Conkers 2022

It’s October, time for conkers !!

My favourite time of year. 

2022 looks like it is going to be a good year for conkers as well as other tree seed collecting. 

It feels like I am reconnecting with old  friends as I travel around the New Forest visiting the  horse chestnut trees I collect conkers from. 

Asking them how they have been over the last year?

How did they cope through the summer, was it good for them?

Are they ready for winter? 

Is there anything they need?

The last question is always answered with please ask the  rest of the humans to stop killing those of  us who share this home with them. 

If you have never been to talk to the trees I urge you to go, have the conversation, and then check in with  yourself, what part you can play in halting the destruction. What is your positive action going to be?

Your action could be to swap even just some of your washing powder or liquid to one that not only does no harm, but actually puts more back into our biosphere. 

October is the month to collect conkers, to give them a wash if they are dirty, and then chop them up, smaller the better. Then it is time to dry them so you can store them all year. For a  family you will need to do around 5 kilos of fresh conkers. How much will last you till next October is down to how many washes you do. 

I will post the link to where to find my instructions on how to make the liquid from them to add to your washing machine in the comments.

If you for any reason are not able to collect and dry your own conkers you can support our regenerative work by purchasing some of our washkers.

What calls me to do this every year? I certainly started because we had no income or money and needed to be able to reduce our costs to the absolute minimum if we were going to keep our house. 

I also wanted to live in a way that connected me as much as possible to our natural world, to be as green and as eco friendly as I could be. It seemed as though you needed money to do that, it was out of my reach. 

Now I know that if we look at the  beautiful resources we are gifted by our home ( biosphere) there are many changes we can make that can save us money, save us from harming our world and help us put more back than we take. 

So every year we will collect enough conkers for ourselves, and enough for those who can’t collect conkers but wish to use washkers. We will always make sure we never take more than ⅓ from a tree, we will thank the tree, and continue to commit to growing a minimum of 30 trees a year.

First conkers of 2022 collected 1st October.

Washkers the most environmentally way to wash your clothes

Buy Washkers on our store

Washkers – prepared conkers for you to wash your clothes with

Using conkers or horse chestnuts is a free way for you to make sure your washing chemical free and will do no harm to our world.

I have used them for four years now, and every year I get to have lots of conversations with people helping them start this journey.

The one thing I found was that even when people really loved using them, preparing enough to last a family from session to session was quite hard for many.

Pressures of modern life, working, parenting, or not having anywhere close to collect conkers, and for many not having the physical ability to chop and dry was the biggest barrier to having enough for a whole year.

So WASHKERS was born.

I will always provide the instructions and help people prepare their own, but for those that can’t I hope that by offering washkers for sale I can help them on the journey of regenerative modern living.

Here is my post on how to make your own – and how the journey started

When someone buys washkers from me, they are directly supporting a UK based, non profit that works towards putting more back than it takes from the biosphere.

Every year we plant a minimum of 30 horse chestnut trees, more if we can plus other spices of trees.

Our packaging is upcycled 100% cotton material so it can be composted when you have finished using it – although they make great produce bags, or storage bags. You can even post back to us to refill if you wish, all before it heads to the compost pile.

So what are you waiting for ? why not try some today, see if you like them before conkers session gets here – October – and then you can either make your own or keep supporting New Forest Aquaponics cic with our regenerative work supporting our local community.

Until I work out how to add a shopping cart please could you use this link to purchase the washkers.

Please note to reduce our impact, as we have to travel by car to visit a post office we post all orders once a week.

Happy washing 🙂

Conkers for Clothes Washing

27 September 2019

My first years conkers for use by my family

If you follow my page The Watercress Queen on facebook you will have seen my post about conkers and using them for washing your clothes.  It has been shared many many times so I thought I would add it here as it is an important part of our family life. 

If you would like to try some washkers (prepared conkers ) for yourself please pay following this link

This is what I wrote on facebook…


This was the first post I did about conkers in 2018, I had no idea how well the conkers would work long term, but I really wanted to try. I did not want to go into lots of “how-to” without actually having experienced the long term use of conkers for my washing.  

I have now finished preparing my washing “powder”!

8 kilos of conkers – picked up from only three trees and we didn’t pick them all up by a long way. We have planted 20 conkers as a thank you to the earth.

This will give me 3 washes a day for a whole year. I have been using them for towels for a whole year already and nothing but conkers for 2 months now. Our clothes don’t smell of anything and are super soft 🙂


On the day after my post, this article from the BBC was published.

There are many challenges for our trees and plants to come in the future. We have become so out of touch with our natural resources we have forgotten how to work with our biospheres natural ways of looking after itself. I think many of the problems facing our wonderful trees are due to our interference.  If we trust in the cycles of life that have existed from the beginning of time and work with them instead of against them we may just stand a chance of helping our wonderful planet become truly beautiful again.

If you can even if you don’t use the conkers for washing your clothes I urge you to plant trees.  Go out and collect conkers and acorns, hazelnuts, rowan berries – look at what is local to you, and plant them, let’s see how many trees we can get planted. 

New Forest Aquaponics will be growing as many trees as we can. We will be starting many of them off in our aquaponic systems to give them a very strong start in life. The aim then is to be able to gift them to people who have somewhere to plant them to grow and benefit our biosphere.


So here are some other interesting things about horse chestnuts

The Latin name is  Aesculus hippocastanum

During the First World War, there was a campaign to ask for everyone (including children) to collect horse-chestnuts and donate them to the government. The conkers were used as a source of starch for fermentation to produce acetone for use as a solvent for the production of cordite, which was then used in military armaments. The process used could use any source of starch, but the government chose to ask for conkers to avoid causing starvation by depleting food sources. But conkers were found to be a poor source, and the factory only produced acetone for three months; however, they were collected again in the Second World War for the same reason.

The first recorded game of conkers was on the Isle of Wight in 1848

Horse chestnut trees were often planted in Germany to help keep the beer cellars cool, the large canopies and shallow roots that did not affect the cellars, but helped keep them cool,  these evolved into what we now know as beer gardens. 

Sadly playing conkers has fallen out of favour with children due to the game being banned in many schools and the rise of mobile phones etc.

You can see my post on facebook here 

To see how we have got on and what we are doing with conkers, and even purchase some to support New Forest Aquaponics please see the 2021 post.