Another short and sweet one for you... We're loving the community tips so do keep them coming!
What better way to save money than eat the same vegetable twice? And no... not just eat onions more than once in your life... we literally mean eat the same onion twice!
Like many of us, the lockdown boredom got to Alex and Jo and a few too many hours were spent on youtube… They learnt a few new tricks though, including how to regrow veggies on the windowsill to keep eating again and again. In their experience leeks and spring onions work best. The regrown leek and spring onions went into their homemade green tomato chutney... check back for the recipe!
Here's the video that got them growing...
Alex and Jo experimented with this quite a bit during lockdown. They found the best way for leeks and spring onions was to keep a fairly chunky base back and pop it in water in the windowsill. Watch the roots develop and then when you've got a reasonable size green regrowth remove from the water and pot up in fresh compost, making sure not to cover the whole thing. If you're able to you can eventually transplant them into the garden to keep merrily growing until you're ready to harvest.
Maybe we should start a competition going, who can eat one vegetable the most times? You might start getting deja vu though...
See you next time!
Question time. How many jars of chutneys, jams and pickles do you get at Christmas? You know the ones, all the fancy flavours that you find at the Christmas markets... Jars of special somethings in stylish hampers... The cute layered cake mixes you might get as a gift from the cousin you see once a year...
Now add in all the jars you buy during the year to keep your store cupboard well stocked. That's a fair few jars collected right? Now what are you going to do with them? Stick them in the recycling?
Well that is one option but it's far better to repurpose and reuse them in some way. With a little creative thinking a plain boring old jar could be just the thing you need around the house. Or maybe you could fill them up with goodies, pretty them up a bit with some ribbon and make beautiful homemade gifts for loved ones.
Here's a few ideas...
Make sure to give them a good clean before you repurpose them and you're good to go! If you're going to use them to store foods make sure you sterilise them before each use.
Sterilising is easy. Pop your oven on to 150 - 160 degrees C. While your oven is heating up give the jars and lids a wash in hot soapy water, then rinse, leaving upside down on the draining board. When the oven has reached temperature place them on a baking tray and 'bake' for about 10 minutes. Providing they are dry fill them as soon as you can so you don't risk contaminating the freshly sterilised jars.
That's it for now. Make sure to check back as we've got some great community tips and recipes on the way!
With the world turning more and more to technology and our happy habits for 'retail therapy' libraries need our support now more than ever... Once you're in the door they can support you just as much as you support them!
Libraries and book swaps aren't exactly a new concept so why aren't more of using them? Save your pocket by reading a book that someone has already read, then pass it along to someone who hasn't.
Chances our your local library is offering a lot more than just a few thousand or so books to browse. Yate Library is a fantastic community resources just waiting for your visit. Pre lockdown you could use their computers, bring your little ones to story time, be part of the poetry group or speak to Bevan Evemy for some free legal advice. And that's just a small fraction of the list! They're in the process of reopening some of their services so make sure you take a look!
Summer Reading Challenge...
We're proud to be supporting the summer reading challenge!
This is a fantastic annual event to get your kids enjoying reading! Challenge bags include reading suggestions, even e-books count, and some fun arts and crafts. Perhaps you would like to join Mason and accessorize your silly squad giraffe...
For your summer reading challenge bags or pyjamama bags if you've got pre-schoolers, you can pop over to the library, see Alex at our community drop in or join is near the Abbotswood play equipment on Friday 11th September from 2.30pm.
What will you be reading?
See you again tomorrow!
Summer is sadly officially over and we're into Autumn. Sigh. The garden might be starting to look a little worse for wear and the trees are starting to change colour...
Which means our littlest friends will be starting to think where to overwinter. This is where you come in, yay! You can help build the perfect little warm hiding spots with all the rubbish that has mysteriously appeared in the garden shed. A broken plant pot, a few split bamboo canes, a bucket of leftover gravel, the tile that fell off the roof. It's all good.
First up, think of size and location. If you're going big, it's probably best to build your hotel in position. Where you build is pretty much up to you, someone is bound to move in eventually. If you are hoping to attract a certain species do your research, as different creatures like different conditions.
Start your creation with a sturdy base, old pallets are great for big structures. If you're saving space, maybe try a disused bird box or wooden crate. Now simply get filling. Aim to make as many nooks and crannies as possible. Think of them like hotel rooms... the more rooms you've got, the more guests you can have. Go mad, dead wood, sticks, stones, straw, tiles, corrugated card... The only thing holding you back is your imagination. Once you're happy, pop on a roof. We wouldn't want any guests getting cold now would we?
Maybe your little ones will end up looking like this:
Or if you're going big maybe you would like to take some inspiration from Abbotswood and Wapley Bushes. Hotel Abbotswood is a rather rustic affair, blending into the wider landscape. Whereas a local Brownie group took the themed approach, Wapley Bushes even has a coffee bar and rooftop garden...
Don't forget, when working in hospitality you can never really be sure who your next guest will be. The right venue could attract more than just insects... Done well you could have the cast of the Wind In The Willows coming to stay!
