Growing Food – Homesteading

Growing Food – Homesteading

It’s warmed up beautifully here on sunny Derbyshire UK after a mildish winter.

I like last year, my veggie plants are well on their way to maturity.

We’re looking forward to the gardens Bounty this summer and autumn.


Tomato plants


I like to start the carrots off in trays


Habenero Chili plants


Garden Peas


Dwarf Beans


Runner Beans



Thanks for checking out my gardening post!

Happy growing to you all!

All Photography Copyright ©2019 Darren Claxton

olive tree

Olive cultivation; having a lot of benefits

Olive cultivation is a very important plant and having a lot of benefits. It can be plant in a very long range of climate but its fruiting will be different at different climate depending upon different weather conditions.

It has different varieties and having a different potential of fruit bearing and fruit size. It has many health benefits which i will write in the next blog.

Image result for olive plant

In the above picture you can see the fruit bearing of olive plant. It has different colors depending upon the variety. It is good fruit bearing and having a very nice color and size.

These olive plants can be planted through grafting and also through seed. It can also have vegetative cultivation through stumps. These stumps can be planted in polythene tubes.

Mango tree

Mango: An energetic and nutritive fruit

Mango is a nutritional fruit. It is so tasty fruit and it is liked and popular in all age groups. It can be a good source of calories. It can be used to provide quick and more nutrition to the consumers.

Image result for mango milkshake

Mango can be used as raw and so tasty but mango can be used and consumed in a number of ways. It can be used in ice creams and in juices that were available in the market. Its use as a milkshake is so nutritive and full of calories. It is so tasty and available in the market in each corner.

It has many varieties that have more pulp therefore these varieties are important and liked in milkshake juice. Now season of mango is coming soon because it is the fruit of summer season and we will enjoy its milkshake and also by eating it.


Rose: A beauty of Nature

Rose plant botanical name is  Rosa Indica.  It is so beautiful and also have very good and attractive fragrance. When it is in bloom then there is good fragrance around the flower. It can be planted in houses lawns, near road sides, near canal banks, in the parks and in the office premises. It has enormous health benefits. Its oil has numerous health benefits. Its flower itself can easily be eaten and have a lot of benefits. Its water is called “arq e gulab” Hand has a lot of benefits. It has good aesthetic value.


Jasmine: A beautiful flower having benefits a lot

Jasmine is a beautiful flower and have a planting season starting from February to March. It looks so nice in lawns of the houses and spread/provide a nice fragrance. It can be planted any where like in side of the roads, in parks and in offices lawns. It can be planted in pots also because in pots it can be placed any where in the rooms also. It has many good health benefits. Its oil has enormous health benefits. Its water has many benefits especially for skin care because Jasmine flower juice provides extra ordinary freshness of skin and especially for face beauty. It can be transplanted  easily any where and in different type of soil texture and structure. It juice can lower the cholesterol  level and ultimately regularize the high blood pressure patients. 


🌱Homesteading and Horticulture 🌱

🌱Homesteading and Horticulture 🌱

Good morning, afternoon and evening from me in England!


I’ve just been out to my Polytunnel in our rather bijou cottage garden, to check on the tomato seeds I sowed last Sunday, and, voila! We have lift off!


I bought the heated propagator from Ebay last year and it works a treat.
The unit has been designed to automatically maintain the compost temperature at 19 degrees Celsius (+/-2 degrees). The electric heated base is designed to transfer gentle heat to the compost – when the heat is on, it will feel warm rather than hot to the touch.



The Birds eye Chilli’s that I grew last year,
Which are 100-200k SHU, still had a some fruits left on the plant so, I extracted the seeds amd left them to dry out for a few days. I’ve just planted them too so should have a good crop of seedlings in a month or so, thanks to the



I look forward to the spring and seeing all the fruits of my labour! It really is a wonderful passion, horticulture and homesteading.


All Photography Copyright © 2019 Darren Claxton

Herbal Desserts for the New Year

Herbal Desserts for the New Year
Posted by cookinwithherbs

Recently, at my daughter Lucie’s wedding instead of a wedding cake, we had a dessert table. Lucie and Matt decided to have a selection of some favorite desserts, which our friend and caterer Anna Saint John created. Since I had a number of requests for recipes, I am posting or linking them here.

Make Miniature Pomanders for Christmas

Make Miniature Pomanders for Christmas
Posted by WesternGardener

There are so many wonderful aromas of Christmas, from unusual ones like frankincense and myrrh to the more familiar pine and cinnamon. Cloves are also one of the special spices used to add special fragrance to the holiday.

