Larry Levan’s Paradise Borage

we ain't biasedBig up to Simon and Paul from The Dirt (a gardening show like no other) for having a bit of a laugh with our Borage pronunciation debate on the show on Radio Fab International tonight.

Also a big shout to the show’s gardening expert/gentleman gardener Geoff Garrard for going for “bor-raj”, but we here are still sticking with “borridge” though! I mean it really don’t matter how we say it, the bees will still go mental for it!

The bees don’t care what it’s called but what do you think? The nation decides…

Gardening in harmony

Thanks to Dr Strangedub for the link-up again in our “dub gardeners of the world unite” series which this time features Phil Harmony who produces the excellent dubnight radioshow from Berlin. If you’re into roots reggae it’s a great listen!

Phil’s got a great little balcony where he grows his edibles and has made a clever plant table on wheels to capture more of those rays from the sun! Here’s Phil with the words and pics.

My name is Phil Harmony and I’m the founder of dubnight radio show, DJ, music producer and someone who loves gardening. To watch my plants grow, it feels like I’m printing money and getting richer everyday. I love to go outside on my balcony in the morning (well, what I call morning!) and take a look at my plants and I’m always impressed by what’s happened overnight.

I got into gardening through my grandma and parents, who had a garden when I was young and we grew our own potatoes, salad, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, spices and berries. At school we also had a garden and had gardening lessons and I learnt at an early age that the taste of home grown vegetables were much better than the ones you buy in the shops.

Now living in a flat in Berlin, I grow my own produce on a balcony (2.5m x1.50m approx.) and try to live a life that is as harmless as possible to the environment so I grow organically because we have enough chemicals in our lives. Phil_Future meals on wheelsThis year I decided to grow my vegetables in pots on a mobile stand slightly off the ground which gives them more control on how much light they get (pic above from earlier this season) and a hopefully a little bit more protection from the snails because last year they ate most of my plants (grrr!)phils table todayUsing some wood which I had lying around, I made a stand and stuck some wheels on the bottom and now have something that I can now move to follow the sunlight because I only get usually get about an hour a day but my plants seem to be okay with it. All is growing pretty nice so far and I cant wait to eat my harvest! Above is the plant table now.Phil_TomatoI have yellow cocktail tomatoes which are starting to ripen and tomatoes on the vine, a pepper plant and the world’s hottest chilli (below: the snack chilli and it looks great!)worlds hottest chilliI also grow herbs, marjoram and French and Morroccan mint, the latter which the snails seem to love!  Another favourite is Oregano, I tend to overwater it a bit and use it regularly, thats why most of it has gone! (We at weeds love those half circle concrete things in the ground that the herbs are in. If they are deep enough they’d be great to restrict the roots on say mint which tends to run riot once it gets started.)Phil_OreganoPhil_mint_2My Strawberries and Raspberries are in their first year so I’m not expecting much fruit but they’re looking healthy. Overall my soil could do with a bit more sand and sunlight, but the plants seem to live with it. The plants get regularly fed with a solution of stinging nettles which have been steeped in water and used coffee grounds added into the mix. Phil_Raspberriesstrawberries_philCheers to Phil for showing us his gardening exploits, it’s a great looking space and shows that you can grow vegetables and fruit anywhere!

All flowered up on a Friday (the lull before the storm)

I got the camera out well early in the garden this morning when it was flowers-a-go-go before the all day mental heat and pressure built up, leading to this evening’s mad storms (and probably arguments down the pub too!)

Dutch Flag Poppy in the place:Dutch flag in the frontPumpkin madness:pumpkin do

Zucchini, my friend:on a zuchinni tip

Who’s that Lilly?:oh lilly pondBefore it tipped it down, Beats In Space: Show 738 was on loud pon the stereo. Have a listen here. Pt 1 has the mad Brazilian jazz stylings of Moreno Veloso (with a couple of live tracks) and Pt 2 has a cracking mix from Mark Barrott/International Feel in an downtempo Balearic stylee.

Both great stuff for a summer’s evening before it tips it down and one to transport yourself from the back garden to a balearic holiday destination (without the crap stag nights and expense!)

A big shout to Tim Sweeney from all at Weeds Up to Me Knees and to “happy” gardeners everywhere!

In a sunday afternoon Oglander stylee

Bsq8UHHCEAAqWmiBig shout to A Robbins for letting us know about the great Sunday Ska/Reggae/Rocksteady special this weekend in Deptford Fun City organised by the Soft Wax crew. Special selector this Sunday the one David Katz. It’s free to get in, runs from 6pm-11pm at The Duke, 125 Creek Road, Deptford SE8 3BU. There’s a record stall and good food, which sounds well up our street! Which gives us an excuse (we dont usually need one!) to fling up a couple of scorchers on this scorching afternoon!

The Heptones – A change is going to come – Studio 1

The Heptones / Jah Buzz / Freddie McGregor – Equal Rights

 – Studio 1 Discomix 12″ 

Ace, very ace!

ace of clubs_5

Thanks to our good friend Will J for letting us know of a great community project in South London called Ace of Clubs. It’s a day shelter just behind Clapham High Street that does all sorts of great work for the homeless, in as much as providing cheap meals, giving out advice on benefits and finding accommodation, IT lessons and internet cafe sessions amongst other beneficial activities.

Ace of clubs_1

Also, out the back they had a great allotment style garden that Will kindly snapped for us whilst spending a day there volunteering. The centre gets donations from the big supermarkets and others of potted herbs that they then plant out plus bulbs, bizzy lizzies, and various seeds. Everything they grow is purely from donations. How brilliant is that?

ace of clubs_3


ace of clubs_4

Ace of clubs_2

I think we have to give it up for the gardener there who took over the plot last year when it was an overgrown mess and has made it what it is today, a brilliant space! Big up Ace Of Clubs. 

Come into the strange (dub) garden

Thanks to our good friend Dr Strangedub from The Echo Chamber on KFAI in Minneapolis for sending us an update of his garden this year and it’s looking well healthy!Strangedub_garden_collage2The good doctor writes: The collage above features my vegetable garden. In the top left is some type of chilli pepper; the bottom right is a bit of herb (oregano and thyme) in a planter; the other two photos are of tomatoes and peppers (and my drip hose.)strangedub_garden_collage1Above is my perennial shade garden. The largest image shows a couple of hostas, a bit of ornamental grass, raspberries in the foreground and some tiger lillies (no flowers as yet) near the upper left corner. The two smaller photos, some ostrich ferns and some hemp.

The shade garden is low maintenance as all the plants are perennials, so there’s no planting in the spring unless I’m adding something new. In the spring I clear out any leaves that have fallen from my big oak tree the previous fall and I do a bit of weeding as and when if needed and that’s about all.
As for climate, in Minneapolis, winter can be pretty brutal, and some years (like this past winter) can be damn long. This winter we got our first substantial snowfall (nearly 1 foot) just before Christmas and it stayed until late April. There was no mid-winter warm spell so my backyard had at least a foot of snow covering it for about four months!
Our summers can vary widely, one day could be 20 odd degrees different than the previous day and our hottest days can be 90+ degrees or even hit 100 (or near 40 C)!