Is there anything more satisfying than seeing some grass being cut?
Well – sit back and enjoy!
Is there anything more satisfying than seeing some grass being cut?
Well – sit back and enjoy!
A hedgehog hotel is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now and today I spent the day putting it together.
You may have noticed earlier that I’m getting into the habit of using egg shells as homemade slug deterrents, and having hedgehogs in the garden is a good excuse to move away from chemically based slug deterrents.
Hedgehogs eat slugs and snails. As a gardener and allotmenter, (for selfish reasons) that’s the biggest selling point for encouraging hedgehogs into the garden.
That said, there is a greater, wider need to encourage hedgehogs, and this is because the British Hedgehog Preservation Society in July of 2020, announced that the hedgehog is close to extinction.
To make things worse, the Mammal Society conducted a survey in the August of 2020, which discovered that the extinction of the hedgehog was close to imminent, especially in Surrey, which is where I am.
As is with true allotment style, I built this with a pallet, some screws and other bits and bobs.
Now, with this particular build, pallet selection is quite important, as this is going to be home to hedgehogs, it’s best to use as friendly materials as possible.
If you look closely at the picture, you’ll see there’s a stamp on the pallet which indicates:
If you see MB on a pallet, the pallet was treated with Methyl Bromide, which is a toxic pesticide. In my opinion, think twice when using these pallets.
For more pallet advice, please see a great point of reference here.
The first thing I did was cut the strips off of the pallet wood, which would go to make the four sides.
I then used strips of old deck board to brace the sides together, and also to help give me something to drill into, for when creating the actual box.
I didn’t actually measure anything when I was cutting the wood, but when screwing in the deck, I did make sure that they were at a 90 degree angle.
This allowed me to cut and shave as needed to make sure it was all square… Well, as square-ish as I could make it.
Now that the sides were all put together, the next thing was to make a hole for the little critters to enter into.
Having done a Google search, I’ve read that the ideal size for a hole is approximately 5inches (13cm). I cut this using a multi-tool (thank you for lending me that for this project – you know who you are!).
To add extra stability to the hole, I added a brace made from one of the off from the hole.
At this point, I hadn’t really put too much thought into the lid, outside of knowing that it needed to be made from wood.
I used three deck boards, which as tremendous luck would have it, were the perfect width of the whole box.
These were actually the same pieces of board I used to create the raised beds, so I cut them to size, leaving an overlap to act as a kind of canopy. The canopy is really just for looks and isn’t really necessary for a hedgehog hotel, but it looks nice. 🙂
Next came the second piece of tremendous luck – and that’s that the piece of old perspex for the lid, fitted perfectly onto the lid, without having to cut anything. Love it when a plan comes together.
I wanted to add a piece of perspex to help keep it dry from rain water, and also it would match the bug hotel.
Ideally, I’ve read that a hedgehog hotel needs a tunnel at the front, and this is to help stop predators from getting inside of the box, and causing any damage.
This was easy enough to construct with some old scrap pieces of wood, and just drilled into the sides, around the hole of the box.
One thing I did make sure was that the hole of the tunnel was still that 5inches (13cm) in size to allow the hedgehogs to get in.
I placed the hedgehog hotel under the citrus fir, and next to the mini bug hotel, by the wheelbarrow bed.
The citrus fir will provide some extra shelter from the wind and rain, and hopefully the insects that the bug hotel will attract will act as a food source – I’ll also try and place in a water source nearby, out of an old bowl too at some point.
Around the back of the box and the sides, I added some old dead leaves – this is so that the hedgehogs can use this material to create a nest inside.
All in all, I think it all came together quite well, baring in mind that it was made from scrap wood and old pallet.
Hopefully, this will make for a nice residence for some hedgehog guests. Fingers crossed they go to town on the slug population too!
Have you had any experience with hedgehogs? I’d love to know what they are in the comments below.
Making homemade slug pellets/repellent is easy, cost effective and much more friendly.
Making homemade slug pellets, or a slug deterrent is very easy, and much like collecting toilet rolls for seed starters, does involve an habitual change, in the fact that this will involve putting aside and collecting eggshells day to day.
The first thing to do is to get into the habit of collecting old egg shells, and the easiest way to do this is to get a box or any kind of container for them to build up in. Before you know it, you’ll have a healthy amount of egg shells to work with.
Once they start to build up, you’ll know doubt look at them and think “Cor blimey! We really should start doing something with those,” that’s the time to whip out a baking tray and some grease proof paper whilst you’re making dinner.
Whether the oven is already on, or whether it’s heating up, around 10-15 minutes in the oven will dry them out dry off any gooey bits. Since I’ve started doing this, I’ve not kept to any real records of how long they should bake for, but 10 minutes plus at any usual heat seems to be the ideal rule of thumb.
Once baked, let cool and place into a container of choice and crush into tiny little bits. This is very therapeutic and very satisfying. Once crushed, spread around plants you deem to be the most vulnerable. The idea here is that this will prove to not be a pleasant path for slugs, and so will them put them off from eating any plants that are in their way.
