here I grow as much as I can in my front and back garden, indoors and at my allotment. I am so fortunate to have a polytunnel and a rather rickety greenhouse (but hey, it has a roof and most of the glass is there!)
Raising a family as a single mum on a low income provides many opportunities for using my imagination and creativity as I try to live as sustainably and thriftily as possible, quite a challenge at times with three kids. I home educated them for some years, a real adventure: they are now all on university courses: my daughter is researching her PhD, the boys are undergraduates.
Currently I am redesigning much of my front and back garden at home to create an even more productive growing space, using no dig, permaculture and homesteading ideas. I love the idea of living self sufficiently off grid in a rural permaculture homestead – such a great dream! However I don’t have the land (or the money…) so I’m accentuating the positive and using what I do have to design the most abundant space I can both inside and outside my home. A kind of tiny-homesteading.
My work as a kitchen gardener includes working for commercial growers, restaurants, on allotments, in domestic gardens, for transition towns and on large private estates. I am the kitchen gardener for Roth Bar and Grill at Hauser and Wirth, Somerset, supplying the restaurant and bar with seasonal vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.
In April 2017 my first book, co-written with Charles Dowding was published – it won Practical Gardening Book of the Year! My recipe book The Creative Kitchen is published November 2018. I have also written a chapter of recipes for Charles new edition (2018) of Salad Leaves for All Seasons. For more information about my writing work look here.
For several years I had an at home craft business making and selling crocheted flowers and jewellery and other gifts made from glass beads and sea glass which I mostly found on the Jurassic coastline of Dorset. I also made tea lights from china cups. I enjoy knitting, especially socks, crochet and upcycling things. I wish I could sew better!
I grow and forage for plants to make natural potions for the garden, home and body. Seasonal plant based food is a particular passion: I love developing (and eating!) recipes based on what I can pick that day and from my home produced store cupboard. I preserve what I can so we can enjoy summer’s bounty throughout the winter – canning, dehydrating, jams and chutneys, wine, oils, interesting alcoholic potions and vinegars.
In this blog I’ll be sharing the adventure of transforming (I hope!) my home and garden as well as my interests, work, some of the lovely places we visit and recipes for some of the food and potions I make.
I work with my partner Charles Dowding at his gorgeous no dig garden, Homeacres and make huge seasonal lunches for our gardening courses there.
Until October 2015, I transformed the kitchen garden to no dig at Stavordale Priory for Sir Cameron Macintosh and Michael Le Poer Trench and ran it for 3 1/2 years. Visiting the kitchen garden in the summer of 2015, Kevin McCloud said that it is a work of “brilliance and expertise“.
Some of the projects I have been involved in – I do the edible plants, not the topiary!
I write and take photographs for gardening books and magazines, create educational pop up gardens for festivals and shows including advising and participating in the Horticultural Village at the Bath and West Show, make up cycled crafts and give talks and workshops on various subjects including gardening and natural potion making. My work has featured in many publications including Gardens Illustrated, Permaculture Magazine, Grow It (Now Kitchen Gardens Magazine) and books – see My Books and Writing for more information.