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How to Make Lavender Oil at Home

February 07, 2018

Back in the summer I harvested my annual bumper crop of lavender (I don’t know whether I’ve mentioned this before but I literally love lavender). Ordinarily I dry out my lavender and make little lavender pockets, but I wanted to try something a bit different this time. So I decided to try out infusing some of my own lavender oil...and it worked out really well! 
You can use lavender oil for so many different things like making your bath smell nice, as a moisturiser for your hair and skin or even making your own soap!
There are loads of different methods for making lavender oil out there, say for example if you wanted to make from dried rather than fresh lavender. So here’s how I made my lavender oil and how you can make your own at home too.

What you’ll need...
  • Fresh lavender flowers
  • Sea salt
  • Oil (there are lots of oils you can use, I used grape seed)
  • A jar

  • Use your finger and thumb to strip all the flowers off of the lavender stalks.
  • Alternately layer lavender flowers and sea salt in the jar. (The salt will soak up any moisture from the lavender flowers and stop the mixture going rancid).
  • Pour the oil into the jar slowly, keep pausing to allow the oil to get between the layers.
  • When the jar is full, seal tightly. Put the jar in a cool dark place for at least two weeks but preferably a few months.
  • Use muslin and a funnel to decant the oil into another container.

I hope you enjoy making and using your lavender oil!

Newspaper Seedling Pots

January 29, 2018
Happy Monday everybody!

I've been hard at work, shredding newspaper and turning it into these seedling pots. I tend to grow all my seeds in these because it's much easier to transplant seedlings into the ground without disturbing the roots. You can literally just put the whole thing in the ground, and the newspaper biodegrades. If you're growing on a large scale, this method might not be so practical space-wise, but for me in my little patch it's ideal. In the past I have also used toilet roll tubes, but they don't always biodegrade as quickly and can affect the way the roots grow (depending on what it is you're growing).

Husband got me this paper pot maker for valentines day a few years ago, and I get good use out of it every year. It's very easy to use, you literally just cut newspaper up into strips, wrap it around the seed pot maker, and then use the base to smoosh it together. You can get them in lots of different sizes too, depending on what you're growing.

Fairly soonly I'll be able to start sowing some seeds (hurrah!), the first of which will be onions so I will be back with an update soon regarding that hopefully!

Crop Plan 2018

January 23, 2018

Hello everybody!
Over the weekend I’ve been planning what I’m going to grow and where I’m going to grow it this year. Last year, husband and I built two new large vegetable beds and this year they’re good to go so I have a lot more space to play with. I’ve been meticulously measuring all of my vegetable beds, researching ideal planting distances, researching companion plants and thus planning how much of each crop I’ll be able to grow roughly (assuming all goes according to plan, remember this is my first year growing onion from seed!).

To plan out my vegetable beds, pots and greenhouse I’ve used an app called Garden Plan Pro. It’s a fantastic app that allows you to accurately plan out your garden whether you’re doing a vegetable plot or flower borders. You can put in the exact dimensions and different colours of the individual elements. It also allows you to put little vegetable symbols in the plots to help you plan out your crop rotations.

So here’s my little garden plan for this year...

  • Bedfordshire champion is the onion seed that I’ve chosen to try and grow this year. You’ll know if you read this post here that this is my first year trying to grow onions from seed, I’ve always previously grown them successfully from sets. I did some research on different onion varieties and this seems like a good one to start with. They seem to have a good success rate, and they store well. Storing them is really one of the main things I was looking for.
  • Solent Wight Garlic is a variety that I’ve grown many times before. They’re easy maintenance and they store well. Again, storing garlic is very important to me. Also, they taste phenomenal!
  • Baby leaf lettuce, pretty standard. I like pick and come again lettuces. There’s only two of us at the moment so we’d very rarely need a whole lettuce at a time.
  • Purple Haze carrots. I really like novelty coloured carrots. People should grow them more. A long time ago, carrots were all sorts of different colours and shapes. They’ve only recently become so orange and uniform in shape. 
  • Gladiator Parsnips! Parsnips are my favourite vegetable. Literally, I love them. Gladiator is a good all round variety for flavour and ease of growing.
  • The peas that I grew last year were a heritage variety that were gifted to me...and I can’t for the life of me remember what they were called. Anyway, I saved some and plan to grow them again this year. I remember they tasted really, really good fresh out of the garden eaten raw. 
  • Last year I grew Charlotte potatoes that I got free in a kit from Gardeners World and they did pretty well. So this year I’ve got a kit from Mr Fothergills that comes with three different kinds of potato and growing bags. The varieties it comes with are Casablanca, Charlotte and International Kidney. So this will provide me with earlies, second earlies and main crop. In theory. 
  • And in my greenhouse, last year I grew Balconi Red cherry tomatoes which are a bush variety. They were really prolific and tasted great so I definitely wanted to grow them again this year. I’ve also decided to try a cordon variety again this year and have gone for the Big Daddy F1 which is a very large variety. I’m excited!
I’ve got a few more things to try out in pots and various places roundabout but those will come as and when. 
What do you guys have planned for your gardens this year? Let me know!

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