Posts Tagged ‘being-green’

Tuesday tiddlers

Hee hee, tiny little leeks sown last Thursday

I tidied up the herb containers outside today, and then transferred the tomato seedlings into bigger pots.  These are recycled cups from the water dispenser at work.

And we won’t mention the triffids

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Big Green Smile

Happy New Year!!

I’m a bit late off the mark but there you go.  I’m not going to do a round up of last year’s gardening and green efforts because basically I was just getting started.  This year will be the one to really get going but again I’m not going to list resolutions because I never stick to them.

So for my first post of 2012 I want to praise great service.  Back in August I posted about some items I’d bought through Planet Organic.  One of these items was the Eco2Life cleaner system where you initially buy the product with the spray bottle and subsequently just buy refills thus cutting down on packaging and waste.

Eco2Life system

When it came time to order refills I discovered that Planet Organic no longer stock them so I had to find another source. After “googling” I came across a site called Big Green Smile.  They have a great range of eco-products so after having a look around the site I put an order together.  That was yesterday morning.  My order arrived this morning!!  How quick is that??  It was well packaged in a cardboard box and the filler was more scrunched cardboard so all recyclable.

If your order is over £10 you can request 2 free samples – I chose to try Yes to Tomatoes face wash and moisturiser (the two sachets in the middle of the photo).  Also if you refer a friend they get a £10 voucher off an order over £25.  So if anyone would like to take advantage of this offer, let me know and I’ll refer you. (in the interest of full disclosure I would also get a voucher!)

I will review the various products as I use them.  I currently have a load of laundry in using the Method laundry liquid, and I’ll be attempting to clean my oven in the next few days.  I didn’t have much success using baking soda, salt and vinegar so I am going to try the e-cloth first (we’ve used the glass one and it’s amazing!) and if I struggle with that then I’ll try the OrangeMate.

As for the Eco2Life cleaners, they are really good.  There is no horrid chemical smell and they clean really well.  I even got some permanent marker off one of my tiles today with the multipurpose cleaner.  And the bathroom one keeps my bath sparkling!

Not very exciting to be talking about cleaning products, but if you care about using fewer chemicals and not harming yourself or the environment, give Big Green Smile a look.

 

Book review: An Inconvenient Truth

An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About ItAn Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It by Al Gore

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Whilst I was reading this book (which only took me less than 2 hours this morning) it seemed very basic, with lots of colourful pictures and very basic representations of graphs etc. Sentences like “a scientist said that…..” or “some scientists think that……” with no reference to who these scientists were! It was only when I finished the book and looked properly at the front cover that I realised it was a young person’s edition for 12 years and up!! Whoops, that explained it!. Luckily I’d bought it secondhand from greenmetropolis.com and have relisted it for sale on that same site.
Anyway, if you have/know a child around the start of high school this would be a good introduction to global warming issues. It covers topics like melting of ice caps, CO2 emissions etc and how it is the human population of the earth which is causing all the problems. It does suggest a few changes we can make like hybrid cars and CFL lightbulbs but doesn’t go into details (I would hope this was covered in the adult edition).
However it passed a couple of hours hiding from the nasty weather (a consequence of our disregard for the planet perhaps?).

View all my reviews

Book review: Cabbages & Roses Guide to Natural Housekeeping

Cabbages and Roses Guide to Natural Housekeeping (Cabbages & Roses Guide) (Cabbages & Roses Guide)Cabbages and Roses Guide to Natural Housekeeping (Cabbages & Roses Guide) by Christina Strutt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a great recommendation from a friend, I may think of getting my own copy, or at least copying out some of the useful tips before it goes back to the library.
I was particularly interested in the section about making your own household cleaning products, as although I use eco-friendly brands like Ecover, I’m still not really sure what is in them – anyone know what an anionic surfactant is?? This book implies that if you have water, bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar, you can clean virtually anything. I’m definitely giving it a go.
There are also some interesting gift suggestions for scouring antique markets and shops for presents rather than buying something new (and probably plastic!).
A good section on gardening, and the uses of herbs.
And it is all written in an easy to read style, as if you were getting advice from a friend.

View all my reviews

Late November roundup

Yesterday I received two raspberry canes from a “free if you pay P&P” offer in Grow Your Own magazine.  Basically they sent me two sticks with roots on the bottom!  Anyway I’m not really sure where I want them to go but I obviously needed to get them in somewhere for now or they really would end up as just two dead sticks so I have put them in the veg bed against the fence.  One is called Polka which is an autumn fruiting variety, and the other is a summer fruiting Glen Ample.  I don’t know if I will get any fruit next year but we’ll see.

