Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2015

I love getting crafty and usually make something for Halloween, here are my latest creations to add to the ‘Halloween Box’:

Pom 5

Pom-Pom Spiders and Pumpkins

What you will need

  • Coloured Wool
  • 6cm cardboard squares
  • Scissors
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Googly eyes
  • Paper and felt tips
  • Glue

What you need to do

Wind the wool around the cardboard square, top to bottom, until it is thickly covered.

Pom 1

Tie (with a bow) a small piece of wool securely around the middle of the wool and the cardboard.

Using scissors carefully cut the wool horizontally at both ends of the cardboard.

Pom 2

Gently remove the cardboard and insert your pipe cleaners under the wool tied around the middle, then untie the bow, pull the wool tight and knot it.

Pom 4

Pom 4a

Fluff up the wool and trim off any long pieces, bend you pipe cleaners to form spiders legs or pumpkin stalks and leaves

Make and stick on eyes and a pumpkin face.

I have used black and orange wool but any colour will do, if you have lots of shorter lengths they can be tied together for a muti-coloured Spider or Pumpkin, hang your Pom-Pom creations individually or in a row in the window or from the doorway.

If you have made something for Halloween that you would like to share with our other readers, send in photos and details to gill@gardeningwithchildren.co.uk

Have lots of fun this Halloween

Gill

P.S. Don’t forget to enter our two free competitions on the Gardening With Children website, before the closing date on Saturday 31st October 2015

In the School Zone

Read all about Bees then answer some easy Bee questions and you could win a

Bee and Bug Biome

and a Butterfly and Bee Nectar Feeding Station

1a97d321d903ced1f2878125b704b13f

for your school garden. Click here for full details and an entry form.

In the Family Zone

Fill in the missing words and learn about Hedgehogs for a chance to win

a Hogitat Hedgehog House

hedgehouse_med-02

a pack of Hedgehog Food

hedgehog_feed_loose2

and a Guide to Hedgehogs.

hedgehog_booklet_med

Click here for full details and an entry form.

Good Luck

Read Full Post »

Rosy Apples

This Wednesday, 21st October, is Apple Day when we celebrate apples and the beautiful orchards where they are grown. It was first launched in 1990 by Common Ground who were dismayed by the loss of so many traditional orchards yet amazed at the 3,000 varieties that have been grown here.

The first Apple Day was held on October 21, 1990 in the old Apple Market in Covent Garden, London, bringing fruit back there for the first time in 17 years. Since then, Common Ground have worked to extend, support and promote Apple Day countrywide through nurseries, fruit farms, restaurants, the National Trust, RHS gardens, museums, art centres, community groups and schools who celebrate this day in their own place, in their own way. There are lots of organised events celebrating the apple throughout the country click here to find one near to you.

Apples must be one of the most versatile, convenient, and healthiest foods available. Apples can be baked, stewed, fried, microwaved, roasted, made into jellies, chutneys and delicious desserts in fact there is very little you cannot do with an apple. For a quick snack that’s fast, easy to eat, delicious and very healthy just pick up an apple, we have all heard of the saying ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ but just how true is it?

‘Apples really are one of the healthiest foods a person can eat, they are high in fibre and Vitamin C, are low in calories, with only a trace of sodium, and no fat or cholesterol.’

So why not go to school or work with an apple tomorrow.

One of my favourite ways to eat apples is simply as Apple Sauce made with Bramley Apples which soften and fluff up perfectly, I add only the minimum amount of sugar so that they retain their distinctive tang. Whilst peeling the Bramleys to go with the Roast Pork I set myself a challenge to see how long I could get the peel in a single piece, the longest measured 169cm.

Apple Peel

The record for the longest unbroken apple peel was set on the 16th October, 1976 by Kathy Wafler Madison, aged 16, from New York, USA, she carefully peeled a 567g apple for 11 hours and 30 minutes, the peel measured 52metres 52cm long.

Why not have a family or school challenge to see who can create the longest piece of apple peel from a single apple, for the adults it has to be one piece for the children it can be several pieces combined.

Love your environment – love Apples

Gill

Read Full Post »

The nights are getting colder and the days shorter, both of these can have a huge and often negative effect on our birds. Birds need extra food to keep them warm during chilly nights, the reduced daylight hours mean there is less time to search for natural food which as the winter progresses will become scarcer, this is why the RSPB have launched ‘Feed the Birds Day’ to raise awareness on how important it is to put out food for our wonderful feathered friends. This year it is on Saturday 24th October which is the last day of British Summer Time when the clocks go forward and it will then go darker an hour earlier.

How and what should we feed the birds

If possible put out different types of food in a variety of feeders which will be suitable for a wide range of birds, when the weather is cold birds need to eat 40% of their own body weight per day to survive.

Jupiter Peanut FeederNut feeders are made from rigid steel mesh, which is large enough to prevent birds from damaging their beaks yet will only allow small pieces of nut to be removed. Peanuts are high in fat, buy certified peanuts from a reputable supplier as some poor quality peanuts can contain the natural toxin called Aflatoxin which can kill birds, never give birds salted or dry roasted peanuts. Will attract: Tits, Greenfinches, Sparrows, Nuthatches, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Siskins, crushed nuts are favoured by Robins, Dunnocks and Wrens.

The Adventurer FeederSeed Feeders often consist of a clear cylindrical tube with feeding ports and perching rings at the bottom of the feeder. Fill with Sunflower Seeds, Sunflower Hearts (both are high energy foods) or seed mixtures specifically for seed feeders. Will attract House Sparrows, Dunnocks, Finches and Collared Doves. Tits and Greenfinches favour sunflower seeds and crushed peanuts.

