For how much longer do we tolerate no gardening

seed tray businessThe other morning I had a look at our good friend Scarlett’s great blog Heavenly Healer and was reading about her seeds now coming up (including cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and aubergines) and it’s nice to see someone else on the “twirly” tip!

I’ve started off some seeds in the back room in a cheap plastic propagator and they’re coming on slowly. Also every year I’ve a few leggy tomato plants sitting on the kitchen windowsill waiting to go out once the risk of frost has gone and this year is no different!Kitchen plantingThere’s one egg box of potatoes still chitting away merrily in the back room. Spring please come soon so we can do some gardening!chitting march 2015

It came from Shannon’s

EremurusThanks very much to the good folks at Shannon’s for getting back to us about  the unknown bulb in the last post and for sending us a picture. It turns out it’s Eremurus aka foxtail lilly or desert candle. Matthew Wilson mentioned in a piece in The Telegraph from 2003 (here) that “The plant grows away quickly, forming a rosette of blueish-green leaves up to 4ft high, from which the flower spike begins to rise during late April. By late May the spike will have risen as high as 9ft high, more typically 7ft or so, topped with densely packed buds that gradually relax into flower.”  It’s definitely one mad plant and one that’s well worth £7.99!

DayofthetriffidsThanks again to all at Shannon’s and I will be sending pictures when it’s in bloom, great stuff!

It came from under the earth

WTFLast November I bought a mad looking corm/bulb type thing at Shannon’s for around £7. I loved the look of it at the time and also knowing it would grow into a 6ft high monster made me think, “I’ve got to have one of those!” But for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was called. Any ideas?

Well I’d forgotten all about the bulb until last week when I noticed this poking through the earth in one of the came from under the earthThen in the space of a week, it’s grown into this. It reminds me of those things that came out of the spacecraft in the old version of The War Of The Worlds. Madness!Growing from under the earth

The seed box connection (in a plywood style)

Grow your own _Seed box

In one of this month’s popular gardening magazines there’s a feature about making your own seed box with various drawers and compartments. I know I’m a bit OCD when it comes to my seed container so I can’t talk, but making one out of sheets of plywood with “25 sections which I am going to put into alphabetical order” is taking it a bit too far I reckon. What’s wrong with an old biscuit tin?

Here’s a couple of tunes (thanks to David Rodigan as ever for these!) to stick on loud while looking through your (possibly chaotic and in a non-alphabetical order) seed tin and sorting out what’s going in as the growing season is near enough with us. Happy seed tin exploring!

Ini Kamoze – Hill and gully Ride (Xterminator)

Damian Marley, Pressure and Tarrus Riley – Mental Disturbance  (Yard Vybz Entertainment)

Free seeds, ferrero rocher and protoje

Back bedIt was an afternoon of good weather today so I tipped around in the garden and finished off clearing the back bed and it was nice to see it clear of weeds for once.

CornflowerI’m giving the bed a bit of a rest of veg this year so unusually it’s going be full of flowers if all goes to plan. This afternoon I sowed a load of cornflowers called ‘blue boy’ in the first quarter of the bed (600 seeds off ebay for £1.50 including p+p, cheap or what?)

Talking of seeds and good value, earlier this morning I picked up a copy of “Grow your own” magazine for £4.99 for the free packets of veg seeds (little gem lettuce, basil, courgette, kale, carrot and celeriac) from the WH Smiths in Lewisham. They were also selling cut-price Terry’s Chocolate Oranges and Ferrero Rocher on a special make-shift stall outside the store because of Mother’s day tomorrow. Aaahhhhh!

Grow your own

And to end on, a lovely tune in a hip-hop/reggae style from the great Protoje called Criminal. A tune to play whacked up loud while searching magazine emporiums for gardening mags with free vegetable seeds as it’s “that time of year”. Big up Rodigan for playing this the other week. More of the instrumental version please.

And thanks to youtube, a nice live version of the tune.

On the bonkers for a Thursday night

Go Team!

Here’s a super guest mix from The Go! Team from last week’s excellent Tom Ravenscroft show on BBC Radio 6 music. A mix of all sorts of madness!

One to play very loud in the greenhouse late at night while repotting plants (with just a torch as a light source) especially when there’s a full moon. That’ll get the neighbours talking! The mix is available here.

You raise me up (just like a runner bean cane)

Tarrium and garlicA big thanks to the weather for the weekend just gone and it looks like spring has finally sprung!  Things are certainly on their way, I’ve got some healthy looking leek seedlings, black poppies and garlic in the glass terrarium I found in the street a couple of years ago (above) and the bulbs are starting to come up in the found empty champagne case too (below).Garlic in bucketsEarly Sunday morning I popped into Shannon’s (ta to Paul, Araba and Alexi for the lift) and got myself three bags of multi-purpose compost to put into the new raised bed (below) made out of a couple of free scaffolding boards procured from Paul a couple of weeks earlier. So thanks to a cheap argos drill, some spare wood and a quarter of a tin of fence protector left over from last year, it’s now a home for beetroot, carrots and climbing french beans. And look at the runner bean cane wigwam, that’s been put in a bit early!Raised bed and bean canesAnd here’s a tune dedicated to all who put in a few hours over the weekend with their mowers, garden forks, spades, trowels and (new pair of) loppers while enjoying the good weather in their gardens and allotments! Roll on the spring!

Damian Marley – Hard Work (Dedicated to all Westminster City Council gardeners)

Can you wake up now, please?

London Gardens A-z

The London Garden Book A-Z – Abigail Willis – Metro

I popped into Charing Cross library last week and between playing “spot the sleeping person” and the “where’s the spare chair?”, I came across this great book in the gardening section.

It’s an interesting read about gardens around the capital circa 2012. It’s been well researched and features everything from Kew, The Barbican Conservatory, beekeeping on top of The Royal Festival Hall to lesser known gardens like Roots and Shoots (where I did an introduction to beekeeping course with the LBKA a few years ago), The Food From The Sky growing project on top of a supermarket in Crouch End (sadly no more), Mark from Vertical Veg (who’s also well into his music), the Horniman Museum and Gardens (up the road from us who have a great annual plant sale) and even a traffic island in E9 that went to pot but now been planted out in a guerrilla gardening style, a great Zen garden in Acton and a whole lot more. Even Shannon’s our local garden centre is mentioned in it. What more do you want?

A great book documenting gardens in the capital from the big to the small!

And talking of the capital…

Never been to Bluewater

LopazLast night I popped into Lidl and got a right old bargain, a pair of expandable loppers for £7.99. How good is that? I’ve always wanted a pair but never got round to getting some until now.

What was funny though, was when the chap on the checkout saw them he made a big thing out of it, pulling them apart and posing with them like it was a bullworker from the 1970’s, much to the annoyance of the twenty people behind me in the queue. Very odd!

He then said to us very matter-of-factly, “Do keep your receipt Sir, and remember you do have up to fourteen days to bring them back if they break.” Does he know something I don’t?