Virtual Charity Gifts

How about trying something different this year, instead of buying a physical gift that might never get used or even worse,  thrown in the back of a wardrobe, how about buying a gift that really matters.

A Virtual Charity Gift is a donation from you on behalf of the person you are buying the gift for, for example, you want to buy Fred a gift for £10, but he already has a wormery, 2 water butts and a brand new wooden composter! You go to one of the following websites, purchase a virtual gift and the recipient receives a gift card saying what you purchased for them.

OXFAM

Here are some gift examples from Oxfam Unwrapped 

Feed a family for £7 –  Safe Water for 10 people for £10Educate a child for £19School Supplies £8

UNICEF

With UNICEF Inspired Gifts your gift really does reach and help the vulnerable children.

The concept is simple, select a gift, personalise a gift card and UNICEF delivers the gift.

Here are some gift examples

Philippines typhoon emergency gift £18Warm winter clothing for a child £37.50Deliver a Baby £24.50

Centerpoint Gifts – give homeless young people a future

Centrepoint Gifts allow you to give your friends and family something truly meaningful.

£5 Christmas Dinner – £10 Christmas Gift – £30 A Bed for a Night

A great way to support a Charity is to buy your Christmas Cards from them.

The National Autistic Society

Whether you’re looking for a traditional card or something a bit different, you’re sure to find something in the wonderful Christmas Card Collection from The National Autistic Society. And don’t forget that by buying and sending the cards you’re raising awareness of autism and helping them to achieve there vision of a world where everyone with autism gets to live the life they choose.

WWF

Another option is to Adopt an Animal,  from as little as £3 a month you can help protect your selected species and their habitat. Choose from 12 animals including Snow Leopards, Tigers and Polar Bears. Receive a cuddly toy animal, gift pack and three updates during the year.

October’s Competition Results

Thank you for all your entries and to all those that have voted.

Hopefully you will find some useful tips for composting this winter, especially with the abundance of leaves we now have.

The winner is Ms ChanTang from London

Enjoy your Leaf Composting Kit

 

Entries Votes
I have a large net circle for leaves with a wooden top to compress contents. When I turn my compost at the end of year or as required I add a small quantity of leaves that are part composted to each layer, this empties the leaf container for the next year. The compost can either be turned again or used. 4.28%
If I have any excess worm juice from my wormery in summer I sprinkle it on my heap, this keeps up the moisture levels in the drier months and adds to the nutrient content of my compost. 6.73%
Mow up the leaves which is easier on the back, shreds them and then put them on the compost heap where they are in a better state to break down quicker 13.46%
I always add any used coffee grounds to my compost: I find it helps break the compost into a finer structure. In addition some creatures like slugs and snails seem not to like it, so that plants in soil treated with this compost have a chance to grow stronger in the Spring, without their young shoots being nibbled! 15.60% *winner*
Make sure there are worms in the heap (add a little soil with some worms) 4.28%
Wrap compost bins in a blanket of recycled bubble wrap to keep temperatures up in very cold weather. Insulating a compost bin helps worms and other good beasties who breakdown garden waste, to keep warm and therefore working through the cold weather. 9.17%
I fill the biodegradable leaf sacks with leaves in the Autumn and then leave them all winter to allow the rain, snow and frost to thoroughly soak them and begin the decomposing process. In the spring, I fill a composting bin with the sacks of decomposing leaves and keep a bucket beside the bin to top it up with rainwater. The following spring I have a compost bin full of fantastic leaf mould which the emerging bulbs spring bulbs love. 6.73%
Site the compost bins in a warm position. 3.06%
When your garden is tiny or non-existent, finding enough brown material for the compost heap can be a struggle. Well, cold season is coming up, and so are the interminable piles of used tissues. Although there is a bit of an ick-factor here, those soiled tissues are great for the compost pile, and high temperatures will kill off all the bacteria, so no need to worry about catching a cold from turning your pile. 5.81%
My compost heap is just like me – it likes to stay warm in the winter. I keep my compost cosy by adding cardboard. In the New Year I use it to recycle my Christmas cards – ripping them up and mixing them in. This helps dry out all the soggy Autumn leaves and grass cuttings and speeds the way to lovely crumbly compost. So don’t forget to give your compost heap a Christmas card or two! 12.23%
I move my wormery indoors to a frost free area in our verandah, take off all the porcessed layers and top up with bedding and leaves. I feed the worms with veg peelings, tea bags etc through the winter to keep them ticking over nicely, then they are ready to go back outside and up the production when it warms up again!! 10.70%
I put my wormery into my polytunnel through the winter so that the worms don’t get cold and will carry on making compost for me. They get fed on the vegetable peeling grown in my garden and I have lot of lovely compost as a result. 7.95%

