Sunday, September 6, 2015

Going Green

My leg is a lot better. An Aspirin a day and resting the old limb has done wonders. Although it's still a bit of a strain to stand around a wargame table for any length of time I have at least returned to model making. One long-term project has just come to fruition - the growing of thistle plants to make N-scale trees.

I sowed the seeds back in summer 2013. The plants grew quickly but didn't develop the characteristic stalks until this year. This summer they yielded around sixty heads and the flower clusters attracted a lot of pollinating insects - vital for any garden.

Once the flowers had died back I harvested the heads...

These are drying out, and once they are dry, will be turned into something like this...

The stalks can also be put to good use as a component of 'bug hotels.' Gardeners know good insects are vital for any garden to flourish. Giving the little chaps somewhere to hibernate over the winter months helps them and the gardener get a head start the following year. 

Take the stalks and allow them to dry out thoroughly. Find a few cans - frozen fruit juice and coffee tubs do nicely - and keep them ready.

Cut the dried stalks into lengths roughly equal to the length of the cans. It doesn't matter if they're shorter or longer. Ensure the stalks are hollow by using a rod to push out the fibrous interior. Fill the cans with the lengths of stalk. Once these are packed tight, locate the bug hotel in a place out of the weather such as under the eaves of a shed or other outbuilding, and fix it into place. Over time insects will crawl into the stalks and hibernate happily during the winter, ready to get to work next year.  


1 comment:

Michael Awdry said...

Ingenius, nothing better that free terrain.


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