Life in Crouch End, bikes, trying to be green and other randomness

Archive for creative recycling

Potatos grown in buckets

The first of my early potatoes in buckets have reached the point where they can be left until there’s just the wait until the flowers form on the top, indicating that there are are lots of lovely new potatoes underneath waiting to be eaten. They are an Arran Pilot variety which I chitted at the beginning of March, and I’ve grown them in buckets – a method similar to this one –  where each time the potato shoots come up, you fill in soil around them. This means the potatoes should grow along the stems. You know when the barrel is ready for eating when the potatoes flower on the top.

Potatoes in a Bucket Potatoes earlier in a bucket

To help the plants, i have planted some bush beans, one on either side which you can just about see on the first picture.


Progress in the garden

Over the Easter weekend i strung together a wrecking crew of guys and we took my old rotten shed down – this solved the dangerous rickety shed problem – but also created a large pile of wood……

Hapilly, I have some room where I did have some empty beds, dying to have some raised vegetable beds put in. I’m experimenting with companion planting this year, and as you can see from the photo I’ve managed to put some of this into action already – the geraniums either side of the wooden ends of the bed are intended to catch attract hover flies that feed on aphids. The tomatoes are deliberately at the back to be shielded by the peppers in front which prefer the full sun. There some garlic there too which deters pests, and going in there later will be some basil, parsley, carrots and lovage – all beneficial.

Recycled shoes

I’m now the proud owner of two pairs of recycled shoes. The first pair were a bit of a novelty, they are a limited edition Worn Again Big Issue pair that are a little off the wall, especially the bright green laces…. However, the new pair are much more normal looking – so much so that i can even wear them for work. This is quite a big improvement on some of the other recycled shoes i have seen, which are ok as fashion shoes but would struggle in a more formal setting. It’s vital that products that are sustainable are affordable and comparable in quality to similar products – and these shoes are although that’s largely because they were half price in the sale. I’ve nominated Terra Plana, who sell and make the shoes for best environmental products in the Observer sustainable awards, because i’m so impressed with the shoes and the rest of their range. They also make sure that their packaging is recycled and their bags are fabric.Their bags are either luminous green or dreary red – not so good

Greenhouse made from recycled drinks bottles

inside the bottle greenhouseThis is simply incredible! I saw a half built copy of one of these on a recent visit to Glasgow, but here is the real thing in Fife – how completely mad and yet incredibly inventive is this? A greenhouse made from recycled drinks bottles. It’s not completely sealed, the version i saw was a little draughty, and was yet to be topped off with a roof…. it is tempting to try and recreate this for myself, however, it needs about 200 bottles per wall!

Unblocking the kitchen sink

Picked up this tip on the Internet today, and it works a treat. I was going to unblock the sink with some nasty acid bought from a hardware shop – but there’ssome liquid leaked out of the bottle into the plastic containing it – i got a bit freaked. Some research later revealed this gem, to unblock a sink try boiling a full kettle, and then pouring the boiling water down the plug hole.

Absolutely magic! It’s not guaranteed to work for everything but it certainly feels alot better, and safer than mucking around with sulphuric acid…..

More from the cabbage patch

Some seriously big storms last night – lots of rain. The slugs in the garden have been eating all the remains of the squash and the courgette.

They’d be getting at the cabbages too if I hadn’t put some protection on them.

Here I’ve used empty soft drink bottles to make cloches  which protect the base of the plant and discourage pests from eating them. You can see some of the spouting garlic in the foreground.


These ones in beds have been badly eaten by slugs before the cloches were put on. There were some others that I planted in pots for comparison, these are doing much better. These almost look like cabbages.


Kitten Tube

Having a pair of kittens is enormous fun – finding them enough to do all the time is becoming difficult. They are 3 weeks away from the snip – their testosterone is rising fast. Teenage tantrums and tempers are becoming more frequent, as are some really nasty scratches – and then I thought of this.

Take one huge poster tube (10cm diameter x 1.5m), a piece of long string with a ribbon on one end and drop this through the tube so that there is one end now poking out of each. Position on floor and let feline inquisitiveness take its course. In no time a tubular kitten adventure playground ……

 I’ll have a video up and running as soon as You Tube lets me.