Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Photo an hour, May 2017.

Saturday the 20th was photo an hour day, I missed it because I was in an internet black hole in Wales, but I took a photo an hour on Sunday 21st instead!  Here are my photos.

Photo an hour in organised by Jane and Louisa, anyone can join in and post their hourly photos on social media throughout the day tagging them #photoanhour.  Why don't you join in next time?
 
10am - Not a bad view to have my breakfast in front of.


11am - Doing last day of holiday things, like packing and stripping the bed.


12pm - We've been staying in the pink apartment above the sweet shop, of course!


1pm - Beach feet, one last walk along the beach before home time.


2pm - Goodbye harbour.


3pm - Beach chips.


4pm - The train journey home is so beautiful, it goes along the coast, I took this photo from the train window.


5pm - Still on the train.


6pm - I know these aren't very exciting photos, but I'm still on the train.  Here's another train window photo.


7pm - Home!  I spent an hour running round in the garden.  I missed my garden so much.  I swear the peas have grown a foot in the last week! 


8pm - I had vegan chicken nuggets and potato waffles for tea, and caught up with my current binge watch, Awkward.


9pm - lovely Lush bath.


10pm - Unpacking.  I pretty much bought this because it's called Mermaid Confetti (it's sea salt with toasted seaweed).


11pm - Reading this weird book on the sofa before bed.  I prefer to read in bed but when Joe is working an early shift the next day I do my reading downstairs so he can go to bed super early, he'll be up at 5am-ish poor thing.



Did you take part this time?  How was your Sunday?

 
 
 


Friday, 5 May 2017

Easy eco friendly actions and articles.


Here are a few easy online actions and interesting articles to make the world a better place,  

Sign Friends of the Earth's petition asking fracking company Caudrilla to stop breaking the law.

photo via Story of Stuff

Ask clothing companies to take responsibility for microfibre pollution

This guy got his community together to make the first carbon neutral village.

Sign this petition for a EU-wide ban on glyphosate.  38 Degrees have a petition going to keep the ban on bee killing pesticides too.

photo via Friends of the Earth

This article suggests that shop bought bee friendly plants are poisoning bees (if they're grown using pesticides).  I'm now growing from seed, saving seed, taking cuttings, and generally scrounging plants instead of buying as far as I can.

I like the idea of a walking city.

Peat is in so many gardening products, and it's super bad for the environment.  Sign Friends of the Earth's petition to protect British peatlands.  I buy my organic, peat free compost from Wilkos by the way. 

photo via Upworthy

Lego is looking into ways to make eco friendly lego!  We love lego in this household so this is very exciting! 

I post these kinds of things on twitter all month, so find me there if this is your kind of thing too!

 
 
 
 

Friday, 28 April 2017

Diary of a suburban edible garden, April 2017.

It's all seeds all the time here!  We're going away for a week mid May, so I'm madly trying to get everything I've sown hardened off and planted out before we go.  Once we're back I'll plant a load more I'm sure! 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, April 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #ediblegarden #permacultureUK #gardenblogger

Diary of a suburban edible garden, April 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #ediblegarden #permacultureUK #gardenblogger

Diary of a suburban edible garden, April 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #ediblegarden #permacultureUK #gardenblogger

Joe's still digging out the back of garden bank of soil and rubble.  Does this photo show how big the bank is?  I've included a bamboo cane for scale, but now I come to think about it I can't remember how long the cane was.  I think we'll be able to fit an 8x8 foot shed here now, and before there was a 6x4 one, so lots of space made!

Diary of a suburban edible garden, April 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #ediblegarden #permacultureUK #gardenblogger

All the soil from the bank has been wheel barrowed to the new raised bed.  The new bed is on the lawn, so I prepared under it by lifting the turf a little with my garden fork, then adding a layer of newspaper, twigs, hay and coir compost, Joe added the soil, and then near the top there are some layers of home made compost, organic peat free compost and more coir.  I worked out that the beds have a capacity of over 300 litres, which is a load of soil!


