December 31, 2011

70 year old apple tree still bearing fruits, no pesticides

This unknown apple tree variety somebody have planted before World War II and since then it bears beautiful fruits. This means it's at least 70 years old - or even might be older. Nobody remembers people who possibly have got this great idea to plant it. 

You see... People are gone, but apple tree is still feeding us...
No pesticides ever! were applied on this apple tree.

Apples can be picked in October or November, store well untill February.

What's interesting they don't rot the way we are used to - if the apple is gone, entire fruit turns dark brown.
When picked in November the color is green, then slowly turns yellow - like on the photo.  

Maybe you can recognise the variety?

December 21, 2011

Eco Christmas Decorations

These recycled Christmas decorations are easy to make, original, eco-friendly and beautiful...
Spotted last week on the exhibition of Christmas decorations in Wilanow Palace Orangery. 

Recommended further reading Christmas Decorations from Williamsburg

So simple, so easy to make...
Wish you fun while making it! 
Recommended further reading Christmas Decorations from Williamsburg

December 17, 2011

A Subversive Plot: How to Grow a Revolution in Your Own Backyard

Being as much self-sufficient as possible is best for all of us. Roger Doiron from Kitchen Garden International  gave an excellent speach at TED recently, where he brings closer why do we need to have kitchen gardens...

Watch this video:

December 12, 2011

No winter... old wood... gravel...

No sign of winter... little rain... temperatures ascillating still around freezing point. Farecast says it will get warmer next week...
Good, last two winters are enough for 5 years at least....

December 8, 2011

Poinsettia saved after last Christmas

Poinsettia saved after last Xmas. A friend wanted to toss it to trash. I wanted to save it. It survived and gives nice color brackets already....
Save your poinsettia after Xmas - how to do it I wrote here.

My previous second year poinsettia looked different - more pinkish. It didn't survive for the third year. Possibly because I pruned it before it went completely dormant...

December 6, 2011

Xmas cactus aka Schlumbergera blooming naturally for Christmas…

Sometimes people wonder how commercial growers make xmas cactus to bloom right for Christmas. Don’t let fool yourself!! Schlumbergera’s biological clock makes it bloom from November. This is really annoying to hear all these stupid stories aimed at keeping us ignorant!
I admit – I was also a victim of listening all these weird arguments i.e. I have stopped watering in the summer, which should never be done. Luckily plant survived, but it was not too happy.

Finally I think I understand how take care of that little wonder, so it’s happy and blooms profusely.  
Xmas cactus aka Schlumbergera is thermo-photoperiodic. This means that it blooming is triggered by certain temperature and day length. Actually she is so sensitive to any kind of light that even if lamp light may cause no blooming. So, if your xmas cactus is standing too close to a lamp that is on in the evening that might be one of the reasons she is not blooming.

Fertilizing xmas cactus - it is known that xmas cacti doesn’t need too  much fertilizing, 2-4 times in the period of spring-summer is enough. Use 20-20-20 fertilizer and stop it one month prior expected blooming.
There is information that it grows best in the soil mixed with peat or leafmold. It likes watering with tea and you may mulch it with used tea leaves. Such treatment causes no need for repotting.

Repotting - Xmas cactus likes tight pots, so you don’t need to be in a hurry with repotting. While you repot don’t use pot that is too big both in diameter and depth.

Pruning - right after blooming or early in the spring if you would like to root the cuttings. I never cut the segments, rather twist them.

On the photos you can see my new xmas cactus – love it for the color. 

December 3, 2011

Eco friendly, recycled textiles... jute pillows... rooster again...

I always liked jute for its natural and somewhat rough look. Recently on one of the coffee grain sacks I am recycling I've read "Save Amazon, use jute", so I got curious and searched why is it so.
Beside aestetical and pracitcal values, jute plants is very efficent in carbon dioxide (CO2) assimilation and it clean the air by consuming large quantities of CO2. 
One hectare of jute plants consumes about 15 tons of CO2 from atmosphere and release about 11 tons of oxygen in the 100 days of the jute-growing season. Studies also show that the CO2 assimilation rate of jute is several times higher than that of trees.

In contrast with the production of the fastest growing wood plant which needs at least 10 to 14 years from plantation to harvest, and produces only 8 to 12 ton per hectare annually. Because the biological efficiency of jute is much higher than that of wood plants, the use of jute instead of wood to make paper pulp will lower substantially the cost of production of pulp and paper and save forest resources.

In the environment conscious world today, the jute gained the name of Golden Fibre. It is biodegradable and therefore environment friendly, so the products merge with the soil after sustained use. It enriches the soil with organic substance and helps to grow better crops. Its fumes are non-toxic and produce no residue.

This makes me even more happy to work with jute. Now I am working on jute pillows - some designs are still "cooking":) while I just have almost finished new pillow Rooster. The fabric 100% natural jute, pattern is inspired by Polish folk art from Lowicz region.
It needs sewing still... but have a look at the current stage...