I want that, I want that…


I’d love to say a big thank you to Lewisham Gardens and Golightly Gardens for their excellent seed swap in Hither Green last night. I had an idea that it would be a good one when I popped into the great Dig It Nursery in New Cross beforehand as I was a bit early, and the owner Mihaly very kindly donated a carrier bags worth of his happy seed range (how good is that?)

Seed swap hither green

It was a nice friendly atmosphere in the Station Hotel, there were a couple of big tables worth of boxes of various envelopes, seed packets, “dealer” bags, plastic bags and folded paper containing all sorts of weird and wonderful seed.

seedswap in tupperware

I’m now suffering from the “why didn’t I take some of those” or “had a pack of those” syndrome. It was great to meet up with like-minded people who also enjoy rummaging through boxes of seeds and writing on and taping up paper bags. I also met Theresa of Kitchen Buddy (who told us about a foraging walk on May 25th which sounds interesting see ourhithergreen.com) who I done a good swap of mangetout for a pack of cinnamon basil seed who I found out is a good friend of our old musical collaborator Hayereyah, talk about a small world! Viva la seed swap!

The sun sessions

That yellow thing in the sky came out again today so had ten minutes poking about the garden. It was a bit nippy but I still sowed some lettuce in the cold frame (It’s early I know but it was “leaf” day after 7am in the  biodynamic calendar so what have you got to lose, a few seeds?) and knocked off some weeds with the hoe. The big question is, will it soon be spring or have we still got the rest of the real winter to come? Who knows with this global warming lark.

if it don't fit don't force it

The forced rhubarb is starting to get on it’s way. All you do is stick a bucket (or a bucket filled with straw) over the top to keep it dark and warm, to fool the plant it’s spring and there you go  (I used the bucket the christmas tree was in.) In a few weeks it’ll be crumble and custard time I reckon.

And the overwintered garlic is looking good in their OCD uniform rows (below.) There’s overwintered onions in as well and I can’t help pulling up the immature ones and using as spring onions as they weren’t expensive at all to buy as seed onions so I got a big old bag’s worth.

clove er

Late last year I had a couple of cabbage looking plants that I had forgotten what they were, until some mates of mine said “it could be purple sprouting broccoli as that takes ages to mature” and they were right. Shouldn’t be too long before it’s ready to pick, but it’s taken a while though. I must remember to pick them before they fully flower or that’s it!

Purple rain, purple rain

There’s ambient goings on in me greenhouse guv’nor

Tunguska Electronic Music Society – Arkady Pavlov – Lost in Love (off Tunguska Chillout Grooves vol. 3)

A mad little number heard on last week’s excellent Echo Chamber on KFAI. I can’t tell you why I like this track but I just do, odd but very catchy and one that stops and starts. One to listen to while lying down in the greenhouse watching the rain above while wearing a kaftan.

Got, got, haven’t got, got

Got, got, haven't gotHow can you tell I used to write a fanzine and I’m also a bit on the OCD tip? I’ve just spent an hour printing out labels, transferring my spare seeds into some “dealer” bags and found an egg box to put my chitted seed potatoes into. This is all for the forthcoming seed swap this Sunday and it’s only Thursday! You can tell what I was like around christmas time as a kid.

It’s funny as at the last seed swap I attended, a lady pulled out a massive list of what she “had” on 4 typed pages of A4 and produced a rucksack full to the brim of little bags of seeds. That’s taking it to the next level as they say!

I’ve haven’t got anything out of the ordinary (in a James Wong stylee) to swap, except possibly cinnamon basil and some lettuce leaf basil from my “how many different kinds of basil can I grow” phase last year. Hopefully see you there!

The seed swap once again is at
The Station Hotel
14 Staplehurst Rd,
Hither Green
SE13 5NB
from 6pm on Sunday 23rd February

Tales from the potting shed (in a hollywood style)

Pink flamingo_NE_2

A big thanks to Nick Egan (film director and top visual artist) for sending us snaps of his garden in Los Angeles. Nick as you know, got us out of a spot of bother with some bikers at a Clash gig in Bury Saint Edmunds many many moons ago (see Cloches over the Westway), designed some well classic record sleeves (The Clash’s “White Man in Hammersmith Palais”, Bow Wow Wow’s “See Jungle!, See Jungle” and Dexy’s “Searching for the Young Soul Rebels”) and also keen on the joys of gardening. Big up the pink flamingo! (pic above)



The tomatoes in his garden are looking good and seeing them makes me feel excited about the forthcoming growing season (that’s if the damn rain stops!)

Nice cacti_NE_4


Top of cacti_NE_1

There’s some nice cacti and succulents too, shame we haven’t got the climate to grow them outside here in the UK though. I remember when I was a wee lad there was a chap up the road from me mum’s in the midlands who grew cacti from seed. He must have been into Zen I reckon, I mean how long does it take for a cactus to flower from a seed? I’m far too impatient for that kind of business (even though I love a bit of tai chi!)

Great stuff Nick, please send us more pics and any good tips for getting decent tomatoes.

Daddy, what’s that yellow thing up in the sky?

To celebrate the sun making a rare appearance in London today here are some pics from Martin Kennedy of the excellent All India Radio from Melbourne. It’s mad, it’s the wettest winter over here and over there, it’s the hottest summer on record, talk about yin and yang. Cheers for the words and great pictures Martin!

All india radio_Lime

It’s been a long and dry Australian summer and one of the hottest on record, testing even the hardiest of plants. Hardest hit was the lime tree which dropped all of its spring flowers and buds and much of its leaves. The mandarin and lemon trees however fared a lot better keeping most of their fruit. The Japanese maple was also affected, losing all of its leaves after the first heatwave in January but strangely has completely grown back again despite subsequent heatwaves.

All india radio_Japanese maple

The curry leaf bush is doing the best in heat with a lot of new growth. The native grasses are of course thriving no matter what the climate throws at them and the vegetables namely cherry tomatoes and silverbeet seem to be coping OK.

All india radio_Curry leaf

All india radio_curry leaves

All india radio_Silverbeet

The boston ivy is trying to grow over anything it can get its suckers on, no heat stress there! The lavender hedge is looking a bit woody, but given it is in the hottest and driest part of the garden its doing very well.

All india radio_Lavender hedge

Excellent stuff Martin, do give us an autumn update, thanks. Cheers to Dr Strangedub for alerting us to  Martin’s tunes and letting us know about his love of gardening too!

The answer my friend…

Addis Pablo & The Suns Of Dub – Selassie Souljaz In Dub

Talk about blowing a gale, I’m sitting in the back room trying to write a post and can I write one with the wind blowing one of massive proportions outside? No blimmin’ way, so instead, here’s an example of wind used creatively by one Addis Pablo, son of Augustus “East Of The River Nile” Pablo  (shout out to the right honourable David Rodigan) and more good use of that same wind (and dub) from Pablo Senior (and King Tubby’s):

There’s a whole lotta chittin’ going on

chitting time in 2014

Here’s the state of play, spud-wise last weekend on the “earlies” I got from Shannon’s a few weeks ago. Those “chits” are looking good, the tray is in front of the back window and the room’s kept cool so there’s none of those spindly long pale shoots you see on well past-it potatoes that’ve been in the cupboard for a month. The great Bob Flowerdew mentioned on GQT the other week that chitting is a good thing to do and gives the plant a bit of a head start. Talking of which, I’ve just found the following tip on Bob’s website in the section what to do in March: “For a really green lawn, pee in the watering can, dilute well and apply often.” Good one Bob but I don’t think me neighbours would appreciate that one!