Posts Tagged ‘recycling’

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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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

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…..

Late sowing

Since I harvested the potatoes, the used compost has been sitting in a big bucket because I didn’t want to throw it away.  But what to do with it?  As a newbie veg gardener I am not sure what you can sow at which times of the year but some of the magazines seem to suggest that you can sow quite a few things this time of year.

So this morning I got the potato grow bag back out of the shed, mixed half and half used compost and new peat free compost and filled it halfway up.  I folded the top over and made two drills into which I put some carrot seed and some turnip seed.  In my trough which had had mixed salad leaves and radishes, I again mixed in some new compost and sowed pak choi and chicory.

All the seeds are freebies which I have collected from various magazines so if they don’t produce much it’s no biggie.

Meanwhile I have the tiniest of shoots coming up in one of the pots I sowed with parsley about 10 days ago.  I was starting to think nothing was going to grow but looks like something is happening after all!

And, we have decided to let the guys our builder recommended loose on the garden.  They are going to come around the beginning of September to do all the manual work like ripping up and replacing the old weed membrane and gravel, taking out some shrubs and root stumps, digging me a veg patch and laying a new lawn.  Then it is up to us!! Yikes.

Free (-ish) lavenders

In a recent issue of Gardener’s World magazine there was an offer for 6 free lavender plants if you paid £4 P+P.  So I filled in the coupon and ordered them, and they arrived this morning.  They are only small plug plants but they look healthy enough.

Each one is different but the names were printed on the front of the packaging and I didn’t have any plant label sticks.  So I used my reuse, recycle brain and fished an empty yogurt pot out of the recycling bin.  I cut strips and pointy ends and used a Sharpie to write on them.  Perfect plant labels!

I potted them all together in a small trough because they will go into the garden at some point.

I must google the different names to see what they will look like when they flower next year.

We’ve just had a couple of guys round to have a look at the garden and give us a quote for basically digging things out and getting it prepared for me to start doing my thang!  They were recommended by the builder who did our extension and he did a great job so fingers crossed.  We have had one ridiculously expensive quote so hopefully this one will be better. These guys seem a bit more “manual labour” than “garden designer” which is what we need.

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Talking of recycling, I heard a great story on the More Hip podcast.  A couple of friends have been sending each other a birthday card for around 30 years.  And when I say “a birthday card” I mean ONE birthday card.  One of them sends it to the other who then writes on it and sends it back when it is the other one’s birthday.  Over the years they have had to add the occasional sheet of paper when they ran out of room but the same card has been going backwards and forwards all that time.  I think it’s a great idea, after all do you remember the picture on the front of all the cards you get year after year?  Would it matter if it is the same one?  Think of the number of trees that could be saved if everyone did this, and the cellophane wrapping etc that cards are wrapped in these days.  And if you had a group of people you could send a different one to a different person to add a bit of variety.  I certainly wouldn’t be offended but maybe choose the friends you do it with carefully!!

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And in case you were wondering, my other present from Colin arrived in the post yesterday.  It was a copy of Vegetable Growing Month by Month by John Harrison.  I have realised that it is actually a previous edition of the book I reviewed recently, The Complete Vegetable Grower, without all the glossy paper and photographs.  But this is great because that was a library book and now I don’t have to buy a copy!!

Recycle your books

I have always been an avid reader.  I remember going to my primary school fair and choosing a copy of Worzel Gummidge and Saucy Nancy from the secondhand book stall.  The lady at the stall said that it would be a bit advanced for me to read but I asked my nan to buy it for me and took it home and devoured it.  I was probably about 7 at the time.

I’ve been reading ever since.  I do buy quite a few new books but I also buy second hand.  I can’t resist the bookshelves in charity shops, and there is a cute oldie-worldie second hand bookshop called Words & Music on the walls in Chester where I picked up a book recently that I had been looking for for ages as it was out of print.

I do like to hang onto books when I have read them but there comes a time when you have to cull them a little.  So what can you do with them?  Well you can donate them to charity shops, release them “into the wild” through Bookcrossingor you can use a site like GreenMetropolis.  On this UK based site you can list books you have for sale.  If another member of the site (free to join) wants one of your books you post it off to them and your account is credited by £3 for each book you sell.  You can also buy books, and all are priced at £3.75 no matter the size or condition of the book.  Postage is free for an average sized paperback but sellers can add a small amount extra to cover the postage on larger books.  For each book you sell or buy a 5p donation is made to The Woodland Trust.

So why not have a rummage through your unwanted books and see if you can make a few pennies whilst also helping The Woodland Trust.  It’s heartbreaking to see books  just thrown away.