Monday, 30 December 2013

The new 'Super-food' that is inexpensive to buy and grow

Kale, yep kale. Many people will wince at the thought of eating mounds of the leafy greens but really you don't have to! Firstly before we get in to the nitty-gritty details of this wonderful vegetable I must make some of my personal opinions clear. At the moment many families have no idea how to make vegetables appeal nicely for their kids or know how to spice it up a bit but I am going to change that. There is the image in many peoples head of a pile of overcooked sludge when we speak about vegetables but really it can easily be changed with some imagination and creativity (or a cook book). If you want to skip my complaining go down to the fourth chapter.

Leafy greens are usually served as salads. How boring? 
For example with Kale you can make a delicious kedgeree along with some great flavorful haddock which immediately changes the taste that you may not like of the kale into a scrumptious meal. I have this idea in the back of my head for doing a video series on turning boring vegetables into amazing mouthwatering meals that are healthy. All these fast food restaurants serve you rubbish quality meat and fatty junk. You are what you eat and you don't want to turn in to junk do you?

There is a crisis going on in the world and it needs changing. One final personal view before we get in to why kale is amazing is a company that makes me turn in my sleep, well almost. Don't Cook Just Eat. It is promoting for people to stop cooking their own meals and eating food that is terrible for your body and I disagree with that completely. You can almost see it as promoting preventable death. Heart disease is the world's leading killer both in high and low income countries according to the COPD Health center but this can easily be prevented.

Okay so here in Britain kale sales have increased by 32% in the past year and this is expected to continue. But why, why are people so fussed about a green leaf? I have listed 10 things why:

1)     Kale has more iron per calorie than beef
2)     Kale has more calcium per calorie than milk
3)     It is high in Antioxidants
4)     Low in calories, fat and carbohydrates
5)     High in Vitamin A,C and K (10X more vitamin C than Spinach)
6)     High in potassium and other minerals
7)     Helps grow strong bones
8)     Reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer
9)     Helps weight loss
10)   Lowers cholesterol

There you have it. Those are the main reasons why it is a super-food. It is amazing for such a plain vegetable to have so many important uses and powers it is a bit of a hero, Captain Kale!
Kale can be eaten in many ways. A growing trend is juicing and luckily my sister received a power juicer for Christmas so hopefully I will be able to do a bit of juicing. Another easy way of eating this leafy green is by boiling it lightly and then whenever you like drain it out and add some melted butter and there is an easy side-dish that anyone can make.

How to grow Kale in a Pot

  • Choose a fairly large planting pot and fill it using organic compost.
  • Make a few 1/2 inch deep holes and put in a seed and another for luck.
  • keep the pot in a sheltered place and away from strong sunlight and make sure you keep the soil watered and moist.
  • If the seedlings get too bit transplant the smaller ones into other pots so you get even more Kale. You can begin harvesting in about 2 months after transplanting the seedlings.
I really hope you found this blog post interesting and please share it with your friends and on social media to spread the word about this great vegetable that is really easy to get and grow. Have a great day!


Wednesday, 25 December 2013

2014 is just around the corner, sit tight we are in for a ride!

A white Christmas! 25/12/13
Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to everyone! Another Christmas has been and gone in a flash. The highlights for us was eating our own homegrown vegetables for dinner and spending that all important time with family. What about you what did you enjoy most? Maybe the crisp sounds of opening presents or the smell of snow, yes snow does have a smell!

I was fortunate enough to get some lovely gifts from my friends and family. Sport gear, guitar accessories and chocolate. But what I really liked was a device that looks, well like this:
Now what on earth could it be? A pen, a special telescope? If you follow my Facebook page you will already know what it is, a refractometer. This is a clever gadget that test the nutrient quality of vegetables and apples so I can find how high the quality of our homegrown produce are. Proud to say that our apples rate 15 which is just above good on the chart. Here is a description that I find that shows it really does do it's job as a quality tester.

Within the given species of plant, the crop with the higher refractive index will have a higher sugar content, higher mineral content , higher protein content and a greater specific gravity or density. This adds up to sweeter tasting, more minerally nutritious food with lower nitrate and water content, lower freezing point and better storage attributes. 

