Southern freeez

It’s been too cold this week to do any gardening but the Sunday before last I cleared out one of the compost bins (supplied free from Lewisham Council) and got three barrows worth of rich looking humus. Over the last year I’ve tried to be very careful what I put in the bin but I still found a blue biro, gardening wire, green plastic plant tags, chocolate wrappers and a couple of crisp packets! I have now a old plant pot down there as a rubbish container for those “I can’t see a bin so I’ll hoof it in with the compost when no one’s looking” moments!
bare veg patch in feb

long bedI spread the muck over a couple of beds where this year I’ll be be sticking in vegetables that’ll benefit from the richness of the soil like potatoes and courgettes. I also have to consider what’s been in the beds previously as you can’t have the same (or related) plants growing in the same area year after year. If so the plants would will drain nutrients making the soil unbalanced, and also leave it open to pests and diseases which in turn would infect the plants. You use something called crop rotation to counteract this, which is in it’s simplest form is putting vegetables into specific groups and rotating these groups one season after another in your plot/beds. More on crop rotation to come.

Also this week while bringing one of our cats to the vets in New Cross I passed a woman struggling with two very large plastic plant pots (nearly 4 foot wide and probably the same height) on a crossbar of a pushbike. It turns out the pots were being thrown out on a building site. She told me she was going to use them for spuds, but if you saw the size of them a couple of small fruit trees would fit in them!

Do remember those free seed tokens in the Daily Mirror this week. I’ll be bribing roadsweepers, newsagents and train cleaners to try and get some extra tokens. Keep em peeled!

Seedy Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…

How do you say pea in russian?I’ve just seen an advert on the telly about the Daily Mirror’s free seed offer which starts tomorrow. All you have to do is send one token from the newspaper per packet plus some cash to cover the postage. They have a selection from a wide variety of seeds including herbs, flowers and vegetables, not bad for a price of a paper eh? The seeds you get probably haven’t got the exotic packaging like the russian perennial pea I got off ebay the other day (above) but I reckon they have more seeds per pack than the eight I got in mine!

Keep those eyes peeled for a copy of a discarded Daily Mirror on the train and bus to and from work next week. Me, I’ll be scouring those empty carriages!

Let it rot

compost in a 2013 style I opened the compost bin I started just over a year ago this morning and it is looking mighty fine! The kitchen/plant waste has near enough rotted except for a few eggshells and the odd large potato. I’ve made a mental note to cut up the kitchen waste finer and to crush the eggshells even more from now on. If you look closely at the contents you’ll also see a nice blue biro. How the hell did that get in there? How long will that take to rot do you think?

Rereading Jane Perrone’s book this week I could really relate to the section about making compost where she writes “I’ve been known to secrete used tea bags in my pocket to take back for my own ever-hungry compost pile.” Tea bags never get wasted in our house, after a brew they either get chucked on the compost heap or the worms have them.

it's the worm!Talking about worms here’s how the wormery is progressing in the garage. It’s taken a lot longer than I thought (I started it early last summer) but I’ve got a big jar of liquid plant feed out of it and there’s also a good bit of compost underneath the rotting veg, sprouting onions, killer sized slugs and mouldy bread.

Also this week I started off some seeds on the kitchen windowsill, Cabbages (goldenacre) and Foxgloves (pam’s choice) and sometime soon will get those tomatoes seeds out of the packet. That’s good for me as I sowed them just after xmas last year. Patience dear boy!

Another garden-related musical release

share the flameJazzmin Tutum – Share the flame – Universal Egg
A big shout to the dub poetess Jazzmin Tutum on her excellent new release on Zion Train’s Universal Egg Records called “Share the flame“. A great mix of bass heavy collaborations with Neil Perch (who also produces the tracks), Brain Damage, Hey o Hansen, Ralf Freudenberger and yours truly (Madtone). Respect to Jazzmin for working with “Calling live on channel” and “Message from Madtone”! A big thanks goes out to our good friend Dr Strangedub from KFAI’s excellent Echo Chamber for linking us up!

Win a free allotment (book)!

allotment keepers handbookA big thanks goes out to Jane Perrone for sending us a copy of her excellent book “The Allotment Keeper’s Handbook – A down-to-earth guide to growing your own food”. She also writes a great blog called Horticultural which is running a couple of competitions at the moment (There’s a chance to get a anti-slug T shirt and some free gardening books until midnight on February 18th 2013) and there’s also a link to a great idea called “Seedy Penpals”.

Talking of competitions Weeds up to me knees now has it’s first, thanks to Jane! We have a copy of the aforementioned allotment book to give away which is well worth having for novice and experienced gardener alike. All you have to do is send an email  to with “I’d love a copy of that book” in the subject header with your name and mailing address in the body text and we’ll pick one lucky person after the closing date on 28th February 2013. All are invited (UK and worldwide) to enter!