Green Tips

All the green tips listed below have been tried and tested by me on my plot or at home.  (I will update this page as I try and test different methods and find recycling gems)

Greening the plastic:     One plastic bottle I try to drink a litre of water a day, although in winter I would rather drown in a cup of Assam tea or a latte.  Readers of my blog will know that during my second year on the plot I dug up spring onion seedlings thinking they were weeds!  Now when I direct sow and plant seedlings I place a plastic bottle to mark the spot.  A 2 litre bottle has 3 uses.  The shallow bowl is regularly filled with water for the birds (right of the photo).  The small top part of the bottle is good for the first sowing and the middle, larger part of the bottle, is used when the seedlings get bigger.  For courgettes, pumpkins and broccoli, I use a 5 litre bottle, again cutting in 3.  I have quite a collection and they can be re-used each year.  I usually spread bands of Vaseline around to keep the slugs and snails away.  Alas it does not deter the flea beetle.

Tea for roses and vegetables: Used black tea leaves or tea bags make a good organic fertilizer.  Green tea is also good and gives an extra boost as it is high in nitrogen.  Each month from spring to autumn I feed my rose bushes with black tea and vegetables with green tea.  Add two used tea bags, black to water the rose bushes and green to water the  soil and vegetables to the watering can (10 litres) and leave to steep for a few hours, then water.   In winter, I mulch the roses with used tea bags underneath a layer of compost.

A cuppa of weak tea is a welcome feed for your geraniums (indoor and out).  Steep a used tea bag for a few minutes, cool and water your geraniums.  You can also use green tea.

Weed tea: Weed tea is one of my favourites.  It’s an ingenious way of transforming part of the plant kingdom that is not always welcome into a very welcome nutrient rich cuppa.  You will need, two plastic buckets (I use 10 litre), one black plastic bag, weeds and water.  Place the black plastic bag in one of the buckets and fill with weeds. Once you have a bucket full of weeds, fill with water and cover (I use a plank of wood, topped with a plastic bag and finally a brick.  Some people are more together and have a lid!).  Leave to brew for 4 to 5 weeks.  Take out the plastic bag and over another bucket and pierce the bottom of the bag in a few places with a garden fork so the liquid can pour out. Some liquid will remain until you remove the stinky mushy weeds.  The liquid needs to be further watered down by adding one litre to a 10 litre watering can giving quite a few cuppas for the allotment/garden.  I add the stinky mushy weeds to the compost bin.

Coffee no milk for strawberries:  Last winter to deter slugs from breeding in the strawberry bed I spread dried coffee grounds around each plant.  I did not find any slugs in the spring but did find a few snails.  However my strawberry plants were prolific and really tasty, the best ever.  I have since discovered that this method is also good for tomatoes and roses.  The question now is, do the roses want a cup of tea or a cup of coffee!

Banana peel: If you like bananas, don’t throw the peel away.  Cut the peel up into tiny pieces and then bury the pieces around the roses, about two inches deep and an inch away from the main branch.  I use as fresh as possible for the roses.   I only use one banana peel per rose, once in early spring and again in mid-summer.  I also add to the compost heap, again I cut into tiny pieces, but am not so concerned about the freshness.  They say it is best to bury deeply (I don’t know why).  Banana peel when broken down adds potassium and phosphorus to the soil.

(I have read that it is more beneficial to dry the banana peel first before adding to the roses.  I have not tried this method but you can dry the peel in the oven or on the ground if it is a hot day)



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