Saturday, 8 February 2014

Growing Willow

Hello All
Firstly Hello to Liz Allsop. Really good to see you over on my sidebar.

The wind and rain woke me up in the middle of the night and I expected the river to be over its banks this morning, but so far so good, it is just high. More to come though I believe. Whatever happens our house will not flood as it is a steepish field away from the river, with much lower land either side of us. Our next door neighbour has had to bring has sheep up from his bottom field as it is waterlogged. Non of this compares with those poor folks down south.

I put a picture of our stand of willows on my last post. Many people, like us have been considering growing for fuel as the price of  fuel rises. I found my original paperwork from when I bought my willow whips back in 2003, which may be of interest.
 At the time I was buying with basketry and garden features in mind, so was looking for different colours and  lengths. The types I bought were -
 Salix Daphnoides  (Helen's Red)
Salix Purpurea  (Holland)
Salix Purpurea  (Dark Dicks)
Salix Alba x Fragilis  (Flanders Red)
Salix Triandra (White Newkind)
Salix Viminalis (Longifolia)
These were bought as cuttings from West Wales Willows. (I don't know if they are still in business)
Over the years these trees have provided a rich source of animal food for goats, sheep and rabbits. I have made bean poles, pyramids and hoops for my netting (which nearly always root over the summer!).
We have taken the branches when they have been at the size for whatever we need them for and occasionally we would pollard every other tree. Some we have left to grow thick enough for fuel.
 We are about to plant some more trees. When we were tidying up the line last back-end I cut some foot long lengths from branches about finger width and have put them into a box of soil. I will stick them in the earth by March where we want them to grow. I will surround the area with some sort of weed cover too.

Weaver asked for an explanation re. the Christmas Pudding Slice that I made last week. I posted about it after Christmas 2012 too. In brief, Make some sweet pastry, Line a tray with half, then place sliced, cooked Christmas Pudding on top of this and cover with the second half of the pastry. If wanted you can "glue" the slices together with honey or jam. Sprinkle the top with a little sugar, prick with a fork and cook @180 for about twenty five minutes. When cool cut into whatever size pieces you prefer.
I didn't take a picture this year, but will use the one from last year!

I finally manged to buy the sweet pea seed. I was going to buy them from Wilkos but never went that way, so last night I bought three packets from Lidl. The price was 29p per packet, which promised 10 plants from the seed. I put some kitchen roll on a tray, moistened it and set about placing the sweet pea seed on the paper to get them started. Each packet had over thirty seeds in, which is going to work out at a penny a plant. Bargain!
Another bargain bought yesterday was this shoe polish from the petrol station. We always buy leather shoes and look after them, which is why we often wear shoes and boots that are 10 years old. I  have no idea why they are selling these tins cheaply, surely they don't "Go off" if they are not opened.

Whoops! Don't know how to turn this round now it is loaded!

A final pic is another Summer one to remind us of what is coming...honest!


Bye for now Frugellers
Gill


17 comments:

  1. Perhaps the shoe polish " fell off the back of a lorry" when it was filling up at the petrol station!

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    1. Ah Ha Miss Marple! Never thought of that!
      Gill

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  2. Hi! From one Derbyshire frugalista to another 😊

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    1. Oooh really? Are you anywhere near the Amber Valley?
      Gill

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  3. Love the recipe for the slices, we always seem to have at least one pudding left over!
    Looking forward to seeing your sweet peas, we never seem to have much luck with them, we've planted in different parts of the garden, even in pots placed on the patio but never have a good show.

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    1. I know! Christmas puddings are like that aren't they?!
      I start my S.Peas off in toilet roll/ kitchen roll tubes, so that the roots are disturbed as little as possible (under glass with no heat) when transplanted. I plant them out when they are about 4 inches high, two to a pole. The books say to pinch out at this stage to ensure strong plants. I only do this to one plant, as I haven't the nerve to do both! and I can't say that I have noticed little difference. They are very attractive to slugs at the planting stage, so I put a thick layer of my crushed, baked eggshell around each plant. After that I put something to tie them to at about ,say, 9 inches. I pinch off the tendrils whenever I see them, though don't beat myself up about this and deadhead the flowers too. I am a little late starting as I like them to grow slowly, which I think makes them stronger. I have laid them on wet kitchen roll in the kitchen and will put them in the rolls of compost as soon as they chit.
      Now that you have read this, go to a book on growing S. peas and you will read something completely different I am sure ! Gardening's like that.
      Gill

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  4. Love the look of the Christmas Pudding slice, I will tell my DiL tomorrow, she made 100 puddings to sell and she had a couple left over this might just be the recipe to use them up, thank you. X

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    1. What I like about them is that they are not too sweet. tell her not to forget to cook the pud first. I only ever microwave mine.
      Take care Karen
      Gill

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  5. I will be making the Christmas Pudding slice, I have a pudding in the dresser. I will wait until I have guests who can take some home, I do not have the will power to resist. My garden is large, I wonder about the willow.

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    1. You will need others to help you eat them as they are a little moreish!
      Re. the willow. Some willows are easy to manage than others, but if you intend pollarding to use for basketry or garden structures, with a large garden you should be okay. If you have a dampish corner it might well be the tree/bush for you. I wouldn't bother with the old fashioned osier, but use the ones with an attractive bark , such as Salix Daphnoides, which as a dark rad bark with a lovely silver bloom. The rods are also long and straight and can be used for most things. There are many types, colours and sizes to choose from
      Gill

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  6. Cheers for the list. I think I can get cuttings of Q83 and a chinese one which aren't on your list. Did you mark up where you planted each one or is it quite obvious when you look at them? Also is their marked difference in growth between the different types?

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    1. I did mark them, but unfortunately most of the markers have been lost over the years ( and removed by sheep!.)
      Yes, they are markedly different and over the years I have decided which I shall plant this year. I wont bother with those I bought as "weavers" and grow the taller, more robust types. I am concentrating on S. Purpurea -Helen's Red and S. Purpurea - Dark Dicks and S. Vimilalis Longifolia.
      If you want me to send you a few slips to go with whatever you have ordered I am happy to do so.
      See on your blog you are thinking of Biochar. Let us know how you get on . A fascinating subject
      Gill

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  7. wouldn't have thought of shoe polish there, great buy though.
    don't have room for willow here,, but would love to have a few trellis made of it!

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    1. I have been trying to get one of those nail-gunny things to make trellis with, but haven't seen any in the hardwear shops as yet.
      Our petrol station is allied to a shopping chain (Costcutter I think) They have had a revamp and now sell Costa Coffee and hot snacks etc. Bet I was the only customer that got excited over shoe polish!
      Gill

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  8. There is a yellow variety of Willow that we still find growing in hedgerows. It was grown by vineyard owners for tying back their vines; a wonderful variety that one can use instead of string, fresh from the tree. Sadly none of my neighbours now have vineyards; too much work.

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    1. One of my willows is a pale green colour and was bought to use as a weaver, thus is quite fine and pliable. I wonder if it was of a similar type.
      More and more vineyards are being planted in England!
      Gill

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  9. Ah! those slices...........Mum used to make them and she called them 'Tram Stoppers'!
    I'm not fond of christmas pudding or pastry but, I did like these and she used some of Aunty Lilians' homemade apricot jam to hold the pudding to the pastry. I'm salivating thinking of the taste of them! LOL!

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