Garden Fun for Kids in New Orleans

Garden Fun for Kids in New Orleans
Posted by cookinwithherbs

Can’t let my recent visit to the Big Easy go by without reporting about two really fun places for kids (both young and old)–if you live there–don’t miss these gardens. If you are a visitor or wannabe, put these on your must do list.

Longue Vue Gardens in New Orleans

Longue Vue Gardens in New Orleans
Posted by cookinwithherbs

Recently had a taste of the sweet, sunny South–left Maryland in 23-degree weather and arrived in New Orleans to 60 degrees with leaves still on the trees and many plants in bloom. Headed for a favorite garden spot to visit: Longue Vue Gardens. Enjoy the sunshine in the gardens even if it is cold where you are!

How to Grow an Indoor Rosemary Topiary

How to Grow an Indoor Rosemary Topiary
Posted by WesternGardener

Rosemary is an evergreen herb that has a long association to Christmas and the holiday season. Here’s how to create an easy tabletop decoration made with this fragrant member of the mint family.

Make your own Calendula Salve

Make your own Calendula Salve
Posted by cookinwithherbs

Today is the last day of November (already!)–it’s that time of year where we need to think about holiday gifts–and what better than a useful, homemade gift? Calendula salve is easy to make once your calendula petals have infused in oil and it makes a wonderful herbal salve. As a gardener, I use it regularly, however it is great for chapped lips, hands and dry skin and it is gentle enough to be used in preparations for babies. Give a gift that will be appreciated and used–this one is thoughtful, homemade and healing!

The “Flame Tree.”

                                   Flame Tree on a Guam beach.

“Flame Tree.” We happen to have a couple of them within view of our kitchen window here on Guam. Referred to as “Botanical Rubies,” Delonix regia, the flame tree, is a species of flowering plant in the bean family Fabaceae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae. It is noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of flowers.

You can find them In the continental United States in Central and Southern Florida, and in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. It is a cherished tree in the Caribbean and is featured in many Dominican & Puerto Rican paintings. It can also be found in Belize, The Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, Hawaii, Mexico (especially in the Yucatan peninsula), Nicaragua, Isreal, U.S. Virgin Islands, Canary Islands, Curaçao, GUAM, and in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, where it is the official tree of the islands. In Mauritius and La Réunion it announces the coming of the new year. In the Philippines, its full bloom signals the imminent arrival of the monsoon rains. It is very widely grown in the Northern Australia, although it now grows and blooms successfully in Sydney. It can also be found in Hong Kong, Paraguay, Peru, Spain (southern coast of Spain) the valencian coast and on all Canary Islands, Thailand, Sri Lanka and southern China. It is the official tree in Vietnam, and parts of Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China. It also grows throughout southern Brazil, with ornamental trees in Rio Grande do Sul.

So, if you have never seen one up close and in person, my guess is you probably need to get out more and see the world! lol

(Source: Info – Wikipedia; Photo – Google)

A #stishit post by #retiredinsamar

Robot to Help Your Green Thumb


People who want plants in their house but don’t have the time to give them attention have a new tool.  Plants are good for cleansing the air as they take in what people exhale and they exhale what people breathe in.  Having plants around the house is always a good idea but the problem is deciding where to place the plant so it has adequate sunlight, most people don’t have the time or want to spend time to move the plants around every day.  Some old ideas were to put the plants on a cart so they could easily move the cart.

Vincross, a startup has come up with a robotic plant holder that can autonomously move your plants to the sunnier spots in the room.  The bot can accommodate up to a medium sized plant.  It has sensors, motors, a camera and spider like legs so it can sense the light and move towards the strongest lit area.  It is controlled by a linux based operating system.

In addition to keeping the plant in the light, it also acts as a water sensor.  The robot will bob up and down when it detects that the plant is dry.  An added feature for the owner’s entertainment, the robot will do a dance when it detects that the plant is watered and is getting adequate sunlight.


Jund (Prosopis cineraria): Its propagation and uses

Jund (ProsopIs cineraria) can only be propagated by seed). Its directly be sown through seed or this is raised in nursery in polythene tubes which is sown as under.

First of all its seed is soaked and then planted in polythene tubes and after five days it started emerging. When it gains the above mentioned height it is able to transplant at a required place.

As shown in the picture, it can be grown in the dessert, there fore it is called the king of dessert plant.

