Archive for July, 2017

I a finding myself unable to store any more Courgettes (Known in other countries as: Zucchini and even Baby Marrows). My fridge is FULL!
Everytime I either go into my garden or visit my allotment (every 2-3 days at this time of year), I am bringng in at least two decent sized Courgettes.

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Courgette (Zucchini) Cake Loaf

I am re-sharing an old recipe I added a while ago, this is the right time of the season to share this as most people are starting to wonder what else they can do with them …

Click here for an older post for the Courgette Loaf (more like a cake due to the higher sugar content). These are definitely great Healthy Alternatves in place of the everyday cakes we scoff down on a regular basis, the courgette gratings really moisten up the mix very well and make this a delicious tea time / coffee break snack.

Coming up and to look out for: Elderflower Wine Recipe, Elderberry Cordials and Syrups etc.

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Today I noticed some fairly mature Elderberries around, with ofcourse, the wood pigeons hanging almost unpside down in a bat like pose, so get out soon and bet a batch, even if just to freeze for the meantime.

I am situated within the London microclimate and so, I think this is assurity thatthe Elderberries I have are ripening a few weeks earlier than in othe parts not only in England but other parts of the Northern Hemisphere …

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Anyway, I have a few recipes coming up soon so pick, freeze etc. to keep them longer …

I’m a little late with my current season updates this year, but anyway here we go…

 

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Giant Goosefoot ‘Magentaspreen’ Seedlings

One of the most ornamental Salad Greens I have on my allotment is the Magentaspreen Giant goosefoot, the centre has a beautiful magenta colour which shows up differently in photo’s, they are very similar to ‘Fat Hen’ aka Good King Henry (there’s such a thing as a good king? .. whatever).

I made the effort to keep some Phacelia to go to flower, mainly as they are very beneficial to various pollinator species but also because it is a Green Manure, it pays to let some go to seed to keep my own stocks up. Watching bumblebees visiting Winter and Summer Squash flowers can be quite ammusing, they seem to aim for the flower and just fall in, I don’t know if anyone else has ever noticed this, I noted this with quite a few bees on one particular day.

I still have a few smaller Borage plants still to open flowers, it seems like my self seeded patch is quite weaker / smaller this year, it may be that I have loads more going on at the Allotment this year that perhaps I am giving the dedicated wildlife flower section less attention.

I decided to allow the Broad Beans which were sown at the same time last year as my Garlic on top of the new Hugel / Suntrap to go to flower and seed (the intention was as a Green Manure where you dig them into the soil as you see them forming flowers) They made a nice addition to a stew we made. As an experiment, the Hugel / Suntrap has various support / companion plants sown on top with one Tomato, Sorrel, a couple Salad Burnet (Perennial) , Rhubarb (Survivor / volunteer) and two Asparagus crowns (these are purely to experiment, I obtained many crowns [20+] and can afford to lose two if all goes wrong).

 

Mid summer update coming up soon …

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London Permaculture Festival 2017

We have 15 days left for the London Permaculture Festival of 2017, For full details (opening times, address, entrance fees etc. Please Click Here on the previous post).

My personal three favourite attractions at the event are The Rare Plant Nursery, The book store and the Workshops.

They have updated the itineary for the Festival and the Workshops which are free (part of the entrance fee) which you can attend, as follows:

Workshops in 2017 include:

  • Maddy Harland: Climate change, carbon sequestering and restoring ecosystems
  • Mark Ridsdill Smith: Growing food without a garden – the six secrets to success in container growing
  • Andy Goldring: The Thriving Communities project – raising funds and support to tackle disadvantage across the UK with permaculture
  • Tomas Remiarz: Forest gardening in practice for homes, communities and enterprises
  • Kevin Mascarenhas: Business as a living system inspired by natural patterns
  • Mary Rawlinson: Building with Straw Bales
  • Robin Grey & Rachel Rose Reid: A music, poetry and storytelling circle on land and housing rights from the Tree Acres and a Cow team
  • Alex Laird: Living medicine: Self care with food & herbs
  • Ben Cullen: OLIO free app – Join the food sharing revolution!
  • Mich Thill: Permaculture livelihood
  • Chloe Anthony: Introduction to permaculture as a design system
  • Sue Amos: Composting for urban gardeners
  • Cecilia Litvinoff & Pamela Adams: Making permakids green, organic and fearless
  • Nat Mady: Introduction to permaculture
  • Les Moore: Sociocracy
  • Randy Mayers: Introduction to permaculture
  • Ian Westmoreland: Making your own solar panels
  • Mary Spyrou: Natural dyeing
  • Coco: Tyre Furniture Skills
  • Kamal Simpson: Nature storytelling
  • Cafe Cairo at the Festival
  • Garden tours of Cecil Sharp House Permaculture Learning and Demonstration garden
  • Permablitz London Live!
  • Families at the Festival
    • Face painting
    • Nature storytelling
    • Garden trail
    • Felting
    • Nature art
    • Meet the hens
    • Wriggly worms
    • Mini beasts
    • and much more!