 

Leafmould Composter Kit Competition

Thank you for all the entries to our Winter Composting Tips Competition

We have chosen 13 Tips for the Poll

Multiple votes are allowed

The winner will be the tip with the most votes and will receive a Leaf Composting Kit

Voting will close on Sunday 10th October 2013 at 23.59

The winner and results will be posted in the November Newsletter

Hopefully some of the tips here will help with your composting over the colder months.

October Newsletter 2013

Welcome to October’s Newsletter

This month we have a new design both in the email being sent out and also for the layout on our Blog.

With so many leaves falling it would be hard to choose another subject for this issue, so Leafmould Composting it is, hopefully you will learn something new and be able to put it into practice.

If you have any views or advice you would like to share with us regarding the new layout, please let us know in the comment section under the newsletter.

Pumpkin & Firework Composting

Ever wondered what to do with your Pumpkins after Halloween or the Fireworks lying in your garden after the 5th November? well now’s the time to find out how to put them to good use.

Pumpkins are relatively easy to compost if you are familiar with composting in general, but there are a few things you need to watch out for.

Firstly remove all pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin before placing on the compost heap.  The seeds are known to be notoriously hardy and can survive the composting process intact. This is bad news for the garden unless you want lots of Pumpkin plants taking over your flower beds, and from my own experience this year, they take up a lot of room.Don't forget to compost your Pumpkins after Halloween

Secondly remove all the extra objects that might have been used for decorating the pumpkin, candles, metal tins from candles and anything else that isn’t able to be composted.

Thirdly if you want to speed up the process of composting the pumpkin, break it up into smaller pieces, this will increase the surface area and lead to faster decomposition.

And lastly once you add your pumpkin to the compost heap, cover it with leaves, cardboard or paper as this will protect against an insect invasion and also balance out the green and brown materials in the compost heap.

Fireworks are not completely compostable due to the heavy metals that are used to create the colours, but there are a few things we can reuse.

Firstly the sticks used on rockets can be used as plant supports.

Secondly if you empty the contents of the used or unused firework, including all of the metals and gun powder and give it a good brush, the cardboard can be added to the compost heap.

And lastly, used cold sparklers can be used as plant ties depending on the flexibility of each one, make sure they have been burnt down to the end to prevent any potential accidents.

JT’s Blog: Soft mists and Spider’s Webs

Can it really be October? No sooner am I planning what to grow in the garden it feels that I am now bedding it down for the winter.

Already Tikka, Korma and Dipper, (our Speckledy Hens) are responding to the cooler, shorter days and have slowed down the egg laying rate. Our salad vegetables are much depleted with only a few lettuces, spring onions and tomatoes still on offer and the cauliflower will sadly have to be composted as a failed attempt!

As usual I find autumn a time to begin to reflect on what has been successful in the garden and what could be changed next year. I know that I shall have to try Cauliflower again after reading up on what I may have done wrong this year. The carrots were a huge success as were the beetroot and salad vegetables but I have a yearning to try some tasty different offerings.