I am so pleased how clever this thing is, the lemons we used to put on some Salmon were 9 which was above good, but sadly the oranges we brought for the cake scored 7 which was between average and good so I need to find a healthier source. Anyway this is the coolest thing I have ever had. I am hoping to go around local and national shows one day (with permission obviously) to test which person has won the highest quality apple or any other fruit or vegetable. I have the feeling many videos will be on the way about this!

Anyway 2014 is less than a week away and a brand new year so what will I be up to - well exams. But that won't take up the whole year because this is going to be a gardening extravaganza like Ray would say. That rhymes but anyway lets keep on track. Hopefully and I will try and persevere to do it is write my first gardening or cooking e-book, that is my target and a project to start on these cold miserable winter nights. I think it will be fun and also get some of you to contribute some stuff if you want and get a honorable mention or something. But that is the first thing I would like to do. Secondly it to improve my YouTube channel, another present I got from a guy named Santa, you might have heard of him, is a really cool video editing program and it looks great so that should add a bit of fun. Also invest in a new camera so the videos won't look slightly squashed and get a nice microphone for better sound quality. Finally I am hoping to make some gardening related products and I have some thing in mind like 'Christmas in a box' but I am going to keep this quiet in case some rotten-spuds will steal my idea.

So that's that. I can't wait for this new year to start and hopefully we will all have great fun, but for now go back and enjoy the rest of your night.

Merry Christmas! Ho ho ho!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Saving money by growing vegetables - A free guide


Here it finally is, a thank you gift for 5,000 subscribers just to help you save money by growing fruit and vegetables in your backyard. This article has been laid out with top cash saving tips on all the main sections in gardening from containers to seeds. You can get your hands on it for free right now, right HERE.

So what is in this?
  1. Introduction – why bother? 
  2. Herbs and vegetables 
  3. Buy herb seeds and save some cash 
  4. Plant some spuds – save some money 
  5. Eat your greens – be healthy – save money 
  6. Materials, compost and growing medium 
  7. The myth of ‘Isn't gardening expensive?’ 
  8. Ideas for low-cost containers 
  9. 4 options of filling your raised beds and containers 
  10. Get tools cheap! 
  11. Nutrients – dry and liquid organic fertilizers 
  12. Luscious liquid fertilizers 
  13. What pH do my plants want? 
  14. How to get seeds for free! Or very cheaply! 
And much more! So thanks for reading and I really hope that this will help you out!

Please share this to any friends and family you think this might help them out with,

Huw Richards

Sunday, 27 October 2013

How do I know that my Corn is ready? Answered!

Good day to you all! A bit late in the season but we still have some corn so I put together this short quick video for you to know when a corn on the cob is ready!

Easy huh? Please tell me how your corn did this year!
That is all for today but stay tuned and happy gardening :)

Huw Richards

Autumn is here! Time to make some Leaf Mould

Hello all,

Sorry I haven't posted on this for a while but this is still getting traffic so thought I must continue with it!
Autumn has set in hard with us and leaves are falling so I will be sure to use them up, and one great thing you can do is make leaf mould, and why should you? It's perfect for a nice mulch for the plants and can be used as a mix in your garden soil to add more nutrients.
Fall leaves

Firstly grab a black bin bag or any bag that you can't see through and fill it three quarters of the way up with leaves, then sprinkle in some water, tie it up and poke a few holes in the base. Finished the hard part already, now place the bag(s) in a sheltered place and forget about it till the following autumn and either dig it into the ground or keep it for the spring and mulch your young seedlings, how easy!

So that's that, a video will be made soon but if you would like to see my latest videos just go and browse them here.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more tips!

Huw Richards

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

What you should and shouldn't put in your Compost (GardenFrugal's Guide)

Good Morning Friends!

First of all I'm sorry for not posting any posts in the last couple of days, but I hope to make this a daily blog.
Today I'm going to tell you what you should and shouldn't put in your compost.

So what can and can't I put in my compost heap? did a great post on his facebook page about what you should put in and what you should never put in.

