Wednesday, 7 September 2011

It doesn't take ANY effort

As I have said, one of the main reasons for me doing this blog is to talk about how I have managed this growing food and self sufficiency thing, while being very very busy at the same time.

And I have found that it is the BLOGGING which is more of a challenge than finding the time and energy to get into the garden.

I am very lucky in that my garden was totally overgrown with brambles; in the last couple of weeks I have been able to pick well over a kilogram of ripe fruit having put NO effort in whatsoever beyond reaching my hand out and plucking.

The apple tree by the front gate is also laden with fruit which I will be bringing in shortly to make a blackberry and apple crumble for some friends.

And finally, barring some minor (5 mins a week) weeding the herb garden is flourishing.

The point being, it really IS easy to gather and grow food in your garden; I will probably be reducing my yield of blackberries by continuing clearing the garden.

So, get out there and gather. Don't be scared of "how much work it is" you only need put in 30 mins a day (and you get the benefit of fresh air and stretching exercises)


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Well I can do the working... and the gardening...

... but obviously not the blogging..

wow it's been a long time since i put an update on this, mainly because any spare time I've had around the house has been dedicated to ripping weeds out in the back and front gardens.

Today, I am ill and so sadly I have time to update the blog :)

So what has been going on since the last update?

I have dug out and cleared an area for our herb garden, which I will be putting various plants in over the next few days.

I have bought an incinerator which is not being as useful as I hoped - it turns out burning weeds you have pulled out of a pond is not really that easy :)

The composter is going well - I have just found that you can compost a whole egg which is cracking news as we have over-bought on eggs recently.

Talking of which, I'm still keen on getting chickens, though I'm concerned about the noise that cockerels may make (and the impact this may have on my day job).

I'll try and update more regularly... and maybe get some photos of what I have done so far.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Meeting friends... and inspiration

Wow a lot has happened since the last post.

We are now in the new house and settled in, however this blog post was "virtually written" in my head the week before the move; I will follow this up with another post about the settling-in process of the new house but for now, this is about my visit back to Reading to see my oldest (well... longest) friend.

The visit was a purely social occurrence but, imagine my surprise when it turns out that they have been doing exactly what I want to do for the previous few years!

They have a small area built up on sleepers in their back garden, probably about 200 square foot, with tomatoes and small cucumbers and other small plants. The meal that Ira cooked for me involved produce from the garden and all I can say is WOW.

They also have rabbits but these are going to be moved to a better home and they are planning on chickens.

Their compost bin is quite mature and they have a good routine of a small margarine pot with kitchen roll in the bottom which they put vegetable and compostable waste in during cooking etc and empty it every day; this means that you don't end up with a large pile of smelly waste on your kitchen windowsill, which can happen with the large receptacle that most websites seem to sell.

Anyway, I went away with a couple of pots of (very very very tasty) plum chutney and a renewed determination to get something rocking in the new house.

So, thank you Wardy, for your welcome and hospitality.

Keep up your homesteading!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Chickens... and egg boxes

The date of the big move the new house is fast approaching...

Last weekend myself and my girlfriend went past the house and yes, once again, it looks ideal for both growing a certain amount of produce, composting and recycling for our own benefit, and potentially having chickens - indeed there was a small cage type thing that certainly looks like chickens have been kept there before.

Any and all specific planning for this experiment has been put on the back burner while we pack our stuff from the old cottage and get ourselves transported over to the new place however, I have made one specific plan.

For the last few months I've been saving ALL our egg boxes and they have been packed so when we arrive, if I do decide to compost I have some ideal "brown" and also, if we get chickens and when eggs arrive we will be set up for storing them.

This is my tip for the day then - if you are planning on getting chickens, save your egg boxes in the months before you get them.



Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Composting - breaking it down to it's component....

So, this post is coming rather quickly after the first... I don't expect this to continue really.

But I was sitting at work thinking about composting so in my lunch I found the following links that people may find useful.

First of all: :: there is a lot of information here including a link to find out if you local council is providing cheap compost bins (blackpool does)...

This blog looks good, and has the following useful page about making your own compost bin.

Finally, and from the same blog, is a useful list of what you can add to compost. I plan on making a printable list of the "greens", "browns" and "don't" so if I get that done I'll try and add it to this post.

Anyway, that's enough for now.


Monday, 27 June 2011

Before anything has happened.....

Hello there,

Welcome to my blog and thank you for dropping by. I suppose I should probably introduce myself and explain what it is this blog will be about; so....

I am a (relatively) normal 30ish man who works full time alongside running another full time business. In two weeks time myself, my girlfriend and our housemate are moving to a larger house with a large back garden and this has caused me to consider how I can use the space to reduce our food bills, increase our self reliance and reduce our dependence on taxable cash.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been doing some research on how I can organise such a decision around having a very busy work life (and very little time in the house) and have not really found many places where people talk about "homesteading" or "self sufficiency" but coupled with the very real pressures that come from still having a job; If I was willing to sack my business and job off and go full time as a homesteader then the resources available to me are quite significant.

So, in the spirit of giving I have decided that I should start my own blog, with my own experiences and lessons that I have learned, so maybe others who are also considering how such a decision CAN work with multiple other commitment will be able to make an informed decision.

So, please do get in touch if you have any hints or helpful ideas... and let's see where this takes us. I am hopeful that this experiment will be a success and I will find that I can juggle growing some/most of my own food with the rest of my life. Who knows.

So, what am I considering as the first steps?

The house I am moving to has a sizable back garden so the first thing will be to decide where I should place things such as a vegetable garden, maybe a small green house, and potentially chickens. I am also starting a Compost Heap and I think that this is going to be the first thing that I do.

So, right now I'm on the look out for good links to posts about composting and reuse of vegetable matter. I am also considering the requirements for chickens to be kept safe in a semi-rural environment where humans are not around a lot to watch them etc.

I will blog about my discoveries in the next few days.