#MyGloriousGardens October Link Party!

Can you believe it? It’s flown into October and I’m even a little late with the Link party this month! It’s been a busy, busy month with full-time work, kids, garden………etc etc

However enough of me! Let’s get linking….

Some Guidance for all your lovely linkers!

If are a new linker, the rules are simple…..just click on the blue link up button at the bottom of this screen and it will take you to a new page where you can copy and paste your posts.

Please add the #MyGloriousGardens button to your post -you can find it in my sidebar (widget). This helps me track who has been reading the other bloggers posts.

Tweet me @oldhouseinthes1 for a retweet. Retweet any posts you really love using the same hastag.

Spread the linky love by commenting on some of the other bloggers posts, including mine please. Please don’t link and run! It’s not what this party is all about. As a guide, try to comment on the post directly before your and one of the hosts post as a minimum.

I will comment on every post linked up and share on all my social media sites. I will put all posts on Stumbleupon as well as Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook -do check out my pages. I always post a round up post after the link party has closed so that you get further traffic from that. What’s not to love!?

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Apples, apples everywhere!

We are lucky to have a rather lovely, old apple tree in the old house garden which is groaning with apples this Autumn. I expect it is the sole survivor of an apple orchard planted in the 1950’s or so but it is very welcome and we have been harvesting many, many apples this weekend. We had a cold spell in late Spring here in the UK and I have read that this has affected this year’s harvest. I think the old house garden is so sheltered that our apple tree was covered in blossom and didn’t seem to be affected hence the great apple crop.

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The old house garden apple tree is groaning with fruit
So what to do with all these lovely apples?

Last year, we failed at making cider or juice for that matter….I think as the apples are Bramley apples this was doomed from the start! This year, we decided to try Apple sauce.

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Washing the apples in the wheel barrow
After climbing a rather large ladder we managed to collect about half of all the apples on the tree into a wheel barrow. We couldn’t reach the apples on the top branches so we have left those. We washed the apples and selected the best to use in our apple sauce.

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Chopping the apples

We chopped and sliced the apples and put them in saucepans.

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We had 4 large saucepans in total.

We added lemon juice, water and caster sugar to each saucepan. I have no quantities for you as we just went with the amounts we thought were right! We brought this to a gentle simmer which we left, stirring occasionally as the apples softened.

Meanwhile, I made an apple and blackberry crumble with some blackberries we picked on our dog walk this morning.

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Lots of blackberries in the fields at the moment.
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Make sure you wash the fruit
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I admit that I bought a crumble mix from the supermarket! It cooks in the oven for about 30 minutes and its so easy.
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Apple and blackberry crumble doesn’t last long in this house (and it’s mostly eaten by me!)

Meanwhile, the sauce was coming along nicely. We added more sugar for taste and also some sweet cinnamon.

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The apple sauce was ready and left to cool.

After we had left it to cool, we put it into sterilised jars ready for the fridge!

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Lots of jars of apple sauce -yummy!

And what to do with all the leftover apples?

Help yourself!

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Free Bramley apples at the old house!
Mummascribbles

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OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.

 

 

 

How to improve your soil with 5 common kitchen ingredients.

KI have written a post about how to make compost here

Not everyone has room in their garden for a compost bin so here are 5 common kitchen waste products that you can use to improve your soil and enjoy healthy plants.

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Add Eggshells to your soil.
  1. Egg shells
    • Dry the eggshells in a bowl on a sunny window sill. Once they are dry they crush really easily.
    • Crushed eggshells add extra drainage and calcium to your soil. I find they also prevent rot in tomato plants.
    • Work the crushed shell into the soil or add crushed shell to the base of plants to help deter snails and slugs. They don’t like the feel of the crushed shell so should avoid your young seedlings or plants. See my post about deterring these pests organically

here

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Add banana skins to your garden for improved drainage.

2. Banana skins

  • Adding cut up banana skins to your soil will help improve drainage as they encourage worms. They rot down quickly leaving lovely crumbly soil.
  • Banana skins add calcium, magnesium, sulphur, phosphorus, potassium and sodium to your soil which are needed for healthy plant growth.

3. Epsom Salts

  • Magnesium is incredibly low in many people’s diets and has been declining in our vegetables since the 1950’s. Magnesium is needed for enzyme reactions and is a basic requirement in maintaining healthy body functions. Adding Epsom salts to our soil where we grow vegetables will help this.
  • Add Epsom salts to the base of your vegetables; especially cabbages, broccoli, lettuce and peppers.
  • Add to your tomatoes for healthy fruits.
  • If your plant leaves are curly, it may be due to a magnesium deficiency so give Epsom salts a try.  Epsom salts can be added to the watering can too but make sure to water the base of your plants not their leaves.
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Coffee Grounds are great for Acid loving plants.

3. Coffee Grounds

  • I empty my coffee pods of their coffee grounds and add this to my compost bin. You can also add coffee grounds straight to the soil as a general fertiliser adding Nitrogen.
  • Coffee grounds are particularly good for acid loving plants such as Rhododendrons, Azaleas,  heathers and blueberries.
  • Coffee Grounds work very well as a mulch around plants. Earthworms love them but slugs don’t tend to.

