Tag Archive | Cheap seeds

Decorating Again & Judys Birthday

Yesterday it was Judy’s 5th birthday and we bought her a few little presents.  She gets very excited when I give her a present to unwrap and her little tail wags like crazy whilst she is trying desparately to tear the paper off with her paws:

IMG_1143 IMG_1146

She seemed very pleased with the ball my daughters gave her.  You fill the ball with dry feed or treats and she pushes the ball around to make them fall out:

IMG_1156

And she also liked the ‘doggie treats’ and tennis balls that we gave to her:

IMG_1151 IMG_1168

I also bought a ‘doggie cake’ from the pet store which she absolutely loved (unfortunately I didn’t get round to make a dog cake myself):

IMG_1129 IMG_1136

Today it is a year since we brought Judy home from The RSPCA.  It really has been a rollercoaster ride, but I have learnt so much after all the training.  She has turned into a lovely dog and companion for me and I am so glad I persevered with her, rather than give up like her previous three owners did.

IMG_1128

.

This week in the home:

.

This week I have finally got around to decorating my youngest daughters bedroom.

After clearing everything from her room I started off by removing the very old shelves that really needed to be replaced and filled all the holes around the room with some filler.  When it was dry I sanded the filler down until it was all smooth:

IMG_2711 IMG_2713

I then sanded down all the woodwork in the room ready to begin.

I started by painting the ceiling and woodwork and then I pasted thick lining paper (1400 grade) on the walls to help to hide all the lumps and bumps.  We did consider plastering this room but it would have been too expensive for us and the lining paper was a cheaper option.

IMG_2718 IMG_2719

When it was dry I painted the walls the colour my daughter had chosen….a ‘soft grey’ and I think she chose well (though I did have my reservations when she first told me she wanted this colour).

IMG_2725 IMG_2724

I decided to paint her wooden curtain pole white, to match the room (it was previously a ‘wood’ colour).  It took three coats of paint and I couldn’t face painting all the curtains rings so I brought new ones, but they didn’t cost too much and it was still far cheaper than buying a new pole:

IMG_2723 IMG_2726

I still need to put the curtain pole back up and I also need to put together the bedroom furniture that we are hoping to have delivered next week (an ‘early’ birthday and Christmas present for my daughter).

And finally I need to make a pair of curtains for the room….we looked in every shop I could think of for a ready made pair of curtains, but my daughter didn’t like any.  In desparation I took her to a material shop and she found some material that she loved, so I now have another job for next week:

IMG_2733

I love decorating, especially when I am pleased with the results.  I’ll show you a photo of the completed room next week.

Judy keeping me company while I decorated the room

Judy keeping me company while I decorated the room

.

.

A few other things before I finish for this week:

.

This week I made some butterfly cakes to show off the new cake stand my daughters bought me for my birthday last week……I really love this present!

IMG_2707 IMG_2706

I also made some more dishwasher liquid out of soapnuts:

IMG_2714

While I was out and about this week I noticed that the seeds at Wilkinsons had been reduced to 20p so I stocked up with the ones I know I will definately use:

IMG_2700

.

In the garden this week I found that unfortunately the broccolli ’60 day raab’ that I sowed in the middle of August is flowering…..so it does grow quickly (as the name suggests), but it has gone to seed before it’s possible to get even a tiny crop, so I won’t be growing this again.  I made sure it was fed at the beginning and it was well watered when the weather was dry, so I can only think the ground wasn’t firm enough for it (brassiccas like the ground to be firm).  It was a free packet of seed so I haven’t lost anything but time:

IMG_2727

 .

Also in the garden the leaves are falling from my neighbours trees and I will need to collect them up next week.  Previously I had grass in this area and I would just run over the leaves with the lawn mower to quickly remove them, however this isn’t possible in my vegetable garden so I will need to get down on my hands and knees:

IMG_2732 IMG_2731

.

My Cosmos is still flowering well:

IMG_2729

And the tomatoes that I picked two weeks ago when they were nearly all green, are ripening well in my greenhouse…..(I am very pleased as I really don’t like green tomato chutney):

IMG_2728

.

.

So that’s it for this week.  I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog.

I will be back next Friday as usual.  Have a great week!

Advertisements

Pasta Sauce, Cheap Seeds and Planting Spring Cabbage

This morning at my allotment I planted some cabbages ready for spring.

The cabbage I picked yesterday

Two weeks ago I prepared the ground, by hoeing the weeds away and put a sprinkling of ‘Blood, fish and bone’ organic fertiliser down.

This area had my broad beans in previously.  When I removed the old bean plants, I left the roots in the ground.  The root nodules of the broad beans fix nitrogen into the ground, which is good for green leafy growth, which I knew would benefit my cabbages.

I gave it another hoe this morning and then planted the spring cabbages fairly deeply, 30cm apart.  As brassica’s like very firm ground, I always tread firmly around my cabbages with my boot.

I then gave them a quick water just to settle the soil around the roots.

The pigeons love brassica’s at my allotment (they actually seem to like anything at the moment), so I needed to net the cabbages.

You can buy those round balls with holes in, that support your canes, but I think they are expensive.  I choose to make mine out of old drinks bottles or hand wash bottles, as they are free and can be used several times before the plastic goes brittle.  You can see below how the canes fit into the bottles:

The netting I bought ages ago and I have reused it loads. The holes in the netting are small enough to keep cabbage white butterflies out and the netting is thick enough to stop the netting from ripping or becoming so tangled you can’t use it.  It was a good investment.

