Frugal Living

Cheap and easy, family friendly recipes that can be made in bulk, repurposing ideas, make not waste projects, cheap and easy ideas for things to make for your home and children.

The war on weeds


Stop weeds wreaking havoc on your allotment, says Alys Fowler. Some can go on the compost heap, and some make a tasty lunch ...

The war on weeds
Posted by OneProudMomma at Wednesday, July 28, 2010 9:38 PM

Evening Primrose Flowers


Evening Primrose Flowers  

You see a lot of Evening Primrose Oil products in the shops, mainly in the form of oil capsules and cosmetics, but Evening Primrose itself is a very easy plant to grow yourself. The oil is extracted from the seeds, however it is not really practical to press your own seeds as you would needs millions of them to produce a small amount of oil. I was fortunate enough to have Evening Primrose introduce itself to my garden after a couple of summers of neglect.

The photo at the top of the page shows the plant during its second year of growth, the year in which it flowers. During the first year of growth the elongated leaves form a rosette close to the ground, it is only during the second year that the flower stalk shoots up.

Even though it is impractical to produce your own oil from home grown Evening Primrose, you can still take advantage of some of the health benefits. The ripened seeds can be collected in the Autumn and once cracked (to help release the oil) can be used sprinkled on bread or used in baking in the same way that you would use poppy seeds. Save some of the seeds and sow them for more flowers in a couple of years time, although if you sow the seeds in the autumn indoors you will have first years plants ready to plant out in the Spring, basically saving you a years growing time.  

Evening Primrose Flowers  

The flowers, shown above, are edible and taste quite sweet. They can be used to decorate a leafy salad and would look very impressive if teamed up with peppery nasturtium flowers around the top of a summer salad bowl. You need to harvest them first thing in the morning, as Evening Primrose flowers at night and the blooms die off the following day.

The leaves from both the first and second year plants are edible, they are quite pungent in taste and also hairy which may be off putting for some. They can be eaten raw or cooked.

The roots are also edible, although I have read on one website that you should only eat the root from the first year plant it did not go into an explanation as to why that was the case. Other websites I have read about Evening Primrose on have stated that you eat the root from the second year plant. The one thing that these sites do agree on is that the root of the Evening Primrose can be used just the same as a regular root vegetable. Apparently the first year root tastes peppery, whilst the second year root tastes like sweetened parsnips. As I like the sound of the second flavour I'm intending to harvest the root on my Evening Primrose after it has finished blooming!


Posted by OneProudMomma at Tuesday, July 20, 2010 9:47 AM

Garden Planters


We seem to have gathered an array of various planters and plant pots in my garden. Most of them are the flimsy variety which split easily, but the others are quite sturdy although badly faded from being in the sun.

Old faded green planter

Whilst sorting through the shed I found an old tin of red gloss hammerite and a partly used tin of yacht varnish, I thought that the combination of those with a little artistry with some acrylic paints would give the paint pots a new lease of life. I set about decorating two planters and my daughter had one of the others - we had originally wanted to do four but the hammerite ran out after the first three tubs.

To start with make sure your planters are clean and dry. I gave mine two coats of hammerite as the base - I didn't see the point in painting all the way down the inside of the tubs as they are going to be filled with soil after all!

Planter with base coat

The pillar box red is colourful enough as it is, but I wanted to add something a little different to it so I adapted my Daisy Chain face paint design and decorated each of the four sides with it. Two sides with pink tipped petals and two sides with blue tipped petals. I used artists acrylic paints for the designs as they are waterproof when they dry, however to ensure that they designs have as long as life as possible I also gave each tub a coat of clear yacht varnish when the designs had dried.

To make a Daisy Chain design paint 5 or 6 white petals, then give them a yellow center. Paint a green curved stem between each flower and at the end of each 'Daisy Chain', give each stem a leaf. Once these first areas of design are dry add coloured tips to the petals and highlights to the leaves and stems.

daisy petals yellow centers

leaves and stems Highlights

The second planter I decorated with a sunflower design.

Sunflower design planter  

The three finished planters waiting for the varnish.

Three finished planters  

Posted by OneProudMomma at Saturday, May 01, 2010 12:05 PM
Edited on: Sunday, July 18, 2010 12:11 PM