Shopping. It's a very marmite thing isn't it? In one camp you have everyone who finds shopping a necessary evil... And in the other you have the retail therapy lovers. Whichever side you fall on there are a few ways of shopping that are kinder on your pocket and kinder on the planet.
The growing season might be nearly over, but that doesn't mean we can't start thinking about next year.
There is something special about growing your own, well, anything. Flowers, veggies, the odd few herbs, and small space growing is a great place to start. No matter where you live there is always something you can grow.
The nights are starting to draw in and the evenings are getting chilly. Why not use some of that sofa time to start thinking of what you might like to grow next year. Then when you're stuck for something to do on the weekends turn your attention to crafting a fancy planter all of your own. Pretty much anything can be turned into a planter, just remember a few key points:
Once you've got your planter, you can start planning your plants! If you're growing from seed, toilet roll tubes make excellent compostable seed trays. Fill your toilet roll tubes with compost and pop your seeds in. Once seedlings are ready to be transplanted just reposition the whole tube in the desired pot. As you water your plant the tube will break up allowing for root growth.
Small space inspiration...
You can experiment with colours, decorations and finding the best position around your home or garden. You may have to do a little research into what will grow best in your conditions e.g. window sill growing, shady corners or north facing gardens, but that can all be part of the fun. If you're growing edibles, make sure you choose things you will actually eat. We don't want anything going to waste, do we?
If you've got a little more space, then maybe something like this could be an option:
Jo made this planter out of old unwanted pallets that would have otherwise gone to waste. The planter was lined with leftover polythene sheeting. Gravel was repurposed from the garden to add drainage to the bottom, and then filled with compost. The herbs were saved from the clearance section of asda's fruit and veg section and replanted. With a little tender loving care they've come back strong and healthy... Just ignore the mint in the background, that's already had several months of use and is starting to give up the ghost ready for next year. By using unwanted materials, odds and ends of equipment he already had, Jo spent less than £10 on the whole project. To buy new planters of a similar size could easily cost you £50 or more. Well done Jo, that's quite the saving!
A quick tip...
When reading guidance on seed packets or plant pots you're usually told how much space you should leave between each plant. To make the most of your small space growing, go a little mad and cram as much as you can fit in. Remember if your plants start to look a little cramped you can always take one or two back out... And then move them to other planters you've been busy making haha. A word of warning, once you catch the bug it can get a little addictive.
But oh so worth it!
We've only got time for a little one today folks... We've been having more than a few technical difficulties today, so please excuse us if anything looks a little odd...
But anyway, let's get to it!
We've had another case of the community coming forward with their own suggestions for Sustainable September. Keep them coming, we love to hear them all. Today's post is all about online peer support.
Who's heard of Working Towards Zero Waste - Yate and Chipping Sodbury Facebook group? Well we hadn't until the wonderful Paul told us about them. They're a growing online community group made up of local people all giving each other support with sustainable living and reducing waste. It's a fantastic thing to be part of because they value non-judgemental attitudes. You can search for advice and make suggestions of your own. Wondering what to do with your old holey tights? Just ask! Found a local group collecting bottle tops for charity, tell others! Post a comment to promote and support local campaigns and initiatives. It's that simple...
What are you waiting for? Hop on over to Facebook and take a look for yourself!
A note from Alex...
The greatest thing for me about Sustainable September so far has been how involved Abbotswood residents and the wider community has been. When we decided to try the blog this year, I sat down, researched sustainability and did a rough plan of a post for every day. There's quite a few that haven't been used because of hearing great things from you folks! And today is a prime example of just that... Over to Jo and Theo with their suggestion of how to reuse an old plastic bottle...
You will need:
You've almost got them out Theo! Thank you Jo for sending us your how to photos and video, and thank you to Theo for your starring role. You were purrrfect!
Advisory note - Supervise your pets while playing with their treat bottles, we wouldn't want anyone chewing things they shouldn't. Have fun everyone!
Deck the halls with boughs of holly... Falalala lalalala! It's never too early to talk about Christmas!
Especially if you're going to get creative with your decorations this Christmas... It's time for a little bit of papercraft.
What you need:
And don't forget...
Here's the sustainability bit!
Try to keep the paper in reasonable condition. You can then reuse it to make next year's decorations! You can get as creative as you like, experiment with different coloured papers and patterns. You could even create multicoloured designs: Stick the plain side of one paper, to the plain side of another. The folds will then display the different colours. If you can, avoid papers that have glitter on, as in most places glitter is a non-recyclable substance. If you can encourage your friends and family to use recycled wrapping paper for their gifts, even better!
Merry Christmas folks!
Plastic piggies might have been a teeny fib... How about plastic bottle piggy banks?
OK, so you're off to a good start, you've treated yourself to a fancy reusable bottle. Yay! But now you've got a recycling box full of plastic bottles waiting to be collected, right? Well let's put them to good use and have some fun with the kids. You get to give the bottle a new life and start teaching the little ones good saving habits at the same time. Win win!
What you need:
Who said recycling had to be boring...
Our current author is our AAG Committee member Pen Bailey. If you would like to be a guest blogger please do contact us here at AAG