Mummy Muddy Paws

Latest posts by Mummy Muddy Paws

MOB rants

Posted: 29/04/2013 at 22:49

I think it was a tip about ordering items with friends & family, as sometimes you can buy x amount of plug plants for £10, but for an extra £2, you can have twice the amount - so instead of costing you £10, if you share with a gardening friend, you can both get the same amount for £6 each.  Plus you share the postage costs, so that makes it even better.  I've seen lots of catalogues and online offers recently where you can double up for only £xx amount, so if you have gardening friends nearby, you can save a small fortune.  This of course, all depends on you having gardening friends who live near enough to pop over with the plants, and have the same tastes as you - I love sweet william flowers, but someone posted recently that they weren't their cup of tea at all.

I have loads of money saving ideas, mainly because I hardly have any money to garden with, so lots of things are very much make do and mend!  Like saving packaging, some of it makes excellent seed trays, and the clear packing that things like strawberries come in can be used as a top, so basically you have a home-made propagator for free.  Most folks know about cutting squash bottles in half to make mini bell cloches.  The plastic trays that prawn toasts are packed in make excellent trays that will hold 6 square pots, ideal if you're using your windowsill to germinate plants, it protects your window ledge , and you can carry 6 at a time, plus you can water from the bottom to prevent damping off.  Buy some decent strawberry crowns and they will send out runners, so you can get a constant supply of new plants every year, so all you need to do is weed out those crowns that aren't producing as well.  Use old PC backup CD's as bird scarers (they don't like shiny things unless they're a member of the crow family!)  Cut up old milk cartons as plant markers.  Invest in some shuttle trays, they're great for carrying 20 plants at once (not really money saving but time and labour saving, which I have to watch as I have ME/CFS).  Use an old bottle brush for cleaning up plant pots when you've done with them and store out of sunlight (it deteriorates plastic and makes it brittle).  Use your clubcard tokens to buy plants or T&M vouchers, and keep checking every few months (whenever your statement comes out), as they change every so often (free toscana strawberries recently).

Not really garden related, but if you buy ANYTHING online, always go through topcashback (quidco may have a better % return, but they get to keep the first £5 every year), you can get a 5% top-up if you get your 'cash' as Amazon vouchers, Love to shop vouchers (minimum £10), or, interestingly, Tesco Clubcard points (bearing in mind you get an extra 5%, and some 'deals' are worth 4X the clubcard voucher value).

This will be the third voucher I've had for thrifty tips (if I ever get it!), I'm full of 'em!

MOB rants

Posted: 29/04/2013 at 18:47

My rant today is the thieving little Basket that stole my NGC voucher.  Another one of my thrifty tips was published in this month's magazine (it's one of the first things I read, as I'm gardening on next door to nothing), it's gone missing in the post (they normally post them in advance of the magazine going out), so there's a theiving little git somewhere in the post office, that's stealing MY vouchers.  I know a tenner's not very much to most people, but for me at the moment, that's a real windfall!  One of the reasons I enter so many competitions is so I can sell stuff (or give it away as birthday and Christmas presents and save money that way), as my budget really isn't very big.  All my seeds this year have either come from magazines, Aldi, or were bought with clubcard vouchers.

So I'm fuming that some light-fingered, green-fingered thieving post person has had it away on their toes with MY voucher.

There'll be an Ouch rather than voucher if I find it's one of my regular postmen that's pinched it!

Gardening as part of the National Curriculum

Posted: 29/04/2013 at 18:03

Gardening can be embedded into so many things.  Geography, where does the food on my plate originate, environment, how many miles did this travel and how big is it's carbon footprint, Biology, mono and di-cotyledon leaves (seed leaves, as opposed to true leaves), photosynthesis etc, History, and why we  had to 'dig for victory'.

I would love to teach this, currently it's only on offer at the 'pupil referral unit' in our LEA, so it's reserved for naughty and challenging boys and girls, along with motor vehicle engineering and home economics and child development (some of the girls who attend already have babies).  Unfortunately I don't have a degree, despite having worked in IT for many years, so can't re-train as a teacher, as you now need a first or higher second honours degree to even be considered as an applicant for a PGCE.  This despite the fact that I quality checked all of my husband's work and suggested improvements when he did his PGCE - mind you, he wouldn't get on the course now, as his degree isn't an honours degree.  Oh, yes, and the Government have removed the bursaries that were available if you were intelligent enough to string a sentence together and wished to re-train to be a teacher as a mature student.  There will be a massive shortage of teachers once the Economy picks up, as a lot of them are biding their time in a job which is relatively secure (although my Husband has recieved notice of potential redundancy for the second time within a year), until the economy picks up and then they will be off - most of my Husband's colleagues in Engineering are already looking, one took redundancy last year and is now working in Dubai, for silly money per year.  Go figure that one out.

Vine Weevil

Posted: 29/04/2013 at 17:42

The EU has voted to SUSPEND the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, not ban them outright, this is so an unbiased investigation may take place to find out if they are having the effect on bees that has been stated.

I try to garden as organically as possible, but for some things it is far easier to use chemicals.  If I didn't use glyphosate I'd be fighting a losing battle with the brambles.  It would be nice if the dyed-in-the-wool orgasmic gardeners on here (sorry, that's the word we use in our house in place of organic - I'm going to have to stop that with two pairs of little ears listening in), suggested an organic alternative, instead of slating those of us who choose to use chemicals.  I'd love to be able to use something to get rid of the brambles instead of glyphosate, but unless an organic gardener on here would like to come over to my house one weekend and help me dig the buggers out, which is by far the best way to get rid of them completely, then I'll have to use glyphosate to try to keep them under control, just to stop them spreading and making the problem even worse.

