Tag Archives: recycling

A Hop, Skip and a Jump… mostly a skip.

I’ll start with a quick picture of my mortal enemy.  Sorry about the bad lighting.  The sluggy body count is over 150 now.  I hope I’m making some headway.  This is a leopard slug which thankfully seems to prefer a rotting orange half to the tasty cucumber plant next door.  It did not survive long after this photo was taken (Sorry but I couldn’t take any chances).

Public enemy number 1

Public enemy number 1

[Apologies for the bad lighting – it was dusk.]

We have a few small building projects in the pipeline at Westwick all in the name of greening:

1. Putting up the old shed we want to put up in the Orchard to keep spare straw, chicken feed etc. in (when we get chickens).

2. Making a chicken run and putting up a hen house.

3. Building a couple of brick plinths to stand our water butts on.

4. Making another cold compost heap in the Orchard.

All of these require materials, time and possible money and we are trying to be as inventive and green as possible in making these happen.  So when I noticed that five of our neighbours down our (very long) road all had a skip outside I was very, very interested.  Although I consider myself quite green I’ve never really considered looking at skips before.  I know that it is a good idea to ask permission (and so we did) but after a quick 30 mins work we walked away with the following:

9 Concrete slabs for the base of the shed and the hen house.

37 Bricks, some for the base of the compost heap and some for the plinths.

Bricky treasures.

Bricky treasures.

It probably didn’t save us that much cash but it was more about re-using other people’s waste.  As I looked at the skips I was suddenly struck by and filled with sadness about the levels of waste.  I know we have had building work done and skips of rubbish taken away ourselves and there are probably things which can’t be recycled in this way.  But the further we go on this journey the more I notice these things.

We are probably going to go back and get more bricks and the rest of the composter at least will be made from pallets we are sourcing from a local friend who has a farm. But I’m still on the hunt for some of our other materials.

But it also feels good to know that a little bit less landfill was created today and there is a little bit more money in our pockets that there would have been.



Potting and pottering

It has been a long time since I did serious vegetable gardening since my last two planting seasons were taken up with a part time MBA and moving house respectively.  So this year I am feeling really excited about the possibilities of my vegetable garden.


Having combination of heavy clay soil and (I believe) the wettest Winter on record I am trying to start as many things in pots as possible rather than sowing directly into the soil.  In its current state any seeds would rot before they had a chance to get going.

So far I have made over 100 pots using a similar technique to this: http://www.imperfecthomemaking.com/2013/03/newspaper-seed-starting-pots.html

These homemade pots are brilliant because they will bio-degrade over time which means I don’t have to pop the seeds out of the pots and disturb the roots.  Also it means I can make use of lots and lots of old papers lying around which would otherwise have just been recycled (this way they still get recycled but at home and in a way which benefits us more directly).

So far I’ve started off:

1 tray of Green Kale

1 tray of Cavelo Nero

1 tray of Kohlrabi

30 Dwarf Peas

30 French Purple Climbing Beans

19 Golden Sweet Mangetout (I’ll be doing more of these!)

Coriander and Parsley (for the Herb Garden not the Veg plot)

3 pots of chillis including Rainbow Fire chillis.

Lots and lots of tomatoes – 3 varieties: Costoluto Genovese, Dr Pink Carolyn and Gold Medal. So far all the Costoluto have germinated, only 1 Dr Pinks have made it (the seed was very very old) and the Gold Medal are still thinking about things.

But that is really just scratching the surface of my planting plans and I’m sure I’ll be making many many more in the next few weeks.

Next I’m looking forward to doing: Beetroot (Chiggoia and Perfect 3), Celeriac (Monarch) and Cucumber (Miniature White and Cornichon de Paris) but fear not – even this isn’t the end.  There is sweetcorn, potatoes, squashes, courgettes, florence fennel, chard, spinach, salad leaves, mooli and all manner of tasty things still to come.