Nyjer Seed FeederNyjer Seed Feeders have very small feeding ports to control the flow of seed and minimise waste, although it is very fine Nyjer Seed is rich in oil and highly nutritious. A favourite of Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Siskins.

Hanging Star Fatball FeederFat Ball/Cake Feeders are designed to hold fat balls or fat cakes, always remove any nylon mesh bags before placing them in your feeders, these bags are a hazard to wildlife and birds can become entangled and injured. Fat Balls/Cakes can also be put on to all Bird Tables whole or broken up. Popular with all birds especially the Tit family.

Wooden Peanut Butter FeederPeanut Butter Feeders will provide your birds with a nutritious, high energy treat, refills are available in different flavours (original, nut, mealworm, insect) which are specially formulated for birds, do not give birds peanut butter for human consumption as it has a very high salt content. A favourite of the Tit family.

Mealworms for BirdsLive Mealworms are an important source of protein and extremely beneficial in Spring for young chicks and adults throughout the winter when insects are scarce. Serve your mealworms in a container with smooth, vertical sides so that they cannot escape. The Robin is often the first to the dish but they attract Wrens, Dunnocks, Tits, Song Thrushes, Blackbirds, Starlings and House Sparrows.

New York Hanging Slate TableBird Tables are available in many different designs; freestanding, hanging, wall mounted or ground. Bird tables that have a roof will give protection to birds from predators and keep the food dry.

Selection Bird Feeding TableGround Bird Tables are especially useful for ground feeding and larger birds such as Blackbirds, Thrushes and Starlings, they will still be used by smaller birds too. Elevating the food off the ground reduces the risk of hygiene problems, move the table around the garden to avoid the build up of any waste food or droppings, only put out enough food that will be eaten to avoid attracting vermin.

Coniston Bird BathBird Baths are very important and provide your birds with a supply of fresh water for drinking and bathing throughout the year, they should been cleaned out regularly and replaced with fresh water daily especially during warm weather and freezing conditions.

Leftover Food

It may be tempting to ‘treat’ your birds to some of your leftovers but this can do more harm than good:

  • Bread – although not harmful to birds it is not very nutritional and just fills them up
  • Salty Food – including salted or dry roasted peanuts can dehydrate them
  • Cooking fat from roasted meats, polyunsaturated margarines or vegetable oils – Can contain bacteria and salt, soft fats can smear on feathers destroying their waterproofing and insulating qualities. Hard fats such as Lard and Beef Suet are fine.
  • Milk – cannot be digested and can cause stomach upsets, cheese can be given safely.
  • Stale or Mouldy Food – can cause respiratory problems and salmonella.

Hygiene

The Urban Bird Feeder

The Urban Bird Feeder

Regularly clean bird feeders, bird tables and bird baths, wash well using a stiff brush and a mild disinfectant, rinse and allow to completely dry out before refilling. Wash them outside use separate utensils, wearing gloves and wash your hands afterwards. Throw away mouldy bird food from feeders and tables if there is a surplus reduce the amount that you put out, excess food on the ground can attract rats and mice.

Now is the time to check your feeders, buy some new ones and stock up on your bird food for the winter, why not get the children involved, then sit back and enjoy watching the birds in your garden.

Gill

Read Full Post »

We have been spoilt recently with the weather and it has definitely paid dividends in the fruit and vegetable garden; regular pickings of Autumn raspberries, pumpkins, squashes and marrows maturing and ripening ready for storing, apples, pears and plums still hanging on the trees, an extra spurt of growth in the vegetables extending their harvesting season, and the onions and garlic now completely dry and ready for storing.

Today the weather has changed and is back to what you could expect for October – wind and rain with frosts on the horizon, now is the time to pick and store what you can, when storing your crops choose those that are undamaged and disease free, once stored check them regularly and remove any that are going bad, these don’t necessarily have to go straight onto your compost bin, most will be perfectly edible once you have removed the bad bits. Why not use these in a Ratatouille it’s a delicious warming one pot dish perfect for a wet and windy Autumn day and a great way to use up your less than perfect crops, the ingredients can be always be varied to suit your taste and the availability of vegetables.

Autumn Ratatouille

What you will need

  • 2 large Aubergines
  • 3 medium Courgettes
  • 2 medium Onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 green or red peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 6 large tomatoes or a 440g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • Grated cheese/Parmesan Cheese
  • Fresh basil to garnish

What you need to do

  1. Cut the Aubergines and Courgettes into 2.5cm/1” slices then cut each Aubergine slice into quarters and the Courgette slices into similar sized pieces.
  2. If using fresh tomatoes place them in boiling water for a minute then drain and allow to cool before peeling off the skins, cut into quarters, remove the seeds and roughly chop up.
  3. Heat the oil in a flame proof casserole dish or large saucepan, add the onions and cook for approx. 10 minutes until browned and tender.
  4. Add the Courgettes and Aubergines and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the peppers, garlic, oregano and salt and pepper then mix well.
  5. Cover and cook over a gentle heat for 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Top with the cheese and basil and serve with crusty bread, garlic bread or pasta.

This dish is packed full of vitamins and minerals and can help towards your five a day.

If you are looking for some storage ideas for your fruit and vegetables why not consider

Wooden Stackable Storage Boxes available from £19.95

Tubby Stack Pack Wooden Storage Boxes and Crates

or if you have a larger harvest to store a Wooden Fruit and Vegetable Larder, Rack or Store available from £40.00

in 4 sizes each with 4 height options

Wooden Fruit and Vegetable Larder, Rack and Store

for more information visit the Gardening Works website by clicking here.

Gill

Read Full Post »