  1. It has many benefits which were elaborated as under:
  2. Its propagation method is easily and have suitable/ good germination percentage.
  3. It can be sown directly through seed at the required place.
  4. It can easily be sown in polythene tubes and after attaining the desired / suitable height then can be transplanted at the field at the required place.
  5. Its a highly drought tolerant tree specie.
  6. It did not disturb the field crops, because its roots go deeper in the soil and extract their nutrients from the deep soil layers in stead of upper layer of soil, there fore the field crops extract their nutrients and water from the upper layer of the soil.
  7. As shown in the above (last) mentioned picture it can easily be with stands in the sand dunes of sandy dessert of thal, cholistan and thar desserts. Its presence at such places is the gift of God for man kind and livestock.
  8. It provides shelter and fooder for livestock.
  9. Its leaves and pods are high in crude protein percentage therefore is a good source of protein for livestock.

Eucalyptus camaldulensis; A Fast Growing Tree Specie

Its botanical name is Euclyptus camaldulensis . It is a fast growing specie. It must be grown in water logged soils. It evaporates much of the under ground water.
It has many benefits, which i will elaborate one by one as follows:

  1. It is a fast growing plant specie which is able to provide early income to farmer.
  2. Its propagation is easy and only from seed.
  3. Its seed is sown in polythene tubes then then seedling is shifted where ever needed.
  4. It can be grown as a shelter belt to save crops and fruits from wind storms.
  5. It saves the soil from wind erosion.
  6. It can be grown in water logged soil because it removes excessive from the soil and water logged conditions of the soil removed.
  7. It can be grown as a thick plantation as a thick forest.
  8. Its wood has many uses.
  9. Its wood is used in making crates/boxes for fruit packing and fruit remains safe under these crates or wooden boxes made by the Eucalyptus camaldulensis  wood.
  10. It provides early earning to the farmer because it is a fast growing specie.
  11. Its environment friendly  and mitigate the climate change effect of global warming and it reduces the carbon dioxide concentration as it is used in photosynthesis.
  12. It can be gtown near road sides.
  13. It can be grown near railway lines sides.
  14. It saves road and railway lines sides from shifting of sand dunes when these roads and railway lines passes through sandy desserts, there fore its plantation  is most use full.

Farmers Moving to Using Flowers Instead of Pesticides


Farmers are beginning to seek alternate ways to protect their crops. Pesticide use is at an all time high and their side effects are being noticed.

One side effect is that the nutrient levels are decreasing and it is becoming difficult to grow any crops without supplementing the soil with amendments and fertilizer. Another side effect is that pesticides are being introduced into our food chain. The ill effects are not completely known but it is evident that the outcome will not be good.

Nature has provided us with the tools to battle the parasitic insects and much of this was already know. But since big agra has taken over most of the family farms, they have put these methods on the shelf and developed new methods that puts all the emphasis on plant yield and no emphasis on the health of the land.

The project to study the effectiveness of using plants to battle the garden pest uses flowers that are known to attract natural predators of the parasitic insects. Farmers are planting strips of bright wildflowers among the crops. The flowers work by attracting predatory insects to reduce the parasitic ones.

Kikar (Acacia nilotica) Plantation on sailaba land near river bank

Kikar (Acacia nilotica) plant has the ability to with stand under flooded area . In these areas these tree plantation helps to reduce soil erosion by water (water erosion). This tree specie can survive in water for several days and weeks.

This picture shows the situation of Acacia nilotica (kikar) plantation after the flood passed away. As i mentioned this tree can with stand in flood also. If we plant it near river banks, it has many benefits for that area, which were as follows;

  1. It reduces river expansion due to river flow but this tree saves the banks of river beds.
  2. It saves the degraded land.
  3. It saves the soil from degradation by floods and water flow.
  4. It reduces the water erosion.
  5. It provides fodder to livestock during floods, because at that time there is no range grasses and no fodder for cut and carry due to submerged under water due to flood.
  6. Its twigs can be used as a fuel wood.
  7. Its pods are also high source of protein for livestock.
  8. Acacia nilotica provides good earning to the owner/farmer.
  9. Its wood has high rates.
  10. It can be sold out easily due to its good market.
  11. It can be propagated easily.
  12. Its environment friendly.
  13. It can be used as a mitigation tool for climate change because climate change is a world burning issue. In the next blog i will write and mention its other benefits and uses.

India Finds Seeds Cannot be Patented


Monsanto in an attempt to seek payment of royalties from Naziveedu Seeds Ltd they sought to challenge India’s Patents Act of 1970. Naziveedu sells cotton seeds that were developed by Monsanto. The Delhi High Court ruled that plant varieties and seeds cannot be patented. On Monday, India’s Supreme Court refused to grant a stay on the High Court’s ruling. This ruling being upheld blocks Monsanto from seeking redress against Naziveedu.

