Green Your Life

Talking about amazing eco-friendly products and access to my online Wikaniko shop.


Leave a comment

Mud, Muck and Mayhem

Now that the soil has defrosted, it is time to get out into the garden and start on the preparations for the ‘vegetable growing season’!

Actually, I am quite proud of myself – I have some lettuces, radishes and onions in the greenhouse and some onions outside too – it will be a while before the onoins are ready, but one lettuce is nearly there!   The leeks from last year are looking a bit sorry for themselves after the frosts, but the chard is picking up again quite nicely.  So, in theory, I can keep some things in the garden going all year!  There are still some beetroot in the ground too – not sure what they will be like…..

Tiny bulb shoots peering out

Tiny bulb shoots peering out

The very back of my garden is divinely rich soil, but has been given over to bracken and nettles, with a lovely show of bulbs in the spring.  I had meant to dig it out in the autumn, but somehow life got in the way.  Last year, I had daffodils flowering right the way through January.  This year they are only starting to peek their green shoots above the ground and none of the other bulbs are venturing up much either.  It just shows the difference having a few days of hard frost in November, December and January make to the timing of spring plants.

A nettle-root mass. What do you do with them?

A nettle-root mass. What do you do with them?

I made a start on digging up the nettles as the afternoon faded to dusk.  I am always amazed at the length and tenacity of nettle roots.  They just spread everywhere and seem to grip the soil with incredible strength.  A mass of bulbs also came up, so as darkness fell I was finding other spots to plant these out amongst the wlidflower beds that line our back garden and throughout our front garden.

Pine needles waiting for a good composting location

Pine needles waiting for a good composting location

I had pruned the Scots Pine to allow more sunlight into the garden on a freezingly cold day a week or so back.  Yesterday my daughter and I clipped the smaller branches and collected them in a couple of boxes to allow them to compost to make acidic compost for the heather and a little for the strawberries.  Some of the mid-sized branches were burnt and the large ones kept to dry properly – perhaps will add them as long-term compost for a perma-culture bed.

Compost bays - 1 has sticks and twigs for a permaculture bed, the other is well rotted compost.

Compost bays – 1 has sticks and twigs for a permaculture bed, the other is well rotted compost.

The next job will be to sort out the compost – the well composted stuff needs to go out onto the beds and the fresher stuff needs to go down into the compost bay to rot more over the next few months.  It is hard to time this right.  At the moment the ground is really wet so digging is a bad idea (as is walking over it) and the compost may be leached by the time planting happens.

Milk bottles in the strawberry beds!

Milk bottles in the strawberry beds!

However, I need some more for my next section of strawberry bed – one year, I will have enough strawberries to make jam as well as feeding the ravenous strawberry-eating monsters (aka my kids).  This year, I am half burying 2L milk bottles into the strawberry beds in the hope that this will help to get water to the right places during dry periods.  Will let you know how that goes.

The wildflowers I planted in pots in the autumn have largely survived and soon will need to find a summer home.  Mostly in the front garden, but some in the back and will also plant some in amongst the vegetables to attract pollinators and pest-predators there.

So, though my vegetable garden currently looks like muddy mayhem, it is in fact a plan waiting to happen.

img_1503

These will be the large spring daisy’s – great for covering large areas. I will put them where I have a Mare’s Tail problem

img_1497

A mix of wild flowers, but mostly in the purple range. I must get to grips with what things are called! Ah well, so long as the bees and bugs like them

img_1496

The flowers in pots didn’t like the frost so much! Will see what manages to survive the next month or two before planting out.

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Wonderful Wildflowers

Animals 056Spring is really here!  It was so wonderfully warm today, my two children spent most of the time in the ‘not-a-lot’, we even got the sun cream on them.

Now is a great time to be thinking about wildflowers – or at least it is in my mind!  There is still time to be planting wildflowers to get great summer blooms and give fabulous colour to your garden – no matter how big or small.  I do admit that wildflowers can be a bit hit and miss – sometimes they take more than one year to grow and flower, but once you have created a mini-meadow, then it will bloom year on year with relatively little attention from you (compared to a lawn that is!).

So one good reason to have a wildflower meadow – reduce the mowing!  Fabulous if like me, this is not a great way for you to spend a dry day!

Why else do I plant native wildflowers over ornate blooms or tropical imports?

Well, a major reason is bees, bugs and butterflies and all the things that rely on them for food (including us!). Without bees and other pollinators, our food supplies would dwindle dramatically so, in my mind, it is essential to do a little to give the pollinators, decomposers, seed disperses, predators, and yes, even slugs, a helping hand.  So gradually I am turning my front lawn into a wildflower meadow.

I have removed a 1x 3m rectangle of grass and a large number of flower-seeds have gone into this.  Some are growing, but not all (yet).  There is only about another 4x3m section of grass left to remove and I already have lots of flowers starting to grow indoors – all ready for planting out.

Seed ball tinsMany wildflowers are not so keen on really fertile soil, preferring fairly nutrient poor ground.  They are not good in heavy competition either so it is good to remove the turf and top-soil prior to planting.  Depending on flowering time, once the meadow is doing well you can get away with an early spring mow (for summer flowers) and then a mow after the flowers are over and seeds are set.  But don’t do really short mows as this may damage the plants too much.

Also, when you do mow, do remove the cut grass – perhaps after a day or so, so any seeds can drop off seed-heads and into the soil for next years flowers.

Planting is best in spring or autumn and now we have a great, hassle-free way to plant using seed-balls.  The range is fabulous and we even have sets for your own table!

 

 

urban_meadow_2We have

Salad Mix – an easy way to get a mix of salad greens, just plant one ball every few weeks for salad all summer long.

