Two ‘Trials’ & An Easy Vanilla Ice cream Recipe

This week at my allotment I decided to trial two different things:

1) Nemaslug Slug Killer:

The first is ‘Nemaslug Slug Killer’, which apparently controls slugs naturally and is harmless to children, pets and wildlife (inc. birds and hedgehogs), even if they eat the infected slugs.

They seemed pretty easy to use from the instructions that I read before I ordered them, so I thought I would give them a go as they are a natural organic way to fight slugs.

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Apparently this pack can treat upto 40 square meters and it gives six weeks of protection.

I particularly wanted to use the slug killer around my potato patch as I seem to suffer regularly each year from slug holes in them.  After researching the best way to use the nematodes, I found it was best to use them six to seven weeks before I plan to harvest my potatoes, which was this week.

As the product only has a shelf life of four weeks, I ordered them a couple of weeks ago and when I received them they had to be stored in the fridge.

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The instructions said that you needed to apply the nemotodes on a dull day or in the evening….so I waited for a dull day.  It also said the ground must be moist before you apply them, so I had to use my hosepipe to wet 40 square meters!

I split the packet into four and poured each quarter into a watering can (with a course spray as advised) filled with clean water.  I then set about watering the area where my potatoes are growing…..I found I almost had to run along to make sure the watering can didn’t empty before I had covered the desired area!

I then read that you need to keep the area moist for the next two weeks, which means using more water from a hosepipe.

My first impressions are that it’s all a lot of messing around and an awful lot of watering (unless you apply them in a wet period which is no good for me at the moment).  However, I will follow the instructions and see if my potatoes have fewer slug holes this year…..The cheapest price I could find was £9.44 (incl postage), so I will let you know at the end of my trial if it is worth spending this money.

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2) The second trial is ‘Tagetes minuta’

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I go to a wonderful garden forum that used to be held at the ‘Eco House’ in Leicester (which sadly closed down last year), but we managed to keep the forum going.  We decided to trial these plants together as according to Sarah Raven:

“Tagetes minuta is an extraordinary plant that isn’t a looker, but its roots kill perennial weeds such a ground elder and couch grass.

Height: 180cm”

I sowed my seeds on the 30th April and they were ready to plant out this week:

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I planted them right at the back of my plot which is covered in all sorts of perennial weeds such as couch grass, dandelions, brambles, buttercups, nettles and even some Ivy:

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To be honest you have to look really hard to see where the plants are in the photo below.

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I did give them some slug pellets to start them off as I know slugs love to eat tagetes and I wanted to give them a chance to work their magic.

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I will let you know the results of both trials.

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This week at the allotment I cleared the poached egg plants away as they had finished flowering and had shed most of it’s seed.  They gave a wonderful display last month and they brought lots of beneficial insects like ladybirds and bees to my plot:

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I then replaced them with some marigolds that I grew from seed in March and hopefully they will look great in a few weeks:

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I also gave my flower patch a good weed and removed the forget-me-nots that also gave such a good display this year.  I cut back my hardy geraniums to encourage a second flush of flowers too:

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  I then planted some dhalias, petunias and antirrhinums that I had also grown from seed.  Hopefully these will give a good display all summer:

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Elsewhere on the allotment I have sown some more radish and I have been watering my celeriac at least twice a week to encourage bigger roots.

I have also been hoeing to keep the weeds down.

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Harvesting:

This week I have been harvesting lots of wonderful salad leaves, radish, spring onions, coriander and also watercress (which incidentally is grown in a large pot of compost that is watered only once a week):

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And also lots of broad beans that I have been blanching and then freezing on trays before putting them into a freezer bag, to stop the beans from sticking together in large lumps:

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And strawberries…what a wonderful crop this year.  In total I have harvested four baskets full so far:

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So we have eaten loads, I also made some more jam and I froze the rest.

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At home my hanging baskets are looking beautiful so far and I have started to feed them with a high potash liquid feed….the same one I use for my tomatoes at home

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And I have my first flowers on my ‘poundshop’ dhalia’s.  These were a bargain as there were three tubers in a pack for £1.00 and I didn’t really think they would be up to much….but all three have grown.

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I love receiving comments on my blog and this week ‘Angela’ asked me for the recipe that I use to make vanilla ice cream.  I don’t bother messing around with vanilla pods, I just use ‘madagascan vanilla extract’ which seems to be a bit thicker than ordinary vanilla extract and can be bought from your local supermarket, however normal vanilla extract should also work.

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A Very Easy Vanilla Ice cream Recipe:

(With or without an ice cream maker)

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165 grams caster sugar

240ml double cream

500ml  milk (I use semi skimmed)

2 teaspoons Madagascan vanilla extract if possible (or normal vanillia extract)

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Put all the above ingredients into a bowl and mix until combined with a hand blender or a spoon:

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Add the mixture to your icecream maker to do the hard work

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(If you haven’t got an ice cream maker, just put the blended ingredients into a container and freeze.  Remove from the freezer every 1-2 hours and mash vigourously with a fork to break up the ice crystals)

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As there are no chemicals in the ice cream, the ice cream will be quite hard when you take it out of the freezer to use, so it is better to take it out for 10-15 minutes before you eat it.

Then enjoy it!

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Altogether it has been a good week in the ‘Thrift’ household and to top it off, my good allotment neighbour gave me some ‘Sweet william’ flowers to take home and they look beautiful.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back next Friday at my usual time.  I hope you have a good week.

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13 thoughts on “Two ‘Trials’ & An Easy Vanilla Ice cream Recipe

  1. Thanks Lisa for the ice cream recipe. I have made vanilla ice cream a very long time ago. Not sure what I did then, but this seems a very easy one. Will be trying it very soon.
    Best wishes,
    Angela (Devon)

  2. That’s a lovely simple ice-cream recipe, I’ll make a note of it. Sometimes there is so much cooking of custard and cooling and things I don’t bother making ice-cream because I don’t have the time. You have a fantastic strawberry harvest. I’ll be interested to see how your trials go, especially the tagetes one, it’s an intriguing idea. Have a good weekend. CJ xx

  3. We have a big problem with ground elder in our garden, so am interested to see if the trial works, i am going to dig out the plants in the border and try and remove it by hand.
    sue

  4. I tried making my first ever strawberry jam using your recipe and really enjoyed it. The colours and textures are amazing as you cook it. It was very straightforward and the jam is delicious. Thanks for sharing it.

    I have been trialling eggshells, beer traps and oatmeal for the slugs as I don’t want to give in to using slug pellets just yet. The oatmeal seems to have been eaten by mice, and there were no dead slugs near it, so it seems like it failed. Some of the beer traps were full of slugs and others were empty, so it is a bit hit and miss. I pop the eggshells in the oven to dry them out so they crush up quite finely. They look quite decorative sprinkled around the plot and seem to help a bit, but they get washed away easily and you need a lot to surround more than a few plants. I’m looking forward to finding out how you get on with the nematodes.

    • I don’t like slug pellets either but when I do use them I use the ones that are certified for organic use and not harmful to pets, children or wildlife…though I use these very sparingly.

      Really glad to hear your jam was nice…there is nothing like homemade strawberry jam is there

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