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Saturday, 30 April 2011

How Green Are You?


Please, take this test. It is very informative, and you will learn something if you browse the pages of this site:
http://myfootprint.org/en/visitor_information/.

I really am careful about recycling and going green and did the test rather well but, there is always room to improve yourself.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Garden News

A view to the shed.

The garden changes from day to day. Everything is growing fast now and comes to bloom. As ever, May and June will be the most beautiful months. The past few days have been windy and rather cold. The rain announced for today did not fall. I have planted tomatoes and celery in my vegetables garden and mulched almost all beds with cut grass. There was plenty of it piled up near my house because they mowed the grass on the town greens. Of course I brought it all up to my yard.
The peas grows nicely and the second crop of young onion soon will be ready for picking up.

vegetable garden

The kale seedling appeared in great number and in a few weeks I will transplant them into garden. The flower seeds germinated also very well. Though planting the seedling into individual pots is a rather demanding task, I am looking forward to it. To me, having the plants grown up from seed is a true gardening. Growing my own plants, especially the hard ones to breed, gives me a good sense of achievement and pride when I succeed.


The tree peony flowers are really gorgeous. This is the second one bush I have. There are less flowers on this bush but, that is probably the reason they are much larger than the flowers on the other bush. The blooms are full of beetles and bees sucking the nectar.
Now the main jobs in the garden are all done and all I have to do is regular maintenance. As usual, when I think I finished weeding I can start from the very beginning again. Only, there are much less weeds on the beds this time and the work goes on quickly.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Plant a Billion Trees


If you want to help this action, please, click the link PLANT A BILLION TREES .
Thanks!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Dyeing Easter Eggs


My favourite way to dye Easter eggs is to cook them into water with plenty of onion peels. Most of you have probably tried to dye the eggs this way, but for those who did not, here's "how-to". You will need: old nylon stockings, some twine, scissors, eggs, onion peels, and small leaves and flowers. Wet the egg and the leaves to stick it to the egg shell. Then, wrap it around a piece of stockings, twist and tie well with a twine. Put the eggs into a cold water add onion peels and cook for 10 minutes. Cut the twine and remove the stocking and the leaf.

Onion peels give brown colour, and I also used red, green and purple dye to have a variety of coloured eggs.


For a shine, take some lard or oil into hands and smear on each egg.





The Rose Arch


Yesterday afternoon a friend of mine and I spent making this rustic rose arch. We made it of black locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia) trunks and branches. This tree is very durable. The main posts are about 10 cm in diameter, 20 cm dug up into ground for better stand. It took us about two hours to make it and we really enjoyed the work. I always feel wonderful when making something with my own two hands. 
The rose climbing on it's left side is called 'Parade'. It is vigorous Rose with lots of fragrant pink flowers.


Tree Peony

My tree peony is now in full bloom. The bees and another insects are attracted by the beautiful flowers and scent. I noticed lots of Rose chafer beetles (Cetonia aurata) sucking the nectar.

Monday, 18 April 2011

The Insect Hotel

To my joy, my insect hotel got the first inhabitants. I did not noticed it until today. A few tubes are sealed, and busy bees are buzzing around!



Saturday, 16 April 2011

Flower Seeds


I finally have sown all the flower seed. I am engaged in census these days I really have less time do do my gardening work. But, as I am almost done with my area, I got a day off to clear my mind off of all these names and numbers. 
I love Aquilegias and sow every year some new varieties of them. This year's choice are: 'Sweet rainbows', 'Sunshine' and low growing Aquilegia pulmilla. I also have sown Helenium 'Autumn Lollipop', ornamental cabbage mix, Phlomis tuberosa and Calendula 'Greenhouse Orange'.

compost box made out of wire mesh

The rest of the afternoon I spent sifting compost, turning the compost piles and making the compost box of wire mesh. As the rain was announced for the night, I left the pile uncovered to get some moisture. I really have lots of composting materials and need to make some more compost boxes. 
It is also time to make sting nettle fertilizer. I also use young nettles for food and prepare it just the same way as spinach. Nettles are rich in iron just like spinach, but iron in spinach is in a form that our body metabolism finds hard to absorb. So, I prefer sting nettles to spinach! Here, there is the recipe:

Sting Nettle Sauce

500 g young sting nettle leaves (stems are too hard)
some flour
olive oil
garlic
4 dl milk
sour cream
salt, pepper

Wash the nettles leaves and pit it into boiling water to cook. When smooth, drain and chop on the wooden board into small pieces. Put some olive oil into a pot, add two to three spoons of flour and fry it for a couple of minutes mixing constantly. Be careful not to burn the flour! Then add chopped garlic,  pour slowly the milk, add nettles, salt and pepper. Cook for a while until thick. To finish, mix in two spoons of sour cream. Serve with cooked potatoes and fried egg (sunny side up). Bon appetite!

I still cannot forget the tomato seedlings fiasco. Mea culpa! I should probably put the pots on some more safe place and away from cats!


Friday, 15 April 2011

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Tulips

They look best in a large groups. Just take a look how they are closed early in the morning...


...and open later on, when the sun comes out.



Saturday, 9 April 2011

Friday, 8 April 2011

Sowing Vegetables

I am rather content with the peas; it germinated very well. This sort of peas is dwarf and has sturdy stems. It doesn't really need a support, but I put some twigs and branches anyway. Now is the ground warm and needs to be covered with mulch. Before mulching, the ground should be well watered.


I managed to work out all the soil in the vegetable garden and sowed broad beans, lettuce, and parsley. To my great sorrow I have to tell you that my neighbour's cats ruined my tomato seedlings that stood on the table in the yard. They tuned the pots over and the seedlings dried beyond recovery point! Now I have to buy seedlings on the market. I am really sorry to loose the good varieties of tomato I got from Ana, especially the "black" one. 
I did not planted potatoes yet. I have not enough place for them in my vegetable garden and I have a plan to plant them in the bag this year. I left the tubers in the egg crate to sprout before planting into ground. If the weather allows, I will plant them this weekend.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Daffodils

I have not much time to write posts but I have some time to post a few pictures. The daffodils are in full bloom...