Sunday, 28 December 2008
Nettle leaves can be used to make an easy to use, if somewhat smelly, plant food. Best of all it's free!
To make your nettle fertiliser you will need only four things:
1. Nettles! - Obviously.
2. A watertight container - a large bucket or plastic trug is adequate.
4. A weight. Not essential but it holds the leaves under the water.
First take your nettles. These are best as young stems but can be picked at any time. Then it's best to crush them. This can be done by scrunching the stems in gloved hands - essential to wear gloves ! or I have read that by placing the stems on a freshly mown lawn and using your mower to chop and collect the nettles at the same time. The addition of a few grass clippings that results from using this method does not affect the quality of the finished product. I personally didn't do this, but I may try it next time I make some.
Immerse in water, Stuff the crushed stems into your bucket. Place your weight on top of the stems and leaves. - A brick and a piece of wire mesh cut to suit the container serves well. Fill the container with water sufficient to cover the nettles and... Leave to brew, stir daily or whenever you get the time. In around 3-4 weeks the nettle tea should be ready to use. You may also consider placing the bucket away from the areas in the garden that you use most as the brew tends to get rather smelly.
The mixture should be diluted until it is tea coloured - usually around 1 part liquid to 10 parts water. Water liberally around or on the plants and see the benefits. Repeat until winter.
Continue to top up your container with more leaves and water through the year. As autumn sets in put the remainder of the feed and the sludge in your compost heap, it makes a good activator. Give your container a rinse and store for next year!
I hope you find this useful. Happy Growing !
Saturday, 27 December 2008
I was so pleased with my brussel sprouts from the lottie, I harvested loads of small tasty sprouts for Christmas day lunch and steamed them until tender but still a bit crisp, and then pan fried them briefly with a knob of butter, salt & pepper and some chestnuts, they were delicious ! I am now looking forward to my purple sprouting broccoli, no sign of anything to pick yet. It seems so long since I sowed the seeds and planted them, I only hope the harvest is worth the wait because they take up a lot of growing space for a long period.
I can't wait to get sowing in January, I have a wooden box full of seeds. it's my favourite job and watching the first leaves poke through the compost is amazing.
I hope you all had a good Christmas and I would like to wish everyone a -
Friday, 19 December 2008
Thursday, 18 December 2008
Friday, 12 December 2008
We had the Brussels, leeks and curly kale with it. I have to say it's so rewarding to eat your own fresh veg. Photo's here of the Dinner and the recipe.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Saturday, 6 December 2008
Then the other evening sitting in my living room, curtains shut, heating on, candles lit ( I am a candle freak and always have been ) glass of wine, listening to some music (got the picture !) I suddenly realised by looking around my cosy room (even though the sofa's are old) that it looked great and I that I often forget and take for granted just how much I/we have. IE: - a cosy home, a brilliant family, each other, etc ! and lots of people have nothing, literally nothing, and so I got my camera out (this was very late at night ) and went around snapping little snapshots of my home, just little items and cosy corners that although have no big value, but to us are memories of who gave them to us or where and when we chose them. Even things in my food cupboard, like my favourite porridge (OK ! Very odd ) I got carried away snapping and even took a couple next day in the garden, but this exercise made me look at my home in a different light, almost like I hadn't seen it for ages. I recommend you do this if you ever feel dissatisfied.
Anyway I added them all in a set on FLIKR ( "Images of Home" link below if you care to look) and honestly when I looked at them it all looked cosy and warm and made me realise that I don't need anything else at all. Well maybe some more !!!!!!!! ?????
Friday, 5 December 2008
Anyway to cut a long story, recently a new person has taken over the allotment section in the council offices and thankfully she has an allotment of her own, (elsewhere) so she understood the nuisance it must be for me to have cars parked right in front of my plot, and when she did her first inspection of allotments 2 weeks ago she made a note of it.
The thing is the other hard standing has recently been given to a new plot holder that has his plot right next to it. So I thought why shouldn't I get the one near me ? so I phoned the lady from the council today and she is going to "run it by her boss" and she can't see any reason why I can't have it as the car spaces weren't there whilst the bins where in place, and everyone managed to park if they needed to take their car in.
She said she will send me a letter to confirm it's mine next week if it's ok'd. SO fingers crossed if I get it I can move my shed onto it and free up much needed growing space where the shed is now. Oh it's so exciting ! but I am trying not to hold out much hope in case I don't get it.