While I was outside I took a few photos of the late November veg patch

Overwintering veg

I got some of those FlexiBalls to build a low cage over the cabbages because I think the pigeons will start eyeing them up soon.  And also threw some organic wool slug pellets around them because something has already had a go.  These pellets are completely safe and made from the clinkers off a sheep’s bum! Nice!! They ponged a bit when I opened the bag. They are a good fertiliser too but whether they keep the slugs off is another matter.

Cabbages and new raspberry cane Glen Ample (back left)

There is a mystery with the garlic.  Quite a few of the organic Vallelado are coming up, but so far not one single shoot of the Solent Wight.  This is a photo of the onions with the garlic on the right, and the Polka raspberry at the back.

Onions, garlic and new raspberry cane Polka

These are my peas and broad beans, the peas are just starting to curl their little tendrils around the sticks

Peas (front) and broad beans (back)

And finally the sweet peas in pots in the growhouse

Sweet peas in growhouse

And that’s about it really.  I did have a quick look at the rhubarb and it looks like there might be a big shoot developing on the top of the crown.  I hope it doesn’t start growing yet.

I am currently reading a book a friend recommended to me called Cabbages & Roses Guide to Natural Housekeeping.  It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of Bicarb of Soda and some white vinegar!!  Haven’t tried any yet but will do soon.  It’s all much more eco-friendly than the cupboard full of poisons most people have in their houses.

No liposuction required………

……….but I have a lovely new butt!!

This one is to go on the patio.  We have a drainpipe that collects all the water from the new extension roofs and existing rear house roof so it shouldn’t take too long to fill once it is connected.  It is a narrow “space saver” water butt, 100 litre capacity.  I ordered it from greenfingers.com in their clearance sale for £19.99 plus a stand for £7.99.  I have got a connector kit separately from this seller on ebay, so that’s a job for the weekend when we find a suitable tool for making the hole for the connecting water pipe to fit.

You get free delivery if you order over £29, so because I was a little short I ordered this (rather substantial when it arrived) dibber and a pair of very fetching knee pads!!

On Sunday morning I planted out my 7 cabbage seedlings and covered them with fleece until the cabbage collars arrive.  And I think that is now it for the sowing and planting until the spring.  I currently have onions, garlic, cabbage, peas and broad beans in the veg bed, turnips in the patio bag and the last of the tomatoes desperately fighting to ripen on the patio.  It is quite sunny (but cold) today so fingers crossed for a few more before I have to bring them in.  I cut down and hung my French beans in the shed to dry for seeds.  But I have no idea what the original plants were, (which I bought as small plants unlabelled at the local hardware store,) let alone if they are F1s so I will have to get some other seeds as well, I was thinking of Blue Lake as they look the most like the ones I had this year.

I did have a slightly amusing tomato, a siamese twin…..

I am currently reading a book called Allotted Time, an amusing account of two guys who decided on a slightly tipsy night out to get an allotment when neither of them had ever gardened before.  I’m about two thirds through so will review it when I’m done.  And I have been adventurous in my cooking with two recipes from River Cottage Veg Every Day last week and another planned for tonight.  The River Cottage TV series to accompany the book just started on Channel 4 on Sunday evening and I am very pleased to say it doesn’t clash with the Strictly results show!!

Garden re-vamp: End of Day One

Wow, these guys are hard-workers.  They arrived before 7.30 this morning and didn’t stop until the rain got too heavy at about 3.45.  The old lawn was in the skip before 9.30!  And they’ve even put my bird box up.

So here are the day one progress photos……(click each one for a bigger version)

Looks a bit of a mud bath after the rain but it’s definitely taking shape.  We are recycling some things, such as edging the path with left over blocks from when the patio was done, and some old slabs that were down in the gravel are going round the back of the shed to put the grow house on.  The rocks will go round the bottom of the holly to make a bed for comfrey.  And at the risk of reintroducing self seeded weeds were are reusing the gravel.  There will be weed membrane underneath so nothing will come upwards but we’ll just have to keep on top of the ones that grow on top. Unfortunately there isn’t space to have kept the old turf and composted it down.  So that went in the skip with the forsythia and the holly prunings (and an old gate).

So we shall see what tomorrow brings…..