On a greener note…

PORTUGAL RAN 4 DAYS ENTIRELY ON RENEWABLE ENERGY.

If that isn’t impressive I do not know what is.

It is refreshing to see that our governments are finally looking into the countries own riches and make use of them.

The main sources of Portugal’s energy is coming from biofuels and waste. Wind and hydropower and adding increasingly larger amounts, with geothermal and solar just starting to take off.

This happened from the 7th of May to the 11th of May – Saturday through to Wednesday.

But it’s not only Portugal, Germany has also been running on renewable energy and Denmark has also started.

True, it is not a common practice, we have to see this as the try-outs for the future, a greener less poluted future.

Maybe my little Iberian country will take advantage of its position and wind consumption as much as the sun and will be able not only to run efficiently and permanently on renewable energy and even export it!

Please read and know more here and here!

Let’s go people, let’s make the world a better place.

 

Claudia x

 

 

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How to grow miniature pumpkins

Aren’t mini pumpkins the cutest? I think so, and I hope you agree with me.

For those of you like me that kinda like gardening and DYI projects, I decided to make some little plots of miniature pumpkins. But please, do not take all my literal words from it, I haven’t really got a plot I should be proud of, just started with the seeds now, but hopefully they’ll turn out ok.

But here’s the method I am following:

First choose a place where they can get as much sun as possible; they might not be big but they are big feeders.

Then, unless you’re using a self-watering container, make sure your pot has drainage holes. Irrigation water should be able to flow freely from the container to avoid creating soggy soil. If your container lacks drainage holes, add them. Several smaller holes work better than one large hole.

Now, this isn’t the time to actually plant the seeds, they are frost sensitive so you should aim for mid-Spring to make sure they are happy buggers.

Get some seeds of JBL – Jack B. Little – pumpkin, and on your pot put 3 or four seeds as the ramifications get quite big and use up some space. Miniature pumpkins are vining plants. If you are limited in your garden space, plant miniature pumpkins where they can grow on a trellis or fence. If you are growing them in a container select a very large one.

The soil should be rich and you should remember to fertilize every week or so – ensure that you keep an eye in so they look pretty and healthy.

Water your miniature pumpkins thoroughly until water runs freely through the bottom of the container whenever the soil feels dry 1 inch below the surface. Plants grown in containers need more frequent watering than those grown in the soil do. Your miniature pumpkins may require daily watering, especially during hot, dry periods.

Each plant produces up to 8-10 cute, little miniature pumpkin fruits. Harvest when they turn completely orange, and the stem has dried and turned brown in color. Cut the stem near the vine with a sharp knife. Be careful not to break the stem.

You can find more information here or here or even here!

Have fun gardening!!!

Claudia

London Wetland Centre

As you can see, this weekend we opted for a very cultural and eco-friendly weekend.

We visited the London Wetland Centre. Located close to Putney, the centre is quite big with a crazy amount of birds. For bird-watchers, is a haven in the middle of the city! they have otters who swim freely in the centre. Endangered bird species and you can even see cows grazing the grass for them. It’s brilliant.

The centre is filled with colourful flowers and plants and animals just roam around not even a tiny bit afraid of you. I loved it!

There are walking tours available along with little courses such as wild photography and bird-watching. Schools and parents come here alike and the kids are delighted!

The gardens are sustainable and beautiful. Feel free to stroll while you explore and just forget about noisy London and enjoy this heavenly place.

It is also very interactive. You can feed birds, have a net and explore the bottom of ponds. You can climb a tower and look around and be amazed on how such a big place has been unnoticed by most of us.

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It is indeed pricey, but to think they live on that… It’s amazing.

Go there! Visit! More info here!

Claudia x

Horniman Museum and Gardens, London

Last week, me and my boyfriend packed a lunch, tourist-like, and made our way to a little museum on the outskirts of London.

The Horniman Museum and Gardens is situated just up the road from Forest Hill and it’s a private collection that just became too big to be a normal house.

Mr Horniman was a victorian tea trader and philanthropist, who began  to collect objects, specimens and artefacts ‘illustrating natural history and the arts and handicrafts of various peoples of the world’ from around 1860. His overarching mission was to ‘bring the world to Forest Hill’ and educate and enrich the lives of the local community.

The museum is his actual house, which was extended over the years. It also sits on a hill from where you have lovely views of London. They have an Aquarium and a massive permanent exhibition of his collection of animals and specimens.

Being a free museum the visitors come time and again to explore it. there are family and school activities throughout the year making it the perfect field trip for science and history.

It is also interactive, in the gardens you can play with air instruments placed for your enjoyment. I loved it and I am sure I’ll go again – seeing it’s really close to home!

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Have fun discovering the world!

Claudia x

Growing Blueberries at Home

Living in the city sometimes makes you want to see more green and take care of something that can be both pretty and fives back to you. Blueberries are a perfect fruit to grow at home. Wether it’s in your garden (if you lucky to have one) or pots or containers for a pretty balcony or big window.

There are some things you will need to ensure though. This will be a quick guide for container home grown blueberries.

To start off make sure you choose the sunniest place in your house. Blueberries thrive in sunny places and they should be sheltered from frost and shade. Let’s just say: they are happy in the sun!

Make sure you get a container that it is 60cm. This will be required because you will need at least 2 varieties of blueberries and they will grow quite a lot in the first two years. This is to ensure crosspollination occurs and more chances of a healthy and fertile plant. There are a lot of types blueberries that you can get. The more common are: Bluecrop, Chandler, Duke and Nelson.

You will need some ericaceous compost. Blueberries are very picky with the soil they are in and will require something acidic. The required PH is 5. Always try to get something around this level which is the ones the plant prefers. If you have any questions about this, please see the packaging of the soil, they always have neat recommendations and tips.

Once you have your blueberry plant you have to prepare it before planting. Please let it soak for about 20 minutes before transferring it to the soil.You will need to put some crocks at the end of the pot to ensure good drainage.

Once you have plant it, make sure you keep the soil moist but not soggy – this would just kill it.

The best time to plant it it’s from November to February and harvest time would be July and August. During the first two years pruning won’t be something that you’ll need to do, but you can always trim it, but be careful not to cut the healthy branches – always try to just cut the dead part. Pruning is always better when the plant is more dormant – around December or January. It’s highly recommended that you should concentrate on getting the plant growing in the first year in order to maximise the wood on the plant to bear fruit the year after. Obviously always cut off any dead or broken branches and also any that look like they are going to touch the ground and also any very spindly growth should be removed at ground level.

When watering the plants always try to use the rain water as the tap one is too agressive for it. But in time of need, don’t be scared. Make sure during growing season you keep the roots moist. Then, in late spring when the leaves bloom and open, you will need to feed it a bit of fertilizer. Do not use the same you would buy for tomatoes as they do not have the required nutrients.

If you have to re-pot because of growth, try to do it in Autumn and this should be needed every two years or so.

Be careful of birds, they love blueberries as much as the next person so make sure you have some sort of protection – otherwise all of the crops will be theirs, ah!

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Good luck with your berries and happy gardening!

Claudia x

The Great Green Wall

It has come to my attention something I had no idea it existed.

It is called the African Great Green Wall. Basically, more than 10 nations in Africa have come together in planting this huge forest that will stop the growth of the Sahara, making the limits available for people to actually live in without suffering from the harshness of the desert.

Originally, it was meant to involve the planting of a 15 km wide transcontinental forest belt running from Dakar to Djibouti.

Can you imagine? A gigantic wall made of trees and forestation? This means farming, restoration of habitats and creation of new ones. It would protect the current water resources that are so scarce due to the desertification of the area…. The co-operation between nations… it really is something to be looked at. 

The countries involved are:

Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Cha – all Sahelo-Saharan states

You are more than welcome to read more about it here: 

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2011/feb/25/great-green-wall-sahel-desertification

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Green_Wall

 

I want this to happen!

Claudia

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