I bartered fresh eggs for crrots and cupcakes

Chrysanthemums bought in pots and added to the border look great in autumn.

BRIAN KIDD: Mum’s the word for an added splash of autumn fire in borders

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Liz Bourne and her family have transformed their Southsea back garden into a grow-you-own plot. Liz shares the ups and downs of trying to live the Good Life.

They say that pride comes before a fall and when it comes to my garden, that has certainly turned out to be true.

Having smugly planted my bulbs for the spring a few weeks ago, both in the ground and in pots, I spotted a squirrel gaily digging them up and chomping on them.

I’d noticed that the pots had been knocked over and the bulbs dislodged, but seeing the cheeky rodent in action confirmed my worst fears.

I realise now that I should have covered the pots to prevent such scurrilous pilfering. But on further investigation I’ve also found out that grated soap or human hair scattered around the pots deter them, or even mothballs.

Not sure about the human hair, to be honest, although the children do need a haircut…

But on a happier note, I have found a good home for our excess eggs.

The chickens, despite the colder weather, are laying every day so we are collecting four a day.

There are only so many quiches and omelettes I can inflict upon the family each week, so I have started giving them to the Southsea Greenhouse on the seafront in return for some vegetables.

My first clutch of eggs yielded a bunch of freshly-picked carrots (carrot and coriander soup is on the menu today) plus three delicious cupcakes from Mary’s Fairies. A fair swap, I reckon.

Hopefully this relationship will continue and I can subsidise my vegetable crops with bartered goods.