In readiness for winter planning I shall be ordering a couple of seed catalogues. Before the joy of reviewing these comes the job of washing, all of this year’s seed trays and storing them safely. The garden tools will be cleaned, sharpened, oiled if necessary and stowed away tidily. A ‘stock-take’ of twine, plant labels, cane toppers etc. will be taken and a list of any shortages made so that if anyone needs a Christmas present idea I have a small list (just in case.)

Speaking of Christmas present ideas, for many years my list has included bird food. For such a small outlay the pleasure I get from seeing a wide variety of birds visit the garden to feed is huge. As my children have set up in their own homes I have bought bird tables, feeders and food so that they too can enjoy such a simple pleasure.

Enjoy ‘wind-down’ October.
Joy Torjussen



Leaf Composting Kit only £22.95
The Leaf Composting Kit will not only save you money but will also save you time.
This great kit includes;

  • 3 Leaf Sacks
  • 1 pair of Handy Hands Leaf Collectors
  • 1 bottle of Be Green Compost Maker for Leaves


Wormery Starter Kit only £19.95
Includes everything you need to start (or restart) an empty wormery, or try your hand at making your own.
This great kit includes;

  • Worm Bedding
  • Lime Mix
  • A Tap
  • A handy Information Guide
  • Packet of approx 150 Tiger Worms


Telescopic Gutter Cleaner
Our telescopic gutter cleaner is ideal for cleaning or clearing blocked gutters without clambering on to roof tops. Featuring a brass hose connection.

Was £17.95 now Only £14.95 Valid until 21/10/13


How To Make Great Leafmould

Perhaps the best time to collect leaves is just after it has rained when they will be well soaked. Alternatively hose them down with water.

Now you simply fill the Leafmould Compost Net with the leaves, compressing each layer as you go. Even if you fill your Leafmould Compost Net, the volume of leaves will gradually but significantly reduce over the coming months. If you fill your net then place something on top of the leaves to prevent any wind scattering. At its simplest that’s it, all you have to do now is wait.

After about one year the leaves should be sufficiently rotted to use as a mulch or to dig into your soil. To achieve a finer product e.g .to use as a lawn dressing or in potting composts simply leave it for a further year and you’ll have an excellent peat alternative with numerous gardening applications.
It is best not to mix up leaves from different years as this will result in a less even and consistent end product. After the first year the leafmould pile should be quite stable and sufficiently rotted that wind scattering won’t be a problem. Better still, why not have two Leadmould Compost Nets for a neat and tidy continuous process?

To Speed up the Process
There are several simple ways to quicken the process and achieve leafmould in about half the normal time.

Shredding
Shred the leaves before filling the Leafmould Compost Net. This can be done using a garden shredder, or by spreading your leaves on the lawn and running a lawn mower over them. A cylinder mower with a grass box is ideal for this, as it will shred and collect in one operation. Any bits of grass (seed free) collected in this process will also help to speed up leafmould making.
As shredding is best done with dry leaves to avoid clogging up your shredder or mower – remember to wet them before filling your leafmould Compost Net.

Natural Activators
Unusual as it may sound; human urine is an excellent natural activator rich in nitrogen. If you care to, simply pour a few pints (diluted 50/50 with water) over the leaves. Any more direct application methods are entirely up to you and at your risk!

Turn and add grass clippings
In the first spring after filling, empty out the leaves, mix with fresh grass clippings (in the proportion of 4 parts leaves to 1 part grass – ie 25% grass) and refill the leafmould maker compressing the leaf/grass mixture as you go.
Any or all of these simple actions will significantly speed up the whole process.

Why not just compost leaves with other garden waste?
Leaves have a fibrous structure and are slow to rot down. Mixing with conventional compost material will slow down your compost heap and reduce its heat generation. Leafmould making is a slow cool process performed by fungi (hence mould) naturally present in leaves. On the other hand composting is a faster, heat generating process utilising naturally occurring microbes and bacteria.

