Birstall United Juniors football club garden

The BUJFC invited me to take on a bare patch of land near the entrance to the football ground which I am pleased to say I have now completed.

Some of the plants were kindly donated by the Birstall garden centre and the Wyevale garden centre.

With an emphasis on food and wildlife, the area was split into two. One was improved with leaf mulch and planted with a mix of edibles, such as strawberries, chilli’s and tomatoes, and finished off with a slate stepping stone path.

The other section has a cox’s orange pippin apple tree, and was landscaped with gravel.

There was also a habitat pile for small animals and a bug hotel for bees, butterflies and other insects.

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Habitat Piles

Habitat piles are great for small animals such as hedgehogs and mice, they can be important spaces for shelter, breeding and overwintering.

They’re easy to make and can be made out of waste materials. They can be all shapes and sizes.

The important considerations is that there are at least two entrances and that there is sufficient space inside.

Every garden should have a habitat pile tucked away somewhere.

This is one that I recently made. It has larger sticks for the walls, straw for bedding, smaller sticks for the roof and twigs for insulation.

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Leaf mulch for squashes

The squashes were sown in april in a greenhouse and planted out in mid may.

In spite of the challenging weather this year these squashes grown in leaf mulch have done very well.

The leaves were collected last autumn and piled about 3′ high.

Before the squashes were planted I prepared small planting areas with compost, grass cuttings, comfrey leaves and wormery compost.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is a healthy addition to soups and stews etc. It’s very cheap and can be made in bulk and frozen.


  • Organic beef bones
  • Organic cider vinegar, 1 cupful
  • Courgettes
  • Carrots
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Seaweed
  • Tumeric
  • Dried leaves of dandelion, nettle and red clover

Other organic bones, vegetables, herbs and spices can be used depending on season.


Roast bones on a tray in the oven on a low heat for 30 mins.

Place bones in slow cooker, pour in cider vinegar, leave for 30 mins with the lid off.

Add other ingredients.

Fill slow cooker with boiling water.

Cook on a low heat for 48 hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove bones and strain through a sieve.

Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.

Remove from ice cube trays and put into labelled bags.

Use two or three cubes per meal.


Roman Bread

A nice quick and healthy bread.

  • 300g white spelt flour
  • 200g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 400ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Mix flour, yeast and salt together. Add honey to water. Add water to flour and slightly mix together. Add olive oil. Kneed for a few minutes. Leave to rise for an hour. Cook at gas mark 7 until the core temperature is 95 degrees. Leave to cool.


Making plant food

Fill a used compost bag with comfrey and nettle leaves. Tie it up and pierce it repeatedly with a garden fork. Put it in a water butt and fill with water. Leave for a month. Take out the bag of leaves and discard. Dilute to roughly one part feed to 10 parts water.

Later in the season when nettle is no longer available then comfrey and borage is a good alternative.

Use a measuring jug to fill used 500ml bottles which can then be added to a watering can as and when needed.

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Elderflower Cordial

An easy summer drink!

15 Elderflower flower heads

1.5 litres of water

1 lb sugar

1 lemon

1 tsp citric acid (optional)

Bring water to the boil, add sugar. Place flower heads and lemon in a bowl along with citric acid. Once the sugar is dissolved pour the warm water over the flower heads.

Cover and leave for 24 hours, strain and pour into sterilised bottles.

Serve chilled with sparkling water, with a slice of lemon, mint or lemon balm.

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