< Garden & Shed
< Digging and Planting

The Sweet Smell of Spring
Build a Tea Kitchen
Evening watering
Dig For Victory

Build a Tea Kitchen

This is fun if you have a sloping grassy bank nearby. Digging the turf is quite hard work but at the end of it you can make a secret cup of tea or hot drink ...

We came across this tea kitchen in Gertrude Jekyll's lovely book Children and Gardens.
You'll need:

Wire mesh tray
Wide-bottomed stove kettle
Newspaper for kindling
Short sticks to burn
Matches (long wooden ones are best)

1 In the middle of a sloping grass bank, dig out a deep section of turf (to about 15 cm) the same width but about 5cm longer than the base of the kettle. This is the fire-hole where you will build your fire so it needs to be quite deep.
2 On each side of the fire-hole at the height the kettle will sit, dig out a turf and level the ground to a distance of about 25cm.
3 Make a fire in the fire-hole, using paper, kindling and thin sticks (but don't light it yet).
4 Lay the wire mesh tray squarely over the fire-hole and kindling so the kettle sits safely.
5 Lay the cut turfs one on each side over the ends of the tray to stabilise it.
6 Light the fire using long matches.
7 Put the filled kettle on the fire. You may need to add more wood to the fire through the front hole beneath the kettle. Ten minutes later you'll have boiling water for a hot drink.
8 When you've finished, pour the spare water from the kettle to kill the embers, remove the metal tray (use a cloth so as not to burn fingers) and replace and tread down the turfs exactly so no one will ever know there was a fire here.

NB: Before you build any garden fire, check the wind isn't blowing in a direction that will carry sparks on to anything combustible (grass, fences, sheds, wood piles etc), and that neighbours won't get annoyed by smoke.