5. Tea Bags

  • Snip open dried tea bags and use their contents in your garden.
  • Use them in the same way as coffee grounds to improve soil.
  • Pop them into your watering can and water the plants with your tea water.

There we have it! I hope you have found these tips useful.

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How to make fabulous household compost to use in your garden.

We have a compost bin in the old house and we use it make fabulous, organic compost to put on the garden. They add vital nutrients to the soil to enable optimum growing conditions.

What benefits does compost have to my garden?

Your own compost will feed and condition your garden soil and can also be used for your pots or in growing your  own vegetables. It also is a great way to recycle kitchen waste so leaving less to go in your rubbish bags.

What can I compost?

      • Vegetables and fruit peelings/cores/skins. Banana skins are ideal for the compost.
      • Grass cuttings. Try to mix this with “dry” bits so that the compost doesn’t get too slimy. I put leaves on another pile to make leaf mulch.
      • Dry bits like paper, newspaper and cardboard such as cereal boxes, loo rolls and packaging. I strip mine up so that they can compost quicker.
      • Tea bags and coffee grounds (also good for dealing with slugs see my post

    here

  • Animal bedding such as straw and sawdust from a rabbit hutch. This does take longer to compost though.
  • Egg shells. We eat a lot of eggs in the old house so I also crush these up to discourage those pesky slugs and snails!
  • Lint from the dryer or washing machine. Animal hair or hair from hair brushes.
  • Ash from my fire. Some don’t add this but we don’t have too much so it can go in!
  • Old cut flowers. I chop these up into smaller pieces.
  • I also add Epsom salts to my compost as we are low in Magnesium here in Wiltshire.

What do I not compost?

  • Any meat or fish. This can attract rats.
  • Animal faeces. Ugh!
  • Weeds. I don’t add these because I don’t want to add their seeds to my compost.
  • Cat litter.
  • Nappies.
  • Old dog or cat food.
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My compost -you can see the layers.

How do I compost?

You can buy some great compost bins from most garden centres or DIY shops. They are often large, black bin looking things with a removable front panel. Put this is a place in your garden that is out the way. It won’t smell but they are not great to look at! Make sure they are placed ON THE OPEN GROUND. This is vital. The bottom of the bin must be placed onto the soil so that worms can get in. The worms are what are going to be doing all the work for you as decomposers! Put in your waste as and when you have it. I mix my bin contents every now and again to get the air into the compost and to allow the wet and dry pieces to mix. You can make your own compost area too like we have in the old house garden.

In about 6-8 weeks you will have lovely, crumbly compost that you can out into your garden! Simple! You can even compost in a small garden.

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Hubbie built our compost bin from old scaffolding planks!

Have a go! You plants will thank you (and so will the bin man and the planet!)

OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.

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10 ways to deal with slugs and snails in the garden without using chemicals.

Snails and slugs have eaten my Delphiniums again! They have also munched some of my vegetables and it’s quite a problem!

We garden without chemicals in the old house garden. We have pets but we also have a resident hedgehog as well as slow worms, bats, pond life and birds. We want to encourage this wildlife and using chemicals is not an option. I also think that if you have young children you should think very carefully about using chemicals.

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Slugs and snails are a nuisance in the garden

So how do we deal with slugs and snails?

1. Encourage wildlife that eat them! Make homes for hedgehogs, leave a wild patch, make homes for insects and make a hole in your fence so that hedgehogs can get in and out. See my post on how to create a wildlife garden Here

2. Make sure your plants are as healthy as they can be. Use mulch, make your own compost and water your plants regularly (using water from your water butt of course!)

3. Make raised beds surrounded by gravel to make it trickier for the snails and slugs to reach your vegetables in the first place.

4. Make beer traps. Basically put some beer into a jar or pot. It needs to be deep enough so they can’t get out. Put this amongst your vegetables. The snails and slugs like the yeast in the beer and will choose this over your plants. Tip the snails and slugs in the compost bin.

5. Use crushed egg shells or crushed pistachio nuts around the base of your plants. They don’t like it all over them when they move.

6. Use coffee grounds, sawdust, ash or sand around the base of your delicate plants. I’ve actually never found these work but some people swear by them!

7. Put out strips of cardboard at night and in the morning, you will find the snails and slugs underneath and you can pop them into the compost, cardboard and all.

8. Smear petroleum jelly around the base of plants in pots. The snails and slugs can’t cross the jelly to reach your plants.

9. Plant “sacrifice” plants such as lettuces. In other words, the snails and slugs will eat these instead.

10. If in doubt, go out! I go out in the early evening (with a torch…..🤔) And pick off the slugs and snails. I then put them where the hedgehogs live or straight into the compost bin.

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You don’t need chemicals to deal with snails and slugs.

I hope this post was useful to you!

OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES

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