Archive for August, 2018

Wow what a crazy but highly enjoyable day yesterday! Starting at around 5am I woke up, had some decaf and headed straight to the allotment as last time I was there I saw at the last moment (when I was rushing home) that the Italian vine tomato had a decent amount of very red ripe fruits (and that was a good 4-5 days ago!), these plants never let me down (if planted in the ground) and so I didn’t want to lose these beautiful tom’s!

A good few hours there resulted also, in a decent batch of Elderberry heads which I got on the way there (Which were used tonight to make Elderberry elixir), a very nice large harvest (photo further below) and a bit of weeding, watering, compost bin management etc.

After arriving home, all harvested goods including the Elderberries needed urgent washing etc. to be placed in the fridge immediately, thereafter I found an older courgette that was about to go bad and so, decided to make Courgette (Zucchini) Cake! Part of the harvest was a decent batch of Purple French Beans and a few Runner Beans as well, these are intended for pickling so were processed and placed overnight into a brine solution so that tomorrow they will be placed into their final jar along with the Spiced Pickling Vinegar (Which I also made tonight!!)

I decided that I need to get a move-on with the elderberry harvests (some are in the fridge and some in the freezer), my other-half and I sat for a good 40 min’s removing the berries from their stalks and placing in a jar to make the Elderberry Winter Ailment Elixir, I have a very good recipe for this and have proven this to be a very good flu / winter cold remedy which was quite effective last Winter with the whole family!

Organic Vegetable Harvest

Organic Permaculture Allotment Harvest (UK) 2018

In the above photo, I have added lines to divide the veg’s into three rows, from top left:

  1. French Purple and Runner beans, Aztec Broccoli and Hokkaido Pumpkin
  2. Sorrel, Maris Piper Potatoes, Giant Goosefoot, Bush Legend Tomatoes, Dwarf Bush Courgettes (Zucchinis) – these were harvested quite small as I am trying to get at least one more harvest before season end,
  3. Elderberry (foraged), Italian Vine tomatoes (great for sauces), Salad Burnet, Tangerine and Millefleur cherry tomatoes and finally Tomatillos with the Snail Tree-cookie below which represents my favourite of the 12 permaculture principles: ‘Use Small and Slow Solutions’

It is definitely Elderberry season right now (at least in and around London) so get foraging as you will definitely will not have much time after the next week or so if you are lucky! Remember, throw them straight into the freezer in a bag, you can take time out later to do something with them in a recipe when you are more collected and have the time to do so! In the meantime, check out this delicious Elderberry Syrup Recipe which I made last year which also has immune system benefits as a buildup to the Winter months, the Elderberry Elixir is more suited to last well into next years winter because it is made with alcohol and preserves better .. enjoy!

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It is now preserving season and approaching the end of the growing season where many crops and foraged foods can be preserved for the upcoming Winter months, here is a quick and simple recipe if you need to make pickling vinegar on an ASAP basis:

Make your own Spiced Pickling vinegar in 30 minutes

Home Made Spiced Pickling Vinegar

You Will Need:

  • A good glass Jar or Bottle, usually you should use a non-metallic lid as vinegar is corrosive,
  • Cider or Malt Vinegar (Cider being the healthier option),
  • 1 Tsp Peppercorns,
  • 1 Tsp Coriander Seeds,
  • Small Cinnamon Stick piece (2-3cm long),
  • 2 Cloves,
  • 1 Tsp Mustard Seeds,
  • Small Pot / Pan for boiling and simmering.

Method:

  • Measure the vinegar by pouring it into your storage jar / bottle to fill it up, once filled place it in the pot with the spices and bring to the boiling point,
  • Once boiling point is reached, bring the heat down and simmer as slightly as possible for 30 minutes – let it sit to cool down,
  • Pour the liquid through a sieve or similar filter into your storage jar or bottle, your vinegar is now ready to be used when you want to pickle any vegetables from your garden

For other preserves including Jams, Jellies, Chutneys, Compote, Soups, Pickling etc, Click Here

I made this Elixir for the first time last year in preparation for winter colds and flu etc. mainly knowing that the Elderberry Syrup I made only has a shelf life in the fridge of about 3 months brought me to look for a longer lasting remedy, the Elixir is suggested to last for a year (due to alcohol being the preservative instead of Sugar).