What leaves can I use?
Virtually any tree or shrub leaves will make a good leafmould. Oak and beech leaves are perhaps a bit quicker to rot and plane, chestnut and sycamore leaves a bit slower.
The typical ph (acidity/alkalinity) of leafmould is between 6.5 and 7.5 ie about neutral. A preponderance of conifer an evergreen leaves or needles will tend to produce a more acidic leafmould. Such acidic leafmould would be excellent for acid loving plants such as azaleas and rhododendrons.

What if I don’t have enough leaves in my garden?
Friends and neighbours will probably be only too keen to let you have their autumn leaf fall. Additionally local authorities collect thousands of tons of leaves each year. So a word with the council, or your local parks department could easily generate a serious quantity of leaves.
To make the best use of your leafmould
Leafmould is one of the longest lasting of all organic soil conditioners. By significantly improving both the organic content and physical structure of soil it results in a considerable increase in fertility wherever applied – all round the garden.
Leafmould can be used to great benefit on vegetable and ornamental beds, for annuals and perennials, and around fruit trees, bushes and shrubs.
Used on any soil type it can be dug in or spread as a surface mulch.

Mulching
Use just like peat or bark as a quality surface mulch. For water retention purposes spread a layer of 1-1.5 inches. For water retention and weed suppression a layer of 2-2.5 inches.

Top dressing
Fine well rotted leafmould makes an excellent top dressing for a lawn or seed bed. It is useful, although not essential, to sieve the leafmould prior to using it as a top dressing. For top dressing a lawn the best time is in the main growing season. Apply a thin layer of fine leafmould after spiking the lawn, then simply brush it in. If required this can be repeated several times during the grass growing season.

Seed compost
Mix 1 part of well rotted and sieved leafmould with 1 part of sharp sand. This will produce an excellent free rotting medium with sufficient nutrients for seedings up to pricking off stage.

Making a potting compost
Being similar to sedge peat, leafmould is a useful constituent of a potting compost. Two typical formulas are outlined below:-
A.
1 part well rotted leafmould
1 part garden loam
2 parts compost
B.
1 part well rotted leafmould
1 part worm worked compost
1 part garden loam
1 part perlite


Win a Leaf Composter Kit

For this month’s competition we want your top winter composting tips!

The best ones will make it onto our website in one of our new composting guides.

In less than 400 characters tell us why your winter composting tip gives you the advantage in early spring when you start potting and planting.

The top tips will then be added to a poll for you to vote on.
You can email your entry to: competition@originalorganics.co.uk – or post a hard copy to us at Original Organics Ltd, Leafmould Competition, Unit 9 Langlands Business Park, Uffculme, Devon, EX15 3DA.

There are a few conditions :-

1) In sending us your tips, you give us full permission to use them, uncredited, in our promotional material on or offline.

2) Our staff will shortlist the top tips, but the final vote will take place on our Blog – With a Poll deciding the winner. A further email will be sent in advance of this taking place to let you know where to vote.

3) You may submit as many tips as you like but only your best one will be eligible to make it into the shortlist

4) Entries must be received by 11:00am on Thursday 31st October 2013.

Septembers Competition Result: Bokashi Spray Composter

The winner is Keziah from Surrey

Congratulations Keziah, i hope you enjoy your new  Bokashi Spray Composter

Thank you for all the entries, we have taken note of your comments and will continue to work hard to give you a great shopping experience with us.

COPYRIGHT 2013. ORIGINAL ORGANICS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

September Newsletter

Newsletter : September 2013

This month our Newsletter Features

Welcome

Welcome to the September edition of the Original Organics Newsletter

I have to say that over the past few days it really feels like autumn is here, it seems greyer, colder and wetter. The kids are back at school after a summer of no routine and my slippers have come out of the cupboard.

