Tag Archive | How to make newspaper pots for plants

A Blogging Rest…

The Last few months have been extremely hectic in the Thrift household due to family illness, dog training, Christmas, birthdays, etc and I feel that this has all finally caught up with me.

Mr Thrift and I are in the so called ‘sandwich generation’, as we have teenagers and elderly parents who rely on us (three sets as my parents divorced when I was young and then re-married).

Unfortunately I have found this all leaves me ‘frazzled’ at times and lately I have been feeling very run down…….I’m sure there are a lot of people reading this that have felt the same.

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I have therefore decided to have a quiet few weeks, to give myself a chance to rest and re-charge my batteries.  This means I will be saying “no” to people for a change if they ask for something that isn’t urgent or life threatening.  I know I will find this very hard to do, but I’m not alone as most women struggle to say “no” and it’s time I became more assertive….

During the next month I have decided to make myself a priority for once, which I think is not selfish, but a necessity.  After all, as ‘Ovid’ said….

” A field that has rested gives a beautiful crop”.

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So I hope you don’t mind but I have decided to take a month off writing any new blog posts.  Instead during March I will post some of my favourite blog posts that I have written….I will try to find some old ones that most of you won’t of read before.

But please keep reading as I will be back in April, Hopefully full of beans again.

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In the garden this week:

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This week I have been trying to add a bit of colour.  My local nursery has been selling primroses for 40p a pot, so I bought a few to dot around.

I try really hard to only buy flowers that come back year after year and primroses and daffodils do this nicely:

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I’ve just got to stop Judy (my dog) from jumping on them now.

I also bought some posts to support my autumn raspberries and new summer raspberries.  Autumn raspberries don’t really need support but I did find they leant over my path last year, making it hard to walk down.

I used washing line between the posts as this worked wonders at my old allotment:

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This week I also decided to see what had happened to the jerusalem artichokes that I planted last March in my garden.

I don’t know if you remember but I planted five jerusalem artichokes in an old metal pot that had no bottom as it has rusted away.  I thought this would be good to contain my jerusalem artichokes as they are well known for spreading and I didn’t want this to happen.

I dug a great big hole to sink the pot into the soil and wiggled my fork deep into the bottom of the hole to help with the drainage on my heavy clay soil.

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I then filled the pot back up with a mix of soil and compost and planted five jerusalem artichokes into it.

This area is in shade all day, so I wasn’t sure what I would find when I started digging about…..but this is what I found….

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Some of them were bigger than I ever managed to grow at the allotment!  So I was very pleased with this.

I picked five of the best and replanted them adding some new homemade compost to the mix:

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I continued to seed sow this week.  I sowed my greenhouse tomatoes.  I had a pack of ‘Moneymaker’ which I decided to use up, so they are sitting warmly in an old margarine tub inside a propagator, again on my radiator.  Hopefully with some bottom heat they will germinate quickly:

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The flowers that I sowed on the 3rd of February are ready to be ‘pricked out’.  There is information here that tells you how to prick out seedlings.

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The flowers are french marigolds, antirrhinums and dahlias.  I will prick them out in the next few days.

During March I will be planting my onion sets in newspaper pots.  I will keep them in my cold greenhouse until they start to grow, as this will give my soil a bit more time to warm up before I plant them.

When I do plant them, they will go into the soil, pot and all – this stops any root disturbance and the pot will just rot away.

You can read how to make newspaper pots here.

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(Last years onions sets)

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During March I will sow red cabbages, white cabbages, corianda, mixed salad leaves, lettuce, greenhouse cucumbers, tegetes, sweet peas, cosmos and calendula.

None of the above will be sown directly outside as my soil isn’t warm enough yet.  They will sit either inside my cold greenhouse or inside my house for the moment.

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This week in the home:

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I have continued cleaning my kitchen cupboards and this week it was the turn of my knife and fork draw….I had things in it I had completely forgotten about!

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I also did a spot of sowing to repair Mr Thrifts coat pockets and our seat cushions in our kitchen.

I always find sowing so thereputic.

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Well that’s it for now.  Don’t forget for the next few Fridays I will be sharing some older posts with you.  However I will still be around to answer your comments.

Thank you for reading my blog and your continued support over the years.

I will be back as normal in April.

The New Kitchen Garden Is Taking Shape & Seed Sowing Begins

At the beginning of each month I usually post ‘What to do in the kitchen garden’, but as this is now repeated each year I will just put a link to each month instead.  I will then have the time to write about other things that I have been doing.