So that's a very easy guide for you and for great videos by GardenFrugal visit his gardening youtube channel here. The reason why you don't put in any meat or fish is to help prevent rats and diseased plants as they will spread even more!

Thanks for reading, now time for me to catch the school bus!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

How to Make a Hanging Planter Cheaply (step by step)

Hello Friends,

Today I'm going to show you the easiest way to make a hanging planter out of a tin can. This method is great for herbs for baked bean sized cans but the bigger you get them you could start growing tomato plants in them. At the end there is also a video to watch about it too!

Hope you enjoy it and if you liked the idea please comment below.
First get a general tin can any size and put water in it to freeze and makes it easier to make holes in (Ice isn't in the picture)
Make two holes at the top opposite each other.

Make 4-5 drainage holes at the bottom.

Fill up half way with good quality peat-free compost.

Get your plant ready (here a herb).

Fill it around with some more compost.

Feed the string through one hole.

Tie it on tightly and repeat with the other end.

Here you have made a hanging planter, easy!
So there you have the hanging planter, how easy was that? It looks great so why not make it and hang it on a fence or on your wall. This will help save loads of money too!
The video shows you in more detail of what to do. If you don't use tin cans simply ask your friends and family to save them up for you. It's important to reuse what you can.
"One man's trash is another man's treasure"

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

A Great way to make you Raised Beds look Smart

Hello Friends,

I just had to quickly share with you a great idea to make you raised beds look really cool. Now just planks of wood are quite boring this makes it seem more organic and creative. This method gives a 'forest' effect which is what Devine wanted.
It looks so nice against the short grass and you can either buy the fencing or make your own using bits of small willow twigs all cut up, it may be a bit too much on the cost side but I just has to share it with you as it looks really natural and organic.

One idea I had from this was to weave them in copper wire to stop slugs getting into the bed and eating all of the plants.

That looks like one productive garden, wish I could find more photos of this garden!

Here is a similar picture I found that has wider gaps but still looks really nice, what do you think? Thanks for reading!
A bit different, great for borders

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Great Self-Watering Systems featuring 'Rain Gutter Grow System' and more!

Hello Friends,

This is a longer post with many great videos, if you don't have time for all of them now, bookmark this page for later. There are many self-watering containers out there and I won't be able to cover all but I'm going to feature one particular channel, Larry Hall. He has the best range of self-watering systems on youtube in my opinion and has had amazing results, he also has loads of colorful (colourful) pictures on his facebook page.

I want to tell you how easy all his systems are and why you should start now,

3 reasons why to start growing in self-watering containers:
  1. You don't have to worry about watering for days on end
  2. You only need to top up every now and then
  3. Go on holidays without asking your friend to water your garden 
  4. You don't have to weed! How about that!

The Rainwater System
Let's hear from Larry how and why he invented The Self Watering Rain Gutter Grow System.
 Has this got you into the mood of building one? Well watch this brilliant tutorial below
.So this is a bigger project I know but consider it anyway even if you don't have the time at the moment, these projects will be much easier and smaller and still as effective.

Larry's Pop Bottle self-watering Garden
This is genius and good for growing almost anything from cabbage to strawberries. I've found his tutorial and you HAVE to watch it, seriously!
How to Plant it out
What his strawberry plants are doing in it at the moment:

 Okay so that was easier but at the end I will show you how to make a simple self watering container from a couple of cups/pots. 

Those videos might be too long to watch now, just bookmark this page for later! I can't tell you enough how clever this is and should be used everywhere!

Let us look at another photo of the rainwater system. Isn't it really cool!
Part of a 70foot rainwater grow system! More photos here
So there you have two great methods of larger self-watering systems and you have to try at least one out. It's time to change the world into being more healthy and organic, sharing and having fun. These ideas are genius and amazing and I'm truly inspired by them like many other people. 

I really like his ideas and you can visit the rain gutter grow system group here: This is what I would love to do, go up and down the country installing these. Time for something new here in the UK and can't wait to get loads of people into growing their own produce easily!

One day I'll make my own but until next time, here is my 'mini' self-watering container, cheers! 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

How to make Easy Seed Packets (3 methods)

I always end up collecting to many seeds and never have any place to put them and I don't want to go out to the shops to buy some so why not make your own?

