Last year we started our veggie boxes. They were made from old potato boxes that we fixed up and lined. To fill them we used a mix of local soil and our own home compost and planted them up. They were successful, with a small crop of delicious leeks, spring onion, beetroots. However our cabbage, brussel sprouts and broccoli did not work.
This year we would like to improve so trying again with broccoli, brussels and cabbage, leeks, spring onion, beets adding aubergine, carrots, french beans, peas and cauliflower.
We are planting 3 boxes with sq foot planting technique and leaving 2/3 weeks between planting each box.
This weekend we prepared the boxes after letting them be fallow over winter. We gave them a dig over, mixed through fresh home compost and some sand. Our garden has been chemical free for 6 years so as a natural pesticide we are using pureed garlic mixed into the soil too and will be using a garlic gardening spray later in the year as suggested by The Garlic Farm.
The sq ft sections are marked by string and along with all our seeds we have companion planted with Calendula and Nastursium.
Really excited to see what happens this year hopefully we will be eating our own veg at harvest time.
For my birthday I was given a gift voucher for a clothing shop. It was a really generous gift but I find myself struggling more and more with what I am buying especially with clothing.
Firstly because of the implications of who made my clothes (child/slave labour), followed by how did that production impact the planet ( it take 1,800 gallons of water to make 1 pair of jeans??) and for this topic what happens in a world where there is no 'away'? Where do our clothes go when we finish with them?
Now I know we can give to charity shops or donation bins and I love hand-me-downs and I encourage all of that but after that where do they go? and I really am looking for answers here?
When I was little I remember my mum coming home from a shopping trip. She had bought a new blouse. She loved it and I did not! I didn't like the feel of it and asked what it was made of? My mum said "Its 100% polyester" it will never wear away!
"It will never wear away" says it all....
Synthetic Polyester is Plastic so while we are all getting better at not buying food packaged in plastic and beginning to think about our beauty products are sold in, are we considering what our clothing habits are doing???
Yes I know that's massive but how many things in your wardrobe can you find that do not have synthetic polyester, spandex, lycra, elastane all plastic products, none of which are biodegradable. some of which cause the micro-plastics that are polluting our rivers and seas finding their way into wildlife and our own food chain. Zips, buttons, elastics, sequins, beads and glitter are all also mostly made of plastics. So once we are finished with our dresses or blouses or jumpers what can we do with them?
Maybe we need to re-think, are they really done? On a practical level we can start fixing and mending, keeping buttons and zips to use for adjustments. How many of us have that skill anymore? Do you now how to fix a zip or even replace a button? How many of us would go and get our clothing altered instead of buying something new? We could clothes swap? But even once we do all that all those clothes are still there.
What happens after?
Can we recycle clothing other than the above?
Plastic bottles have in recent years been recycled to make Fleece however its been proven that although this is great for recycling bottles and some of the fleeces can be re-recycled there is a structural breakdown in the product and again this product ends up in the water system from clothing being washed.
Other than this there is no other recycling option for synthetic polyester, spandex, lycra, elastane or other similar clothing materials.
What can we do?
We really need to move away from plastic products all together.
The biggest help is actually asking yourself first if you really need something new.
If yes can you borrow? buy second hand? rent?
Then if you are determined you need something new check the clothing labels before buying.
Even when something says Organic Cotton it isn't always so, for example when I went to buy socks last week the label said
Composition- 76% cotton, 22% polyamide and 2% elastane.
I don't really have any answers and this does not sound like the most positive post, we are being told at every corner we need to change or we will lose our world, everyday the realisation of human impact on the planet can push our guilt buttons and that is hard.
What I do know is we all want to do our bit so,
take your time,
read the labels,
ask yourself 'do I really need this?',
We cant avoid plastic but the little changes in our consumerism will impact on a bigger level.
The True Cost - Netflix
Any Thoughts, Hopes or Ideas would love to hear them.
Hello! Its been a while but hoping to get back to regular posts on allnewgreenlife. Its Spring!! Are you on to a Spring Clean already? It’s a strange combo of experiences, after filling our houses at Christmas and New Year with decorations, food, presents, new furnishings etc. We are inside so much more due to dark nights and colder days. By the time spring comes we can feel quite claustrophobic. Then the lighter days seem to highlight all the little things that were hidden. Dusty corners, over full cupboards and grubby marks. We all feel a need to freshen our homes up.
Decluttering – Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor. It’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living. Peter Walsh
Pretty bold statement! Can getting rid of your possessions help you move forward to a new life?
Since January there have been as many online challenges to de-clutter your house as there are tv programs about it and the whole world seems to be talking about Tidying up with Marie Kondo!
Not seen it yet? It’s the newest in many programs over the years that are dedicated to helping hoarders and hogger's alike, get rid of whatever is filling up their houses and holding them back in life. It has a nice twist as the main lesson is you only keep what gives you joy.
What in your house gives you joy?