Not that I mind Autumn and the colder months, in fact I quite look forward to them. The football and NFL season kick off again, fresh soups & stews simmer away in the kitchen producing wonderful smells and steamed up windows,  my warm clothes come out of hiding and family sofa snuggling, under a cover as we watch the new season of a big autumn show keeps all the family entertained on the shorter nights. But more importantly the holiday season begins, well it does for my family anyway. September to November is full of Birthdays, we have Halloween, Bonfire night, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m not American, but I have found myself celebrating Thanksgiving, I guess it started because I watch American Football and on Thanksgiving Day they broadcast 3 live games on TV, It got me thinking that it would be nice to bring up the kids having at least one day, when we could take time out and think about what we should be grateful for. We cook a large Turkey dinner and then we go round the table and tell each other what we are thankful for that year. Three years in and i’m still the only one eating pumkin pie though.

This month I guess most of us are thinking about tidying up the garden, cutting the grass for the last time, pruning the overgrown shrubs, planting for next spring and harvesting our crops. I planted pumpkins for the first time this year and I’m not sure they are going to be ready in time for Halloween. The female flowers only just flowered a couple of weeks ago, we had months of only male flowers and then they died off and then only females. I have had to hand pollinate the females with any stray male I have been able to find, fingers crossed we will be able to harvest a few for Jack O’Lanterns and Pumpkin Pie.

Enjoy the beginning of autumn and all the fun colours it brings.
Tom

Porcupipe Offer

15% OFF Black Porcupipe Gutter Brush

Porcupipe Gutter Brush Offer

Porcupipe is a simple, but extremely effective device designed to keep virtually any water gutter system clear and free from all kinds of debris including moss and leaves.

Porcupipe can also help to prevent entry of birds into roof space, and can also help to keep out twigs and seeds dropped by birds. It is made from high quality Polypropylene filaments securely fixed into a flexible central rust-free stainless steel core.

Porcupipe is different from other devices that just cover your gutters – Porcupipe actually fits inside and fills the gutter, effectively screening your gutters from debris, whilst keeping them clear for water to flow freely.

The 15% OFF offer is only available through this newsletter from this link and is valid until 30/09/13

New Water Butts
Rainbow Water Butt Collection Rainfall harvester Water Butt 150L Woodgrain Effect Polybutt
110L Rainbow Collection 200L Rainfall Harvester 150L Woodgrain Effect
Rainbow Water Butt Collection Rainbow Water Butt Collection Rainbow Water Butt Collection
1500L Dual Water Tank 190L Oak Effect Rain Barrel 150L Rattan Effect Water Butt

With many months of rain ahead, now is a perfect time to be thinking of buying a Water Butt, by the time spring comes, you will have plenty of free water to irrigate your garden. You will find all these new water harvesting products on Water Butts Direct our number one dedicated Water Butts Website.

Fleece Jackets Offer

15% OFF Fleece Jackets

Fleece Jackets Offer

Ideal for plants of all sizes in beds, borders, hanging baskets and pots. Haxnicks Fleece Jackets make it quick and easy to protect your tender and semi-hardy plants from frost and other harsh weather.

The 15% OFF offer is only available through this newsletter from this link and is valid until 30/09/13

Garden Jobs for this Month

jobs in the garden image banner

September days are noticeably shorter, if you have a fruit or vegetable patch, you’ll be busy reaping the rewards of harvest. It’s also time to get out and start planting spring-flowering bulbs for next year, and the general garden clean up starts.

  • Harvest your crops
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs
  • Net ponds before leaves start to fall
  • Place pumpkins and squashes on a piece of slate or wood to raise them of the wet soil and prevent rotting
  • Start the autumn clean up; remove any old crops and clear weeds
  • Get your compost bins ready for fallen leaves and dead plant material
  • Install water butts to collect rain this autumn and winter.
  • Raise the height of mower blades as grass growth slows down
JT’s Blog: Why I love September

‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’…………. (Keats)

Why I love September……

Since leaving college I continue to love September. No longer is it a case of new uniform, books and teachers but a time to tidy and prepare things for the beginning of autumn / winter.