These methods are the most easy ways you can make a seed packet mainly for scrap paper, your being crafty and saving money and the planet at the same time!

Method 1:
All you need is a post-it note and a pair of scissors.
How easy was that then?
Well if you think that was easy I have something even easier for you. Behold the easiest seed envelope in the world:

Then a simple origami envelope will do the trick if you have a bit more time on your hands:

Okay so those were fun, I enjoyed it so I thought you would do too. If you need loads of packets you can order them cheaply off the internet here for UK and here for USA, but it's way more exciting making your own then giving them away to friends. Hope you enjoyed this blog! Please share it, thanks

Monday, 24 June 2013

How to get rid of Aphids Organically

Hello Friends,

Today I'm sharing with you many organic methods to help prevent, get rid of and kill aphids, aphida are farmed by ants for their  'honeydew' and all aphids do it produce honeydew which can produce fungal disease and suck on plant sap they're a pest, and infestations can be deadly for plants. Around 4,400 different species of Aphids have been found to date! An aphid can produce 80 more in a week!

Methods of Control
I have gone around many websites and books to get you many different methods to control these pests so let's get straight to it!

  • Boil 5 large cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a litre of water for 40 minutes. 
  • Strain it and when it is cool use a mister bottle to spray it onto your plants.Get ladybirds from organic suppliers to eat the aphids.
  • If there are only a few aphids on a plant you can pick them off and squash them by hand.
  • A simple and effective way of getting rid of aphids is to spray your plants with a jet of water. The water will knock the aphids off and they will generally die before they can climb back onto the plant.
  • Make a solution of 10 ml soap to 500 ml water and mist your plants with it. The soap will cause the aphids to dehydrate and die.
  • Mix one cup of any type of vegetable oil with 3 cups of warm water and add half a teaspoon of dish washing liquid. Spray using a mister bottle. The oil will clog the aphids’ pores and suffocate them.
  • Rub vegetable oil onto the affected parts of the plant.
  • You can get rid of aphids that have colonised just one or two areas of a plant by pruning away those areas. Dispose of the infected foliage by burning if possible.
  • Combine one tablespoon of canola oil with a few drops of liquid soap and a quart of water and spray onto the aphids.
  • In a spray bottle combine 2 parts rubbing alcohol, 5 parts water, and 1 tablespoon liquid soap. 

 Here is how you make a pepper spray to spray on the aphids

So I hope all of those ideas helped answer your questions and if you have any more just post a comment underneath. Most of these methods will also work on Blackfly too. If one method doesn't work try another. I recommed spraying the plants at least 2-3 times a week.

Thanks for reading!

How to Prevent Potato Blight


Today's main feature is preventing potato blight, we have it most years and almost every garden will see it at least once. It's a big problem and it has caused 1million deaths many years ago (1840s) in Ireland because of it.

What is Blight?
Blight is a widespread disease in the Solanaceae family. It can destroy a potato plant in 10 days. It loves warm humid weather and wet summer weather so it's quite hard to get a solution for both. Dark brown spludges appear on leaves and on the potato and makes it really manky and inedible.
Ways to help prevent it
  • Choose handpicked disease free tubers from respected organic suppliers
  • Choose a site that's open and has a good airflow so it allows quicker time for the leaves to dry after rain
  • DO NOT PUT THE DISEASED PLANTS ON THE COMPOST! It's really important you don't as spores can live overwinter and start again in the spring.
  • If only a few leaves are affected cut them off and put them in a fire or destroy them, the plant will carry on growing
  • Potato blight unfortunately can't be cured but in the UK organic standards certain protectant fungicides are currently permitted but not on a routinely basis
  • Crop rotation will help prevent a build up of disease
  • Plant early varieties if possible
  • Do not water from above when blight is on the foliage as this can provide the ideal conditions for these new spores to seep through the soil and infect the tubers
  • Harvest potatoes when ready and do not let them to sit in the ground
    So I hoped this answered you question and please share this post on all social media sites, it would really help me, thanks!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Crop Rotation Plan - Explained

Why rotate crops?