There is a great deal in my house that gives me joy. Call me sentimental but its hard. Gifts from my children, items that hold memories, things that have comforted in hard times, any of these and more reasons create that ‘I can’t get rid of it!’ feeling of panic.
And when you have others (husbands/kids/flatmates) living with you how do you help them declutter? My version of junk is very different from my husbands and my daughter doesn’t think she has any junk!!
Finally, when you do decide on what’s going, the big question ‘where does this go when I bin it?’ arises.
My concern about polluting the planet with more rubbish is valid and very topical. With some items not always suitable for the charity shop or recycling, where will it all go? And if everyone is de-cluttering are we about to see another massive influx of pollution/plastic on the planet?
And what happens once you do manage to empty cupboards, shelves and toyboxes and make that calming space?
Do we just fill it back up again?
After my spring clean my house isn’t crazy full but for the last 2 years, I have been working on the problem from the opposite end…thinking and questioning before buying!!
Before buying I always ask
Do I/we need this?
Is this just an impulsive buy?
What purpose does this item have?
When I no longer need it where will it go?
Is it recyclable or reusable?
This has probably saved me from excessive amounts of new clutter and extra housework. This has hopefully reduced my carbon footprint and my impact on the environment. (by not buying in the first place). In the grand scale has it improved my life???
We are always looking for new goals to set ourselves, ‘Life will be better when’ sentences that deplete what is true happiness. True happiness is when you appreciate what you have, family, friends, home, health, food, warmth. The Simple things if we find comfort in this, we don’t need to hoard in the first place.
Maybe Marie Kondo is right. Keep what gives you joy
So we have reached November already. Its cold outside, dark by 6pm and most of us wish we could hibernate. Its a strange time of year.
Samhain and Halloween remind us of beginnings and ends. That there is a connection to another world. Whether or not you believe, the landscape starts to reflect the end as plants die back settling deep into the earth, tree's become skeletal and wildlife withdraws into itself pending hibernation or colder nights.
Its a time when humans should do the same. Not stop entirely but perhaps become reflective in order to look forward to new life next year.
Longer quieter nights by the log fire mean I can catch up on book-reading (and that list is huge). Planning for the garden next year, reviewing what had happened this year. Not a disaster by all accounts but my vegetable growing skills need honing.
Also its a good time to readdress lifestyle. What are my goals in my bid to be greener in 2019?
Next year I would love to get rid of my car, grow more vegetables, blog more, try to be waste free, become more aware of environmental problems in my area and do my best to address them.
I'm not going to stop being green because its winter but summer is energy and being pro-active and adventurous, winter is to reassess all those achievement's, take stock and lets your ideas grow inside you until they can manifest in Spring and bloom in Summer.
What can we do to be greener in the Winter?
Put an extra jumper and socks on instead of the heating.
Insulate your house well.
Sign up to an eco friendly power company.
Continue with your Recycle, Reduce and Re-use.
Palm oil is a big topic but what do you really know about it? Here are some basics. It comes from Indonesia and Malaysia. To grow it there has been vast Rainforest destruction with massive environmental impact. Many animals have been killed or forced out of their habitat including the orangutan which is on the verge of extinction. It is used all over the world giving it a substantial carbon footprint with shipping alone. So why are all the big companies ok with this?
It’s cheap and Easy.
It can be used in hundreds of different products such as cakes, biscuits and pizza base, shampoos, soaps and toothpaste.
So, what did companies use before palm oil?
In a recent conversation with Marks & Spencer’s they explained that in some products they had replaced Vegetable Oil, Sunflower Oil and Lard with Palm Oil because it was cheaper and easier. Marks & Spencer’s were very clear that they are a member of RSPO (Responsibly Sourced Palm Oil) a group that is meant to guarantee that the Palm Oil is sustainably sourced.
However, in my mind cheaper and easier is not always better even if is RSPO labelled. In a world where it has just been announced by the UN that we have 12 years to save the Planet, cheap and easy doesn’t cut it..
What can we do?
Start shopping with a conscience, look at labels, try more homemade than bought products.
Message your favourite companies tell them you don’t like Palm Oil. Unsure what products have Palm Oil? Check out the list below it contains all the names of how palm oil can be disguised in a product..
Here are a few links that can help you find out more.
Well it’s a sunny afternoon at the start of October and Autumn is here in all its glory!
This is my favourite time of year due to the huge changes in colour and landscape, leaves move through glorious shades of yellows, oranges, golds and red before falling away in the crazy autumn winds and farmers harvest their crops, plough fields and then re-sow. Darker nights and cooler mornings make the duvet so inviting and last week has seen many gaggles of geese fly overheard conversing loudly as they go, and all our swallows have moved on to warmer climates, hopefully this in not a sign of imminent cold weather.
It is however time to get ready for winter. Jam making is top of my agenda with wild Autumn fruits like Elderberry, Rosehip and Rowans all good to go. Vegetables are also in season for chutneys and relishes.
The good thing about jams and chutneys is that you don’t need the perfect ingredients it can simply be what you have grown, found or is on offer at your local shop. It is true you could buy some of those preserves from the same shop, but the love is in the making and knowing exactly what is in your preserve and where it has come from.
