Category Archives: Grow Your Own

Great tips on growing your own organic fruit and veg.

Inspiring live – Dana Zamprogno homesteading mama

I am so pleased to bring you another inspiring,

alternative life interview, meet Dana Zamprogno

 Please tell our readers a little about your life, where are you currently living, what do you do etc?

We are a family of four, with two of us being 19 months and 7 weeks old. We live in beautiful Tasmania, Australia. I am originally from New Zealand, and Tasmania had the best compromise of living in Australia where my husband is from, and getting the NZ climate I miss so much. I currently write a blog about homesteading and being self sufficient on my website, while my husband has taken leave from his Payroll career to spend time at home our kids and I.

dana

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A day on the farm, willow weaving and lambs

A day on the farm, willow weaving and lambs!

I spent the day at my friends farm in Dolphinholme and we played with willow, willow is amazing for building structures, we used Osier willow to make lanterns and I made an oblix for my ivy to grow up.

There is a local custom in Chediston, Suffolk, known as a ‘willow stripping’ ceremony. This is usually held at the first full moon in May. A Green George figure is dressed in willow strippings, dances around and is then ceremoniously thrown into the local pond.

Osier withies (strong, flexible willow stems) are traditionally used for basket-making and weaving, and are becoming increasingly popular for use as willow screens and sculptures.

Osier, like all willows, is also grown for its ability to absorb heavy metals, and is often planted to ‘clean up’ contaminated waste ground. (thank you Woodland Trust for this info)

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Spring is in the air with lemon balm

Spring is in the air with lemon balm,

The past few days the sun has been shining here in Blackpool UK and little sprouts are peeking through the ground, I have been planting seeds for a couple of weeks now and the aubergine, sweet pea and tomato seedlings have appeared. I always get really excited by this happening.

Today I planted sunflower, marigold and Calendula seeds, I re-use takeaway tubs with lids because they make great little propagators.

Last year I dried a lot of lemon balm as it grew in abundance and I will be honest with you, I havent used it yet, but I am drawn to it today and feel it has womanly properties so I got out my herbal books and did some research.

 

spring

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What to do on the allotment in May

So what is there to do on the allotment in May?

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It is the first day of may today and it’s pouring down here in Blackpool, it’s turned really cold too and that glimmer of summer hope has disappeared, the heating is back on and so is a jumper! I am fancying comfort food like rhubarb crumble and custard, but I used the rhubarb in a juice yesterday when the sun was shining.

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What is earth day? share your tips and win a zine!

Today is earth day!

Although I personally think everyday should be earth day, it’s nice to remind the ‘normals’ about saving the planet. There are so many events going on to celebrate all around the world, you can find one near you by popping over to the map.

So what is Earth day all about?

Earth Day Network’s mission is to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle to build a healthy, sustainable environment, address climate change, and protect the Earth for future generations.

Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 50,000 partners in 196 countries to build environmental democracy. We work through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer campaigns.

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air ActClean Water ActEndangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed. Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

Earth-Day-2016-Poster-Earth-Day-Network

 

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March: What to do on the allotment

March is here in all its sunny glory in UK and we are thinking about what to do on the allotment.

I love the March sun because it makes grumpy people smile, the lovely spring flowers grow from their deep sleep of winter and allotment holders everywhere get very excited, because its time to sow seeds – Woo hoo!

Our organic seed delivery happened in January from Kings seeds and I have been waiting for that wonderful moment when I get the compost into pots and start planting.

I have been learning about planting by the moon because different plants grow better when they are planted during different phases of the moon. Each of these phases imparts an influence on the way vegetation grows on the planet through the rising and falling of the moisture in the ground and in the plants. – The gardeners calendar

I tell you what, it has made a difference, my courgettes and french beans I planted at 4.30am (this is because I couldn’t sleep not because you have to get up at idiot O’ clock to plant by the moon) have shot up, they are growing so well. This photo was taken 2 weeks after I planted the seeds, I had to re-pot them into bigger pots!

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Totnes sustainability town

totnes_castle_2012                                                                                                               Link to photo source

I was looking into the idea of transition towns and places like Lewes that have their own currency and found this great article on The Guardian:

Totnes is an ancient market town on the mouth of the river Dart in Devon. It has the well- preserved shell of a motte-and-bailey castle, an Elizabethan butterwalk and a steep high street featuring many charming gift shops. All of which makes it catnip to tourists. A person might initially be lulled into the belief that this was somewhere with as much cultural punch as, say, Winchester.

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How to plant a medicinal herb garden

How to plan and plant a medicinal herb garden - www.homesteadlady.com

I discovered this ladies site through a link on fb and I am so glad I did, this post is really long so I only copied over half of it, to read the rest pop over to Homestead Lady.

It really called to me as next year I want to grow loads more herbs and use them in many more ways. All photos and links below are from Homestead lady’s page:

Why would you want to know how to plan and plant a medicinal herb garden?  Well, with more and more of us opting out of the conventional this or that there’s been a rise in interest in gardening in general and growing herbs specifically over the last few years.  Herbs are amazingly useful plants in the landscape, even if you’re not ready to use them medicinally.  Most herbs are really not very difficult to grow, many have lovely flowers and/or interesting foliage and they can easily be integrated into your perennial beds or any traditionally landscaped area.  A lot of herbs grow well in pots, either indoors or outdoors and many are very adaptable to climates and types of soil.  Many, many herbs are basically pest resistant plants, ta-boot!  So, come let’s chat about how to plan and plant this medicinal herb garden you need…

 

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From front garden to abundant allotment

All you need is a bit of space (provided you don’t live in a cave, in which case you’d have to settle on button mushrooms). Even if you have a small apartment or a small yard you can still grow quite a bit of food. You can even grow tomatoes in a small studio apartment. For those of you that have a moderate to large sized yard, follow suit on the picture story below. This is how to create REAL health security. It’s time to stop consuming and start producing!

 

This used to be a lawn.

lawn-garden

It started with eight 6’x4′ raised beds with 1″x10″x10′ reclaimed redwood barn siding.

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Natural Rose petal toothpaste

So after a day of making smudge sticks and crumbling up and jarring my dried herbs, I was looking on Pinterest for more wonderful things to learn and saw a link about rose petal natural toothpaste, this blew my mind! I have been collecting and drying rose petals all summer and have a jar full, just ready to play with, I followed the link and found so much more, I just had to share it with you!

roses

                                                                              Some gorgeous roses this summer in a local park
Here is part of the blog post by Methow Valley herbs blog:

 

Roses as herbal medicine

It’s easy to fall in love with roses. They offer us beauty and can be an effective source of herbal medicine. This article looks at the many ways we can use roses for our health and beauty. From wild rose salad dressing to decadent facial cream to wild rose petal mead… read on! 

The exotic beauty and alluring smell of roses has enthralled humans for thousands of years. Roses have been found entombed with the ancient Egyptian pharaohs and were highly prized by the Greeks and Romans. 

The Chinese started cultivating roses around 5,000 years ago and in the late 18th century these roses spread to Europe where they were further hybridized.

Josephine, Napoleon’s wife, adored roses and strived to grow every known rose species in her gardens outside of Paris. Many credit her for the popularity of roses today. In the late 18th century Europe the rose was so highly valued it was used as a type of currency.

Wild rose petals about to be infused with honey.
A special treat that is also wonderful for sore throats. Photo belongs to Methow valley blog