Until someone comes up with organic ways of dealing with certain things, that are as good as the chemical methods, I will be using chemicals.  I did contact an organic gardening company to see if ladybird larvae would be any good at clearing up an infestation of wooly aphid, they said for a bad infestation use a pyrethrum based insecticide, which is apparently OK, as it's plant based.  But an organic company saying 'use this pesticide' made me grin wryly!

MOB rants

Posted: 27/04/2013 at 14:15

Don't get me started on banks.  I recently switched my bank account from HSBC, as everytime I went slightly over my overdraft limit, they'd charge me £25, meaning that took me back over my overdraft limit, so they could charge me again.  Contacted a debt charity (as I took out the overdraft when I had a well paid job, not an unpaid bottom wiper as I am now), they advised a debt management plan, and a bank account elsewhere.  So transferred my child benefit (the only 'income' mummy has now), and all of my DD's to the co-op, and that account is ticking away nicely.  Plus if I need to telephone them, it's someone in the UK, that I can actually understand, and will listen if you have any issues.  It's been fantastic so far, I'd love to have enough money to argue with cashiers that I want it out NOW!!

Now I subscribe to mr MoneySavingExpert, that has saved me some money, now I always shop around for car insurance, it went from being over £300 stopping with the same company for 5+ years, to around £150, and going through topcashback meant I got £25 back (eventually).  So much for being a valued customer, seems I was a customer too busy to change, and getting charged twice as much as I needed to.

One of my ambitions in life is to have enough money to be regarded as eccentric, rather than just plain nuts!


Why May?

Posted: 26/04/2013 at 12:49

My favourite month is September.  The days are still long, sunshine and rain in equal measure, the smell of growing things in the mornings with a cold nip in the air to invigorate you.  The smell in the woods as the trees start to put on their colourful autumn coats, and a few leaves starting to drop.  Lots to do in the garden as you harvest veg, all your hard work starting to pay off.  Harvest festival celebrations at Church and in School.

Towards the end of the month, the first early frosts truly marking the end of summer, and the smell of woodsmoke as the autumn bonfires replace summer BBQ's, the tidying up and readying of beds and manuring and planning for next year.  The glorious riot of colour if you're lucky enough to have to drive past woods or forest to and from work.  Clocks not going back yet, so still light, and occaisonally having to light the fire and getting cosy inside.  I love the slowing down of nature in September, it's not quite summer, but not quite bare and cold like late autumn.  The smell of autumn is one I love.

I can't hang my hanging baskets anymore.

Posted: 25/04/2013 at 22:56

You can get wall mounted easy fill baskets, but they need attaching to the wall before you put compost in them - I think, I've not got any of these, so don't really know.  You can also get flower pouches, you could plant these resting on the floor, so the wall is just holding them up, not actually supporting them.  Try searching for easy fill wall baskets.

Hope this helps.

easy fill

Posted: 25/04/2013 at 22:39

I used them last year and was really pleased, I managed to plant up 3 baskets in about 45 minutes, so it's not as quick as they do it, but then again it's much quicker than s tandard ones, and there's no damage to the root ball.  The plastic has been UV stabilised, so hopefully should last a few years longer than normal plastic baskets.  I think the weak point will be the lugs where the little gates clip in, if they break, the basket will be of limited use.

The good thing about them is you can use larger plants than you would be able to with a standard basket, so they look great straight away, and as long as you remember to feed and water regularly, they only get better.

I ordered another 4 a couple of weeks ago, same shopping channel, and as it was their 'birthday' they were doing free p&p, so was £12.99 for 4.  If you want some more, then wait until this time next year and keep your eye out for the free p&p weekend, and stock up.


Posted: 25/04/2013 at 18:46

How much is the postage??

I have had experience of Groupon, offer looks brilliant until you factor in £5+ in postage & packing.

MOB rants

Posted: 25/04/2013 at 17:46

If you don't enter a competition, you're certain not to win it.  If you do, especially an internet comp, your chances of winning are small - but someone's got to win it.  I don't pay to enter competitions, I only do the free ones on the internet - what's on TV, Womans own, Woman and Woman's weekly, click on competitions, sign up (make sure you do or don't check the box so they can't pass your details on), click on prize draws, answer the question (normally dead obvious, in the blurb next to the picture of what you'll win, if you get it wrong, you can enter the next day knowing the answer) they are all multiple-guess questions (as my English teacher put it), you've got a 1 in 3 chance of getting it right, for the TV I had to know what the capital of Finland was, the choices were Abu Dhabi, Helsinki or Paris.  Don't have to be brain of Britain to know that one.

I think it's because I have ME, in between housework or looking after tiny terrors, I have to take regular breaks to make sure my energy lasts the day, so instead of rotting my brain with Cbeebies, I pick up the laptop and do them 10 at a time (you get 25 entries per website per day).  I don't always get the full compliment done, but I'd say I do at least 50 (two websites' worth a day), so I'll have a good few entries for each competition (sometimes they cheat and share competition prizes between websites).  I have been quite lucky this year, last year I won £100 of M&S vouchers, a Tomato apron and a board game - all year!!  This year I've won a mahoosive bag of products of the year (and the bag is really useful when I do a top up shop), plus yesterday's telly.  So this year much better than last year already.

Oh, and I always do the Gardener's world website ones, not won anything from that yet!

I did, however, get another thrifty tip published in this month's magazine - not had my £10 NGC voucher yet though - hope the postman's not nicked it again.

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