Herb Mix – with basil, marjoram, chives, dill and parsley, you can get many of your cooking herbs from these seed-balls, and provide wildlife with fabulous pollen!

Cloud Meadow Mix – a range of white blooms that go on throughout the summer

Urban Meadow Mix – hardy plants that will survive even in fairly polluted areas, providing pollen for bees and butterflies.

Poppy Mix – lovely poppies add beautiful colour to your garden and attract a whole host of wildlife.

Butterfly Mix – flowers that butterflies love including red campion, forget-me-not, yarrow, purple loosestrife and musk mallow.

Bee Mix – attract a wide range of bees to your garden with these pretty flowers, including foxglove, vipers bugloss, birds foot trefoil, wild marjoram and red clover.

Sky Meadow – give your garden a wild blue make-over with these seed-balls.  A mix of early and late summer flowers including forget-me-not, meadow cranesbill, cornflower, self heal and wild clary.

Tea Mix – flowers for the bees and butterflies and leaves and flowers to make your tea!  Includes chamomile, mint and anise.

So what are you waiting for?

Time to get planting.

 

 


Leave a comment

The What and Why of Wikaniko (We Can Eco)

Selling at events is fun, social and a great way to introduce people to our wonderful products.

What is Wikaniko?

Wikaniko is a UK-based multi-level marketing company that sells a huge range of eco-friendly products on-line and through distributors.  I am one of their distributors.

All of our products are eco-friendly and don’t use the harsher chemicals that are found in more commercial products.  Many products are organic and there is a vegan range too.  We have some Fair Trade products from overseas and many of our suppliers are UK companies with good environmental records.  Wikaniko also produces its own range of products, including the KBK Mineral Make-ups.

This is some of our amazing range:

Adorable bamboo tights for 2-4 year olds

  • Armomatherapy we have a lovely range of essential oils and massage oils.
  • Aloe Vera creams, lotions, shampoos, handwashes and Aloe Vera drink
  • Baby and Child, including wipes, nappy liners, nappy boosters, organic creams and bath products
  • Biodegradable bags – the ones you can’t do without eg for dog poop, the bin and dirty nappies.
  • Bamboo towels, flannels, socks for adults, tights and socks for little ones, soft baby blankets
  • Soaps, shampoos, conditioners, creams, lotions, lip balms and all you need to look after your skin and body
  • Cleaning products for your home, your laundry and your car!
  • Feminine care and hygiene – including eco-friendly lubricants for intimate moments
  • Gadgets – toys for all ages
  • Garden – including a huge range of seeds
  • Pets too can be eco-friendly with our range of wormers, shampoos and flea-treatments.
  • Travel/Camping/Holidays – from sunscreen and insect repellent to a portable urinal, we have it all!

There are a lot of Independent Distributors working for Wikaniko, just like me.  They are all self-employed people who want to build their own business from home.  Some people will work at Wikaniko full-time, others fit it around family, work and other commitments.  All earn an income relative to the work they do.

We can earn in a number of ways:-

  1. sell products directly to family, friends, at events, at parties or through the website, earning between 25 & 35% on all products.
  2. build a team of people who also become independent distributors.  The team leader then earns points depending on how much their team earn.
  3. earn points on all products sold.  If over 100 points are earned in 1 month, you get cash-back!
  4. earn green stamps through a number of ways including completing the on-line training and developing your team.

I am loving our Aloe Vera health drink and really feel it gives me energy to help cope with my children, especially sleepless nights with the youngest, Chimp.

For the initial fee of £24.95 you get:-

  • your own website (just like this one) to sell through
  • a back office which has loads of information including on-line training, about the team you build, your orders, your commission and points and so so much more.
  • access to a great forum of fellow Wikaniko people who are really willing to share ideas, tips, thoughts and generally be incredibly supportive.
  • ongoing support through the online help and a fabulous team at HQ who are always an email or phone call away and put in a lot of effort to support Wikaniko Distributors.

Why am I a Wikaniko Independent Distributor

I started my own business in 2011 delivering environmental education workshops to schools.  This business was doing OK, but I was increasingly finding it hard to get in to schools as their budgets are cut and they are having to prioritise their funding.

So, I wanted an additional, complimentary business that could be done part-time, but still bring in some money and would work around children too.  I looked around at a number of party-plan & direct selling businesses, but felt that most would not meet my environmental or ethical requirements.

When I first saw Wikaniko, I actually thought it was a hoax as I’d never heard of it and was concerned it would be a con.  But I read more into it, found a few forums where people were talking about it and found someone on Netmums to ‘talk’ to about it.  After a lot of consideration about whether I could do this kind of business, I decided to sign up and give it a go.

By becoming a Wikaniko distributor, I now buy a lot of the things we use every day at home through my website at 25 – 35% cheaper than I could buy normally so save money that way too.  I have easily saved more than my initial outlay.  So we use Wikaniko shampoos, soaps, household cleaners, laundry detergents, lotions & potions and lots more.  I can now get my baby essentials too – wipes, nappy liners and nappy boosters.

Wikaniko really does fit with my personal ethos of reducing my own (and my families) footprint on the earth.  It also provides a working medium to help & encourage others do the same.  So I am earning without costing the earth.

I admit that I have not given this aspect of my business a lot of time – I do some stalls and events which I love and do some door-to-door deliveries as well.  However, as Chimp grows up I feel that Wikaniko will become my main business as it is very flexible and will fit around looking after him and Leila on her ‘mummy days’ or after school as she gets older.

Going to events, chatting with other people doing Wikaniko or similar businesses I realise that there is a lot more I can do.  I can do parties – probably pamper-type parties and eco-cleaning parties; I can utilise the internet a lot more and I can focus on building a team too.  So lots to do.

If anything here strikes a chord with you and you think that Wikaniko could be a business for you, please do get in touch.