‘What to do in the kitchen garden in March’ can be found here, if anyone is interested.

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There has been a couple of days this week where I have actually taken my coat off while working outside in my new kitchen garden as the sun was shining and it was just lovely to hear the birds singing.

I started off the week by planting two ‘Victoria plum trees’ that I ordered at the same time as the apple and pear trees that I planted last week.

I have read on various occasions that plum trees do not grow well as cordons, which is why I decided to plant them in pots, as I am short of space in my garden.

When the roots have filled these pots. I will replant them into bigger pots.

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I then turned my attention to the shady side of my kitchen garden. 

The top corner of my garden receives no sun whatsoever, so this seemed a good place to store my canes,etc. and have my two compost bins.

I laid the two broken old slabs that I found buried in the soil and put my old compost bins on top of them.  I put the bins on slabs so that mice and rats can’t enter them from underneath.  The bins have no drainage underneath, but they have made wonderful compost in my garden over the years, which is why I decided to keep them.  It will seem very strange making compost on such a small scale now, compared to the vast amount of compost bins and heaps I had at my allotment.

I also neatly stored the few things I salvaged from my old allotments:

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This area looked really ugly from my kitchen window so I decided I needed something to screen the area off.  I found the cheapest way to do this for now was to buy a pallet for £1 from my local garden centre and paint it with some old fence paint that I had lurking in my shed, so it blended into the garden….and it does look better from my kitchen window now:

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I then decided that the shady side of my plot would be a good place for my jeruselum artichokes.

I brought a big metal pot back from my allotment in January, which unfortunately had no bottom as it had rusted away.  I thought this would be good to contain my jerusalem artichokes as they are well known for spreading and I didn’t want this to happen.

I dug a great big hole to sink the pot into the soil and wiggled my fork deep into the bottom of the hole to help with the drainage on my heavy clay soil.

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I then filled the pot back up with a mix of soil and compost and planted five jerusalem artichokes into it.

(I bought the jerusalem artichokes from the allotment in January and they have been sitting happily in a pot of soil waiting to be planted).

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I have continued to dig the new kitchen garden to make ‘fixed beds’ and I have now finished one side of the plot and I have managed to dig my first two beds on the remaining side.  The soil is such heavy clay, the digging really is hard work, but I console myself with the fact that it will never be this bad again if I keep improving the soil each year.

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Along the right hand fence I replanted some comfrey that I brought back from my allotment and I also replanted the rhubarb that I had just ‘heeled’ into the ground, as I wasn’t one hundred percent sure where I wanted it to go.  This area receives only a few hours of sunlight each day in the summer, so I will need to see how well the comfrey and rhubarbs does….though I suspect it will be fine.

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So the kitchen garden is beginning to take shape:

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I also finally started some seed sowing this week.  It is very strange to only sow a few seeds at a time, as I have been used to growing for four allotments.

I have sown  cucumbers, peppers, lettuce and tomatoes (to grow in my greenhouse) and I have sown some red and white cabbage for outside and corianda and mixed lettuce leaves (for my window sill).  I have also sown some lobeilia as I love this in my hanging baskets and it is so expensive to buy.

  I decided to start my onion sets off in newspaper pots to give them an early start and I finally got around to planting my garlic in pots, though I am extremely late doing this so the bulbs may not split into cloves as they should….but I thought I would give it a try anyway.

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The onions and garlic are in my cold greenhouse and the rest are in propagators inside my house.  I do have a greenhouse heater, but it is expensive to use so I try not to use it until I have too many seeds to keep inside.

Just in case anyone reading wants to know how to make newspaper pots, you can read about it here.

Newspaper pots are great to make as they are extremely cheap and environmetally friendly to use, as the recycled materials decompose when you put them in the ground.  This also helps the plants that do not like root disturbance, e.g. swedes, that can be sown in the pots and then planted a few weeks later, still in the newspaper pots.  The plants find it easy to grow their roots through the damp pots when they are in the ground.

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Anyway, that’s enough for today.

  I hope you still enjoy reading my blog, even though I have given my allotments up – I still enjoy writing it.

I am looking forward to the challenge of growing as much fruit and vegetables as possible in my small

7.5 meter x 6.4 meter plot.

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I will be back next Friday at my usual time.

