Charli Wilson

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since Apr 07, 2013
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cat chicken urban
Derbyshire, UK
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Recent posts by Charli Wilson

So its winter and though really warm here, everything is so wet and muddy it is miserable to do anything outside. However I'm very excited about something only a keen gardener or permie would relate to! I've been hunting down a reliable source of coffee grounds for literally months without success. Local cafes all seen to use pod-style coffee machines, so the coffee grounds end up trapped inside oodles of plastic packaging. There is a not-very-local starbucks that I go in every week when I happen to drive past- I've never once managed to pick up any coffee grounds (and they advertise that they offer used ones for free!).

But, finally... work have replaced some of their awful pod-coffee-machines with big filter machines, and have agreed to clean them out into a bucket so that I can take the used grounds home! So I should have a 20l bucket or so of coffee grounds every week! Should make for awesome compost! And I'm diverting the waste from heading to the incinerator, which is an waste of perfectly good biomass.

Secondly, I've acquired a goumi! I've been looking for one for aaaaages, but never found one in the UK that I could actually purchase and get delivered to me. And I've bought a few packs of seeds but despite different methods of trying to sprout them, I have never managed it. Now two little tiny goumi plants are sitting on my desk, one for the chicken-garden and one for the allotment.

Do you have anything recently?
6 days ago
My house is 120 years old, still with the original roof! Fuel bill used to cost a fortune though, so we insulated all the external walls and now it is toasty and warm (from £1K a year to £200 for heating!). It did cost us about £8K for everything (included some new windows and flooring), but we've had it finished long enough now to have paid for itself, and it should be good for another 20 years or so.

Older cars can be kept going, as they're actually fixable without computers. My 1991 car needed some work- the garage wanted £400, but the part was only £12.99 so we did it ourselves! Doesn't work with my Partners newer car- too many computers in it (obviously does depend on what is broken!).

I have various things and appliances that are older than me (including a greenhouse and a stand mixer) but I don't think we do anything specific to keep them working- they just do!
6 days ago
I used to make soap, and to that end and several kilos of old soap- its brittle and discoloured and has various random natural fragrances. What can I do with it? I can't sell it or give it away- rather strict rules about that here and I no longer have the paperwork.

Do you know any crafty or useful purposes? I can give a limited amount away as xmas gifts to family- but I can't give it away to charities or anything like that.
Can I compost it?
2 weeks ago
Said clayey-hole is literally a meter cubed- a meter deep into the ground!

I don't think I'd ever be able to dig compost out-  a meter isn't quite big enough for me to wield a spade properly. And it being soggy at the bottom (though currently less soggy than that photo!) wouldn't make very pleasant compost.

I have been introduced to a post-holer as a tool, a coworker is lending me one to try in a week or so. Not sure how it will fair in the clay, but we shall see! And once I've dug a bit of w hole through the hardpan I'm hoping it will drain.. or then I'll give up on the idea and live with the puddle. It will hold way less water when loads of it is offset by the ibc plastic container (ideally full of water) that will reside in the hole- it whole thing won't fill up with water, only the bottom 20cm or so doesn't drain.
2 weeks ago

Mike Jay wrote:I can't remember Charli but is the perimeter of the foundation insulated?  And why is heat rising from the path a bad thing?  Seems like it would help keep things warm in the winter.

My floor is primarily going to be soil with mulch around the perennials.  The paths will start as dirt/soil but I hope to turn them into worm beds (like at CRIMPI).  So they'd be an area to put food scraps and they'd be covered with pallets to walk on.  Periodically I can lift up the pallets to feed the worms, harvest the castings or harvest the worms for the chickens.

Hi Mike,
Yes the perimeter is insulated to about 3 feet down. I think I figured that heat rising from the paths was somehow 'waste heat' and I'd prefer it to be either stored or go through the beds- am quite happy to be wrong though!

My paths need to be some form of hard-standing, due to a wheelchair needing to get over them. I like the idea of the CRIMPI worm beds but I think here they'd fill with slugs (my worm bin certainly does!)
3 weeks ago
The 'indoor pond' as I've been calling it is an unwanted amount of water collecting in the bottom of the ibc-hole dug into the floor of my greenhouse. I can bail it out- but when it rains it fills up again! It isn't below groundwater, but whilst we were digging out the greenhouse base we were walking around on the clay and polished it to a nice compacted water-holding surface. It is below my SCHS pipes, but only by about 10cm. If I poke holes in it, I think it would drain (or at the very least I would have done my best and can then give up on the idea!). How can I penetrate through the clay hardpan layer, given there's very limited room in there and it would be hand-tools only? I have tried digging/stabbing with a spade or building-fork- I'm not strong enough to get anything thorugh- it's like a few cms of squshy wet clay and water- then a solid clay base. Does a cordless drill and a really long masonry bit sound useful- or am I likely to just end up with polushed clay water-holding holes as well? Other tools i may try to use?
Or... is a few cm of water underneath an ibc full of water under a SCHS not really a problem, and I should stop whittering about it?
3 weeks ago
I'm a bit cliche- met my Partner at work, at one point he was my boss... I think I partly liked him because even though he was interested he didn't give in and give me all the easy jobs! I left the company a few months after we started dating- so no serious conflict of interests- and we're still together 13 years later.

A couple of prior relationships had been with very controlling-people, so this one was nice in that he trusted me to do whatever I wanted and didn't very often try to talk me out of things!

I think I do annoy him with all the projects I try and do, and how I tend to take on far too much.. but that's how I'm so interesting
3 weeks ago
Japanese wineberries- because they're an amazing colour and you can't buy them in the shops
Squash- interesting winter squash, because again you can't buy them and they come in so many amazing colours and shapes and flavours
Garlic- there are different flavours/heat of garlic that you can grow, but not buy!
Mange tout- best and sweetest when going straight from plant to plate, the ones from the store are soggy by comparasion
3 weeks ago
I doused said peach tree in a soapy water and vegetable oil mix yesterday, and scraped all the scale off- at least this way it makes it easier to see if things are improving! I've also carted the tree outside, and I'll leave it there for winter- let the birds and things have a go at any insects they see.
3 weeks ago
Thanks Bryant- I do make my own compost, and generally mulch everything in spring with a few cms worth. My compost is made from chicken-manure and bedding, and garden waste. I haven't done much with compost tea but can easily give it a try- probably only useful when plants aren't dormant? I use wood chips as mulch, but only a relatively light layer (don't have the quantity for more!). No coffee grounds or mushroom slurry, but I'll see what I can sort out- I've hunted coffee grounds before but all the cafes around here seem to use awful polluting coffee-pod things, rather than real grounds. Thanks!
3 weeks ago