Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Home-made 'bee' raffle prize

Home-made raffle prize, hives and bees

Home-made raffle prize, hives and bees

Home-made raffle prize, hives and bees

Home-made raffle prize, hives and bees, homespun honey

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Old seeds and what to do with them....

So as I told you all in my last post I finally got all my seeds sorted so I could sort out what I would need for this year...just like always there were a few seeds that had gone 'out of date' according to packing instructions so what do you do with them. I hate to waste space with seeds that don't germinate but at the same time I hate to waste money by throwing things away...so what am I going to do??

Sprouting seeds
Sprouting seeds.
Well I'm going to sprout of course!!!

Now this can be done for two reasons...either to test germination of your seeds or to eat as sprouting seeds and depending on which you are doing it for depends on how you will treat the seed and follow your process!

So if you want to test your seeds for germination for planting them you can simply put them on a piece of kitchen towel , keep it damp and see what happens. You will soon see if your seeds will still germinate.
finding out germination ratio.
finding out germination ratio.
 Now is the bit where it gets sticky and opinions differ...for instance one article I have read states.........

'While some gardeners suggest that sprouting seeds is a good way of using up any veg patch surpluses, it's perhaps best to stick to seeds sold specifically for sprouting as seed for sowing outdoors may have been treated with chemicals to aid germination – but certainly not human digestion!'

But then again I have found this too...


soak and sprout
soak and sprout
Obviously I am showing you all this so that you can make your own decisions...I am just sharing what I do and giving you some ideas on how to use your old seeds!!

You can go in most garden stores these days and buy packs of sprouting seeds but they area generally higher priced than seeds for planting and this is probably because they are 'treated' differently.

As suggested above you can 'soak' your seeds overnight...I can't say whether this would definitely work or not , I am only telling you information that I have found whilst I have researched, the decision will have to be yours.

You could of course save your own seed therefore knowing it hasn't been treated in any way and will be safe for you to consume.

Probably the easiest and cheapest way for you to do it if after reading this you just fancy having a go at sprouting seeds would be to go to health food stores or Supermarkets. Bigger bags mean that this avenue works out much more economical, so check here first. After all if they are selling seeds for you to eat they are going to be just as healthy once they start growing if not more so.

So having taken in all this information and totally making up your own minds you then have the biggest decision of all to make....

What to sprout?

Just about any vegetable or herb seed can be sprouted and eaten in its infant stage, though there are some usual suspects perfect for this purpose, including alfalfa, sunflower, fenugreek and radish, along with legumes such as the mung bean (the common Chinese beansprout), adzuki bean, lentils and peas. Each type of sprout brings its own distinctive texture and flavour, making them invaluable as salad ingredients, garnishes, soup toppings and more. Experiment with things, I know from experience I have found some more palatable than other and as of yet I have not come across any peas shoots that I like and yet I love peas!! But please if you are going to experiment with unusual seed then do your homework as there are plants out there which can be toxic or disagree with us.

So I will be sprouting my seeds for eating purposes, obviously I make that choice and you have to make your own!!. I start by soaking the seed overnight in a jar of water. I do this with all of my sprouting seed no matter where I got them from. What I am going to sprout them in I will share with you soon!!

Of course sprouting your seeds isn't the only way to get them used up if you aren't sure about planting them out.You could get a large tray, put some compost/soil in it, add your seeds and leave them to there own devices for a while...if you have chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs...anything like that...they could have some lovely fresh greens in just a few short weeks which hasn't cost you a penny, you could even use old compost up form last year!!

This was supposed to be a quick easy post but when you look into things a bit deeper because you are going to be sharing them with others it really does open up all sorts of avenues....honey is so much easier. In fact I did a great facts post yesterday over at Grantham Beekeepers I'd love for you to go and check it out...even after all this time I learnt a few things I didn't yet know. In a way I think that as much as anything this is why I like writing the blogs. The more research you do the more you find out and there is always the chance to learn something new!! Feel free to join/follow or leave any comments/questions over there or here if you have them too.
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Friday, 21 February 2014

Finally got the seeds sorted!!!

So with the days getting longer and slightly warmer I figured it really was time for me to get my butt into gear and get the seeds sorted.

I had planned on maybe going in the garden yesterday afternoon or even spending an hour up the allotment but when this happened....

Heavy Rain...again!!
Heavy Rain...again!!

I decided it was the perfect opportunity to go through my seeds. I emptied out my seed box from the allotment and started sorting and cataloguing what I had....

Seeds left from last year.
Seeds left from last year.
I was surprised at how few seeds I had left to be honest but then I remembered that in an effort to not waste money I bought only a few select seeds last year with an attempt to use up what I had...seems like this worked pretty well!!

So with so few seeds I then needed to sort out what to buy for this year. Luckily our allotment shop has plenty in stock to choose from and so I started going through the list...crossing off what I didn't one and adding up what I was going to spend on ones I wanted to stock and grow for this year.

Seeds to be ordered.
Seeds to be ordered.

Seeds to be ordered.
Seeds to be ordered.
The photo isn't great but let me tell you there are quite a few on there to be ordered...after totting it all up the total is £23.45 which although seems a lot is a massive saving to what I would spend in town!!

There are still a few I will have to order as I like to grow some things that the shop don't have in and then I like to look for something unique to grow each year too...haven't looked yet so I'm not sure what that will be this year.

So once all that was done I was just left to put the seeds I do have in my box...es....

Seed storage boxes.
Seed storage boxes.
So here are my boxes. Having two has certainly made it easier to sort things out. Although they come with dividers to sort your seeds into months of planting I have turned those round and wrote seeds categories on them as I find it is a better system for me to look through what I have and I rarely look at when things should be planted anyway going more with gut instinct and the weather that is happening at the time.