A Monsanto spokesman told Reuters that the case will be submitted for an expedited preliminary hearing on July 18. The spokesman stated “We remain confident on the merits of the case. India has been issuing patents on man made biotech products for more than 15 years, as is done widely across the globe”.

More than 90% of the cotton crop is a strain of the GMO seed produced by Monsanto. The cotton seeds have been modified with a pest resistant toxin.


Tamarix aphylla: A safty of railway lines during wind storms

Tamarix aphylla is a good and suitable shelter belt of railway lines, because it is a fast growing and drought tolerant specie, therefore it can be propagated and grown well and easily along railway lines. It is a safety of railway tracks by sand dune shifting, because during summer season these sand dunes shifted on the tracks and due to this any accident can occur which will be a dangerous. These are so important and environment friendly and used as a mitigation strategy for climate change.

This plantation near railway lines has a number of benefits that are listed below.

  1. It stops shifting of sand dunes
  2. It provides esthetic sense, looking so beautiful along the track.
  3. It has mitigation effect on global warming due to climate change.
  4. Forests are the lungs of earth planet.
  5. Forests provides oxygen and use carbon dioxide gas.
  6. After completing the age, they provide income for National income of the country.
  7. Its a fodder for livestock especially for camels and goats.

Dalbergia Sisoo: A high quality wood

Itsbotanical name is Dalbergia sisoo. It provides a dense shade during summer and saves the people from scorching heat..Its plant  life of harvesting is sixty years. At this stage it gives highest profit and strong wood. At this stage its wood is pithy. This wood is not attacked by termites and other insects. Its used in making of house as well as furniture. Its furniture is so beautiful, long life and costly.

Its wood is used in making beautiful and strong houses. This wood has good looking beauty and so strong wood work. Its pithy portion is so strong and there is no attack of insects. Its color of wood is so beautiful. Therefore it has many advantages for the owner/farmer.

Its wood is used in making beautiful furniture and doors of the houses. Its wood is so beautiful and has many uses which were enlisted below.

  1. used in decoration of houses.
  2. used to make roofs of houses.
  3. used to make shades and outer work of houses.
  4. used to make doors of houses.
  5. used to make the cupboards in the rooms.
  6. used to make sofa sets.
  7. used to make dinning table and dinning chairs.
  8. used to make single beds and double beds.
  9. used to make boxes.
  10. used in different agricultural tools.
  11. Its used in knives, kasola, sickle, bar harrow, trangle and many other impliments.

Who loves Bonsai?


Lonicera Nitida

Here’s a few photos of my beautiful little trees especially for #thursdaygreen
Bonsai is an ancient botanical art which I’ve been learning about this past year.


Dwarf Mountain Pine

Green is the colour of health and nature.
A green front door is always welcoming.
That fresh green vegetable on your plate is full of vitamins and minerals.


European Ash


And finally, this beautiful little birch!

Shave and a Haircut – 2 Eggs


For an explanation of the title, back (even before my time) there was this saying that went ‘shave and a haircut – 2 bits’, I think 2 bits was a quarter. What’s taking place in Venezuela has gotten so money is pretty much irrelevant and produce is king. This is exactly what happens when a country goes into hyperinflation, money goes irrelevant.

According to Fabiola Zerpa, a haircut now costs 5 bananas and 2 eggs. When a country’s economic system fail, people will revert back to the basics. Here is an except from Bloomberg’s ‘Life in Caracas’ series; “The other day, I made a baguette for parking swap. I had time but, as usual, no bolivars. The attendant at the cash only lot had some bills but no chance to leave his post during the fleeting moments the bakery nearby put his favorite bread on sale. The deal: he let me leave my car, and I came back with an extra loaf, acquired with my debit card. He reimbursed me – giving me a bonus of spare change for my pocket”. A perfect example of bartering.

The point is that if / when this comes to your hometown, your best tools are your ability to grow food and / or have some viable skills. Gardening will provide you with not only something to eat but also a commodity to trade. Simple skills can also be bartered; skills like fixing a car, cutting hair, hunting and simple first aid will become a viable bartering tool.

It may seems unrealistic when you still have a semblance of normalcy but just look at Venezuela, it took just a few months for it to go from a normal functioning society to shambles. It is very possible that it could happen in your hometown. Learning skills, how to do things and becoming a little self sufficient will never be useless even if you don’t need to use it.


Physics While Gardening


It was a nice warm day and the trees need trimming. I found that pruning before all the foliage begins to sprout, pruning is easier. With out all the leaves, you can see the branches the have died or the ones that need trimming. Another good thing is the weather is not sweltering yet.

