Sunday, 26 July 2009

Sign this

You've probably heard of the problems gardeners and allotment holders have faced after using manure contaminated with aminopyralid. Thousands of gardens have been affected, crops ruined, soil contaminated and gardeners left with the problem of disposing of toxic waste at their own expense. The makers Dow Chemicals were forced to withdraw the product last year but have reapplied for it to be licensed and now comes the dreadful news that the government's Advisory Committee on Pesticides have said they are minded to advise ministers to re-instate approvals. Corporate slut of the week award would be too good for them. Personally I'm minded to go and stuff their faces in it but as that's unlikely (until I find out where they live) I've done the next best thing and signed this petition. Please do the same.

You can find out more about the problems caused by aminopyralid here, see the advise from the RHS here and read Dow Chemical's crappy excuses here. Buttercups pose a danger to livestock? Total bullshit.

**If you work in the media it would be great if you could help spread this news.

Watch this

Michael Pollan on swine flu, Monsanto, GMOs, "real sugar", school lunches in America, Michelle Obama's garden, corporate land grabs and more. Catch it here. Brilliant stuff.

You can find lots more from Michael Pollin on YouTube, in conversation with Bill Moyers here and also one of his lectures here.

French and runner beans

These are ready now just as there's a break in the peas which is good timing, though more by luck than judgement if I'm being honest.

French beans

These are cropping well now despite the ravages of slugs and blackfly. They wouldn't make the show bench so it's just as well that's not what they're for.

Runner beans

Like most people I used to grow a row of these and end up giving most of them away or feeding them to the cows. So now I just grow a few up a tripod and find that's plenty enough.

The end result

Why we go through all this nonsense:

Any corner for some flowers

Phacelia (not yet in flower) and nasturtiums. Nice for the bees and hover flies.


Still coming on strong:


Sweet peas

I've been using saved seed for a few years now and these are starting to cross and revert so next year I'll have to dig deep and fork out for some fresh seed. They still smell as good as ever mind.

Still cute

The garden's still looking cute despite the weather:



I'm rubbish

Went looking for Sheffield Botanical Gardens this afternoon but got lost and couldn't find them. On the plus side I did get to drive through a lot of the old pit towns of North East Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. And found that the van will go for four hours without breaking down. Which is all to the good.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

All done

I reckon I've sown and planted everything I'm going to for this year. Until I think of something else. In the meantime all I need to do is sit back and eat it all.

I've planted out the leeks today. And dug up the rest of the rusty garlic and sown some phacelia for green manure in the patch where they were. Did it just before the rain came too which was pretty clever of me I must admit.

Still eating potatoes, broad beans, cabbage, garlic (oh yes), carrots, gooseberries, peas and today the first tomato.

The snapdragons, cosmos and sweet peas are still coming on strong too.

Leeks planted out

Snapdragons and cosmos

Pretty as a picture.


These have made a good size and I haven't lost many to the dreaded white rot this year. Not long now and they'll be ready for harvesting.

Greyhound cabbage

I'm steaming through these now. Cabbage - steaming - geddit? Oh please yourselves.

All change

In the garden some things are going over whilst others are coming to the fore.

Potentilla - I've forgotten the name again

Clematis - a French name?

Friday, 10 July 2009

Another RHS flower show

So, Hampton Court - a symbol of our wonderful heritage of occupation, oppression and exploitation. And apparently the favourite palace of Henry VIII - the only serial killer to have six RHS show gardens constructed in his honour.

On to the gardens - same old same old; the only one to catch my eye (literally, the BBC showed it for about 1.5 seconds) was Jack Dunkley's desert garden. But nice to see that an allotment won best show garden.

And then of course there was all the greenwashing from the sponsors. Quilted Velvet were back of course but were topped this time by Sadolin with their lovely Nature to Nurture garden which, according to the blurb on the RHS video, "..shows both physically and figuratively the meeting point between nature and nurture, rather like Sadolin's nurturing woodstains.."

