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October 2009


October 30, 2009 // 5 Comments

Common Comfrey is related to both the herb ‘borage’ and the similar plant ‘Russian comfrey.’   Herbalists have used it for centuries, including the classical Greeks and the Turks.   Its old English name was ‘knit-bone’ or ‘bone-set’ because its ability to heal wounds. Comfrey – As a plant feed Comfrey is often eliminated as a weed from many [...]

Frost Gardeners friend or foe? – Andy Hamilton

October 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

Frost can be a gardeners friend or enemy, it is early February as I write and I am eagerly awaiting a frost to help break down the big clods of earth I have turned on my allotment. This is especially useful if you have thick clay soil. Frost as a Friend A frost will also kill off some pests and is especially good for killing off weeds. Just cover over the ground with some Mypex or weed [...]

Wild Flower Gardens

October 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

This method of establishing a wild flower garden I stumbled on quite by mistake and have since encouraged others to try the same. After harvesting my carrots I left the land-fallow, I no longer wanted to grow any crops, as I would soon be leaving the house. After quite a short amount of time weeds started to appear and I noticed among them were some varieties I wished to cultivate, (poppies, [...]

A quick guide to vitamins

October 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

Vitamins can be broken into two groups – Fat soluble and water soluble. The Fat Soluble vitamins are Vitamins A, D, E and K.   They are stored in the liver so unlike water soluble vitamins, (B vitamins and Vitamin C) they are not always needed every day. Vitamin A – Retinol and Beta Carotene Retinol and beta-carotene are often referred to as Vitamin A.  There is a difference however, [...]

Iron, Calcium and Salt

October 30, 2009 // 3 Comments

IronIron is useful throughout the body but it is mainly present in our blood where it is attached to a molecule known as haemoglobin. It is the presence of these haemoglobin molecules that gives us red blood cells making our blood red. People with not enough iron in their diet will suffer from a condition known as anaemia due to lack of these red blood cells.  Someone who suffers from anaemia, [...]

Dandelion crop or pest?

October 30, 2009 // 8 Comments

Dandelions are traditionally a well-know bane of most gardeners, their deep roots make them a tough weed to eliminate from any plot.   To ensure they do not return the entire root must be taken out. This is perhaps best done in the autumn if they are to be used, as this is when the plant will begin to store it’s nutrients ready for its growth in spring.   The name dandelion comes from the [...]

How to dye clothes naturally

October 30, 2009 // 1 Comment

Extract from Selfsufficientish Bible You can use a range of plants for home dying. Clothes that are dyed with natural dyes should not be machine washed as the colours can run. Before dying, treat the fabric with a mordant to fix the colour. 1. Soak the garment for at least 2 hours in a mordant solution. For fruit dyes, use a salt mordant (1 part salt to 16 parts water); for other plant dyes, use [...]

No space to grow? No problem

October 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

This article originally appeared on the Big Green Idea’s newsletter for December 2008 The dream of becoming self-sufficient in at least food is one that many of us aspire to but unfortunately few of us can hope to achieve. The hankering to live the rural idyll is often hindered by the simple fact that where we would choose to live and where we actually end up living can be two entirely [...]

Perennial Far Eastern Potato Soup

October 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

This is a great recipe for any time of the year as many of the ingredients can be grown or foraged all year round (i.e. wild leaves and mushrooms) or as with potatoes, carrots and beans you may have some in storage for the winter months. Ingredients – Serves One You can times each ingredient by the number of people eating i.e. if 2 people are eating 100g mixed leaves becomes 200g – might [...]

Nettle Beer – Andy Hamilton

October 29, 2009 // 6 Comments

Pick small nettles for food Nettle Beer This is an easy recipe to follow and creates a delightful, if not usual tasting beer. It is very cheap to make and follows a traditionally english recipe. Before hops were widely used in the 17th century all sorts of plant were used to flavor the ale including nettles.(Urtica dioica). It was also thought to help alleviate rheumatic pain, gout and asthma. [...]
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