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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.

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Tomato plants

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I like to start the carrots off in trays

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Habenero Chili plants

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Garden Peas

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Dwarf Beans

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Runner Beans

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Rhubarb

Thanks for checking out my gardening post!

Happy growing to you all!

All Photography Copyright ©2019 Darren Claxton

Rosemary Bonsai

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Rosemary Bonsai

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Here’s my lovely little Rosemary Bonsai tree. It’s around 4 years old now and is happily in its new home! Bonsai herb plants are really great and especially if they have a wooody stem.


What kinds of herbs can you use for Bonsai?


There is an almost unlimited variety of herbs to use for Bonsai. The choice depends on what you like, and what is available to you. Especially Rosemary and Thyme are often used for herbal Bonsai. Some of the herbs you can use for Bonsai
are:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Lemo Verbena
  • Sweet Bay Laurel
  • Lavender
  • Sage French Tarragon
  • Scented geranium
  • Oregano

You can read more on Herb Bonsai over at Bonsai Empire

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.

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.

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.

Tamarix aphylla

Tamarix aphylla

Tamarix aphylla is botanical name of Ghaz, Toolha and khagal (these are its local names).
This plant is suitable for shelter belt plantation. It is a fast growing tree specie. Its plantation is easy. It is drought tolerant plant. Tamarix aphylla saves crops and fruit trees from strong winds and wind storm. It reduces the wind erosion which is the main problem of sandy desserts.Its plantation stops shifting of sand dunes, which causes severe problem of road blockage due to dunes shifting on roads and paths as shown in the picture.

Its propagation is so easy. It can be propagated by making stumps and can be sown during moon soon rainy season. Its water requirement is quite less.

Tamarix aphylla is used as a fodder for camel. In the dessert there is shortage of fodder therefore this plants leaves were used as a fodder for camel , sheep and goats.

The pictures shown above are grazing of camel on Tamarix aphylla big tree and small shrub. Its wood is also used for making roofs of houses in the dessert areas and also used for doors and windows.

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.

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.

 

Rose; a Miracle of God


The botanical name of Rose is ***Rosa indica***. Its propagation is through roots and mostly by stumps. It is a so beautiful and has high class asthetic value. Its an integral part of beautiful park, garden and house lawns. Its stumps or roots were planted at the start of spring season (february). Its heavily pruned at the end of summer season because rose is heavily sprouted during spring and bears enormous flowers then looks so beautiful. It has enormous health benefits. It is used to make “Gulkand” which is helpful to cure fever and also helps in stomach problems. Rose water is used for skin care and also used for eye treatment specially in “ashob e chashm”. Its oil is also used to cure constipation. It has a lot of benefits for stomach. Rose flowers are used in marriages and also in funerals. It generates a sufficient income for rose growers.

Image sources: 1 2.

Spring Has Finally Sprung! Do you Love Gardening and Permaculture?

Spring has finally sprung here in Derbyshire, UK

I’ve managed to get out into our lovely cottage garden this afternoon to assess the potential damage caused by ‘The Beast From The East’ which hit us two weeks ago.


This adverse #weather forced many parts of the UK to a complete standstill on the Wednesday, and through to the weekend. Schools and businesses had to close and some shops even ran out of supplies for the rest of that week. Now, for those of you used to 10-12 inches 0r 30cm #snow during winter, maybe laughing at this amusing anecodte, but we’re just not geared up for that kind of freakish weather here! It absolutely battered our little rural village, with 2 foot snow drifts, which was overly exagerrated by the 80mph winds which caused face melting blizzard like conditions. We’re a few miles from the nearest main travel route, but Luckily, the snow plough arrived early on the Saturday morning to clear our lane. The garden has survived surprisingly well considering we had some -6c thermometer readings for 5 consecutive days. A few of my outdoor bonsai and some bulbs have perished, and I can live with that. All is good in my horticulture world and I look forward to many more green fingered evenings this#spring and #summer, if I can drag myself away from #Steemit and#Discord for long enough!


The Crocus is one of my favourite first blossoms in spring.


Permaculture has been on my mind recently and I’m finding more and more ways to embrace frugalism and sustainibilty. Composting old fruit and veg and recycling everyday items to use around the garden, have been on my list of priorities last year and going forward ito this growing season.


I now grow our strawberries in these re-purposed nylon builders bags, which are great for keeping those hungry ground dwelling creatures from gorging on these sweet fructose rich fruits!

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What is Permaculture?

I was really intrigued about this way of living, after talking to my fellow horticulture friend Huw Richards of @huwsnursery – We met after talking about me writing some instrumental music for his YouTube videos, and how gardening and growning your own food is such an inteseting and rewarding way of life.
Huw has an extensive knowledge of homesteading and permaculture, which you can learn from his very popular YouTube Channel 
But I wanted to know more, so I set about everyones favourite search tool#Google and found a website dedicated to this sustainable way of living.