How to Make Newspaper Plant Pots

It has been a showery week at my allotment.  On Tuesday it lashed down with rain for half an hour and even hailed.  I sat in my car and had lunch watching it, but soon afterwards the sun was shining again:

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Yesterday was officially the first day of spring and spring flowers are looking beautiful.  I noticed my Hyacinths at my allotment are flowering lovely in my flower patch.  I bought these bulbs for just 10p in a sale, approximately four or five years ago and they have given a good show each spring:

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This week I have been concentrating on tidying up last year’s brassica beds, where I will shortly be planting my shallots and onions.

I started by digging up my remaining brussells and freezing them. I am very pleased with my sprouts this year, they are an F1 variety called ‘Igor’.  For years I couldn’t grow sprouts without them ‘blowing’ (which means loose, open sprouts), even though I tried everything that the experts told me to do.  In the end, I tried growing an F1 variety and I now have success:

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I washed and prepared the brussells, blanched them and then ‘open froze’ them (if you are unsure how to freeze vegetables, you can read about it here).

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I also lifted my remaining swedes this week.  I have lots of people tell me that their swedes become ‘woody’ if they leave them in the ground too long.  I have never had this problem, but I have read that two reasons for ‘woody’ swedes are either a lack of water at some stage while they are growing or a lack of nutrients in the soil.  I must admit I only ever water mine if it’s really, really dry, but I do plant mine where I have manured the autumn before and I give the ground a feed of blood, fish and bone a couple of weeks before I plant my swedes out (I sow my swedes in mid-April in newspaper pots).

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I noticed the kale at my allotment is about to flower.  It usually lasts a bit longer before it flowers, but I can only assume it is because it has been mild for the last couple of weeks.  I chopped the flower buds off in the hope it will last a bit longer as it doesn’t freeze very well and I have so much of it left for us to eat.

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I also noticed that my spring broccoli is nearly ready to pick (my youngest daughter will be pleased as it is her favourite vegetable):

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I spent time this week making the edges of my paths neat, where my ‘poached egg plants’ grow.  I love the poached egg plants I have, as they have a pretty flower (that looks like a poached egg) and they attract hoverflies which eat aphids. They also attract lots of bees too:

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But on top of this, the plants are also useful, as excess plants can be dug into the soil like a green manure.  So I think it is a very useful plant to grow and self seeds easily every year.

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Finally this week at the allotment, I forked my old brassica beds over lightly, ready for this years crops:

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At home this week I sowed some spring onions.

We all have one crop that we can’t grow at our allotment and Spring onions is my crop.  I always found that hardly any seeds would germinate, even though Spring onions are supposed to be so easy to grow.  I eventually learnt a trick to get around this…I plant a small pinch of seed into modules full of compost, which I grow on until they are a couple of inches high.  I then plant them out in bunches and they grow just fine this way:

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 I also spent time ‘pricking out’ my seedlings that I sowed on the 6th March.  These are red cabbage, white cabbage and some brussel sprouts.

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I planted the seedlings in paper pots that I made:

Newspaper Pots

Newspaper pots are great to make as they are extremely cheap and environmetally friendly to use, as the recycled materials decompose when you put them in the ground.  This also helps the plants that do not like root disturbance, e.g. swedes, that can be sown in the pots and then planted a few weeks later, still in the newspaper pots.  The plants find it easy to grow their roots through the damp pots when they are in the ground.

I was once asked if I used a special tool to make my newspaper plant pots…the answer is “no”.  You can buy a ‘Newspaper Pot Maker’ for approximately £10, but I prefer to make my pots using either a baked bean tin, or a soya sauce bottle, depending on the size of pot that I require and some masking tape…(the masking tape decomposes along with the newspaper in the ground).

I thought it would be useful to write how I make the pots again, as I have a lot of new people reading my blog now.  So this is how I make easy newspaper pots:

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How To Make Newspaper Pots:

 

You need a newspaper, some masking tape and a soya sauce bottle for small pots or a baked bean tin for larger pots

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Fold a sheet of newspaper into thirds

(if the newspaper is very large you may need to fold the sheet in half first)

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Roll the paper around the bottle, so the newspaper is over lapping the base of the bottle

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Ensure you don’t roll the newspaper too tightly, or it will be hard to remove the paper from the bottle.

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Use a small piece of masking tape to secure the paper at the top and then fold in the newspaper over the bottom of the bottle.

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Secure the bottom of the pot with a small piece of masking tape.

