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Readers' Solutions

Jen Meldrum |
Monday, 1st August 2011
The horsetail 'weed' Equisetum has been around since the dinosaurs and is impervious to many herbicides. It is strong enough to push it's way through pavements so therefore, it must be strong enough to rival popular brands of washing-up liquid when it comes to cleaning crockery, glassware, and round the taps.  Just pick off handfuls, dip it in... more
 
Matus Ritomsky, Slovakia |
Thursday, 21st July 2011
Birds do not like wormwood, Artemisia absinthium. So before planting, mix your seeds with wormwood powder - this will protect the seeds from birds, but also from mice and rats. Ant deterrent If you don't like anthills in your garden, you don't need to kill the ants, just put fresh chervil leaves (Anthriscus cerefolium), sweet marjoram (Origanum... more
 
Matus Ritomsky |
Thursday, 21st July 2011
How to make a natural shampoo from rye meal flour and herbal extract: Boil nettle or burdock (plants of the Arctium family), filter water and mix it with a few teaspoons of rye meal (other kinds of grain are not so good as they stick too much). Make a pulp (or gruel) of middle density and use it like shampoo, leave it a few minutes and wash it out... more
 
Joe Franz, Eire |
Monday, 27th June 2011
I've tried various methods to deter bullfinches from devouring the newly emerging buds of apple blossoms, full of promise and, obviously, delectable sweetness. Forget about old CD-ROMs, streamers made out of baler twine and cut up old fertiliser bags (but see below), and feeding stations with alternative seed and breadcrumb offerings (although... more
 
Steve James & Eli Benedetti |
Tuesday, 21st June 2011
Whilst building my small strawbale home in the damp, well-ventilated west coast of Scotland, I pondered the best way to heat such a small super-insulated space. Living amidst hundreds of acres of softwood plantation with an abundance of storm-felled and waste timber left lying after forest operations, wood was obviously a no-brainer. Yet anyone... more
 
Cathy Ashley |
Friday, 17th June 2011
This elderflower cordial is quick and easy to make and will preserve this gorgeous taste of early summer for months to come. You will need: 2 consecutive days with a spare half hour Clean plastic bucket (or similar) Elderflowers - up to a bucket full Preserving pan or extra large saucepan Sieve Jug 1 lemon (or other citrus... more
 
Stuart Anderson |
Tuesday, 7th June 2011
Now into its fourth summer, our oil drum barbeque bears more than a passing resemblance to a colander and it was time to replace it. Taking no more than an hour, here's how I did it. Rather than going shopping at your local garden centre and parting with upwards of a hundred pounds for a purpose-made BBQ, wander down to your local garage and see... more
 
Carl Legge |
Friday, 27th May 2011
This is a delightfully light and fragrant wine redolent of spring days and civilised living. The elderflowers are a joy to pick: a feast for eyes & nose. There's something quite magical in turning flowers into wine. Makes 4.5 litres or 6 standard wine bottles Ingredients 500ml picked elderflowers, pressed or shaken down gently. Don't include... more
 
Jo Duff, Poukawa, New Zealand |
Thursday, 26th May 2011
We had swallows roosting in the eaves, right above a table we used for outdoor dining. Birds nest above means poop below, and hence a very dirty table! We love having swallows around, so rather than try to move them on, we decided of course to turn a problem into a solution. We put a box of straw on the table, weighted down with a brick at the... more
 
Tim Harland |
Tuesday, 24th May 2011
Here is an idea developed by Chris Beardshaw, that I spotted at Hampton Court Flower Show in 2008. The idea has been widely proliferated at flower shows since then and I have since seen many different takes on the idea. This, however, is an ingenuous mixture of nooks and crannies that will provide safe habitat for a variety wildlife: Hedgehogs,... more
 
Carl Legge |
Monday, 23rd May 2011
There's a great tradition in the middle east of using eggs to make baked 'omelettes'. They are often also called 'eggeh' or 'kookoo'. Sephardic Jews are thought to originate from the Iberian Peninsula. So there may be a link between this omelette and the Spanish Tortilla. This recipe is based on one I found in Arto der Haroutinian's book... more
 
Brad Rowland |
Tuesday, 17th May 2011
We are controlling ants with Diatomaceous Earth. We used this years ago in Texas to control beetles and cockroaches and I had forgotten how well it worked then. In our current house there are two spots where we have to deal with ants all season. Ant spray gave me a nasty headache so I stopped using that. I also tried to control them with poison,... more
 

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