Sunday, 28 December 2008

Making Nettle Tea for Plant food

Nettle Leaf Plant Food
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.
3. Water,
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 !

Nettle Tea

Well the Nettle Tea has long finished fermenting and stinks, but I am informed works wonders especially if used with Comfrey. I have made gallons of the stuff, but in plastic milk containers at least I can't smell it unless I open the bottles. I made it in the purple trug stirring it daily for 4 weeks and then with a rubber glove on (essential) plunged the containers into the smelly tea and then put on the tops and shake now and again.
Here is the link (below) to more info on the nettle tea
And this one is for Comfrey
I have added it in a back dated post, but thought it would be handy here. It's nice to have something that is good for the allotment and was FREE to make.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

I can't believe it's over !

Where on earth did the last three days go ? I'm sure I say that every year ! but it's true, Christmas just flew past. I had a wonderful time with family and friends and lots of nice pressies.
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 -
Very Happy and healthy New Year

Friday, 19 December 2008

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Broad Beans

The Broad Beans are growing well, it's the first time I have started them off this early. I didn't get my plot until February, so by the time I had dug it over and prepared it this years beans went in later, but people who already had their plots were picking their autumn sown broad beans not long after mine had gone in, so I thought I would have a go.

This photo is of the Sweet Peas during the summer they had grown to the top of my 6ft high "goalpost" and the smell was Divine and I had bunches daily and had enough to give to neighbours as well. Roll on next year I have lofty plans I want to fulfill.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Yesterdays Harvest - Todays Dinner

Today I cooked "Navarin of Lamb" which I have cooked many times before and it's delicious.
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.
I didn't put as much onion in as the recipe says I used lots of diced leeks instead, for the Bouquet garni I added my own grown herbs - bay leaves, rosemary, and a couple of leaves of sage. I didn't add the silverskin onions as the leeks gave it enough flavour. I took photo's of the recipe so I hope you can read it ok, I didn't have time to write it out.

Good news - my Allotment is growing

I phoned the council today and it was confirmed that I now officially have the huge hard standing in front of my plot, the letter of confirmation was posted yesterday. So in the spring I shall either buy a bigger shed if I can afford it, or move my current small one onto the concrete base and then that frees up loads more planting area for me. There is a photo in an earlier post showing the layout of the hard standing.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Today's Harvest

The weather was so lovely today, it is still cold but it was pleasant enough to visit the lottie and clean the car. I got to harvest yet more leeks, curly kale and Brussels for tomorrows dinner. (photo - all washed and looking delicious ) I must say I shall be glad when the purple sprouting broccoli is ready to pick as I refuse to pay the price of it in the supermarkets.
I still haven't heard from the council as to whether or not I have the hard standing in front of my plot. If I haven't heard by tomorrows post I shall give them a ring, I still have my fingers crossed !!!!
That's about it for today, not much happening really on the allotment front, my sweet peas are coming on well in the unheated greenhouse, but no sign of the Garlic I planted.
I am going to tackle the compost bins at the weekend, they need emptying out,turning and shovelling back into the bins, apart from that there isn't really a lot to do until spring, other than harvest whats already growing up there.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Sometimes we take things for granted.

Perhaps I should re-phrase that to "I take things for granted", because I don't know if anyone else does, but I do know that I do. You may wonder what brought this on ? well ! I often think I need more, and maybe start feeling that more possessions or more money or more holidays will make me happier and better contented. (Not that I am unhappy or discontented, well not often anyway !)

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

Fingers crossed ! my plot may be growing

When I first took on my plot I asked if the hard standing was mine as well (see photo) seeing as it is attached to my space, but the lady from the council said NO ! apparently it used to have a large weed/rubbish bin on it that everyone shared, and when the council decided it was costing them to much to empty it (man power, petrol etc) they gave all plot holders a free compost bin and said "there you go ! put your rubbish in those" SO the concrete hard standings then became car parking spaces. (there is another one on the allotment)

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

The Broad Beans are in

I spent about two hours this afternoon at the allotment. The broad beans have got on so well I thought I should get them into the bed. I dug in a bag of farmyard manure first and then got them planted and covered just as it was getting dark, so haven't taken a photo of them in place but here's one before I took them to the lottie. and a photo of my wooden box with all my seeds for next year. I can't wait for the spring to get sowing.

Rosie has her new clothes on

At last I got to put Rosie's new clothes on, although she still has the old trousers. but she looks fresh and rather cute in her Pink sweatshirt, hat & scarf. The sweatshirt was from Sue at our local freecycle.