Monthly Archives: May 2014

Rat deterrent

I often hear people having problems with rats, more so if they or someone near them keeps poultry. Let me introduce you to my rat trap! It is the most effective and simple form of rat deterrent I have found to date and I absolutely recommend it as a const effective way of keeping that ‘rat out of your kitchen’.

DIY water garden

I have a pond to attract toads and frogs to deal with slugs that are pests to my crops. I do not use pesticides, never have, however I do believe in the food cycle and the natural order of things. Even if you don’t have space for a pond, this simple step by step process will help you build yourself a water garden that not only looks pretty but also will attract a toad or two.

It is the beautiful month of May

 

I was born in May so obviously it will be my favourite month however bias aside it really is a beautiful month.  Spring has sprung, days are longer, you no longer have to batten down the hatches, put the heat up to fall and wrap yourself in a blanket.  You can spend evenings having a BBQ with friends and family, a refreshing drink with your loved one.  One of my favourite ways to spend a summer evening is led on a lounger in the garden with a light blanket reading one of my favourite books with just sounds of nature surrounding me.

May is also a time when the jobs in the garden increase and you really need to set yourself a routine to keep up with the weeds, new seedlings, watering, transplanting etc.  So I have listed a few jobs below that I will be doing over this coming month. Continue reading

Allotment day

Yesterday I spent a day at the allotment, well 4 hours but with two kids in school and a toddler I think that counts as a day! I had to do quite a bit of weeding after the sunny weather we have had, however I cannot stress enough how much easier it was to weed now the ground has been rotavated.  I left an area not rotavated to see what the difference would be and yesterday the results spoke for themselves.  The areas that had been rotavated contained purely surface weeds that with a hoe and a rake I had a completely clear area, the small area I had left was a nightmare to clear.  The weeds were well rooted and there was an awful lot of hands and knees work to be done just to get it clear.  So if you are able to beg or borrow an rotavator it really is a worthwhile piece of kit to have.

I planted more peas and beans, put in the burlotti beans, the parsnip, swede and turnips and some brassicas. Also got some more leeks and beetroot in. A very busy day indeed but I am hoping for a bumper harvest this year.  Left the allotment with two handfuls of radishes, oddly shaped, but radishes all the same, looking forward to having a nibble with the salad later.

So little question, who plants from seeds and who buys plants? 

Can I compost in a small garden?

Unless you own a small holding the majority of gardeners own a relatively average size garden and if you have made it to the top of the allotment list you may have a separate vegetable plot.  With limited space finding room to grow vegetables is difficult enough without having to find a space for an unsightly compost heap.

But as some local councils are charging for green waste collection it is well worth recycling your garden waste and kitchen scraps at home.  As well as saving you money on collection charges recycling through your local council scheme or private firm isn’t as green as you may think.  The vehicles that collect it and the machines that turn it both increase the carbon footprint, by having a compost bin in the garden  you avoid these carbon emissions.

I understand a compost bin looks quite ugly and may not fit in with your garden scheme but if all you have are fruit and veg peelings and plant waste from trimming or deadheading you can simply bury this in the garden.  Dig a hole about 30cm deep, half fill with waste and cover it back over.  The waste will gradually decompose enriching your soil with valuable nutrients.  It really is that easy and in the summer months the waste will decompose after about 6-8 weeks. In the winter it can take several months so continue digging holes and filling with waste and in the spring just turn it over and rake it in when you do your weeding.

Hungry and thirsty crops like your potatoes, beans and courgettes also benefit from added green waste.  I remember my Dad talking about how my Grandad would always spend a couple of months prior to planting his beans, filling a trench.  So he would dig the trench, keep filling with green waste, turn the soil back in and plant his beans, he never had a bad crop!

If you do go down the route of a compost bin, it doesn’t need to be unsightly you can get the in all shapes and sizes depending on what you are willing to spend or if you have access to a pallet or two build a lovely wooden one.  It doesn’t need a prime location, somewhere in partial shade so the heat from the sun speeds up the process without drying it out.

Another option is a wormery. You put in your food scraps, the worms digest them and produce compost and a rich liquid fertiliser or for free! The added advantage is worms can break down your fresh scraps in as little as 2-3 weeks.  You will need to put it in a shady corner because too much heat will kill off your worms, in the winter put in a shed or garage. 

With a little bit of imagination you can create rich and fertile compost no matter what size of plot you have saving you pounds on council collection.

I am now a blog writer for Small Steps Magazine!

Here is my first blog post for Small Steps magazine, an online parenting community providing tips and ideas to enjoy your parenting journey.  My blog is to encourage parents to get their kids loving the great outdoors with a long term objective to ensuring the next generation have a far better understanding of where their food comes from.

 

Hope you enjoy it

 

http://www.smallstepsonline.co.uk/Blogs/tabid/1104/EntryId/241/Default.aspx