Sorry if this is boring but it's all part of my allotment blog history.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Thursday, 27 November 2008
An old fire bucket rescued from the skip filled with wallflowers, and the beds covered for the winter with black plastic to keep the weeds down and warm up the soil. You can also see my paving slabs that I bought second hand for 50p each from the local council dump, great for my paths which I have to plan in the spring.
Saturday, 22 November 2008
Friday, 21 November 2008
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
I have this week been collecting baby nettle leaves and filled a large plastic trug with them and covered them with water and I stir it every day. It has to be left for 4 weeks before being diluted and then used for the plants. I read a good tip on a gardening forum which was to use some 4 pint plastic milk container to put the nettle leaves into and then it can be shaken instead of being stirred, ( just like 007's martini ! ) sounds a good idea so I will try it.
The Horse poo tea consists of fresh stable droppings put onto a small sack and suspended into a large bucket or dustbin of water and left for weeks ( this surprisingly doesn't stink ) then watered down to look like very weak tea in colour (in a watering can) and again is good for the plants.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
I bought a nice piece of timber to put along the window side of the shed and bought some tool hooks to hang all the tools off the floor. I had some blue garden furniture paint over from our benches in the garden, so gave it a coat of that before we put it up. I had found an old Ikea cd rack on a skip a couple of months ago so we put that up as well and it's coming in handy for storing bits & bobs on, so it's all looking grand so far, and there is still some more things to do. It makes it much easier to find things in such a little shed if they are all in place.
Ok ! I obviously have too much time on my hands !!
I will post some photo's of the results soon. I have become a scavenger much to my husbands disgust ! I keep looking in skips and have found some really useful things (with permission of course ! ) especially my old rustic wheelbarrow and some large planters which were ideal in the greenhouse for the tomatoes this year.
Saturday, 15 November 2008
I am adding here a great Beetroot recipe that I have tried and loved. I thought someone out there may want to try it as well, it's always nice to try something different.
BAKED BEETROOT AND GARLIC (Tasty recipe with a difference )
1) Place the beetroot's into double thickness of foil, make sure there is enough foil to bring up to seal the beetroots.
( leave whole and don't peel them at this stage)
2) Crush 4 garlic cloves ( again don't peel just give them a bash to crush them, so they are still whole but the taste is released) add them to the beetroot.
3) Add about a tablespoon of virgin olive oil and tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to the beetroot spoon it over the beetroot & garlic. seal the foil tightly so the beetroot almost steams in the oven. ( you can add more oil & vinegar if you wish )
4) Bake at around 190 for about an hour ( depending on size and number of beetroots) test with a sharp knife to see if the beetroot is cooked, if not leave for longer.
5) When cooked allow to cool and take the skin off the beetroots with a sharp knife and cut into either slices or chunks. This is the messy bit as they bleed
delicious as a baked veg with the dinner or left to go cold and have it with salad or in a cheese sandwich.
I kept mine in a kilner jar in the fridge for a week I left the juices and garlic in the jar as well.
I hope you try it.
Friday, 14 November 2008
Thursday, 13 November 2008
Monday, 10 November 2008
The top photo was taken in April 2008 just after I had started planning and planting my beds. I hadn't got the shed or the greenhouse at that point. The plot is 126 sq metres in total and is the oddest shaped plot on the allotment (as you can see) I can only describe it as boomerang shaped and it's also on a slope so I have my work cut out for me. I do have scope to change the shape a bit, as there is some grassed area around the plot which is mine so I could perhaps rearrange the shape a little, we shall see !
This photo was taken a month later in May, what a difference a month makes ! it looks all green and lush. It's all bare again now waiting for spring. The frame that looks like a goal post was covered in sweet peas and looked and smelt wonderful all summer long. I had masses of flowers to pick for the house.
Here's a photo of some of the sweet peas I picked in the summer they filled the house with their fragrance.
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Friday, 7 November 2008
I intend this to be a diary of all the achevement's I have made since taking over my plot. I have spent a lot of time and energy on my plot and made lots of new friends and grown loads of tasty veg. It's all been very worthwhile and I couldn't imagine my life without it now, although it is a big commitment of my time and I do get days when I think "why bother" but they are very few and most days are spent in good company in the fresh air and the end produce is what really makes it all worth the effort.
I get a lot of enjoyment nosying around other allotmenteers blogs, so I hope that when I get the hang of this blogging malarky I will have something of interest for others to read as well.