tinyⒶllotment

Growing as much food on as little land for as little money as possible


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Free Organic Fertiliser Number 1 Nettle Tea

You may have gathered that my favourite price for anything is FREE! There is no point spending loads of money growing vegetables when you can get the same results by spending nothing.

I am going to make a variety of free fertilisers over the next few weeks but to start off I am going to make one that anyone can make today, no matter where you live.

Nettles are everywhere and many people see them as a nuisance and something to be pulled out and thrown away. In permaculture there are no waste products only resources so with this in mind I decided to turn a patch of nettles at the allotment into a fantastic, nitrogen rich fertiliser.

Nettles tend to grow in very rich soil which is why you often see them growing on manure heaps. There is an area of our allotments where everyone discards there resources I mean waste and of course the nettles have gone wild.

 

Nettles growing on a compost heap

Nettles growing on a compost heap

I am only making up a small batch of Nettle Tea so I gathered a good bucket load of nettle tops. Now is a good time of the year to do this because the nettle are young and full of life.

One bucket of Nettles

One bucket of Nettles

You want to damage the nettles as much as possible to create a large surface area. I used a pair of shears to finely chop the nettles.  This reduced the volume of the nettles in the bucket to about a third so I got another bucket full of nettles and repeated the shredding stage until I ended up with the bucket about two thirds full.

I then cut a spare piece of chicken wire into a disk slightly larger than the bucket. I will use this to keep the nettles below the surface of the water.

Chopped up nettles ready to add the water

Chopped up nettles ready to add the water

Then I pushed the wire down onto the nettles and covered with rain water from the water butt.

Nettle tea brewing away to make fantastic nitrogen rich plant feed.

Nettle tea brewing away to make fantastic nitrogen rich plant feed.

I have put a loose lid on the bucket to stop the rain from diluting the mixture too much and now I will leave it for about a month to ferment and get really smelly.

Once done you can bottle it and add a splash to your watering can when watering your veg or tomatoes.

Over the weeks I will make some other liquid feeds from such things as Seaweed, Comfrey, Horse Manure and Chicken Poo.

aman

 

 

 


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Plant those Little Suckers! Free Tomato plants.

A lot of people recommend that you remove the suckers from tomato plants to stop the plants becoming too leggy etc. Suckers are those little shoots that appear in the armpit between the stem and branch (see photo below). These suckers are normally just thrown away but I had heard that you can re plant these little suckers and have a whole new tomato plant for free!

Tomato Suckers

Tomato Suckers. Don’t throw them away. PLANT THOSE SUCKERS!

These little suckers can either be cut off with a pair of scissors or you can just pinch them out between your fore finger and thumb.

Cut or pinch out those little suckers

Cut or pinch out those little suckers

Next I pushed the suckers into some potting Compost and gave them a good watering. It is important that the suckers are not allowed to dry out. Keep them out of direct sunlight for a few days until they have recovered. I expect them to wilt but they should recover.

Tomato suckers planted into potting compost.

Tomato suckers planted into potting compost.

I then put the pots into an old mushroom container so I can keep them moist

Tomato Suckers in a tray

Tomato Suckers in a tray

And then I put another upturned mushroom container over the top to stop the water evaporating and to keep humidity high until the cuttings have taken.

I will be checking on these twice a day to make sure they don’t dry out.

Fingers crossed we should have 4 more tomato plants for zero cost.

A free little propagator made from supermarket mushroom containers.

A free little propagator made from supermarket mushroom containers.

There is no reason why you cannot continue to take suckers from plants and re plant them although tomatoes do need a decent growing season to fruit so you cannot do this too late into the season.

 

I will let you all know how I get on

aman