Archive for the ‘How To’ Category

This is kind of my own invention (The Design), I got the idea from the mirror strings you can buy from some garden centers which sell them as pigeon deterrents. The issue with the latter is that they are cheaply made (small mirrors glued to fishing line – that’s it!) and they don’t last many heavy wind sessions before you see them broken all over the ground (I have seen this happen probably around 20 times in the last 4 years).

So I decided to design my own – with the emphasis on lasting, and not really as a pest deterrent but more as a Garden Ornament. I also took some inspiration from a Permaculture book I read which had a reflection chart (depicting the reflection values of various objects from Aluminium foil to wood, rocks etc.).


  • Timber Saw
  • Wood Glue (PVA) or Silicone Glue if preferred
  • Drill and Screws
  • 4x wood screw type vine eyes (screws with a closed loop on top)
  • Strong Fishing Line or Thin Cable / Wire
  • Wire Cutters and Pliers


  • Some Colourful Outdoor Paint / or just wood varnish
  • brush / es
  • Sealant spray paint (if you use indoor paint instead of outdoor)


  • Long-ish piece of Timber (square profile – about 4cm x 4cm x any length you like), you may need to use the same piece to cut the supports to hold the Charm
  • Small Mirrors, get mixed shapes if you like (known as Mosaic or Tile Mirrors)
  • Sea Shells (optional)
  • Glass Gems (also known as flat marbles) – (optional)
  • Pool Tiles (optional)

In the following diagram, you merely cut out a couple of wedges from two of the sides of the timber, these you will stick to the other two sides to create angled surfaces to place more mirrors ( we want many mirrors reflecting in various directions and angles, so please don’t be regimentalised when you are cutting – let go of the OCD for this project ! )

Jeff's Garden Solar Charm 1

Garden Solar Charm – Diagram 1

Now go ahead and glue your various mirrors onto the angled surfaces as well as on the flat areas, you can decorate the rest of the free space with Glass Gems, maybe a few flat sided crystals, sea shells and pool tiles (create patterns, you can get very small mini pool tiles which are about 1/4th the size of the standard small pool tile).

gard solar 2

Garden Solar Charm – Diagram 2

Once all is dry and happy, you can paint around the decorations and mirrors or varnish (I prefer to paint / varnish later, I didn’t want the mirrors etc. to be glued onto paint – this was a personal preferance) then go on to taping the mirrors with edging tape or electrical tape so you can spray it a few times with sealant spray – this helps to protect against environmental wear as well as an extra barrier to hold the objects on and reinforce them a bit more.

Now screw in one vine eye on each end (top and bottom) to attach your swivels to and then the wire / fishing line or cables. It is now up to you to decide where and how you will hang your new ornament in your garden, I attached it to a fence pole by cutting two timber pieces (+- 35cm long each with a 45 degree cut on one end), attached these to the pole and then screwed one vine eye subsequently on the end of each of these supports. The charm was first tied onto the top support with about 10cm of fishing gut between the vine eye and the swivel, the next was tied whilst the charm was hanging, this gave me a chance to decide on how taught I want it tied, I went for only slightly with a bit of give.

gard solar 3

Garden Solar Charm – Diagram 3

An that’s it! You can be as creative or simple as you like, you could even cut the timber into more than one section with an assortment of swivels so that each can rotate in different angles, at different speeds etc, the options are pretty much endless …

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Runner Beans are notorious for being water gluttons! An older method of water retention as well as feeding them is the bean Trench, I spent quite a while searching for a decent short video online but didn’t find anything that had the relevant correct method so I will be describing it as below (Many video’s online show only some newspaper or cardboard then it is topped with loads of rotting vegetables with Zero (0) browns such as mixed cardboard or rotting leaves in-between! Don’t follow that  at all), it creates a horrible pungent smell and attracts flies, you cannot ever expect good compost material if you only add in nitrogen / sugar rich matter and ignore the browns / Carbons to balance it all out … (rant over).

My advance apologies for not having photo’s as well, my bean trenches are actually not ”standard” as my soil is actually quite nutrient rich already, I have many other larger projects going on as well so I only dug a small 20cm wide by 10+ cm deep trench as a mini experiment. How is it you ask, that I can post a ”how to” on Bean Trench creation if this is my first experimental one? Because it really is a similar concept to Hugelkultur / Hugel Mounds which I have built or been involved in building quite a few over the last four years, the only main difference is the absence of Wood / Logs.

bean trench

Runner Bean Trench Layers – Organic Gardening


  1. Select your growing area and dig a trench about one spade blade depth and the width of a spade blade sideways (make notches at the base of the trench as air pockets – these help prevent an anaerobic environment [see image]),
  2. Lay a carpet of Brown Cardboard at the base of the trench and up the sides,
  3. If starting this in Autumn / Early Winter (it’s the ideal time), then drop grass clippings, vegetable and fruit peels, coffee and tea grounds / leaves, even composted and sieved woodchip in – follow the diagram image for the best sequencing of layers,
  4. Cover with your dug-out soil only when you finish filling, you can leave the trench open and fill in gradually over the Winter and merely add a very thin layer of soil every time if you prefer. However, this way may need a mesh net / wire net of some sort to prevent foxes etc from digging around.
  5. Stop filling / adding vegetable scraps etc. into the trench at least 6 weeks to 2 months before you plan on planting the Beans or in the case of a one day trench project, cover with soil  2 months before you intend to plant and ensure you poke a few breathing holes after every rainy day.
  6. In the case of creating a Bean Trench in Spring, you can still line the bottom with Cardboard and fresh grass clippings with some brown rotting leaves, then top this with 6 month to 1 year old compost from your bin/s.