All that I can say from not only my own experience albeit for only one Winter season, is that I also have spoken with Qualified Herbalists who have used and recommend this exact recipeit did work very well for my own family during last winter.

Winter Ailment Elixir

Elderberry Elixir for Winter Ailment Remedy

You Will Need:

  • Enough Elderberries to fill your chosen Jar / Bottle,
  • Rum or Brandy (one third of the jar),
  • Port (also a third of the jar),
  • Raw Honey from someone local (the final third of the jar),
  • 12x Cloves,
  • 10-15x Peppercorns,
  • Large Cinnamon Stick,

Method:

  • Remove the berries from all stalks as much as possible and place them in your jar (preferably to almost fill the jar up to the curve in the neck), add in the spices,
  • Pour your Rum or Brandy so it fills around one-third of the jar whilst the berries are still inside, fill the second third with Port and follow the last third of the jar with the Raw Honey – stir very gently with a wooden spoon or glass rod,
  • Seal the Jar and give it a lovingly gentle shake everyday at least once, do this for one month to around 6 weeks after which, you will strain all of the liquid into a muslin cloth or bag so you can squeeze as much out as you can, re-bottle it and label with the date.

Use / Dosage:

  • This is a remedy so you use it mostly when you get sick, once the symptoms are obvious then take a half to full teaspoon three to four times a day until you are better, dilute for kids and even better, just add it into something that they are already consuming if possible such as a berry juice or smoothie.

 

I think I saw this documentary around 2012, this is definitely the most well-researched, informed and put together documentary regarding the evidence that Cell phone / Mobile Phone, Wifi, RF and other Emf transmission technology Does In Fact have a pretty severely negative effect on most living organisms including us.

This is not the documentary that you should save to watch later, you need to see this now and share it with as many contacts as you can ! ! !

With 5G being sneakily brought into our societies around mainly the western world behind our backs, this is only going to get worse, 5G ‘technology’ is far more harmful and powerful than anything that came before it, it is also designed to work over short distances and so, they will be installing the antennas all over. In the UK it has been exposed by insiders that the 5G antennas have been included in LED street lights that have recently been installed by many Councils – soon you will not have to worry about the large mobile phone mast a few hundred meters from your house as you will have 5 you can see right in your street from your front window!!

Click on the slide and play the below video from the 42:25 mark until 42:41, this is precisely what I have been saying for years regarding scientists and whim they work for / where the funding comes from.

If your council has recently put up new LED lamp heads on your older street lamp posts, try see if you can see an antenna on top (Usually a short black stick-like antenna) this means they have placed the 5G technology into government property without our consent .. ie: you and I are paying for this so that large corporations can earn billions whilst we get adverse health effects but hey, at least we will have super-fast Wifi right???

The documentary in numbers:

Over the last 25 years, 5 butterfly species have become extinct in Britain, 36 species of Australian Shore birds have decreased in numbers by 75%, 50% decline in all European Grassland Butterflies, Bee numbers have dropped by about 70%, Half of all known British butterfly species are under threat of extinction, 62% of Asian waterbirds Declining or Extinct, 4 species of American Bee have declined by 98% … the list goes on.

I didn’t have much time today at the allotment, it was basically a quick W.H,R .. (Water, Harvest … Run) session, in order to make sure I take time for myself and cool down a bit – I took¬† my camera along for some progress pictures.

Harvest 05 Aug 18.JPG

9 different ”things” were harvested today, (my dried Lemon Balm is not in the picture):

  1. Tomato ‘Purple Ukraine’ – the big redish split tomatoes in the left of the pic,
  2. Aztec Broccoli – the bunch of flower tips in the top left,
  3. Czar Runner Beans – the green beans,
  4. Purple French Beans,
  5. Belleville Sorrel (perennial)- the large leaves on the right,
  6. Salad Burnet (Perennial) – the jagged-edged leaves below the Sorrel (Is also a wild flower),
  7. Fennel – next to the Salad Burnet,
  8. Over-ripe tomatoes (Purple Ukraine and Bush Legend) – these are to save seed from
  9. A batch of shed-dried Lemon Balm for tea

The tomatoes must have been a little bit dry so when we had that rain the other day the fruits then split, nevertheless I cut out the manky bits and chopped the rest up to be used either in a soup or pasta dish. I’m contemplating using the beans to make a jar of pickled beans for winter storage as I should still get loads off of the upcoming bean plants – the Sorrel, Fennel and Salad Burnet were pretty much devoured today in a very nice Salad everyone enjoyed.

