Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Recycled or precycled strawberries (?), one careful owner

Forgive the question, but are my new strawberries good recycling or good precycling? I'm trying to decide if the strawberries (in my recycled fish-box) I dug up on Saturday  morning from a lovely lady on my local Freegle (thank you Caroline!!), are recycled or precycled. I'll tell you why, I've had my head in a book I got from the library called 'Precycle' by Paul Peacock. I've often my head in a book, its how I appear busy, when not really doing anything or avoiding hoovering. Read more, hoover less I say, much better for the environment and saves you electricity.
It is most excellent, and lovely to read with alot of great hints and tips. The art of 'precycling', is simply looking at ways to reduce/alter the initial consumption, thus eliminating/reducing the requirement for recycling, well, ultimately that is.

Hmm, how to explain, without you falling asleep. Lets see,  if you make a pizza rather than buy one, you don't then have to get rid of the pizza box as your home made pizza (Precycled pizza) won't have a box which you have to recycle, you wont need a bag to take it from the shops, nor a car to get there in the first place, you save energy in a whole load of forms. That's the ethos anyway.......its not really about doing without, (ie pure reducing) more about having what you want, but having it with less packaging, or if you like having it more efficiently. i.e. 'pre' the rest of the 'reduce, reuse, recycle, reclaim' mantra.........

Given the advice in his very good book, if you can borrow it from a library or a chum rather than buy one then do, its an excellent read. Now this might shoot him in the foot a bit, on the whole book sale front, but hey given the nature of the book, I'm sure he'll understand. He's a champion of this kind of thing afterall! Hmm, I wonder if he made any money?! I don't feel bad, the library bought the book, I borrow it, enhancing his ethos nicely.

Anyway, back to my recycle/precycle dilema. I'm always on the hunt for plants and if they edible AND are free all the better. At the weekend I met a lady who had too many strawberries rampaging around her greenhouse. Rather than throw them away she put a quick ad on Freegle and I got lucky and she picked me to help her dig them out of her greenhouse. Rampaging strawberries no more, she's now got room for her winter veggies.

And a lovely lot of strawberries I ended up with too, enough to drop some off to a chum on the way home. So I guess her strawberries were recycled to a new home, rather than 'reclaimed' through composting, but by growing the strawberries herself for food, think she was practising the art of 'precycling', that is to say by growing her own food, she avoids trips to the shops, plastic bags, packaging and disposing of it all. Hurrah! Therefore by growing her own strawberries, she's actively reduced her consumption of everything but the actual strawberry, very efficient if you ask me. By giving them to me to grow my own food, I guess she's recycling too. What a star.

You see this is the random thoughts which go through my head as I'm upto my oxters in strawberries, in a trusty recycled fish-(where on earth would we be without them)-box.  I'm not standing in the box you understand, (although that has been known) I'm just using it to dissect the lovely strawberries into various size plants.
After this heart stopping major surgery we have our cuttings, no fingers missing this end, so we can call it a success. Most of the old leaves are snippity snapped off, (a technical term), trimmed down to let them start again. I've left at least one leaf about to emerge, otherwise I've got rid of the rest, the plant doesn't need them right now, they will exhaust it,  they need to settle in and grow new roots and not worry about their leaves so we've trimmed them right down.

To avoid bringing in any pests, these plants have been subject to a dosing by the hose and are devoid of most of their old soil, just in case. Also, during these exploits its good to avoid introducing new weeds (or recycled weeds!) into your garden, therefore I'm avoiding the creeping buttercup, who's roots I'm now very familiar with, avoiding the bittercress, which I don't want in my garden, I've trimmed and sorted the little darlings down into new cuttings/rooted plants and have a goodly lot to start the strawberry patch in my tunnel. As the home polytunnel's not up yet, I'll park these beauties in soil, in a reycled fish box, in a sheltered corner until they can go into their permanent patch.
 Until they are planted, the new plants and cuttings will liberally dosed (again) wiht the hose, they will be parked overnight in a little purple trug (not recycled but very loved and well used) and covered with a recycled compost bag to keep them nice and moist. They will be OK like this for a couple of days, but I'm hoping to plant them before then.
 So there we are, I've a bucket full of recycled strawberries for planting, which are going to allow me to 'precycle' strawberries at home in the summer by growing my own. No packaging, no food miles, free strawberries and jam, yum! Well that's the theory anyway, I think.  Sovled that one. Phew I'll sleep well tonight. I think I rather like the concept of precycling - if I can avoid all the packaging in the universe by growing my own I'll be very happy!

Now,  I'm thinking of other things, like what on earth do they call a collective group of strawberries? I consulted Mr Google, who else? And this is what I found..............collective nouns galore.........'punnet' was the answer. Hmm and a few more for fun, who'd have know you can have a 'flourish' of strumpets!

A muster of storks

A punnet of strawberries

A flourish of strumpets

A class of students

A stack of suitcases

A flight of swallows.................


  1. And maybe a Benison of Bloggers.......Very good idea, this pre/recycling business, I'd say. Looks like you struck lucky there. And no doubt they'll be delicious next season, multiply and thrive!

  2. Some of my favourite ones are bird related - everyone knows a Murder of Crows, but then there is a Murmeration of Starlings, and my personal favourite - a Charm of Goldfinches!

  3. Those are all brilliant. I think I did strike lucky there, over 200 plants from a half hours freecyling - the lady got space in her greenhouse, I got lots of lovely plants.

    A benison of bloggers, ace! Yeractual i think precycling might be the way forward! I do like the bird ones too Robyn, haven't heard of a charm of goldfinches, how beautiful.

    Thanks chaps

  4. just the flight of swallows here. And the murmeration of starlings - altho that is a gentle description for the volume they produce!

  5. Sounds like a good book, will look out for it in the library. A flourish of strumpets sounds like trouble, which I guess is appropriate! Lots of strawberry jam on the menu next year by the looks of things...