Hi everyone, this is just a quick update on my Dandelion Flower Wine (I made a batch around May when the flowers were still about in abundance). Click here for the recipe.

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Home Brewed Dandelion Flower Wine

I couldn’t resist and had one bottle about a month after first making the batch, the other three are now going to sit and mature – I keep reading that you should enjoy them starting around Christmas the same year onwards, I sincerely hope that I can leave one bottle to serve for a nice boiling hot day in Summer 2018 whilst next year’s batch is being bottled up and into storage!

I also have a previous post on Dandelion flower Jam, you will not regret making this at least once in your life!

The wine was quite nice, still a little strong with some fementation taking place so hopefully it will mellow down a bit in a few month’s from now, the alcohol content is surprisingly quite high.

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Dandelion flower Wine, bubbling away (2nd Week)

Keep an eye out, I will have a couple recipes for Elderflower wine and Elderberry Cordial coming up soon …

There is this nice little Permaculture Farm in a very nice rural setting in farmlands in New Zealand, in this video the owner goes through many aspects from Yields, earnings from yield (per Kilo), Climate and changes / difficulties. There is even quite a detailed part on Micro green production. Their business design is on High Value crops and he explains how he even gets ahead of monoculture / large scale industrial type farmers by having some crops such as Aubergine (Eggplant / Brinjal) available as far as Two Months ahead which enables him to increase the price of the first two months charge by up to NZD 4.00 Per Kilo above the seasonal rate!

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Micro Greens mass production in a Permaculture system

Take a look at the Aubergine bed and its width / length, he claims that he made NZD 1,600 in one season from that bed alone!

Further discussions include the benefits and huge relief they had when obtaining a cooler for their salads to increase storage time and so on.

They have had a good crop of Strawberries this year with around 400 Kilograms harvested and sold for profit from the bed next to the large polytunnel (above vide and below image).

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Huge Strawberry Harvest on a Permaculture Farm

Here in the UK, research statistics provided by water saving product companies that produce products like specialist shower heads show that the average bathtub needs around 80 Litres of water, the average 8 minute shower consumes around 62 litres of water…

According to the study, the average eight-minute shower used 62 litres of hot water, and some power showers can use up to 136 litres, compared with an average bath’s 80 litres. These findings have been widely reported – in the Daily Mail, The Independent and the BBC, among others.
They are claiming that their special shower head, coupled with a short 4 minute shower will consume almost half of this (32 Litres of water) and that it could take you less than a year to make your money back from the purchase if you are on a water meter.

 

Enter the Tabo method of the Philippines (known as Tabo-Tabo):
  • 1x Bucket (normally 10 – 12 Litres which is around 2.6 UK Gallons),
  • 1x handled Jug (Tabo) of any shape but we like the ones used in kitchen measuring,
  • Water source and area you can splash around (bathtub or shower)

Most people use about 1 – 2 buckets worth of water to finish a normal Tabo session, I use less than One! (1) no jokes! It’s quite simple, fill the bucket with the right water temperature you are comfortable with, use the Tabo to wet yourself (takes two usually if you pour slowly), then just rub your soap around with whatever defoliating cloth you use or sponge etc, then rinse once complete. Note: This is a body only shower, does not include shampooing, hence why some people with long hair seem to use 1.5 to 2 buckets worth of water per session (Which still, is not that much at 20/24 Litres Max / 5.2 Gallons)
It takes me around 7 minutes to finish if I am busy and need to get onto other things asap and I always have about 1/6th of the bucket left over still.

In comparison:

Tabo: 12 Litres or Less / More
Water Saving Showerhead and short 4 min Shower Session: 32 Litres or More
Bathtub (UK average): 80 Litres or More
Power Shower Head (Time unknown but might be 8 min standard): 136 Litres or More

The Tabo Tabo method Still saves an additional 7,300 Litres of water versus the Special Water saving shower head Per Year! …

You could even obtain or have a nice wooden treated Bucket and Ladle made if you wanted to get a bit fancy or to avoid being embarrased when guests visit, just remember to turn the wooden bucket upside down to preserve the wood and prevent rot once not in use.

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Wooden Water Bucket and Ladle – Tabo Tabo