Tag Archives: wild

Natural fertilisers

Bugs1If you want to go organic and steer clear of chemical fertilisers in the garden then there are a few natural alternatives.  Common nettles make a good, if smelly alternative to commercially prepared chemical versions  (another good reason to leave a patch of your garden to run wild). 

Rubber GlovesFor obvious reasons, wear some rubber or gardening gloves to harvest, tear and scrunch up enough nettle stems and leaves to loosely fill a watertight container such as a bucket.   Then weight them down, say with an old plate.  Fill the container with enough water to cover the crushed greenery and then leave to rot down.  (This is a bit smelly so you may want to place this somewhere away from the house)! 

The brew should be ready to use in 3 to 4 weeks and needs to be diluted for use – usually in a ratio of roughly 1 part Watering cannettle liquid to 10 parts water (the resulting diluted liquid should look the colour of tea).  You can keep topping up your supply bucket with nettles and water as the season progresses.  Once your flowers have finished flowering and you no longer have use for the homemade fertiliser, just tip what remains onto the compost heap.

Another alternative is coffee grinds.  Sprinkle them around plants before you water or before rain and the grinds will slowly release nitrogen into the soil.

Flower and beesCrushed eggshells are a well-known old-fashioned fertiliser and work particularly well scattered around roses because of their calcium carbonate content. (An added bonus is that their sharp edges also help to deter slugs).

If you’re lucky enough to live by the seashore then some of the best fertiliser is freely available in the form of seaweed.  You can either treat it in the same way as the nettles above and make a ‘tea’ out of it (which again needs to be diluted for use) or, if it is winter time, dig the seaweed directly into plant borders to feed and condition the soil.

Lastly, but by no means least, consider making either a compost heap or set up a worm Butterflycomposting bin.  In my experience worm bins don’t smell (I kept mine in the garage) and given time they produce wonderful, fine compost and the ‘run-off’ is a good liquid fertiliser for the garden (use diluted as above).


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Man and Beast

blutoOur two new kittens have been using my legs and feet as scratching posts (I suppose their real scratching post doesn’t make that interesting squealy sound when they dig in so it’s not nearly as interesting).  Yesterday I made the mistake of shaving my legs and every little nick, bite mark and scratch that was finally healing was opened up again as a gaping wound.  It was like a scene from ‘SAW’ in the bathroom as I mopped up the resulting carnage.   I cleaned up my legs but I guess they must still have had the odour of blood about them to a sensitive feline nose because, alarmingly, as I stood later doing the washing up, kitten Harry was getting way too excited for my liking, biting at my ankles in an ever increasing frenzy.

During the afternoon two young guys delivered some furniture to our house and having noticed my ‘new kitten’ warning sign on the front door, we got talking about the new additions to this house.  They’d never heard of Bengal cats before and so wanted to know all about them.  Funny, guys don’t normally strike me as being particularly into cats yet I could see their eyes light up when I explained that they were a relatively new cross between the Asian leopard cat and a domestic cat, and yes they could grow really quite large.  Temperament?  Oh yes, very affectionate….although… I then explained Harry’s frenzy at the smell of blood that morning.  Well that was it. 

‘I’ve been thinking of getting a cat’ said one of the delivery guys ‘and I think I’m going to try and get one of these!’

I’d clearly given the impression of sharing my house with only partly tamed beasts of the forest making them sound very exciting.  Maybe I should have opened the kitchen door to show them the reality – William and Harry in all their ‘ferocious’ glory.



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