Thinking back, I could have probably kicked over one or two of the Potato planters to get a harvest, that’s the good thing about Potatoes, they stay in until you need them – this year I have made pretty decent effort in potato production, there are two planters at home (one only went in recently), 3 planters on the allotment and one group in the ground that is the most recent of the Allotment potatoes – I placed these in a companion planting / support guild with the Purple French Beans

Food foraging wise, I found a nice fig tree local to my workplace and managed perhaps half a kilo of fruit from it, as much as I’d like to make a fig only jam, this really isn’t enough so I may experiment with Fig, Blackberry and Elderberry mix or perhaps just head over to a veg shop and buy another half-kilo to make the jam? ….

Decisions .. decisions

In Permaculture practice often ‘Stacking Functions’ is something one hears from time-to-time, here is a very brief example of Stacking something to form more than one function or purpose …

Today I got hold of dried Cordyline Leaves and I can tell from past experience that once composted, you should get a very nice textured compost that has good structure (with the only downside being time of composting). The plan was only to chop them up and add them into my 4 compost bins but I also decided to place some in heavy duty bags such as re-used compost bags and let them to sit out of sight (perhaps behind a shed?) and compost down on their own, out of the way until needed.

Organic Compost from Cordyline Leaves

Organic Compost from Cordyline Leaves

The solution to try get them a bit of a kick start was to throw them into a bucket of water that has a handfull or so of Chicken Manure Pellets pre-mixed in and let to soak up for 24-48 hours.

Step two is merely throwing the amount of chopped and soaked leaves required to fill Half of the bag and further pack the other half of the bag with a dry bunch of the leaves to help soak up any excess moisture, then puncture some holes in the bag (so that worms can get in) and pack the bag away until needed.

Second Function =

now instead of just pouring out the leftover liquid from the bucket randomly into a bed somewhere or into a drain, you will make the effort to use it diluted as a plant feed in your garden as Chicken Manure is high in Nitrogen…

Another quick example is with plants, the Elaeagnus umbellata’ (Autumn Olive) is a shrub which is common in Permaculture Food Forest design guilds, the plant is deciduous (leaves fall in winter so can be used to provide shade in summer and allow light to penetrate in winter), it is a Nitrogen fixer, which means it is able to provide extra nitrogen naturally to any neighbouring plants thereby helping to support them in a symbiotic system, the final benefit is that it also provides a useful delicious berry in Summer¬† / Autumn.

Over the weekend I was blessed with quite a few Butterflies (I installed a Buddleia early this year) and saw a Lacewing which so far, I don’t recall seeing one in the last few years in either my garden or allotment …

I also got out and secured a second batch of Nettle Seeds (I started using these and foraging for them last year), they are great added in practically anything from smoothies to porridge, salads, soups etc etc! This year has been a little weird with the weather and so, they are ripening far too quickly and soon won’t be available so get out soon and get snipping! I’ve now got 3 seed tray bottoms full of Nettle seed stalks drying out on windowsills, I estimate that if you find good decent nettle seed, that a half shopping carrier bag to a full one will supply a small family with enough till next season.

Elderberries are already ripening everywhere I go, again, since it has been such a dry summer, I’ve observed that many of them have already rejected much of their fruit as a survival tactic, so only take what you need and don’t overdo it. I have a couple recipes for Elderberry so as usual, I would recommend you immediately freeze them when you get home as you may not have gotten enough on your first session to make something – also, they are far easier to remove from their flower stalks when frozen.

Elderberries do wonders for our immune systems, hence why nature gives them to us just at the end of summer towards the cold / hibernation / dormancy months …