So that is all done...of course there were a few seeds that were out of date according the packing instructions. I guess we all get those and then you have the thought of, 'Will they grow if I plant them or will I just be wasting my time?' I totally understand this and would hate to waste the space of planting seeds that may not germinate...at the same time though I really hate waste. So what will I do with those out of date seeds??/ Well that's a post for tomorrow so I hope you come back to find out!!
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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Before and after.......

More mud than grass
More mud than grass
Messy Lawn
Messy Lawn

          Nice new lawn with gravel edge. 
 

                                     Trojan enjoying the new garden!!
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Friday, 14 February 2014

The new Baby gift...

So Amanda at work was in for her last day today and I did manage to get her gift finished in time. Her maternity leave has only just started so she still has 6 weeks before her due date and she doesn't know whether she will be having a boy or a girl.

With this in mind picking a gift to make wasn't the easiest notion so I set about asking her random questions such as....
What was your favourite sort of book as a child? 
Do you have a favourite children's author?
What sort of windows are in your home?
What is your favourite colour?
Do you have a favourite children's nursery rhyme?
What sort of books did you like to read as a child?

May seem random but I had thoughts in my head and a few ideas so i wanted something to go on to come up with a definite plan.

Turns out they didn't really have a theme for the baby's room but they were going with apple white for the walls and green for the curtains.

They live in a relatively new house so it's standard sized windows with good light.
Amanda loved to read anything with animals in as a child.

So with this in mind I decided to go with a Noah's ark theme and some sort of hanging mobile.

This is the item in progress.....

Noah's Ark mobile/sun-catcher in progress
Noah's Ark mobile/sun-catcher
So above is the said item in progress...I bought the round discs ready cut and the reason they look a little green here is because I haven't took the protective film off the back yet. The rainbow and octagon I cut out of a rectangular piece of perspex with a Stanley knife...not the easiest of things to do but the time and effort (oh and the blisters and cuts!!) were well worth it as I was really pleased with the finished pieces.

So Amanda was given her gift yesterday...I think she liked it, her Hubby was there too and seemed to like it and I hope they are happy with the way it looks in the babies room once they get it home...so are you ready to see the finished mobile/sun-catcher??

Noah's Ark mobile/sun-catcher
Noah's Ark mobile/sun-catcher
So I hung it up on my kitchen wall to get a finished picture as when hung in the window it was difficult to get a shot the showed the colours off. The idea was the the ark was in the octagon at the top and then the sea animals hung from underneath and are free moving. I think it has turned out quite well and is what I envisioned it be before I started.

Amanda said they are going to hang it in the centre of the curtain rail where it can catch the light!!

Next project on the agenda...a raffle prize for the next bee meeting...that's less than two week away so i am thinking something a little simpler...got any ideas??
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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Cold Lazy Mornings.....

The pets have got the right idea!!!

Alfie feeling lazy and warm!!
Alfie feeling lazy but content on top of the radiator!!

Trojan feeling lazy and warm!!
Trojan feeling lazy but content under the radiator!!   
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Sunday, 9 February 2014

Wind, rain, wind, rain...oh some seeds!!!!!

Absolutely shocking weather is still prevailing here in the UK and as is usual with us wonderful Brits we are still moaning about it...so maybe I should stop now?? Probably not going to happen!!!

So nothing has been done down the allotment...did go and check on my bees which you can read about here...all be it briefly and also find out a few amazing facts too!!

Now wait a minute whilst I go through my photo archives....shouldn't take too long.........

OK...couldn't find ANYTHING that would kind of make sense in this post so went for randomness....

Sun, sea and sand
Sun, sea and sand.
I'm sure we all have distant memories of the above photo....one day soon they will be back with us and then no doubt most of the Brits will be complaining, 'it's too hot', or 'it's too dry'. There really is no pleasing us..lol

Oh that's right...the seeds! I did manage to get my seed box from the allotment yesterday so now I can sit in the comfort of my cosy house and sort through what I have and what I need...maybe a job for this afternoon after I have done a little paining...I don't think I have told you about that have I? One of my work colleagues is pregnant so I am working on a hand made gift...I think it's coming along quite nicely but I really need to pull my finger out and get it finished as she leaves on Friday. This means I will share it with you before the end of the week.

Happy Sunday everyone. Stay safe.
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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Natures Natural waterways.

Flooded football fieldFlooded childrens park



Flooded farmer's field

Overflowing run off ditches.

Trojan getting a quick drink!!


Sunday, 2 February 2014

January 2014 weather summary.

I kind of miss doing my weather posts which lets me compare one year to the next but an the other hand also found them a little monotonous so this year I have decided to summarise each month instead pointing out the highs and lows of winds, temperatures and generalization of the month.

So lets talk January 2014...... well it was errrmmm...WET!!!!

 This year has seen the wettest January in many parts of the country for more than a century, figures show.

Luckily I live in an area where we don't suffer with floods except little flash ones when the rains come down really heavy put they soon drain away. Having said that though it doesn't mean there isn't a lot of standing water in the fields and parks around and about and ditches are full to the brim in places.

Of course so much wet has meant we have seen very little of the sunshine or blue skies.

Not much else to be said about it really.

The temperatures have been quite mild for the time of year. We had a couple of nights where the temperature dipped just below freezing and a couple of hours where it tried to snow but typically the temperature has bee between 4 and 9 degrees Celsius.

The winds have been strong and gusty at times, often damaging to properties/countryside as they managed to gust at up 90m.p.h.

Here's hoping that now the month has changed so too, will the weather.