Tuesday, August 19, 2014

2014 season in a nutshell

Thas been a very productive season for us here in Clacton but with some challenges.  We are used to having very dry summers here but this year there has been enough rain and we have hardly used our large rainwater tanks.
We have had a massive harvest of apricots and peaches this year which we have bottled, jammed and dried, we gave away about one third of the fruit.
Tomatoes in the poly tunnel have been great but in the greenhouse all the plants have been killed by a mosaic like disease that makes the leaves dry up and fall off.
Four trees have died very quickly from unknown disease (only a week from full health to death!)
Lots of chicks hatched, we are still waiting to see how many are cockerels!
Two of our large grapevines have suffered badly from a white mildew like disease on the fruit with brown patches on the leaves, the grapes become leathery and crack, we had to cut off the grapes and feed them to the chickens.  The grapes in the poly tunnel are already sweet and being enjoyed as desert grapes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Surplus honey bees in North Essex

I have a surplus of bees and am passing them on in the way I have done for a number of years. I sell the bees not the equipment . Prices start at £30 for 5 frame nuke. All bees with laying queen. people bring me their hive and frames, I transfer the bees to their hive and keep the appropiate number of frames in exchange.
Contact me on chris@ecodiy.org if you are interested.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Self sown Poppies

Self-sown poppies between our vegetable beds, we will harvest the heads for the seeds when they dry (great in our home baked bread)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wwoofing with a baby

Here is a picture of our wwoofers Anouk, Damien and baby Anae.
As you can see children are no obstacle to wwoofing! Our experience of small familys wwoofing is very positive.
More information about WWOOF here WWOOF UK

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sun shines on Eco-house open days

Sun shines on Eco-house open days
Clacton Eco-house EcoDIY attracted more than 80 visitors on a sunny Sunday and bank holiday Monday.  Visitors came from as far as and includes included Green party MEP candidate Rupert Read.
Rupert met the leader of the Clacton Food bank which feeds up to 80 people each Monday from food which they collect from supermarkets and other shops.   Rupert Read is campaigning for more food self-reliance in the UK and praised the movement towards growing more vegetables in gardens and allotments as happens at EcoDIY in Clacton

Attached picture is Rupert Read meeting people at EcoDIY
Left to right David Egar, Rupert Read, Peter French (Foodcycle volunteer)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Magic encounter in the wood

In the wood today (Wednesday) we could hear an owl calling and by chance as we walked through the wood we came across this young owl sitting as still as a branch in the tree.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Our open Days at EcoDIY

Everyone is invited to our open days next Sunday 4th and Monday 5th. We even have (one!) Easter chick born on good Friday.  See the other homes opening in may in North Essex at www.greenopenhomes.net

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Using Biochar

We are using charcoal which I gather when I light our wood fires in the morning to create biochar.
The charcoal is used to mix with our growing compost to fill our pots and tomato ring culture.  It needs to be 'activated' or it will pull nutrients out of the compost.  I soak the charcoal in liquid feed (comfrey tea) which we make by soaking nettles and comfrey in a bin of water till it rots down.  The liquid is sieved to remove any nettle seeds.
charcoal for biochar
Charcoal from our fires

Charcoal soaking in comfrey liguid
A slowworm at home in our brascica patch

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Home again

Back from our trip to Cornwall by coach!
Rosie survived the 7 hours in a coach (she gets travel sick) and I got to see Bernard Leach's workshop /museum -he's my hero artist/craftsman/green living inspiration from the 1960s in St Ives.  Seeing his old workshop took me right back to potting in the Isle of Man (and a tear to my eye!)

 The Eden center is inspirational as well would need 2 days to see it all!
 5 days well spent and my baby plants/chickens/dog were all still living when we got back home! (Thank you Merry and Laetitia)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Waiting for mum

Broody coup waiting for me to place a broody hen (after dark when the broody hen is dozy and not so likely to object!)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A new electric car

We have added another jigsaw piece to our attempt at a sustainable life here in Clacton with our purchase of a second-hand Citroen C1 Eva electric car which we will fuel (mostly) from our solar panels.
Electric cars pay no road tax.  The main on-going cost will be maintaining the (expensive!) batteries  and replaceing some of them over time as they fail.

The car is 5 years old and was created new by converting a Citroen C1 petrol car
The Citroen C1 Evie, is a pure electric car that has been produced by the British-based Electric Car Corporation. It runs on a 30kw electric engine powered by lithium-ion batteries that are placed where the conventional fuel tank is, and also under the bonnet along with the electric motor. This leaves the interior of the C1 Evie unchanged from a standard Citroen C1, making it the first pure-electric four-seater on sale in the UK.
Energy produced from friction under braking is also stored and used to aid the 60-mile range.
We have been cautiously experimenting to find out the cars range and so far it has been using just over 2% of the battery charge per mile driven.
The amount of battery charge it consumes depends on how many people it is carrying and on how carefully it is driven.
One of our concerns was how to fit in our (large) Labrador dog. I am glad to report that we can carry three people and our dog at once!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


We are trying microgreens this year.   Using old brassica seed, spinach seed and marrow-fat peas
Spinach ready to eat
pea shoots ready to eat , cut them high and they re-sprout
Rocket cress ready to eat

Brassica micro greens ready to eat

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Data on fracking in the USA

Fracking is one of the hot topics in green circles but there is a lack of information on which to base our thinking.
This is a useful website if you want to put some time into learning about the experience in the states.
Let us try to understand the advantages and problems of the technique before we take a position after all we import lots of gas from distant and possibly dubious countries.