As the evenings are noticeably drawing in, I begin to ‘bed-down’ the garden by cutting back the overgrown shrubs, thinning the bi-annuals and pulling out any annuals that are now past their best.

The composters quietly come into their own; working their magic by turning this year’s spent growth into beautiful rich humus for next year’s seedlings.

September is a fantastic month to make the most of any gluts of fruit and vegetables. Personally I love to dry tomatoes and preserve them in basil infused olive oil and make chutneys from windfall apples and green tomatoes. I am really fortunate to live in the Somerset countryside that has lanes lined with beautiful, shiny, sweet blackberries. I love to make jam with some to enjoy the taste of summer during the dark days of winter. (Am I the only one that still rates a preserving pan as one of my favourite ever presents?)

We have a strange family tradition that has evolved as the children have left home. I used to always pickle onions in September to be eaten over the Christmas holidays- and beyond as well as extra jars to be given as presents. Since leaving home the offspring now also pickle onions in readiness for the Pickle onion taste-off on Boxing Day.

Enjoy any Indian summer we get. Perhaps by enjoying a glass of freshly pressed apple juice or warm crumpets topped with homemade jam.

Tips: Wildlife Habitats

A good wildlife garden is more than just a corner of a garden left to go wild. Whether you are creating a new wildlife garden, or have an established one, think of it as a nature reserve and you are the warden.

Here are a few products to entice wildlife in your garden now;

Bat box: These nocturnal mammals need safe places to roost in during the day. Bats are becoming increasingly rare. One reason for this is a loss of roost sites as old trees are cut down, mine shafts filled in and caves and tunnels disturbed.
Hanging a bat box in a suitable position can help local populations.

Bird bath: Birds need water in all seasons. They need it to bathe and keep their feathers in tip-top condition for good insulation during the bitter winter nights. They need it to drink, too.

Bird table: Using a bird table is an excellent way to feed garden birds. It gives you a good view of its visitors and also gives the birds some protection from predators.
Winter is the most important time to feed birds, as this is when their natural food is scarce. Once you start feeding, don’t stop – birds will rely on the food you put out and make a special journey to your garden to fill up.

Bug box: Bug boxes provide snug, safe places for insects to hibernate. They are especially good for lacewings, ladybirds and solitary bees.

Compost heap: A compost heap is important in any garden, not just for kitchen and garden waste but for attracting wildlife. Inside the compost, worms and fungi feed on the rotting vegetable matter. Insect predators feed on the slugs, insects and other invertebrates that are attracted to the heap. Birds visit to seek out insects and seeds. Some animals, such as common newts, shelter there during the day.

September’s Competition: Bokashi Spray Composter

Bokashi Spray Composter

This month we are pleased to offer the Bokashi Spray Composter

Unlike our other more traditional Bokashi composters, the Bokashi Spray Composter uses a convenient liquid spray activator, rather than a dry bran. That said the principal is the same for this particularly stylish, neat and efficient addition to our Bokashi range. The modern design and ‘fun’ colour options make them ideal to encourage children to take charge and deal with the kitchen waste!

To win this great prize we want to know about your last experience with us.

We have put together a short survey of 10 questions, which should take no longer than a few minutes to complete. We hope that the information gathered in this survey will help us to make your shopping experience with us better in the future. Click here to take survey

The winner will be selected at random from the list of all entries containing an email address. Competition results will be posted in our October Newsletter

Closing date is Monday 30th September 2013

Until next time

We hope you enjoyed The September Issue of our Newsletter, if you would like to comment on any of our topics, or have any suggestions for our next issue, please contact us on our Blog, Facebook, Twitter or Email.

Original Organics
Unit 9 Langlands Business Park, Uffculme, Cullompton,
Devon, EX15 3DA
Tel: 01884 841515| Fax: 01884 841717 | E-mail: sales@originalorganics.co.uk

COPYRIGHT 2013. ORIGINAL ORGANICS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.