If you’re like me, when you see a thick branch you cringe. Your choices are to get off the ladder and go for the saw or grin and bear the extra effort you’ll need to squeeze the lopper handles very hard. At some thickness, I will fall back to the saw.

The diameters in between are where physics may come in handy. The loppers like scissors are just levers with a pivot point. Some of the obvious things to look at before getting into hard core pruning is the sharpness of the cutting blade and making sure the pivot point is oiled. Both of these will provide you with a tool that will slice through the branch easier and make a cleaner cut.

Some things can’t be rectified by maintenance, these are termed obsolescence. These things can only be solved by buying the new state of the art lopper and if you are like me the loppers you are replacing are 15 to 20 years old.

The things you should look for are thin cutting blades as the thicker these are the more resistance they will have when slicing through the branch. The length of the handles are important because the longer they are (within reason) the more leverage they provide making the effort you exert less. The less force you need to apply will also help cut down on the blisters you get. Lastly, some loppers have multiple pivots, these are designed to increase the leverage.

Iple Iple: A Nutritive Fodder Shrub and Tree

Iple Iple is a fodder shrub (when pruned every year) and fodder tree if not heavily pruned. It provides fodder for livestock, fire wood and also used for furniture. Its botanical name is Leucaena leucocephala. Its leaves and pods are high in crude protein. Its fodder is used mostly during lean periods.

Its also known as a leguminous tree because it is rich in protein and minerals. It is a nutritive and palatable tree. It is also used as shelter belt tree. It saves crops from heavy winds and also reduces wind erosion.

Its wood is also used in furniture. Its wood is in low weight and firm. It wood is also used as a fuel wood.


Siris: A multipurpose tree specie

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Its botanical name is Albizia lebbek but locally people call it siris or shrinh. It is a multipurpose tree specie and it has many uses. Its every thing is used. There are following uses are most common in our society.

  1. Used as a shade in summer
    It provides dense shade during summer. When summer starts the hot and desiccating winds blown so during that time siris has a dense shade and people sit under the shades of this tree.
  2. Used as a shelter belt
    This plant used as a shelter belt for crops during wind storms and fast wave of wind.
  3. Used as a fodder
    Siris leaves and pods are used as a fodder for livestock. Its leaves and pods are rich in crude protein. Its leaves and pods are mostly used during fodder scarcity periods.
  4. Used as a Firewood
    After lopping of small twigs leaves and pods, the remaining wood is used as a fuel wood.
  5. Used in the Furniture
    Its wood is used in making furniture and also used as a building material of housed. Termite cannot effects wood, its wood is so hard and long lasting.


Photography in Spring – Microblog

Photography in spring


Spring is an incredibly beautiful time of the year and is always a good idea to have a camera in your pocket.

The best camera you can ever own is the one in your pocket! yes that’s right, your mobile phone! I’m lucky to own a Huawei P10 with duel Leica Lenses which produces stunning pictures.

Here’s a small selection of my spring and early summer pics.






Where the words “Tea” and “Chai” came from?

In different regions of the globe people Usually use different words for tea but there are some amazing similarities in these words because almost all of these words are derived from only two origins. Why they call it these particular words? there are particular reasons & history behind these words. Some call it “tea” while others call it “cha” or “chai” & they have two groups & both have Chinese origin.
Recent studies show that tea’s origin was China. It is also believed that India or Taiwan or other neighbor areas can also be included in the first known areas where tea was produced in ancient times. Due to its bitter taste it was called “tu”, which was used for bitter vegetables. In 7th century this word was changed to “te” & in different Chinese dialects its translated as “cha”. There are China’s two languages where from the both words are derived, Sinitic & Min Nan. the both are varieties of languages, in Sinitic its called “cha” & in Min Nan its called “te”. If tea reached to us through sea than we call it “tea”, “tee”, “te” or “thee” other wise we would name it as”cha”, “chai” “chay” or “shay”. In Chinese coastal regions they call it “te” because they use Min Nan dialect. The Silk road is also being used for thousands of years to supply tea to other regions of the world & its supply centers are the Chinese areas where Sinitic dialect is used & they call it “cha”.



Moringa: Main health benefits

Its botanical name is Moringa oleifera. The propagation is through seed and from vegetative parts. Green tea of its leaves is beneficial for sugar patients. It is antioxidants and bio-active plant compound. Its fresh leaves juice is organic growth enhancer. Its flower buds and pods are used as vegetable which is rich in vitamins. It lowers down the blood sugar. It is beneficial for lowering of blood cholesterol.
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