Tag Archive | Laundry Liquid recipe

My Harvest & A Freezer Breakdown

I wanted to start my blog today by saying well done to my eldest daughter for her AS level results that she received yesterday.  She has had a very difficult year (which I won’t go into here) but dispite this she achieved a ‘B’ in English language/literacy,  a ‘B’ in psychology and a ‘distinction-star’ in hospitality……..we are extremely proud of her!

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This week I visited Haddon Hall and gardens with my lovely sisters and had a wonderful day out.  This was my eldest sisters Christmas present to us all….it was such a treat!

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The website says:

“Described by Simon Jenkins in “1000 Best Houses” as “the most perfect house to survive from the middle ages”. Set in the heart of the beautiful Peak District National Park, parts of the house date from the 12th Century, sitting like a jewel in its Elizabethan terraced gardens, and overlooking the River Wye.

Film-makers flock to Haddon Hall to use it as a location. The house and grounds have played host to no less than three versions of “Jane Eyre”. Screen credits also include “Elizabeth”, “Pride & Prejudice” and “The Other Boleyn Girl” and “The Princess Bride”, the cult classic movie in which Haddon Hall becomes Prince Humperdinck’s Castle and village”

I enjoyed looking around the house as it was so interesting and the gardens were lovely too:

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They had lavender lining their path in one area and the bees loved it.  It reminded me of the lavender path I used to have at my allotment as it smelt so wonderful as you brushed past it:

(The photo on the left is Haddon Hall and the photo on the right is my old allotment)

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In my kitchen garden this week:

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This week I noticed that my sweet peas are being attacked with greenfly, so I spent a happy half an hour squashing them between my fingers…..as an organic gardener I prefer not to use sprays.

  I think it has been a particularly bad year for aphids this year, so hopefully next year we will have a bumper year for ladybirds, as this usually happens.

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There is some fabulous information and advice on the RHS website regarding aphids here if anyone is interested.

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Everywhere around my kitchen garden seems to be doing well, though the ground has been really dry.  This has caused some of my spring onions to go over a bit quicker than normal, so I pulled them up.  I don’t want to waste them, though I don’t think they are good enough for our salads, so I have decided to pickle them like ‘silver skin pickles’.

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My outdoor cucumbers are growing well now and my leeks and spinach have put on a growth spurt:

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 I also had a surprise this week as I found that a patty pan that I had given up on, is growing.  I put three seeds in my big tub between my two courgettes after my previous sowing in pots didn’t germinate.  Two seeds germinated and the slugs destoyed them and I thought the third seed hadn’t germinated until I found it this week.

I removed a couple of leaves from the courgettes either side of it, to allow the light to get through to the little plant.  It maybe too late to get a harvest of patty pans now, but if we have a mild couple of months I may be lucky:

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This week I dug up the last of my ‘2nd early’ potatoes which were a variety called ‘marfona’ (I still have my ‘desiree’ main crop left in the ground).

At my allotment I would always start to dig up my 2nd early potatoes in July, as I used to plant so many potatoes (early and main crops).  This way I could spread the harvest over July and August as I always found digging up my potatoes such hard work.

Obviously it is really easy in my small kitchen garden, so I have just dug the potatoes when we needed them for a meal and I have got to say I am really surprised and pleased with the size some of them have grown, as they have been in the ground longer than I would normally leave them in:

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In place of the potatoes I decided to grow some green manure.  I gave the soil a good rake and sowed some phacelia.  My seed packet is quite old now so I’m not sure if the seeds will even germinate, but I thought it was worth a try….I will have to wait and see.

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“Phacelia tanacetifolia is good for sowing between March and September and it takes between one and three months to grow depending on growing conditions.  It is a green manure that tolerates most soils.

If you leave phacelia to flower, it is a beautiful lavender colour that the bees absolutely love, which is why I used to grow it in my wildflower area at my old allotment.  The one drawback is that if you leave it to flower it self seeds like mad.  I will chop it down and fork it in before it flowers, so it doesn’t grow and become a weed to me next year”

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I also sowed some seeds in the area where I pulled up my strawberries last week.  I sowed ‘Broccoli raab ’60 days’ which apparently are quick growing broccoli-like shoots that grow on dwarf plants.  I have never grown this before but the seeds were free with a magazine so I thought I would give them a go:

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I also gave my apple and pear trees a summer prune.  I am growing them as cordons so this first prune was to encourage the shape I want the trees to grow into:

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This week I have been harvesting runnerbeans, outdoor tomatoes, frenchbeans, spring onions, potatoes, courgettes, parsley, a few peas and my first red cabbage of the year (that I couldn’t resist picking):

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So overall I am very pleased with the produce my small kitchen garden is producing each week.  Next year I will be looking at ways to increase my harvest and hopefully my fruit bushes will produce more in their second year too.

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This week at home:

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I started the week by making some more laundry liquid.  

Just before our holiday last month I ran out of my homemade laundry liquid and I bought a box of supermarket brand washing powder to tied me over until we got back and this is what I have been using since then.  I must say, I don’t think it washed any better than the laundry liquid I make (and mine is much cheaper) and also, my eldest daughter started to complain that the new wash powder was making her skin itchy!

Next time I will make sure I am more organised and won’t run out of it just before a holiday!

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This week I also cooked and pickled the beetroot that I harvested last week and we are looking forward to eating it soon:

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Finally this week, our old chest freezer unfortunately stopped working.  Thankfully it was the freezer that I just kept my vegetables in and it was only a quarter full.  I have been trying to use up the contents of this freezer for a while so I could switch it off completely and just use the other two freezers that we have.

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I don’t know how long it hadn’t been working for, but everything was half defrosted and there was a puddle at the bottom of the freezer!

So myself and my daughter set about trying to save as much of the half frozen vegetables as possible.

We made a massive pot of tomato pasta / pizza sauce with vegetables to freeze in portions, I cooked lots of the vegetables in my steamer to freeze in portions and then reheat in curries and my daughter made a big pot of creamy, thick, vegetable soup to freeze in portions.  I also filled my slow cooker with vegetables in gravy to again freeze in portions so I could reheat it for a lunchtime meal.  I also cooked the sweetcorn I had left and froze it in portions so I could defrost it and add it to salads:

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Luckily I still had room in my other two freezers for the things we made:

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We managed to use nearly everything in the freezer, so really we were very lucky that hardly anything was wasted….and the soup was delicious!

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I hope you enjoyed reading my blog today.  I will be back next Friday as usual.

Have a good week!

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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.