Jams and preserves always make good gifts and if you end up with too much you can share or swap for someone else’s delicious products.
My two favourite makes this week have been Blueberry Jam and Beetroot chutney, both are the most magnificent colour of purple and taste divine even if I say so myself! They are jarred up in recycled glass jars of all different shapes and sizes. Made pretty by a handwritten label.
What are you going to make?
Good morning! Its been a while and wow hasn't the weather changed. Our greenhouse is up and running and we are trying to get as many seeds in as possible. This years planting is focusing on what can be grown outside in planters that will be decorative and tasty. Planted up so far are aubergine, courgette, pumpkin, fennel, sweet pea and spinach but plenty of room for more ideas. Yes its late with planting but hopefully the new warmth will bring everything out quickly. Also this year there will be a lovely selection of tomatoes. We are not professional growers but it is really nice to 'grow your own' even if you only get one or two of each crop, the satisfaction is high and the taste is so much more than you would expect. What are you doing in your greenhouse? Are you a veggie grower? Or do you look for fantastic floral arrangement every year? Why not combine the two by growing beautiful food? Happy Gardening!
This year is rushing by, the nights are lighter (isn't it lovely) and the sun has been shining (even lovelier). Perfect time to get out in the garden even if the seasons are running a little late.
All our Daffodils are in full bloom, luscious, yellow and fresh. Many other plants are coming through in the warmth too, Heucheras, Hostas and Poppies are all surfacing.
We have re-established our composter and have purchased another as its easier to rotate them. So while one is full and cooking us some lovely compost we can fill the other with scraps.
Do you compost? Its a great way to get rid of green food waste and give something back to your garden. There are so many different ways to do it too. You can buy all sizes of composters or build a box frame. And if you only have house plants you can simplify composting by blending small amounts of food waste with a cup full of water, sieving the lumps out and diluting down the liquid. Use this liquid to water your plants, it makes great plant food and the pulp can be dug straight into your garden. So even in small flat or house you can make a big difference for your plants and the planet! You can find other helpful hints and tips for outdoor composting here: http://www.edenproject.com/learn/for-everyone/how-to-make-a-compost-heap-10-top-tips
So how was that for you? were you snowed in or did you only have a few flakes?
For us it was an eye-opener! We are not far off the beaten track yet for 2 days we were snowed in, well our cars were, we however were more than capable of walking the mile or so to the shops and thankfully the wonderful shop staff had made it to work.
But truthfully we were not prepared for this snow and who was?
This winter was serious yet there was very little provision or thought put into caring for homelessness, safety on the roads, attendance for school, grit was not in buckets and many streets were left blocked, elderly could not get out and many shops couldn't get deliveries.
Everyone still wanted to drive and that just wasn't possible, local roads were shut not because there was too much snow but because cars had been abandoned by drivers that thought they could and should drive in over a foot of snow. So why did no-one take the snow warning seriously?
Do you think that the fact that the media have been threatening 6ft of snow since November and also every winter since the last huge snowfall (2010) has something to do with it?. It never happened 99% of those times so who would of expected it to happen last week. Time and time again the newspapers and TV give us immanent danger warnings for weather with no follow through in reality. Their shock headlines seem more important that facts and over zealous reporting has led to more problems than honest straight forward information giving. Perhaps the media should stop crying wolf so we can take the weather seriously when we need to?
Many thanks to all the Police, Doctors, Nurses, Ambulance, Fire brigade, carers, shop keepers, café owners etc. and all the local heroes that mucked in with clearing snow, checking on neighbours, providing food, care and shelter and generally looking after their community.
The snow became an amazing opportunity to show what humanity is capable of and also provided a fun time for all the family to get out and enjoy sledging and snowballs. Even with the down sides a snow-day or two does wonders for morale!
Its hard to believe but this time last week we were in London. Life is busy but we managed a trip down to visit family and to fulfil a Christmas gift of a trip to the Warner Studios.
Being a bit of a country bumpkin family, that have not been in the big city for 10 years, there was some apprehension that this was going to be a massive culture shock. The media is not kind about London.
However despite the rise in population and the usual tourist overload, the Big City felt cleaner and kinder than ever before. It was refreshing to see recycling bins on every corner. So many cafes are moving away from plastic and supporting reduce, reuse, recyclables. The public transport is fantastic and is a great way to get around to see the sites but what impressed me the most was how green the city was, as in how many trees, little spots of grass, parks, flowerbeds and flowerboxes there were. On top of this there is a huge outdoors culture, runners, cyclists, walkers, not just individuals but whole families enjoying being outdoors. It was cheering and hopeful to see and we would go back for a visit in a shot!
As for Harry Potter at Warner Bros Studios it was fantastic. There were not enough hours in the day to see everything properly and it is quite expensive (if you go set yourself a budget for the shop!!) but it is a one off experience and if you have a small Harry Potter fan it will make their year!
My friends call me Love and this is a personal journey