Sundry on storage, processing and preserving, recycling, wildlife and livestock

Kitchen garden flower crops; for cutting?

When one thinks of kitchen gardens, vegetable plots and allotments one rarely visualizes a scene replete with masses of flowers. No our imagination and memory play us pictures of rows of worthy vegetables; a patchwork of foliage with few if any flowers. And if you trawl the associated books flowers rarely get a mention except in the older tomes where a row of flowers may be included 'for cutting'. So why do we so ruthlessly exclude all the flowers from our visions?

Bringing in more beneficial insects

In every garden there are very good reasons for bringing in more insects generally and not just those acknowledged ‘beneficial’. Indeed I would maintain that as well as their aesthetic and educational value almost all insects, including some usually considered pests, are actually beneficial. Obviously some such as the cabbage butterflies can cause serious damage if not controlled but even they may do some good as well.

Sui-Cider the traditional Norfolk brew

-Every kitchen garden grows apples; but what are you to do with the inevitable surplus and the many imperfect ones? Turn them into cider is the answer. Cider is the traditional British drink. Some think of beer as the traditional beverage but beer is relatively modern being a sixteenth century corruption of honest ale (-they found they could use less malt and maker a weaker beer that would still keep if hops were added as preservative). Ale had to be strong stuff to keep and was full of body so acted as much as sustenance as drink.

Cats & birds -the gardener's best friends?

I realise I'm on contentious ground here but none the less the gardener's case for both these creatures needs to be aired. Only a few months ago there was once again the usual (is it an annual, biennial or perennial) press outcry against household moggies accusing them (on the basis of rather implausible and highly speculative statistics) of massacring so many millions of poor little furry mammals and/or precious garden songbirds per year.

Big planters and more free! from cut and reversed car tyres

I do not like using car tyres in the garden. I agree they are not aesthetic and they may be a source of pollution if kept long enough until the rubber degrades. However a tyre full of soil in your garden is probably less harmful than the rubber dust blowing in off the road outside. Tons of rubber are worn off tyres every day, that's why millions are replaced every year. The dust then blows around until it is washed into the soil or drains.

Beekeeping reconsidered

I used to keep bees, then when the lice like parasite varroa arrived I quit although now I'm considering taking it up again. Beekeeping certainly has a lot of benefits both directly and indirectly to the kitchen gardener. BUT it really most suits those at home with not enough yet to fully occupy them. In practice many gardeners may struggle -the bees require the best sunny days for their attentions; just when busy gardeners want to do so many other urgent tasks.

Backyard livestock

So you already grow your own vegetables and fruits, make your own pickles, jams, juices and wine. Next as many are doing you could consider growing your own eggs and or meat. I grew up on a farm and know that keeping such as a few hens is not difficult. Be warned though- most books on the subject dwell too much on diseases and problems. In practice with backyard animals, especially fowls, few troubles ever arise. True you should be aware of potential difficulties but in practice these are rarely encountered.


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