Here’s some info from the home page of their website –https://www.permaculture.co.uk/what-is-permaculture

Permaculture is an innovative framework for creating sustainable ways of living. It is a practical method of developing ecologically harmonious, efficient and productive systems that can be used by anyone, anywhere.
By thinking carefully about the way we use our resources – food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs – it is possible to get much more out of life by using less. We can be more productive for less effort, reaping benefits for our environment and ourselves, for now and for generations to come.

This is the essence of permaculture – the design of an ecologically sound way of living – in our households, gardens, communities and businesses. It is created by cooperating with nature and caring for the earth and its people.

Permaculture is not exclusive – its principles and practice can be used by anyone, anywhere:

City flats, yards and window boxes
Suburban and country houses/gardens
Allotments and smallholdings
Community spaces
Farms and estates
Countryside and conservation areas
Commercial and industrial premises
Educational establishments

source


Really interesting reading I’m sure you’ll agree. I recommend you visit Huw’s channel and the website I mentioned, as they have so many amazing ideas for us all to try, however large or small, or rural/urban your area is. There’s no excuse not to grow something of your own, to then enjoy natures bounty for yourself.



Our composter full to the brim ready for our wrigglers to do their magic!


New seedlings grown from last years Naga and Birds eye chili fruit,s that I cultivated in our poly-tunnel.


Parsnip seedlings are doing very well under cover too – They tend to be quite a tricky crop to cultivate and car for.


Spring onions benefit from an early sowing under cover – These were sown early January to be transplanted outside after the last frost.


I went all exotic last year and bought some banana seeds online to try at home.
This variety of banana is ‘Musa balbisiana’ and was sown last February. The fruit are between a blue and green colour and are considered inedible because of the seeds they contain. I did read that agriculturists must of cooked and eaten these centuries ago to establish how to modify the heavily cultivated varities we consume today. As you can see, it’s doing really well so far, much to my good lady’s delight of my plants being spread all over the house on any empty windowsill available.


Rhubarb is one our summer favourites and is so easy to grow, as nothing seems to like to eat it! I make a crumble from it by chopping the stalks into chunks and covering with the mixture which is made from flour, sugar and butter –

Recipe courtesy of BBC Good Food

THICK VANILLA CUSTARD

Heat 600ml double cream until steaming but not boiling. Meanwhile, mix together 6 egg yolks, 4 tbsp caster sugar, 2 tsp cornflour and ½ tsp vanilla extract in a bowl. Pour the cream onto the eggs, stirring continuously as you pour. Pour the whole lot back into the saucepan the cream came from and place over a medium heat. Stir until it thickens, about 10 mins, then pass through a sieve and serve.
source


Another successful trial was to grow one of my favourite fruits, Nectarines! I sowed this seed last March which I got from a fruit that I ate.
you have to carefully crack open the stone to reveal the slim oval shaped seed inside.
I didn’t do anything special to it either, but did purchase a heated propagator for £30 online which has been an amazing investment. It germinates seeds very quickly by keeping them at a constant 21c.



Our cottage was built in the 1850s of Early Victorian England and some of the plants have probably been in the ground a lon long time. This is my favourite sash window which looks kind of bare at the moment as we’re just coming out of winter. I’ll try and grow a grapvine each side on the trellis this year. It’s sheltered and get’s lots of sun too as we have a south facing garden.


The Pansies I sowed in November are now budding nicely.


I also love to upcycle wood, so I made this nesting box. I’ve seen some interested birds hanging around in the tree opposite so they’ll hopefull be moving in soon!

I hope you enjoyed my first indepth gardening post and liked the Rhubarb crumble recipe too!
Let’s get out in our gardens, rooftop spaces and kitchens and grow some food! It’s fun and good for the soul!
Many thanks
Mr Bloom


Yes, I made this chair too!

Pigs Fed GMO Corn

Jerry Rosman was a pig farmer, he also grew corn to feed his stock.  In 1997, he got involved in producing GMO corn because he was an avid follower of biotech.  In 2000, he took notice of his stock being plagued by false pregnancies.  When the sows went into labor, they gave birth to a sack of water instead of piglets.

He researched to find the reason for the false pregnancies and his research led him to the corn he was feeding his stock.  He noticed when he discussed the possibility that the problem may be the GMO corn he was met with harsh opposition to the point of being bullied.

In 2014, a Danish farmer plagued with deformed and stillborn piglets discovered that glyphosate was the culprit.  The problem for the Danish farmer was rectified when he reverted back to feeding his stock conventional feed.  For Mr. Rosman, he ended up losing his career as a pig farmer.

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