I've planted the bed up with some lazy housewife beans, burlotti beans, strawberries, sweetcorn, garlic chives, rats tail radishes, pink swiss chard, a geranium and a poached egg plant.  There's loads more to put in!  The two plates are coving ollas, clay pots buried under ground to help with watering. 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, April 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #ediblegarden #permacultureUK #gardenblogger

All those seedlings will need feeding soon, so I've gathered lots of weeds for making weed tea.  Mines mostly nettles and dandelion, just whack them into a bucket, cover with water, put a lid on (most important, it stinks!), then leave to ferment for 2 or 3 weeks.  You dilute it 1 part tea to 10 parts water when it's ready and plants lurve it.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, April 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #ediblegarden #permacultureUK #gardenblogger

I nearly bought a rosemary plant from the shops, but I decided to see if I could be thriftier and take a cutting from my existing plant.  I just snipped a growing tip off, plonked it on the windowsill in a little pot of water for 2 weeks and it's rooted!  Yey free plant!


I love the side garden, but it never looks very nice in photos.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, April 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #ediblegarden #permacultureUK #gardenblogger

I've just ordered three new trees for down here from the Woodland Trust, all native British trees that are good for wildlife.  I've got a Rowan, a Hazel and a Dog Rose.  I think I can fit 2 more apple trees in too!

The apple trees are blossoming for the first time.  Despite the fact that I picked them up for a couple of pounds each in the sales last year.  And that I've pruned them severely following instructions from my Grow a Little Fruit Tree book.


I'm trying a new way of weeding in the side garden too.  My new rule is that I can only remove weeds when I've got something to replace them with.  Otherwise I'm just clearing the weeds, leaving bare soil, and more weeds are coming along to fill in the bare patches!  You can see here I've weeded in front of the apple tree, then planted strawberries, thyme, garlic chives, an auricula, lavender, a pretty shrub with pink flowers and some yellowish creeping stuff.  I'm growing some crimson clover in pots which I'll add in too, so there's a good mix of ground cover, edible stuff and nitrogen fixers that are good for the soil.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, April 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #ediblegarden #permacultureUK #gardenblogger

Here's the back garden in it's full glory.  Someone (Kezzie) asked how big my garden was a while ago, I've got out the tape measure and it's 15 metres long, 7.5 metres wide (50ft by 24ft) and the bed at the side of the garden is 7 metres by 1.5 metres.  If you'd like another fact about my garden then I can tell you that the main back garden is 0.028 of an acre.  I can also tell you that I still haven't painted the fence!

Diary of a suburban edible garden, April 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #ediblegarden #permacultureUK #gardenblogger

I'll leave you with these garden friends, wildlife is my chum this month, they're all buzzing and flying at me like I'm a somewhat unwilling Disney character.  The birds give zero effs right now and would probably actually land on top of me while I'm digging, they know that if I'm about I'll probably uncover a worm or 2.  I've already had a wasp in my hair too!  I do like nature but flappy things do make me slightly nervous and sweaty!

Diary of a suburban edible garden, April 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #ediblegarden #permacultureUK #gardenblogger

These bee flies and butterflies are much calmer friends!

Diary of a suburban edible garden, April 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #ediblegarden #permacultureUK #gardenblogger

Diary of a suburban edible garden, April 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #ediblegarden #permacultureUK #gardenblogger

How are your gardens?  Are you being dive-bombed by birds too?



Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Photo an hour, April 2017.

Saturday the 22nd was photo an hour day, and here are my photos.

Photo an hour in organised by Jane and Louisa, anyone can join in and post their hourly photos on social media throughout the day tagging them #photoanhour.  Why don't you join in next time?
 
9am - breakfast crumpets and a read of my (awesome!) permaculture gardening book before heading off to work.  It's called Gaia's Garden if you want to check it out.
 
 
10am - at work with my chums Percival the Pig and Small Pink Hamster. 

 
11am - passed in a blur!
 
12pm - grabbing a quick slurp of water before going back out there.  I helped with a lot of homework and dealt with a lot of complaints about the wifi not working!


1pm - to market, to market to buy all the organic veggies.


2pm - wending my way home through the back alleys, this blossom tree is beautiful.
 
 
3pm - I managed to catch the end of An Audience with Victoria Wood while I ate my lunch.
 
 
4pm - 'I'm pretty sleepy so I'll just do some gentle jobs in the garden' turned into digging up a tree and replanting it!  Here is some apple blossom on another tree.