During a mild winter, certain Runner Bean varieties may actually survive underground as a Herbaceous Perennial (The roots go dormant underground and re-sprout in Spring) – one such variety I have experience with is ‘Scarlet’. Thus, as I am expecting some of my Scarlets to re-sprout, I decided to grow Runners in the same spot as last year (partially due to lazyness).

I am likely to still grow a batch of Runner Beans at home or on another section of the Allotment and this is where I will most probably dig a deeper, more traditional trench.

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Just the other day I was in a desperate need of any kind of container to plant some Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes), Comfrey Bocking 14 and ‘Czar’ Runner Beans which I was ”gifting” to some relatives overseas. I had said that the plants will need some care until a root system was established because these plants are going from a Temperate Climate into the Tropics and luckily I happened upon these ready to be thrown away bags, from a recent clothing shopping spree.

Paper bags are ususally quite strong when supplied in Malls / Shops where the customer is expected to buy heavy loads, the best part is that I intend to merely submerge the plant with it’s paper ”pot” directly into the ground such as those common compostable / biodegradeable plant pots – completely eliminating the need for plastics and giving the plant and other organisms some additional nutrients!


Step 1: Take bag and cut vertically in half, you can pull out any handles / straps and re-use those later if you like


Re-purposing a Bench Paper Bag into Two Plant Pots – Step 1

Step 2: Once cut, lay both pieces down on their thinner Vertical Sides as in the below photo, then deicde for yourself how large (wide at the base) you need your two pots so you can follow the follding lines and cutting lines in the diagram further below …


Re-Purposing a Bench Paper Bag into Two Plant Pots – Step 2

Step 3: In the below diagram, the following notes are key to complete this project:

The RED Line is the base Horizontal folding line,
The two Orange Lines are the side Vertical folding lines
The two Dotted Green Lines are the only cuts you will need to make

Once all folded and ready
, the final step is using a stapler to keep it together and perhaps to re-attach the handles for ease of transport and handling (Optional)



Honey & Cinnamon Weight Loss Recipe

Both honey and cinnamon are well known for their healing benefits, and they have been popular used as medicine in many remedies as well. You know the nutritious and tasty of these two ingredients, but did you know that the combination of them can also be a booster for weight loss? They will not do this job alone, while combined them with the proper diet and exercise program can help you get your goal faster.

If you are still struggling to lose the unwanted pounds, why not try honey and cinnamon combination?
Honey and Cinnamon Combination for Weight Loss

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a cup of hot water
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey

Mix the cinnamon with hot water and let it cool down.

Add the honey to the mixture when the water cooling to a drinkable temperature, this will keep the honey’s nutritional value.

Stir and drink it.

How to Use This Remedy

It’s suggested to drink this mixture four times a day:

1. In the morning, half an hour before your breakfast. Drink it on an empty stomach will help you increase your metabolic rate and speed up the fat burning process.

2. Between meals, especially if you start feeling hungry and you experience food cravings. The mixture will lessen your appetite and also help you stay focused and alert throughout the day.

3. Consume this mixture before your workout will boost your energy for you to complete your exercise more better. Especially when you exercise on an empty stomach, drink this mixture instead of eating some foods will help you burn more calories, as the body does not need to digest foods during working out.

4. Before your bedtime, drink this mixture will give you a good night sleep and it will also help you combat the night time cravings. As it provides your stomach with the healthy substance to munch on.

Other Ways to Use Honey and Cinnamon Mixture as A Natural Remedy

Honey and Cinnamon for Boosting the Immune System

Used honey and cinnamon as a mixture regularly can improve your overall immune system, as both of them are with anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, which make the body strong enough to beat the harmful bacteria and viruses.

Honey and Cinnamon for Better Digestion

Take this mixture before meals will help you digest even the heaviest of meals, this is an effective natural cure for indigestion. It helps promote good bacteria in the colon thus promoting digestion and cleanses the colon by eliminating the toxins too.

Honey and Cinnamon Mixture Lowers Bad Cholesterol

Regular intake the honey and cinnamon mixture lowers bad cholesterol. For best result, mix 3 teaspoons of cinnamon and 2 teaspoon of raw honey in 4dl of green tea, drink 3 times a day. Bad cholesterol will decrease after a few days.

Honey and Cinnamon For Bad Breath

Gargle with the mixture first thing in the morning will make your breath fresh throughout the day.

Honey and Cinnamon For Cough

This mixture also reduces both dry and phlegmatic cough by clearing the phlegm from the chest. Drink it 2-3 times a day to relieve the symptoms of cough.

Honey and Cinnamon For Boosting Energy

You will feel more rested by drinking the mixture regularly, as it helps against fatigue and boost energy levels. Drink it in the morning and in the afternoon, and you will get many essential minerals and vitamins from both ingredients, such as calcium, iron, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin K.

Honey and Cinnamon For Protecting Stomach

This is a natural remedy to deal with some stomach problems, including bloating, gas and acid reflux. It protects the stomach wall by coating it to prevent these normal stomach problems, it also cleans the system of bad bacteria to prevent the infections.

Article Written by Alex Jordan of Natural News