Posts Tagged ‘Home Made’

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.).

Tools:

  • 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

Optional:

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

Materials:

  • 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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I have been making Apple Cider (even a semi Pear Cider) and Cider Vinegar using a very very very veeerrrry simple recipe now for 3 years running, so simple in fact that you Do Not Need a Fruit Press!

Young Organic Apple Jonagold on an urban Permaculture Farm

Organically Grown Jonagold Apples – Cider & Vinegar Making

What you need is: Apples, Water, Container/s (5ltr / 1 Gal), Sugar (1 Cup), Knife with Chopping board … and Time – That’s It!

What I recommend is to get hold of a few different varieties of apple (even some pears), try your best not to use only one apple variety.

Click the Link Here for the full recipe with explanation between Cider only and Cider Vinegar as the final result.

So the remining Pumpkins and collectable fruits are finished picking and harvested, I will be puree’ing much of the pumpkin and placing it into the freezer, this should be good for smoothies as well as pumpkin soups in the upcoming months! Below are some pictures of the fruits as well as some tips on producing home made Liquid Plant Fertiliser further down …

My growing season is not yet over though! there are Carrots, Lettuces, Spinaches, Mustards, and Kales that were sown before the start of Autumn, these will grow on throughout Winter and there are more to sow soon including Garlic!

We are nearing the end of the best time to sow Garlic (November), Garlic is quite easy to grow and I suggest starting now as I find Spring sown don’t get as big. I shall post an article soon regarding Garlic and Succession planting with Garlic.

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9.7 Litres of Home Made Sustainable Liquid Plant Fertiliser

If you have a normal sized general purpose bucket, you can easily make just under 10 Litres of Liquid Plant Fertiliser per batch on an established mature (2+ year old) Comfrey Plant (Bocking 14 Variety).

Following these instructions but just increasing the ratio of Comfrey and water to fill the bucket to the rim, then all you need besides the bucket and a water supply etc. is a well established Bocking 14 Comfrey Plant! Do not underestimate these plants, they grow very well once established and will need annual controlling (Luckily they are bred to not set seed) yet are an absolutely invaluable addition to any Organic / Sustainable food garden or plot. They can be chopped 3 – 5 times a year without worry and come back to life in early Spring. Their deep rooting system is their secret, it harvests minerals not available to the shallower rooting plants nearby and deposits these minerals in their leaves, hence why you either chop ‘n drop or chop and make Liquid Fertiliser / Compost Tea.

I will be selling Comfrey Root Divisions from January onwards – my Comfrey is definitely the Bocking 14 variety and I have never had any Comfrey weeds growing as a result, if interested just comment on this post (Anyone can comment, not only WordPress users).

Make Comferey Compost Fertiliser once more when you do your final chop, this stash of fertiliser will last you the duration of Winter and will be the reserves for spring until the first new year batch will be ready …

Compote is a French Delicacy and according to a French friend, it really depends on your own tastes in which you prefer to make it a sweet or more sharp / tartish taste. I made mine with a little honey, enough to make it so that guests are not given a dish which already is too sweet for some – this allows them to be able to add more if wanted…

For this recipe, you need about three plums per serving, I was using smaller plums I got for free from a neighbour, they have had this tree for over 10 years and they admit that they let them fall to the floor every year -they are organically grown (no chemicals are sprayed or artificial fertilisers used) and the variety are smaller than some Plums bought in-store, so I would advise perhaps 4-5 plums per recipe if your ones are smaller like these (I believe they may be Plum Victoria)

Ingredients:

  1. 3-5 Plums per serving,
  2. Cloves,
  3. Cinnamon powder or sticks,
  4. Vanilla Seeds or Essence,
  5. Orange, Lemon or Lime,
  6. Honey or any healthy sweetener

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Step 1: Cut your Plums into Quarters

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Step 2: Pour the Quartered Plums into a pre-warmed pot / pan,

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Step 3: Stir so that the Plums start breaking down and juicing a bit,

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Step 4: Pour in your Orange, Lemon or Lime Juice – ( I used Orange )

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Step 5: I used Cloves as well as Cinnamon Sticks, I needed Vanilla essence or Vanilla seeds which weren’t available at that time

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Step 6: Mash the Plums and squash from time to time with your spoon or stirring instrument

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Step 7: Grate in some Lemon Zest and cook until thcik enough where you can draw a spoon across the bottom of the pot, if drawing your spoon across and a line shows, then it is ready for putting aside for cooling or jarring

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Step 8: Let cool and add in your Honey to taste, I used 2 Tablespoons in order to sweeten it up enough to be tarty enough for those who prefer a tart taste, people with a sweet tooth will very likely add more Honey / Sweetener or even Banana slices into the actual served compote etc.

This recipe can be made and preserved, use the same preserving techniques as with preserving Jams ( Click here for one example ) I made enough to have in one jar which went straight into the fridge so I didn’t have to make the effort in sterilising the jar/s for dry storage.

I unfortunately missed the blackberry season last year .. UGH! I just realised now whilst typing that, I also have missed the Sweet Chestnut season for the last TWO years running!! Not this time though … I have a great Blackberry Jam recipe to share so start stocking up on them if you can.
blackberries

We really only need 1kg (2.3 lb) for the recipe, but get more! I may include a few more recipes like Blackberry Tart and a Blackberry and Apple Pie, plus you’re bound to munch a few on the way! …

Keep an eye out, recipe to follow in the coming week or so! keep in mind also that you can freeze them until needed.