Hello, we’re Karen and Rich. Thanks for the interest in our blog.

We began veg gardening in 2007, a flock of chickens quickly followed. Since then we have enjoyed the challenges of owning an allotment, starting vegetable gardens from scratch and growing food in our large garden in Bedfordshire. Karen is the main blog author and enjoys garden photography, foraging and cooking with fresh home produce. Rich is a recognised marketing professional and the handy man around the garden smallholding.


We fell totally in love with vegetable gardening and keeping chickens many years ago while raising our young children. Our very first hens were ex battery chickens and our children helped with their care and needs, experiencing first hand the transformation from scruffy and scared birds to beautifully feathered, healthy and happy hens!

gardening with chickens


In 2008 we exchanged city life for ‘The Good Life’ and moved to a small rural village in Bedfordshire. Here we love collecting fresh eggs and picking seasonal food from our garden smallholding. No air miles or nasty chemicals. Just us and the soil.

free range chickens

From April 2011 to October 2015 we worked a full plot from scratch at our local allotments growing pollinator friendly flowers alongside vegetables and soft fruits, we really enjoyed our time on allotment plot 4 but sadly had to give it up due to Karen having health issues. It was a really hard decision to make at the time.


GOOD NEWS! Since March 2018 we have a new allotment, plot 33, which is currently being sprinkled with love and bunting.


We hope you enjoy reading about our allotment, veg garden and life with our feathery friends, the blog has many years of information regarding growing your own and chicken keeping so please do use the search option if you’re looking for particular information.

© All images and written content are copyright of thegardensmallholder.wordpress.com unless otherwise stated. If you would like to contact us, please use the email below:


43 thoughts on “About

  1. Your blog is inspiring – beautiful photographs and really informative, well written content. Thankyou!

  2. Love your blog. I will be living vicariously through your industry :) Maybe one day I will get it together but for the moment I’m resting. Like you I used to live in London and had a gardening/garden design career for 17 years – hence a sore back and being worn out, it’s hard work isn’t it? So now I just potter and look and have embarked on this cow adventure…

  3. Hi Karen – I just found your blog and feel both inspired and reassured. I’ve recently left the city for the countryside and now have my own patch to tame, so I’ll look forward to following all your expertise. Gorgeous photos!

  4. I’ve just found your blog today and it’s really inspiring! I am going to love catching up on all I’ve missed and following in 2013 :)

  5. Just discovered your blog and love it. We retired early to a rural spot in Cornwall last year and are just in the process of getting the veg plot going and planning on getting some rescue battery chickens soon. So I will be following your blog with great interest as I’m a newbie to all this, despite being brought up in rural Romney Marsh with chickens, horses and a veggie gardening nan. It’s taken more then 40 years to get back to it – but I’m very keen now!

  6. Hello Karen! I just found your blog and Absolutely LOVE IT! I had no idea about Rescue Hens! Sweet Emily :) I learned something new – thanks! Looking forward to spending a little more time reading your blog this rainy weekend. Lost to learn about your neck of the woods.

  7. Hey Karen! Wow, your blog is so inspiring! I simply adore your lifestyle. At the moment I am living in a busy, fast pace urban area. I too would love to move in a rural area where I can find peace and serenity in the garden!

  8. You have a great blog,it is nice to find a fellow Brit gardener. Your garden and allotment look great. I would love to have a bigger garden to be self sufficient…maybe one day.

  9. HI Karen, I wanted to say that your photographs are beautiful. I often think what my life would be like if I could move away from the city and plant my own vegetables. I love that you live this life and I can live vicariously through you. Looking forward to reading your posts.

  10. I am so happy that I found your blog. I look forward to following your progress and admiring your beautiful photographs!

  11. Really excellent blog, but you know that…Really admire the effort that goes into answering comments, and the beautiful photos of course. Today is the first time I had a real look through, will have to find some time somewhere to read more.

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