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You can use different sized tins and bottles depending on the size of pot required.  For example, I use a baked bean tin to make pots ready for when I ‘prick out’ my tomato plants.

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I find it’s best to make the pots and use them straight away, as sometimes the masking tape becomes ‘unstuck’ if you make them too far in advance.

Important:

When your plant is ready to go into the ground, make sure all of the newspaper is under the soil, or the paper will act like a wick and dry the compost out.

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I hope this has been useful.

Thank you for reading my blog today.  I will be back on Monday at my usual time.

Have a good weekend!

Living ‘The Good Life’ and How To Make Newspaper Pots

On Friday, Ed Stagg from Radio Leicester, rang and spoke to me regarding ‘The Good Life’, as the wonderful Richard Briers had recently passed away and he was discussing ‘living the good life’, on his Saturday program.

This week Ed Stagg was joined by a model, a cook and a happiness expert.  They had quite an interesting discussion after Ed had played my phone call and if you have a bit of time spare, have a listen and tell me what you think.

You can hear the discussion here (approximately 1 hour 38 minutes into the program).

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Over the weekend I have been busy freezing my Celeriac, Turnips and the Jerusalem Artichokes that I picked last week

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If you have never used Jerusalem Artichokes before, this is how you prepare them and freeze them:

Scrub each of the Jerusalem Artichokes to remove the soil

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Chop the ends off each one and remove any damaged areas.

Chop into ‘roasting’ sized pieces

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You can then roast  them in olive oil (approximately 45 minutes, Gas mark 6) or freeze them (to roast from frozen another time).

To freeze, all you need to do is blanch them for two minutes. 

What is blanching?

….Boil a pan of water, then put the Jerusalem Artichokes into it.  Bring the water to boiling point again and then time it for 2 minutes and then drain.  Immediately plunge the vegetables into very cold water, to stop the cooking process.

Lay the Jerusalem Artichokes onto a tray in a single layer and freeze.  When they are frozen, put them in a bag.  By freezing them in a single layer on a tray, they won’t all stick together and it will be easy to take out just the required amount that you need.

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How to prepare and freeze Celeriac:

Celeriac is a bit easier to prepare as you just need to remove the skin, wash and chop into usable sized chunks.  Again, I freeze mine at this time of year, so we are never without them.

To freeze, blanch for two minutes, exactly the same way as the Jerusalem Artichokes.

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Turnips

I use the turnips in a different way to roasting, I use them to make a cheesy gratin as a side dish with meals.  I’ll show you how I make it another day.

I left the turnips a little bit too long in the ground and the biggest weighed 1.9kg!

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I froze it exactly the same as the Celeriac and the Jerusalem Artichokes above, only this time I blanched it for just one minute.

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Newspaper Pots

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On Friday I promised to show you how I make newspaper pots.  My shallots are sitting happily in my cold greenhouse in the pots I made.

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Newspaper pots are great to make as they are extremely cheap and environmetally friendly to use, as the recycled materials decompose when you put them in the ground.  This also helps the plants that do not like root disturbance, e.g. swedes, that can be sown in the pots and then planted a few weeks later, still in the newspaper pots.

The plants find it easy to grow their roots through the damp pots when they are in the ground.

You can actually buy a ‘Newspaper Pot Maker’, it costs about £10, but I prefer to make them using either a baked bean tin, or a soya sauce bottle, depending on the size of pot that you require.  This is how I make them:

How To Make Newspaper Pots:

You need a newspaper, some masking tape and a soya sauce bottle for small pots

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Fold one sheet of newspaper in half and then into thirds

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Roll the paper around the bottle, so the newspaper is over lapping the base of the bottle

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Ensure you don’t roll the newspaper too tightly, or it will be hard to remove the paper from the bottle.

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Use a small piece of masking tape to secure the paper at the top and then fold in the newspaper over the bottom of the bottle.

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Secure the bottom of the pot with a small piece of masking tape.

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You can use different sized tins and bottles depending on the size of pot required.  For example, I use a baked bean tin to make pots ready for when I ‘prick out’ my tomato plants.

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I find it’s best to make the pots and use them straight away, as sometimes the masking tape becomes ‘unstuck’ if you make them too far in advance.

Also, when your plant is ready to go into the ground, make sure all of the newspaper is under the soil, or the paper will act like a wick and dry the compost out.

I love newspaper pots.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog today.

I’ll be back on Friday at approximately 6 pm.