Sadolin (a Danish subsidiary of Crown Paints) are currently experimenting with nanotechnlogy in their products - messing about with nature at the molecular level - not exactly what I'd call nurturing. This from the Red-Green Alliance of Denmark (translation by google):

"Today, for example, nanotechnology is used in everyday things such as varnish, paint, fluorescent tubes, metals and some cleaning agents such as self-cleaning glass. The products are available from Sadolin, Silvan and supermarkets all over the country - but watch out for cancer, acid, breathing problems, hallucinations, hair loss, teddy bears, Jimmy Carter, chain letters, støvfnatmider, viper saliva, yellow and brown bedding, tuned Yamaha and what other dirt that may - or may be not - included with purchase of nano-products. That is not to know." Don't say you haven't been warned.

Part of the RHS mission statement is "to help create healthy, sustainable communities and support long-term environmental improvements." Obviously the corporate slut of the week award goes to the RHS. The hair loss must be affecting their brains.

I did like the conceptual gardens though. Maybe next year someone could do one in honour of the victims of Peter Sutcliffe, complete with teddy bears, yellow and brown bedding and what other dirt may or may not be. But that would be in poor taste. Sleep well.

Sunday, 5 July 2009


Is that a word? Whatever. So much booty from the plot at the moment: new potatoes, cabbages (I've planted out some more today), peas, broad beans, carrots; I've dug up some of the rusty garlic to dry; the strawberries are about over but the raspberries and gooseberries are coming on stream. The flowers are coming out too: cosmos, sweet peas and snapdragons.

More new potatoes

Pentland Javelin:


These just keep on giving; the maincrop are starting to be ready for harvesting just as the earlies have finished and I've sown a final row today.

Primo cabbages

I grew these in a seed tray in the coldframe and planted them out today where the early peas were. The roots from the peas are meant to give off good vibes or something.

French beans

Starting to flower:


These are reaching a good height, flowering well and starting to produce fruit.


I've given up trying to figure out when I should dig this up for drying - the forums give contradictory advice - so I've dug half of it up. Looks ok to me.



My scruffy old raspberries have been here since I took on the plot ten years ago but they still produce well enough.


Sweet peas


Sunshine after the rain

In the garden:


Day lillies

Potentilla "Gibson's Scarlet"


Clematis viticella "Polish Spirit"

Bee on Polemonium caerulem (Jacob's Ladder)

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Strange but true

Strange how a days hedge cutting can leave you feeling deeply chilled. Must be all those endorphins.

One love.

playing for

Friday, 3 July 2009

I love the smell of sunscreen in the morning

So how was it for you? The heatwave I mean. Gave me the chance to dig out the Australian sunscreen - can't get enough of the smell of it. I don't know what they put in it but it's bound to be illegal. The best stuff always is. Still sloshing it on even though it's raining now.

Been raining all day in fact so I wasn't able to go hedge cutting. Gutted I am. Honest. Whiled away the time watching the videos of Glastonbury. Bloody parody of its former self if you ask me. Not that you did. Of course the real deal was in the eighties before they let in the blue meanies and the corporate leeches etc etc.

I would have liked to have watched more of The Prodigy but the BBC have a disclaimer saying "Regretfully we were unable to bring you more of the set due to excessive swearing on songs." How fucking pathetic is that? Nanny state or what? It's rock 'n' roll for fuck's sake. And who decides what's excessive? Then they say "If you feel strongly about this decision you are welcome to complain to the BBC. We do answer every correspondence." Yeah right, before yawning and deleting them no doubt. I suppose it provides jobs for otherwise unemployed graduates. God I hate the BBC. And unemployed graduates. And everything else. Everything else except the smell of this sunscreen.

Mad as a cut snake I am.

**If you want to see some decent footage of Glastonbury before it's cultural assimilation then I suggest you buy the Julien Temple film Glastonbury or the dvd of the 1993 film Glastonbury: The Movie.