Archive for December, 2013

Christmas Day is nearly here and Father Christmas is due to arrive in just over 12 hours, there is still plenty of time to make some home made Mince Pies to put out for him tonight, this is the recipe that I use; I will be making some this afternoon.

Mince Pies Med

Christmas Star Mince Pies


  • 16oz Plain Flour
  • 8oz Butter or Margarine
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 dessertspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 jar Sweet Mincemeat 822g approx
  • Caster Sugar

What you need to do

  1. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix the egg yolk, water and lemon juice together and add to the flour mixture, if it is a bit sticky add some more flour or a bit crumbly a little more water, then gather the mixture into a ball.
  3. Roll out the pastry, cut out the bases with a round cutter, large enough to fit into your bun baking trays (I use shallow trays) and a pastry star for the top with a star shaped cutter.
  4. Place the round pastry bases in your bun trays, add a teaspoon of Mincemeat and top with a pastry star.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 180C.
  6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Caster Sugar.
  7. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before eating.

Makes approx 36 mince pies – enjoy.

We would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year from Gardening With Children and everyone at The Recycleworks.

Best Wishes


P.S. Don’t forget to feed the birds over Christmas

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Thank you to everyone that entered our October/November Competitions, we had lots of entries correctly identifying the fruits and vegetables in the cryptic questions and pictures, well done to you all, it just shows how much you know about the fruit and vegetables that you grow and eat.

The Schools Competition winner was Molly Potter from St Botolph’s C of E Primary School, Northfleet, Kent, they will receive a Wooden Raised Bed and module complete with accessories, this will be a perfect starter Raised Bed for their School Gardening Club.

Classic Wooden Raised Bed 90cm x 90cm

The Family Competition Winner was Matthew Lemin, Age 5, from Warminster and he will receive a

Raised Bed on Legs

photo 5
We hope that he enjoys growing lots of fruit, vegetables and flowers next year, it will make a lovely early Christmas present.
If you are stuck for Christmas presents for young gardeners and wildlife lovers click here for some great ideas, don’t be disappointed order as soon as you can they are all proving very popular.
This years top gift is the Hogitat an instant cosy and natural home for the hedgehogs in your garden.
The Hogitat Hedgehog House
Happy Shopping

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Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe are all plants that we associate with Christmas, but there is more to Mistletoe than you might think.

Mistletoe is very special as it does not grow in soil but grows on the branches of trees, it sends its roots under the bark taking nutrients from its host tree, it is often found on apple trees but it can also grow on Hawthorn, Lime, Poplar, Willow, Rowan, Quince and Whitebeam.

In European folklore Mistletoe was considered a mysterious, magical, and sacred plant, from the middle ages branches of Mistletoe were hung from ceilings to ward off evil spirits as well as over doors to prevent witches from entering. The appearance and growing habit of Mistletoe will have added to the fascination with this unique plant, its bare symmetrical branches, with a single symmetrical pair of smooth, long evergreen leaves at the tip and its glossy, pure white berries almost suspended amongst the tangle of branches which from a distance resemble a sphere.

How to grow your own Mistletoe

If you are buying Mistletoe at Christmas, choose the sprigs of Mistletoe that have ‘ripe’ plump white berries rather than unripe green or yellow ones.

Cut off the ends of the branches and place the sprigs in water on a cool, frost free windowsill until March/April.

Select a tree with branches at least 10cm in diameter, underneath the branches or under a branch joint carefully make a scratch in the bark, this will bring the seeds into contact with the tree, and then squash one of the berries into it, mark its position by tying a piece of string or wool around the branch with a label.

Many berries will drop off or be eaten, to ensure a good success rate sow at least twenty at a time, growth is slow and it will be the following spring before any leaves appear, for your new plants to produce berries you need to have a male and female plant, it will take about four or five years for the new plants to mature and produce berries.

If you have apple trees at school or at home you can ask each child to ‘plant’ a seed and put their name on the label with the date then they will (fingers crossed) be able to watch their own Mistletoe grow.

Have fun


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