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Monday, 12 September 2011

Fresh from the press!

Visitors to the Queens Park Day in north-west London this afternoon had a chance to see how good freshly-pressed apple juice can taste. As part of the festival, a quarter of a ton of apples were peeled, chopped and processed by helpers from the Transition Kensal to Kilburn group, including David Young (pictured).  The press attracted a stream of fascinated onlookers and by the end of the afternoon, it had produced an incredible 450 glasses of juice. The apples came from local gardens as part of the nation-wide Abundance scheme, through which garden owners offer their surplus fruit to be picked by volunteers and given to good causes. Before Abundance came along, most of these apples, pears, etc would have been left to ripen, fall and rot. Now, through the efforts of local groups of fruit harvesters, it's getting to people who will enjoy it.

Abundance Sheffield has produced a guide to setting up a harvesting group:

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Take one pot of basil....

I saw this tip for a continuing supply of free basil in a newspaper and was amazed to find  a) it worked for me and b) how fast it was, compared with growing.plants from seed.

Take one supermarket pot of basil, cut off a stem or two at the base and put in a glass of water. Within days there’ll be a mass of tiny roots. Pop the cuttings in compost and they will become new plants, ready to take over when the original one is finished. When these start to get too tall, pinch out the tops and they'll produce sideshoots and become bushy. Keep on taking cuttings whenever the plants look like flagging and you’ll have free basil constantly at hand on your windowsill, ready to toss into salads and sauces.
Here you can see the original plant (back) with the rooted cuttings and a new plant. Magic!