5pm - this tadpole is called fatty because he is the fattiest.  Him and me hung out in the lovely sunshine for a couple of hours.


6pm - just waiting for Joe to get home so we can eat dinner.


7pm - we spent the rest of the night chatting and catching up on telly watching, Doctor Who, Gardener's World and Project Runway.  There are no more photos, we didn't move.


1am - Waay too late to bed!  But there's always time for a chapter or two before sleep time.


Did you take part this time?
 

 
 
 

Friday, 14 April 2017

A yummy vegan chocolate fudge crispie cake recipe.

I love chocolate nest cakes at Easter!  This is my own vegan chocolate fudge version,

A yummy vegan chocolate fudge crispie cake recipe.  Perfect for Easter.  By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganeaster #veganblog #chocolatecrispiecake #veganrecipe

You will need

200g dark vegan chocolate
2 big dessert spoons of golden syrup
1 tea spoon of vegan margarine
pinch of salt
rice puff cereal
vegan ready to roll icing

a bowl, spoon, microwave and a serving dish.

How to make vegan chocolate fudge crispie cake

First melt the chocolate in the microwave, then add in the syrup, margarine and a pinch of salt and mix it all together thoroughly.

Pour in the rice cereal a bit at a time.  It's a bit tricky to mix, because the chocolate mixture goes quite fudgy, but persevere and don't worry too much if there are some bits of cereal that won't get covered.

Press the mixture into whatever dish you want to serve it in, I've used a cute little Pyrex one.  You can also make individual ones, each in a small dish, bowl or tea cup. 

Then decorate it!  I've used some ready to roll icing to make mini eggs to go on top.

A yummy vegan chocolate fudge crispie cake recipe.  Perfect for Easter.  By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganeaster #veganblog #chocolatecrispiecake #veganrecipe

Pop the cake in the fridge to set, then serve for pudding on Easter (or breakfast?  Well it is chocolate day!).


A yummy vegan chocolate fudge crispie cake recipe.  Perfect for Easter.  By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganeaster #veganblog #chocolatecrispiecake #veganrecipe





Tuesday, 11 April 2017

How I made my washing up bowl pond.

The newest addition to my garden is a cute little washing up pond.  I don't have room for a big pond, but any amount of water is good for attracting wildlife and bringing balance to the garden.

How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden

I was inspired by the RSPB, who recommend making mini ponds as part of it's 'homes for nature' scheme, and you can find their instructions here, but this is what I did to make my very own washing up bowl pond, 

You will need,

a washing up bowl
gravel
stones
sticks
terracotta plant pots
rainwater
pond weed
and tools, a spade and a spirit level

How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden

Your little pond needs to be in a spot where it's light but not in full on sunshine all day.  The first step is to just dig a hole that your washing up bowl will fit into.

How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden

Next, use a spirit level to check the bowl is level and adjust the hole accordingly if necessary. 

How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden

Pop the washing up bowl in the hole and fill in any big gaps round the sides with soil.  Then you get to do the fun bit - making a nice little habitat for your underwater friends.  I added gravel to the base and a little terracotta pot for critters to hide in.  It's a really good idea to have a pile of stones and a stick to act as a ramp in and out of the pond so no-one gets stuck in there if they fall in (hedgehogs, I'm looking at you!).

How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden

Fill your mini pond with rainwater and add some pond weed.  My mum has a pond, so she kindly gave me some water, weed and frogspawn to start my pond off, but this isn't essential - the wildlife will find your pond all on it's own!  If you have some big stones and gravel then add them round the edges of the washing up bowl pond to make it look pretty, and to provide an extra habitat too.  The broken plant pot is there to hopefully tempt a frog or two to hang out by the pond!

How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden

For a final flourish I planted some mind your own business (also dug up from around mums pond!) round the edge of the pond to hide the top of the washing up bowl a little bit.

And that's it.  Because I added water from an established pond I already have lots of wildlife in my mini pond.  I've spotted freshwater shrimp, water fleas, water snails and tadpoles.  It's well exciting.

My next plan?  Washing up bowl ponds all over the garden, and a bin lid bog area!


How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden