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5 Ways to Use Old Bananas Old Bananas are not Waste

If you hate wasting food and throwing away valuable materials, think twice before you throw away those old bananas. There are many ways you can use up the fruit and also the peels from making a simple jam to potassium-rich fertilizers. With a little ingenuity and patience, you can create some very useful products of your own. Here are 5 ways to use old bananas;

1.Banana Jam This banana jam was made with leftover bananas and sugar with a squeeze of lime.

Banana Jam is a simple recipe that brings back a sense of modesty to the kitchen and will soon become a family favourite. This easy-to-grab goody can be piled on crackers, paired with pancakes or even tipped onto toast. Whether you use store bought bananas or grow your own, they can often be left in the bowl or accidentally forgotten. The quick ripening and bruising often result in the bananas being thrown away. Bananas are a great source of potassium and preserving them in the form of jam means that they will last weeks longer. So, if you hate seeing food go to waste, banana jam offers a great alternative. Banana jam makes a high energy snack that is great before workouts or for people on the move.

2.Bird Feeder For this bird feeder, I used an old length of rope anchored over a branch to make a simple pulley and tied a knot with a loop to hang the food on. Then an old twig from the garden was used to make a simple perch.

Birds absolutely love bananas and making a simple bird feeder from recycled materials is a great way to attract them. Its a wonderful feeling to be at one with nature and give a little back. Some birds are even responsible for weed control and pollination of certain plants. They also play a small part in pest control and add to the ambience of the garden environment.

3.Banana Compost Tea This old paint bucket makes a great container to make a compost tea. Add all the banana peels and fill with water, then leave to steep for 3-4 days stirring occasionally with a stick.

Banana peel makes an excellent compost tea that is rich in minerals and nutrients that your hungry plants yearn for. The process of creating compost tea also encourages the growth of microorganisms that are beneficial to the soil quality and they even help to deter bugs. Applied directly to the soil it will promote the production of flowers and fruits. Sprayed on the leaves it will help to deter aphids. Here is a short list of plants that love potassium;

4. General Purpose Fertilizer (banana peel) To make an instant fertilizer blend the eggshells or used coffee grounds together with your dried banana peel. This medium can then be applied to your soil or added to your containers as a general purpose fertilizer.

Dried banana peels make a great general purpose fertilizer when paired with ground eggshells or used coffee grounds. Banana peel contains manganese, a nutrient involved in photosynthesis, magnesium which plays a part in the production of chlorophyll and calcium, essential in the absorption of nitrogen. Eggshells contain phosphorus and other micronutrients responsible for plant health.

5. Pot Fillers (dried banana peel) To make this pot filler simple dry the banana peels and chop them down into 1-2 inch pieces. They can also be paired with a layer of brown leaves to add other slow release nutrients.

The basic idea behind pot fillers is to help not only create drainage but to create air flow around the roots. As the natural material gradually breaks down it will help retain moisture and provide slow release nutrients to the soil. Using a pot filler also helps to reduce the weight of the pot or container and cut down on the amount of soil used.

*Let us know what you do with your bananas by joining our facebook group or by commenting in the section below. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

#LeaveNoWaste



The post 5 Ways to Use Old Bananas appeared first on Soily Dreams.

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Air Layering the Easy Way What is air layering?

Air layering is the method of propagating a mature plant in order to create a new plant. The new plant forms roots above ground until it is stable enough to be cut from the mother plant. It is then grown independently. Reasons for air layering may include size reduction or increase in crop. It is also a fun project for garden hobbyists.

Not Enough Hands

Over the years I have been developing my method of air layering, also known as marcotting. I found the conventional methods of propagation quite tricky and it often seemed like I needed an extra pair of hands. Trying to hold the soil and plastic whilst tying the string around the branch was often quite stressful and time-consuming. After many attempts, I found the soil falling out or the plastic bag slipping open which resulted in the soil medium drying out. I tried many different ideas and even thought about buying some of those fancy pop on propagators that you see on the internet. One day I was working on some clippings from my lime tree and I realized that the same method could be used to air layer with the addition of a few simple cable ties and a slight modification to the bag. This meant that I could simply fill a food bag with coconut coir or peat moss, cable tie the top, then make a slice down the bag and cable tie it to the desired branch.

First attempt using my new method. Method

Things you will need.

Firstly, choose a branch that is appropriate to make a cutting. A branch that is too old will look brown whilst a branch that is too young will be too bendy. Choose the branch that is green with lines down it.

Strip the leaves from the area that you want to marcot. Cut around the branch making sure you don’t cut the wood and only the bark. Cut a band away around 1 inch long. Scrape the branch in a downwards motion using the edge of the knife. Make sure you go all the way around the branch. Leave the excess on the tree and don’t touch the branch with your fingers. Fill the food bag with the coconut coir then add water. Close the top of the bag with a small cable tie. Make a slice down the middle of the bag and use your thumbs to make an indent. Wrap the bag around the desired area and secure tightly with two cable ties. The cable ties should be tight enough that the bag does not slide. Some water will seep out at this point but don’t worry there will be enough locked inside. Make sure that the cable ties are tight enough that the bag can’t be twisted too easily. Now wait between 26 and 36 days. A good sign that it is working is the new growth under the propagated area. The first sign of roots forming. At this point it is a good idea to check the moisture of the coconut coir. If it is starting to dry out just make a small hole and inject water into it with a spray bottle. Check the bag every few days adding water when needed. Once the propagated area has a sufficient amount of roots and they have turned slightly yellow, the new plant can be cut from the tree. Try to make a clean cut and resort from using a saw as it may leave damage to the mother plant and the new cutting. Remove the food bag and soak in water for five minutes. Now the cutting is ready to pot. Strip away any excess leaves from the bottom of the stems to help the cutting with the shock of being taken from the mother plant. Additional Tips
  • Make sure to sterilize your grafting knife to prevent the plant from diseases when you make the cut.
  • Try not to touch the branch with your fingers when you scrape away the bark.
  • Make sure that the bag is attached tight enough that it is difficult to spin round.
  • Only make the cut into the outer bark and no the actual branch.
  • When scraping do it all in the same direction.
  • Rooting hormones are optional but this method can be achieved without them.
  • Observe the bag occasionally to check it hasn’t dried out.
Which plants can be air layered?

For the most part, I have used this method for citrus trees and it has been very effective. There are a number of other woody trees that can be air layered. For example;

  • Roses
  • Apple
  • Magnolia
  • Holly
  • Boxwood
  • Honeysuckle

and many many more…



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5 Ways to Use Leftover Bananas

If you hate wasting food and throwing away valuable materials, think twice before you throw away those old bananas. There are many ways you can use up the fruit and also the peels from making a simple jam to potassium-rich fertilizers. With a little ingenuity and patience, you can create some very useful products of your own. Here are 5 ways to use leftover bananas.

1.Banana Jam This banana jam was made with leftover bananas and sugar with a squeeze of lime.

Banana Jam is a simple recipe that brings back a sense of modesty to the kitchen and will soon become a family favourite. This easy-to-grab goody can be piled on crackers, paired with pancakes or even tipped onto toast. Whether you use store bought bananas or grow your own, they can often be left in the bowl or accidentally forgotten. The quick ripening and bruising often result in the bananas being thrown away. Bananas are a great source of potassium and preserving them in the form of jam means that they will last weeks longer. So, if you hate seeing food go to waste, banana jam offers a great alternative. Banana jam makes a high energy snack that is great before workouts or for people on the move.

2.Bird Feeder For this bird feeder, I used an old length of rope anchored over a branch to make a simple pulley and tied a knot with a loop to hang the food on. Then an old twig from the garden was used to make a simple perch.

Birds absolutely love bananas and making a simple bird feeder from recycled materials is a great way to attract them. Its a wonderful feeling to be at one with nature and give a little back. Some birds are even responsible for weed control and pollination of certain plants. They also play a small part in pest control and add to the ambience of the garden environment.

3.Banana Compost Tea This old paint bucket makes a great container to make a compost tea. Add all the banana peels and fill with water, then leave to steep for 3-4 days stirring occasionally with a stick.

Banana peel makes an excellent compost tea that is rich in minerals and nutrients that your hungry plants yearn for. The process of creating compost tea also encourages the growth of microorganisms that are beneficial to the soil quality and they even help to deter bugs. Applied directly to the soil it will promote the production of flowers and fruits. Sprayed on the leaves it will help to deter aphids. Here is a short list of plants that love potassium;

4. General Purpose Fertilizer (banana peel) To make an instant fertilizer blend the eggshells or used coffee grounds together with your dried banana peel. This medium can then be applied to your soil or added to your containers as a general purpose fertilizer.

Dried banana peels make a great general purpose fertilizer when paired with ground eggshells or used coffee grounds. Banana peel contains manganese, a nutrient involved in photosynthesis, magnesium which plays a part in the production of chlorophyll and calcium, essential in the absorption of nitrogen. Eggshells contain phosphorus and other micronutrients responsible for plant health.

5. Pot Fillers (dried banana peel) To make this pot filler simple dry the banana peels and chop them down into 1-2 inch pieces. They can also be paired with a layer of brown leaves to add other slow release nutrients.

The basic idea behind pot fillers is to help not only create drainage, but to create air flow around the roots. As the natural material gradually breaks down it will help retain moisture and provide slow release nutrients to the soil. Using a pot filler also helps to reduce the weight of the pot or container and cut down on the amount of soil used.

*Let us know what you do with your bananas by joining our facebook group or by commenting in the section below. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

#LeaveNoWaste


The post 5 Ways to Use Leftover Bananas appeared first on Soily Dreams.

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Marcotting Citrus Trees What is marcotting?

Marcotting is the method of propagating a mature plant in order to create a new plant . The new plant forms roots above ground until it is stable enough to be cut from the mother plant. It is then grown independently. Reasons for marcotting may include size reduction or increase in crop.

Over the years I have been developing my method of marcotting, also known as air layering. I found the conventional methods of propagation quite tricky and it often seemed like I needed an extra pair of hands. Trying to hold the soil and plastic whilst tying the string around the branch was often quite stressful and time consuming. After many attempts I found the soil falling out or the plastic bag slipping open. I tried many different ideas and even thought about buying some of those fancy pop on propagators that you see on the internet. One day I was working on some clippings from my lime tree and I realized that the same method could be used for marcotting with the addition of a few simple cable ties. Simply fill a food bag with coconut coir or peat moss, cable tie the top, make a slice down the bag and cable tie it to the desired branch.

First attempt using my new method. Method

Things you will need.

Firstly, choose a branch that is appropriate to make a cutting. A branch that is too old will look brown whilst a branch that is too young will be too bendy. Choose the branch that is green with lines down it.

Strip the leaves from the area that you want to marcot. Cut around the branch making sure you don’t cut the wood and only the bark. Cut a band away around 1 inch long. Scrape the branch in a downwards motion using the edge of the knife. Make sure you go all the way around the branch. Leave the excess on the tree and don’t touch the branch with your fingers. Fill the food bag with the coconut coir then add water. Close the top of the bag with a small cable tie. Make a slice down the middle of the bag and use your thumbs to make an indent. Wrap the bag around the desired area and secure tightly with two cable ties. The cable ties should be tight enough that the bag does not slide. Some water will seep out at this point but don’t worry there will be enough locked inside. Make sure that the cable ties are tight enough that the bag can’t be twisted too easily. Now wait between 26 and 36 days. A good sign that it is working is the new growth under the propagated area. The first sign of roots forming. At this point it is a good idea to check the moisture of the coconut coir. If it is starting to dry out just make a small hole and inject water into it with a spray bottle. Check the bag every few days adding water when needed. Once the propagated area has a sufficient amount of roots and they have turned slightly yellow, the new plant can be cut from the tree. Try to make a clean cut and resort from using a saw as it may leave damage to the mother plant and the new cutting. Remove the food bag and soak in water for five minutes. Now the cutting is ready to pot. Strip away any excess leaves from the bottom of the stems to help the cutting with the shock of being taken from the mother plant. Planting the New Cutting

After you have followed all these steps it is time to plant your new tree in a pot or directly into the ground.

Potting

It is important that the new cutting gets the right nutrients form the start. A good potting soil or home made compost is perfect to get things started. Place the cutting into a pot no smaller than twelve inches deep until the roots take and new growth is clearly visible. It is important at the stage to keep it out of direct sunlight and choose a more shaded area. Once the roots have taken to the new soil it can be transferred into a bigger pot or directly into the soil in the desired area.

Remember! Citrus trees are heavy feeders and they prefer soil that is slightly higher in nitrogen. It is essential to keep the plant moist but not flooded with water and to fertilize regularly.


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EM Bacteria What is EM Bacteria?

EM Bacteria stands for effective microorganisms. There are three main types of bacteria that make up this probiotic formula, photosynthetic bacteria, lactic acid bacteria and yeast. They are most commonly used to bring back the bacterial balance to depleted soils and to aid the decomposition of organic materials.  These beneficial microorganisms are said to increase the plant’s resistance to disease, enhance growth and increase the bioavailability of food webs in the soil. Healthy soil means protection against soil associated disease caused by parasites and other pathogenic microorganisms.

Photosynthetic Bacteria

Photosynthetic bacteria creates a process that uses various sources of energy like heat and light to produce nutrients that are absorbed directly by the roots almost like nitrogen fixers. They also absorb secretions from the roots and recycle them.

Lactic Acid Bacteria

Lactic Acid bacteria has been cultivated for years in the form of yoghurt and pickling. The strong sterilising properties it holds mean that harmful bacteria and fungi are kept at bay.

Yeast

Yeast is most commonly found in bread and beer but acts as a feed to other beneficial bacteria like lactic acid bacteria. It also has anti-microbial properties.

How Does EM Bacteria Work?

Due to the vast amount of bacteria in EM inoculants, pathogenic microorganisms struggle to survive in an environment of exhausted resources. This basically means that there are more beneficial bacteria banqueting on the organic material and the poor little pathogens have nothing left to eat, thus succumbing to starvation and keeping their production at a low. This feeding frenzy starts a chain of food webs to come to life and as the fungi ferment they increase their production of antimicrobial substances, one of which being alcohol. This process dispels odours and speeds up the breakdown of organic materials. In turn, the suppression of such smells deter insects that target certain plants when they smell the ‘scent’. In other words, the bacteria feeds on the organic matter releasing nutrients and alcohol. The nutrients are fed directly to the plant and the alcohol or esters act as a deodorizer. This also means that the compost pile will work faster and without all those funky smells.

Why Use EM Bacteria?
  • EM Bacteria is 100% natural and doesn’t affect pollinating insects.
  • Although these beneficial bacteria can be found in natural environments all over the world, there is a steep decline in their presence due to bad farming practices, like the use of chemicals and rigorous farming rituals. EM bacteria also speeds up the rate of decomposition when applied to organic matter and helps to release hormones that promote plant growth. This is achieved by releasing a usable form of nutrients directly to the roots.
  • EM bacteria can be used in small amounts to treat water and even fish ponds.
How to Activate EM Bacteria

Most EM Bacteria products arrive dormant and require activating. This means waking up the bacteria so that it can multiply by feeding it with a form of sugars like non-sulphate molasses. As the bacteria feed they multiply tenfold. Once activated it can be diluted to a ratio of several thousand to one making it a cheaper, safer and more efficient method in comparison to using chemical

Over the years I have used this simple recipe;

  • EM Bacteria
  • Molasses
  • Non-chlorinated water
  • Squeeze of citrus (optional)

For this 5-liter wine bottle that I recycled, I use:

  • 250ml EM bacteria
  • 220ml Molasses
  • 4.5 l of water.

Firstly, clean out the bottle. Then prepare the molasses. This comes in a syrup like form and is difficult to mix directly into the bottle. I like to take some of the water and heat it up until its warm, then mix the required amount of molasses. This will help to kickstart the bacteria’s alarm clock and make it a lot easier to combine later. Next, add all of the ingredients into your desired bottle. Some people like to use plastic bottles as the bacteria will produce gas in the early days of activating. I just give the cap a twist every day to relieve any pressure. Keep the bottle in a warm place and monitor the activity. The EM bacteria should be producing small amounts of gas like when you open a fizzy drink. It will also produce bubbles and sometimes even a mould. There will be a light brown residue building up at the bottom as the bacteria are nearly ready. Every couple of days, give the bottle a shake to help the mix and combine the bacteria. After 10-15 days the EM bacteria will be ready. Once activated, dilute 1 part EM bacteria to at least 250 times water and again, this must be non-chlorinated. This means that potentially, 1 litre can cover up to 1/2 acre of land.

Final Notes

*Do not spray EM bacteria on plants that are in flower and are expecting fruit.

I like to use EM bacteria with cow manure for nitrogen loving trees like citrus.

Mixtures are not an exact science but try not to use more than 1/2 a tablespoon per gallon of activated bacteria.

EM Bacteria can be sprayed around the garden or watered directly into the soil. I tend to do both around 3-4 times a year.


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