Herbs & Homemade Lemonade

A herb garden is something I’ve been toying with the idea of for some time now. They are one of the easiest things to grow, as long as they are contained properly and not allowed to rampage through the borders or grow too big and woody. The question was, where to put a herb garden in our little back yard?

I looked at various raised troughs and borders but they were all quite expensive and only really served one purpose. The local garden centre didn’t sell any that I liked for under £70 and even at the larger chain stores they were, at the cheapest, £40-£50.

I don’t mind spending money on something that’s going to be a feature but my wish list included something well made, preferably from this country, out of wood from a sustainable source and that has more than just an ornamental purpose.

The solution came from Riverford Organic Farms. They offered us a discount on one of their eco cool safe in order for us to try it out. As long-standing customers of Riverford Portsmouth we love their veg, fruit and recipe boxes. The quality of the food and service is fantastic so we were keen to try out some of the other items they have for sale.

Eco Cool Safe Front

There are three sizes of eco cool safe, small (£80), medium(£90) and large(£100). We decided to get the medium. They may seem expensive, but they are handmade to order and very sturdy. They have the double advantage of being able to be used for storage and growing produce. The small and large versions have a shelf and all sizes have a trough, that creates the top of the wooden safe, in which flowers or produce can be grown. Perfect for my herb garden!

The premise of the eco cool safe is to keep your delivery safe from the elements if you are out when your order arrives. It works by using the wood and the compost in the trough above, to keep the produce inside, ten degrees cooler than the outside.

I’m not always out but I’m quite often busy changing or feeding bean and so the delivery is left on the doorstep. This is not the end of the world, but if it’s baking sunshine or raining heavily the lovely fresh food is open to the elements and with my baby brain, it could be a while before I remember it’s there.

So what did we think?

Pros:

  • Keeps your shopping safe from the elements
  • Made in the UK
  • Good value, handmade, sturdy product
  • You can fit a padlock to the door to prevent your order from going for a walk if you are out all day.
  • Your shopping stays lovely and cool until it’s in the fridge. This means it lasts longer!
  • The medium eco cool safe is big enough to fit a recipe box and a box of extras in it
  • You can store your empty boxes in the eco cool safe rather than tripping over them in the kitchen for the rest of the week.

Cons:

  • You have to put it together yourself
  • You need a drill and some DIY skills! The kit does not have predrilled holes. It’s fair to say there was a little swearing from the husband.
  • Once the top is full of compost, the door will drag on the ground and make it difficult to open so we needed to plane off a little of the wood at the bottom.
  • It has an unfinished look which is lovely and rustic but also comes with rustic splinters if you’re not careful.
  • It does have Riverford written on it, so everyone’s likely to know what’s in there. It’s also a bit of free advertising for Riverford. However you could paint over it if this really bothered you.
  • You need to fill the legs with gravel and the top with compost, which is an added cost, but once done it looks great!
  • You need enough space at the front of the house to keep it as it needs to be accessible for your Riverford delivery.

Overall the eco cool safe meets our needs; a great looking product, well made at a good price. It’s been a couple of weeks since I planted up the herb garden and it’s thriving.

If you fancy creating a herb garden in your very own eco cool safe, you can order your eco cool safe here and below is what I’ve included in my herb garden:

Eco Cool Safe Herb Garden

You’ll need about thirty litres of compost and a few handfuls of gravel for ornamental purposes. If you choose to plant mint, I suggest planting it into the trough in a pot to prevent it going mad and choking the other plants.

Once the eco cool safe was constructed, filled with gravel and compost, and the herbs were planted, it was time to sit back with some homemade lemonade and here’s how you can make your own:

Homemade Lemonade with Orange Scented Thyme
Will make 500ml of concentrate

Ingredients:

  • 500g granulated sugar
  • 200ml lemon juice
  • 200ml water
  • The rind of two lemons
  • Fresh herbs of your choice

Method:

  • Place the sugar and the water in a pan on a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Once dissolved add the grated lemon rind and boil for five minutes.
  • Take off the heat.
  • Juice the lemons (you will need 4-6 lemons to make 200ml. Top up with natural lemon juice if you don’t have enough)
  • Add the lemon juice to the sugar, water and peel mixture and allow to cool.
  • Strain if you’d like although I prefer to leave the lemon peel in, for flavour. Bottle and place in the fridge.

To serve:

  • Add soda water or still tap water to a small amount of the concentrate, depending on your personal taste
  • Add a sprig of orange scented thyme of chocolate mint for a little zing of flavour.
  • Sit in the garden and enjoy!

Homemade Lemonade

You can find Riverford Portsmouth on Facebook and Twitter and Jim and Anna are often at local green fairs and eco gatherings around Hampshire so be sure to say hello to them if you’re there.


Riverford are a UK company based in Devon, that sells organic produce sourced, in the majority of cases, locally. They offer franchises across the UK and the Portsmouth franchise is a family run affair, run by Jim, Anna and Stanley Harbridge.
THANK YOU TO Jim and Anna AT Riverford Portsmouth FOR PROVIDING A discounted ecosafe, FOR THE PURPOSES OF REVIEW. I’M, LINKING UP WITH TRIED AND TESTED TUESDAY RUN BY FAMILY FEVER AND WE’RE GOING ON AN ADVENTURE.
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5 thoughts on “Herbs & Homemade Lemonade

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    I’m glad the Riverford people didn’t disappoint you. It really does look lovely! And I know what you mean about DIY skills. When I was putting together my home office, I found I needed more DIY knowledge than I’d thought I would. It all worked out fine, but it was a learning experience!

    Like

  2. mumjd says:

    That looks a fantastic idea. Can other things be stored in it, like if your out when the postie arrives with a parcel? And I love making my own homemade lemonade too #TriedTested

    Liked by 1 person

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