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Homemade ‘Wraps’, Laundry Liquid, The Allium Leaf Miner And Seed Sowing Continued.

The Allium Leaf Miner

If you read my blog on Friday, you will know that last week, I dug up my remaining leeks and froze then.

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While I was preparing them, I found something interesting that I thought I would share with you.

I found an Allium Leaf Miner, so I took a photograph to show you.

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Plants affected by the allium leaf miner tend to rot, from the damage it has caused on the plant. If you look closely on the picture above, you can see the small brown pupae, 3-4 mm long, embedded in the stem.

This is a pest that was only detected in Britain in 2002. It has been spreading rapidly since and spread to many places in the Midlands for the first time two years ago.

The allium leaf miner isn’t choosy which allium it attacks. Alliums include onions, leeks, garlic and shallots.

Last year I lost quite a few of my overwintering onions to the Allium Leaf Miner, so this year I covered them in environmesh, though it would cost too much to cover all the alliums I grow at my allotment, so I’ll have to hope for the best.

You can read all about the Allium Leaf Miner here.

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Seed Sowing:

The seeds I sowed on the 25th February have now all germinated and are growing well:

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From left to right, I have Celeriac, greenhouse tomatoes, lobelia, lettuce, cabbage and cauliflowers.

The celeriac, tomatoes and lobelia are sitting on my windowsill inside my house and the cabbages, cauliflowers and lettuce are sitting on a heated mat in my cold greenhouse.

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The seeds I grew on the 9th January are also doing well now too:

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From left to right I have peppers, basil, broadbeans and onions.

The broadbeans are in my cold greenhouse (as they are an overwintering variety), and the rest are sitting on my windowsill inside.

Finally, the shallots I planted in paper pots on the 6th February, have all rooted and some are beginning to sprout:

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So far, my seed sowing is going well.

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Laundry liquid:

I was running short of my homemade laundry liquid this week, so I made some more.

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I love this liquid as it saves us so much money and it is really easy to make.

You can read how to make it here.

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Homemade Wraps:

Today I thought I’d show you how I make homemade ‘Wraps’.

Homemade wraps are brilliant as they are so so easy to make and I have worked out that they cost just 15 pence to make…this is just under an incredible 2 pence per wrap!

The cheapest wraps I have managed to find are currently 12.6 pence per wrap, so it’s definitely cheaper to make them.

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 Homemade Wraps:

250g plain flour

1 tablespoon of olive oil

150ml warm water

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Sift the flour into a bowl.

In a separate jug, add the olive oil to the warm water, then add this mix to the sieved flour and stir well until it all comes together into a ball.

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Knead the ball for approximately 5 minutes.  Add a little bit extra flour if the ball is too sticky.

Divide your dough ball into 8 pieces.

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Heat a frying pan until it is very hot and then turn down to a medium heat.

While the pan is heating, sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and roll out a dough ball into a rough circle shape.

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Put into the frying pan (with no oil) and cook for approximately 1 minute, then turn and cook for a further minute on the other side.

(Be careful not to overcook or the wraps will break when you fold them).

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Leave to cool on a cooling tray.

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How to fold a wrap:

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Half fill the wrap with your desired filling

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(in the picture I used mayonnaise, cheese and salad, but you can put whatever you normally put in your sandwiches).

Fold the top, three quarters of the way over the bottom

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Fold the left side over the right side and turn the wrap over.

Then you have a perfect, homemade wrap…..Enjoy!

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I’ll be back on Friday.

Thank you for reading my blog today.

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Laundry Liquid And The Water Has Gone

Yesterday I mentioned that the dike that had once flowed through my four allotments had flooded again.  You can see this in the picture below.

Today I’m very pleased to say it had dried up completely, so my panic is over…for now.

 I really feel for all those people that have had their properties flooded in the UK, due to the constant rain we have been having.  It’s hard to believe now, that there were hose pipe bans around the country in the spring time.

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This morning I made some more laundry liquid as I had used the last drop that I had left.

I love the laundry liquid I make, as it is so cheap.  I use soap flakes, borax substitute (as you can no longer buy borax) and Soda Crystals.

You can find the recipe I use here.

As I said previously, I can’t take the credit for this recipe as I found it on the internet a long time ago and I haven’t got a clue where I found it.

The last time I made my laundry liquid was the 21st September.  I kept a careful note of how many washes this batch of laundry liquid actually did, so I could report this back to you.   I have worked out that I managed to get 71 washes out of my laundry liquid.

I have looked hard to find the cheapest laundry liquid that I could find in Tesco and it appears to be ‘Daisy’ which is £2.39 for twenty eight washes.  This works out at 8.5p per wash.

My laundry liquid cost me approximately £1.75 to make and that is a staggering 2.5p per wash.  I challenge the supermarkets to beat that.

It took me about fifteen minutes to make, but I think it was time well spent.

Thank you for reading my blog today.

New Allotment Paths and Laundry Liquid

For the last few days I have been working on the top half of my 4th allotment plot.  This is what it looked like in January when I took the plot on:

The tree in the middle is a plum tree.

The previous plot holder, Eric, had tried to grow vegetables under the tree, but he told me that nothing grew properly as it was just too dry and shady under there.

After I had strimmed the couch grass and weeds in January, I covered it all with weed suppresant.

Last year, my dad had given up his allotment, as it was just too much for him. He asked if he could have a little bit of my plot to work.  I thought this was a wonderful idea, as I can’t think of anything better than having my dad growing his vegetables with me, as I think the world of my dad.

So in April, I dug a patch at the front of the plot, removing all the weeds and added loads of compost.

Dad has grown leeks, runner beans, onions, lettuces and squash this year.

I have been worrying about the weed suppressant around dad’s patch, as I have bricks and old pieces of wood holding it down and I have worried that dad would trip over them.

So this week, I have used old pieces of wood, to make the edge for two paths and I have laid weed suppressant in between them.  Next week I will be visiting our local council to buy some wood chips to put over the weed suppressant.

The bricks etc are just there to stop the weed suppressant from blowing away in the wind.  They will be removed when I put the wood chips down.

In the photo below, you can see I have also put wood around the edges of the tree.  I have decided that this area is going to be a woodland area and I will continue to work on it over the next few weeks.

I removed the weed suppressant from around the tree this week and you can see that all the couch grass and weeds have been killed.

I have some bulbs to plant and I will be on the lookout for some cheap woodland plants or plants that I can take cuttings from, to fill this area.

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Laundry Liquid

For a while now I’ve been making laundry liquid to wash my clothes.  Today I made some more, as I had run out.

It washes well and is so much cheaper than shop bought wash powders and liquids.

I really don’t know where I got the recipe from, it was somewhere on the net, so I can’t take any credit for it.

This is how I make it:

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1 cup of soap flakes

½ cup Soda Crystals (also known as washing soda)

½ Cup Borax (in the UK it is a substitute of borax which works well) 

1 ½ litres of water

Put the above ingredients into a saucepan and heat, stirring until the soap flakes have dissolved

Pour the mixture into a very large bucket and then add 8 litres of cold water.

Stir and then pour into containers, leaving space at the top so you can easily shake the container before you use it.

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You only need approximately a quarter of a cup of washing liquid for each wash.

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I use old plastic milk containers to store my liquid in.  The recipe makes just over 10 litres of liquid.

The above amount will last quite some time and washes well.

You won’t see lots of bubbles when it washes, but this doesn’t matter.  Wash powders that you buy actually have bubbles added, not because thay are needed, but because people think their clothes aren’t washing properly if they don’t see bubbles.

Thank you for reading my blog today.