The two year gap allows mineral balace of the soil to be maintained, makes better use of organic matter and most importantly reduces the risk of pests and disease. This method works for almost any garden apart from very small gardens.

These do not need to be rotated:
Rhubarb, Jerusalem artichokes, Globe artichokes, Asparagus, Seakale and Herbs

The 3 year rotation plan

Plot A
Potato, Tomato, Pepper and Aubergine (Eggplants), Marrows, Courgettes and other cucerbits and squashes
Plot B
Legumes, Onions and Roots
Plot C
Brassicas Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohl-rabi, Oriental greens, Radish, Swede and Turnips

Brassicas follow legumes, onions and roots. Legumes, onions and roots follow potatoes and potatoes follow brassicas.
 So that's the 3 year crop rotation plan all explained for you and if you have any questions please post a comment down below and also check out my YouTube channel

Saturday, 22 June 2013

All about Bottle Tower Gardens

Bottle tower gardens are amazing, they hang on walls and can be attached to fences. All they involve are  same sized bottles, compost, seedlings and a couple of tools.

So yes I am one day going to make one, for sure I mean how amazing they are! People grow lettuces to strawberries in them and I want to give it a go too. I've gone round and found great examples and collected some videos and posts together for you to have a look at.
This is Willem Van Cotthem who has a great blog that you can find here

He has numerous videos on his youtube channel with videos on container gardening with very clever results. If you want to see what a fully grown bottle tower garden here I have found a great example on his channel.
And here is the method on how to create a beautiful place just like that.

I can't tell you enough how amazing this is, and please share this post with your friends as they should know too! I'll keep you updated on mine but I will probably have to wait a few months to save up for more bottles. This is my favourite small space food growing idea too and I highly recommend you using it even on a balcony or indoors!

I'm going to leave you with another picture of a different idea. I'll probably end up doing a part 2. Now, those lemonades I brought the other day...

How can I Grow Food in Containers for FREE?

I have had this question many times over, and I have some great answers. You have to think inside the box, literally. From old vegetables plastic crates to shoe boxes they can all be used to grow food in! Yes in cardboard, well won't it just fall apart? Yes - in the long run. In the short run there is a completely different answer.

The reason why you should use cardboard boxes is because you can easily grow vegetables like lettuces and radishes furthermore the squash families!

I'm trying to get you into growing saving as much as possible and getting healthy food out of it. I have found one great video about using plastic crates below, watch it, then I'll show you how to grow radishes in a cardboard box.
That video sure would have helped you, it's great! Also I made a video about a week or so ago about growing in carboard boxes and here it is:
 So finally you can use plastic bottles for growing herbs in, just cut the top off and you have a pot! It's very simple and easy to grow your own food, why not start today? I can not tell you enough how easy and important it is to grow your own fresh food, thanks for reading.

Monday, 17 June 2013

How to grow Peppers from Seed - Step by step guide!


Growing peppers is fun and easy, you can use the seeds of organic ones you buy from the shops like hot peppers or bell peppers. I would use bell peppers to start off with!

Bell Peppers

  1. So first thing you need to do is to cut them in half and scrape out all of the small seeds inside. Eat the pepper now or save it for a pizza topping for later.
  2. Place the seeds on a plate and select the biggest ones.
  3. Prepare a few pots (you can make one from cutting a plastic water bottle in half) and fill up 3/4 of the way with good organic compost or nutritious dirt.
  4. Place a seed or two and lightly cover with compost.
  5. Water and keep compost moist and add a clear plastic bag to create a greenhouse effect.
  6. Place on top of a flannel on a radiator or in a warm room and wait for it to grow.

 After the seedling is about two inches tall transplant to a larger container and make sure the dirt is still moist.
  • After a few weeks it should grow well and needs plenty of light and feed it with Pepper Feed
  • After a few months some flowers should start forming and then small immature fruits
  • Then a few weeks later you will have your well deserved peppers that you grew from a shop brough fruit! Well done! Store it in a frost free place over the winter will compost and then it will carry on bearing fruits for the next few years!

 Written and published by Huw at