Monthly Archives: March 2016

March 20, 2016

How to Make a Comfrey Nutrient Tube

I have an abundance of comfrey this is a great problem to have as the comfrey is suppressing the grass and weeds under my fruit trees, whilst also accessing stored nutrients with its deep roots and providing beneficial organic matter to the soil. In winter the comfrey will stop growing if exposed to frost the plant will appear to die but low and behold in summer it will be back.

After seeing Nevin Sweeney on television some time ago and recently reading Earth Garden magazine I was inspired to make a comfrey nutrient tube in order to produce a wonderful liquid fertiliser.

You will need
1 length of PVC pipe
2 end caps for the pipe
1 gate valve/tap
Electric or cordless drill
Pipe Cement
An empty wine bottle
A piece of string over 1 metre in length
A key ring or washer
Tie Wire

To make
1. Drill a hole in the centre of each cap. One cap needs to fit the tap and the other a piece of string.
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2. Push the tap through the hole.
3. Silicon around the hole.
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4. Glue the cap with the tap to the end of the pipe.

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5. Leave the other cap off to allow the pipe to air.
6. Fill a wine bottle with water.
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7. Place a key ring or washer around one end of the string.
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8. Pull the string through the hole of the cap (without the tap).
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9. Tie the string onto the top of the wine bottle.1 057
10. Wire the pipe to an accessible area.
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11. Pick comfrey leaves and insert into the pipe.
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12. Lower the wine bottle on top of the comfrey leaves.1 052
13. Place the cap onto the pipe.
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14. Open the tap in a month to check if you have any comfrey juice.
15. Dilute the juice 1 part to 20 parts water and apply around the base of plants you wish to water and give a nutrient boost.

March 13, 2016

Make your own Beeswax Food Wraps

Many people now realise it is everyones responsibility to help save the environment and be sustainable. These beeswax food wraps help limit the amount of plastic needed in the kitchen. You can use them to cover most food items. Beeswax naturally carries an antibacterial agent therefore cleaning the wraps only requires warm soapy water. The wraps mould to the heat of your hand so that you can wrap different shapes in them. They can be used to send lunches to school and store food items in the fridge. Below are two methods to make the wraps. The wraps can be cut into squares, rectangles or circles (for bowls). Today is the first day I have made these and have had instant success.

How to make using option 1

You will need
Beeswax (can be purchased form a honey supplier). I bought $7 worth and have used a quarter on 10 wraps.
Material (100% cotton fats work great)
Baking Tray
Pinking Shears (so the fabric does not fray)
An oven

1. Wash the fabric you are going to use in hot water. Allow to dry completely.
2. Turn oven on to 180 degrees celsius.
3. Using pinking shears cut out your fabric into a usable size.
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4. Cover a baking tray in foil
1 043 5. Place cut out fabric onto foil on tray. It does not matter which way is up as the wax goes straight through.1 046 6. Grate beeswax over tray.

Grating beeswax

Grating beeswax

1 048 7. Place tray and fabric in the oven for approximately 1 minute or until the wax is melted.
8. Pull tray out of oven and spread wax evenly around fabric so that you have an even coating. It may be necessary to put more wax on and place back in the oven.

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Finished Food Wrap Straight out of the oven

9. Either hang fabric on a clothesline or if it’s a hot day place in fridge.
10. Within minutes your food wraps are ready to use.
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Mould Wrap Around Food with Warmth of your Hand

Mould Wrap Around Food with Warmth of your Hand

Round Food Wrap on a Bowl

Round Food Wrap on a Bowl

How to make using Option 2.
1. Wash the fabric you are going to use in hot water. Allow to dry completely.
2. Turn oven on to 180 degrees celsius.
3. Using pinking shears cut out your fabric into a useable size.
4. Cut a portion of beeswax and place on baking tray.

Cutting Beeswax

Cutting Beeswax

5. Put in the oven until beeswax is melted. It will only take a few minutes.

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Melting Beeswax

6. Pull tray out of oven and quickly place fabric in tray and coat with the beeswax.

Fabric Straight out of the Oven

Fabric Straight out of the Oven

7. You may need to use a kitchen implement to smooth the fabric so that the beeswax covers everywhere.
8. Either hang the fabric on a clothesline or if a it’s hot day place in fridge
9. Within minutes your food wraps are ready to use.

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Happy Food Wrapping!

March 6, 2016

Build a Straw Bale Garden

In an attempt to get away from my vermin problem with the garden beds near my chicken pen and pumpkin vines claiming the area, I started a garden in our front yard. I am now on top of the vermin problem with some help, which will feature in another blog post. The easiest quickest way for me to start a garden was through a straw bale or in this case grass hay garden. I started out with just 3 bales and the garden was going so well I did an extension.

You will need
Straw Bales (can be bought at your produce store. Ensure they do not sell you oaten hay as this has seed heads on it.)
Potting Mix or Seed Raising Mix (see DIY seed raising Mix
Newspaper or Cardboard

1. Ensure any grass or weeds are mown flat.
2. Place wads of newspaper where you would like your straw bale garden to go. Ensure you make the newspaper cover a larger area than the bales will cover.
3. Sit bales of straw on their side in position on top of the newspaper. (Important that the bales are on their side so the water will run down through the straw).
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