As I said in the video, I find this on Instagram and commented on the post saying what a great idea it was. If read this, and this was your post, leave a comment and take all of the credit 🙂
Everything looks so beautiful when it snows
I seldom get see what the plot looks like in the snow – mainly because it doesn’t snow that often, so I couldn’t wait to get up there and have a gander.
Walking up to the plot, in weather like this really does break up the monotony of it all at the moment. It’s really just what the doctor ordered.
It brought people out of their houses, even though they were keeping their distance, a wave and a smile still travelled the distance.
What a marvel it is to see everything with a nice, frosty dusting – it all just looks so different.
The citrus fir at the base of the plot looked very festive indeed – straight from a Christmas card.
We even posed for a photo, to mark this very wintery event – which is something we hardly ever do.
We didn’t stay for long, but I did manage to get a couple of shots of the plot – Enjoy.
Did you managed to get out there and build a snowman today? I’d love to know in the comments below 🙂
The weather is absolutely freezing at the moment and it means that not a lot can be done outside… And this has got me thinking about the future.
The time that the latest lockdown brings and rumblings of things changing in the shops due to Brexit, has led me to ask myself – what should I be growing now that the UK is out of the EU.
It’s no secret that gaps are starting to appear on shelves down the fresh fruit isles, due not only to new Brexit importing rules, but also the strain covid-19 has put on staff shortages at food producers.
So let’s try and answer the question – What should I be growing in Brexit Britain.
Let’s start with some cold hard facts to help decide:
So, of the produce seen on our supermarket shelves, how much of it approximately is imported in from the EU, produced in the UK and imported in from outside of the EU…
|Produce most commonly |
found on our
|Imported in |
from the EU
|Produced in |
|Imported in |
from outside of the EU
|Chillies and peppers||84%||11%||6%|
|Squash and pumpkins||77%||0%||23%|
|Lemons and limes||62%||0%||38%|
|Tangerines and satsumas||0%||55%||45%|
|Cauliflower and broccoli||43%||56%||1%|
|Carrots and turnips||4%||95%||1%|
The above statistics are obviously subject to change as things unfold – but I think it’s a good start in knowing where our food is coming from predominantly.
If rising prices and/or low availability due to how the UK imports goods from the EU is a concern, you’d do right to grow the items that are imported the most (70% or higher), from the get go.
The winter months, for the UK is the time where prices and availability are more likely to be affected, so ideally (and if possible) in the winter it would be good to grow your own salad items, mainly tomatoes and lettuce. Perfect if you’ve got a polytunnel.
Soft fruits (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries..etc) are imported during the winter months. With that in mind, it would be a good idea to freeze and store these as they’re ripening in the summer months. Spinach, squash and pumpkins also have the potential to be frozen or stored.
Root veg and brassicas seem to grow well in the UK – so I’m not sure if I should worry too much about those. This is with the exception of frozen potatoes (chips, waffles, frozen roast potatoes…etc) of which 0% is created in the UK
As mentioned previously, times at when items are imported can change with the seasons, and the BBC made this helpful infographic below to show what is imported and when.
Carrying out research for this post and trying to find out when the UK conducts its imports, has led me to some very interesting materials online.
I’ve also identified numerous variables to take into account in all of this, which may or may not come to pass as time goes on.
The UK will no doubt be looking toward other places to trade with and import produce from – although this can take time to materialise.
I suspect (and would like to think) that the UK will also adapt, with UK suppliers looking to grow out of season produce domestically. Growing your own and gardening has also seen an uptick in interest in the past 12 months or so.
Lastly, Brexit is still relatively fresh and so the way in which things are actually conducted at various borders are still being worked out. Hopefully, as efficiency improves, so will the cost and availability of produce.
Having researched this topic, it makes me ponder – should I grow the usual fare? Should I be growing things that I like? Should I be growing things that provide good yields and can be stored, regardless of world events? Should I be growing things that will either be hard to come by or may become too expensive?
Or – should I just not give this all a second thought? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below.
“It’s perfectly acceptable to go to an allotment. It’s in the very nature of allotments that there is a safe distance between people who are working on an individual allotment”
Micheal Gove, March 2020
Without a doubt allotment interest and community spirit has surged for the first time since the country was at war – which means they’re still playing a vital part in our communities.
Of course – they’re also doing their bit with regards to food supplies too.
Since posting about visiting plots during a pandemic last year, visiting an allotment is still classed as outdoor exercise – and we can still visit them.
There’s lots of documentation about keeping safe on the plot – and a Google search will most certainly send you down a rabbit hole.
I’ve picked out some of the most prevalent, recurring actions to take when visiting the plot.
What happens if you do not observe the rules?
As per government guidelines:
If you break the rules The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).
You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.https://www.nsalg.org.uk/news/covid19-information/
There we have it. I don’t know about you – but the above rules feel a lot more serious this time around.
When all of this is over, I am no doubt going to have a BBQ at the allotment with some close friends – just because I’ll be able to, and to celebrate the end as well. 🙂
Stay safe everyone and the best of luck for 2021.