This is my finished cage:

.

This morning I also pulled up some carrots from one of my two raised beds.

I have never been able to grow carrots outside in my soil before, so this year I was even more determined to do this.  I used a mixture in my two raised beds of homemade compost, leaf mould and horticultural sand and have grown them under environmesh, to stop the carrot root fly.

Finally, I am glad to say…. I HAVE CARROTS!  I am very pleased.

I know that I went to a great big effort to grow these carrots, especially as carrots are so cheap to buy, but home-grown carrots do taste wonderful compared to shop brought carrots.

We will be having them for tea tonight.

.

.

I had a tip off today, that Wyevale Garden Centres were selling their seeds cheaply, if you are a gardening club member.  I joined Wyevale Garden Club as it was free to join and they have good offers every so often.

Today I found all the seed packets had been reduced to 50p, so I stocked up ready for next year, as every one of the packets were ok to be used in 2013.

50p Seed Packets

I bought the 21 packets of seeds, that you can see in the picture above.  They would normally cost £50.75 to buy, but I paid just £10.50 .  That’s an incredible saving of £40.25!

I love a good bargain.

.

Following on from my post on Friday regarding child poverty, (which you can read here), I have another cheap and easy family recipe.

I think a lot of people will make this simple meal anyway, so apologies to you, but if I help just one person who doesn’t usually cook, to feed their family more cheaply, then I will have achieved my aim.

Today I am writing about a basic Pasta Sauce.  A good quality jar can cost you anything up to £2.45 to buy and yet it is such an easy thing to make.

I cooked this sauce on Radio Leicester back in March, to demonstrate how you can make a simple cheap meal.  Back then I worked out that this sauce cost me just 80p to make when I bought all the ingredients, but as I grow most of the ingredients myself,  it only cost me 20p to make!

The recipe also doubles up as a Pizza sauce too and my pizza’s taste very similar to the pizza’s you eat at the large chain of pizza restaurants that you see on the high street (with far less salt though).  It certainly does NOT taste like the cheap pizza’s that you buy from the supermarkets.

My Olympic Pizza

When I cook this recipe I usually make a great big batch of it.  We have some of it for tea and I freeze a portion for another day.  After it has defrosted, it only takes ten minutes to heat up in the microwave, so it’s a really quick meal.

I also freeze some of it in little pots, to use on pizza’s another day.

.

Pasta Sauce

A drop of olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 garlic clove

500 grams Passata

(or a 400g can of tinned tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of tomato puree instead of passata)

190mls of vegetable stock

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

Fry the onion in the olive oil for a few minutes.

Add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes more.

Add all the other ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes

I toss some spaghetti into the sauce and I serve it with a nice homegrown salad and some homemade garlic bread.

A sprinkling of cheese on the pasta makes it even more delicious.

.

The recipe above is the basic pasta sauce,  but I always add vegetables to my sauce, e.g. broad beans, runner beans, courgettes etc.  My daughter doesn’t like vegetables in her sauce, so I puree the sauce before I serve it and she doesn’t know she is eating them and it’s full of vitamins.

If you like a sweet and sour sauce, you can add some pineapple pieces and leave out the herbs.  Also add a drop of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar.

.

It’s such a cheap and easy meal to cook.

.

Calendula grown to attact bees

Thank you for reading my blog today.

Watercress and Potato Soup and General Gardening

This morning I weeded and cleared my polytunnel of crops that had finished.

I managed to pick some onions, carrots, khol rabi and basil to take home.

I have cleared some space for my winter lettuces and hardy spring onions that I will plant next month and in the mean time I will be planting a few lollo rosso lettuces.

At the moment, I still have spinach, beetroot, cape gooseberrys, chickpeas, turnips, peppers and gherkins left growing in my polytunnel.

.

Today at my allotment, I picked another basket of runner beans.  I gave half the basket away to my in-laws and I will freeze the other half.

I’m really pleased with my runner beans this year, as I am having a good crop and there are still loads coming

.

My courgettes and patty pans are still producing well too

I also found some seeds that were half price today at ‘Wilkinsons’.  I always carry a list of seeds that I will need for the following year in my handbag, so if I find any in the sales I can buy what I actually need rather than buying duplicates.

Half Price Seeds

Yesterday I discovered that my watercress had self seeded and given me a second crop, so today I picked a bag full of it and I made Watercress and Potato soup.

It’s another easy recipe that tastes good served with homemade bread.

.

Watercress and Potato Soup:

.

350g Watercress washed

2 large onions chopped

700g potatoes chopped small

1 ½ pints of vegetable stock

1 pint of milk

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 teaspoons of butter or margarine

Heat the olive oil in a large pan

Fry the onions on a low heat until they are just soft

While the onions are softening, cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water until soft (approx. 10 minutes).  Then mash the potatoes with the butter and some of the milk

While the potatoes are cooking, add the watercress to the softend onion and mix together.  Put a lid on and ‘sweat’ on a low heat for 15 minutes

Add the stock, the rest of the milk and potato to the pan with the watercress and onion in

Stir until all the potato is mixed in and bring it to a boil

Simmer on a low heat for a further 10 minutes

Put the contents in a liquidiser and whizz until the contents are smooth.  You may have to do this in batches.

Reheat the soup gently.

Serve with homemade bread.

.

Thank you for reading my blog today.