A garden update and a tune

Thanks to our good friend across the pond Justin Patrick Moore for the sending us a photo update of his back garden. That’s what’s brilliant around this time of year, the garden seems to grow overnight and at a fair rate too. We all should really appreciate this time as autumn will be here before we know it. Above are the “Tiger Lilies gone wild” and below is entitled “When the Compost Takes on a Life of it’s Own” and we all know about that when we get those potato peelings and old onions sprouting! Is that a cucumber/courgette growing and are there a few mushrooms in there too?

And below a nice patch of borage that the bees love and the leaves are a good addition to comfrey if you’re making a liquid feed.

He also sent us a nice tune to accompany the pics from Anna Nacher & Marek Styczyński off the LP entitled Throbbing Plants (the title sounding very Genesis Breyer P-Orridge meets Percy Thrower.)

Thank you for the pics Justin. Please send your garden pics, no matter how small your garden is, even if it’s just a couple of pots on a windowsill, send them in! The address is onedeckpete (at) gmail.com we’d love to see your garden!

B is for borage, L is for lockdown

It started cold and bleak today so we stayed indoors wielding a paintbrush this morning. The weather did improve and come about 1pm it was beautiful as this bee on the borage can testify.

We have borage popping up everywhere this year, we bought some seeds a few years back and it now self seeds all over the garden. It’s a plant well worth growing for the bees to enjoy and for the flowers you can put in Pims and also salads (and it has herbal medicine uses too here) but we love it for the leaves that can be chucked in into the compost heap or comfrey liquid for a bit of extra goodness.

Everything in the vegetable beds are cracking on at a good rate. We are packing a lot into the home-made raised beds but why not? The ones above contain potatoes, tomatoes, peas, carrots, peppers and whatever else can be crammed in. We only have limited space so we’re taking a chance on what’ll grow.

Also don’t be fooled with this present run of sunny weather, next week it goes down a few degrees and it always good to be aware that you may get a late frost which can wipe out a lot of stuff so regularly check the weather forecast just in case.

We’ve still got protection over the top of the tender plants at night (we close them up about 6pm so any further heat that the sun produces can be trapped in until the morning) and it ain’t anything fancy. We’ve got large jam jars, plastic cloches, an old window frame and recycled polythene tacked onto the cold frames. With this gardening malarkey you can’t take anything for granted, especially UK weather!

We hope the growing is going well in your garden. Anyone fancy sending us pictures of what they’re growing so we can post them up on the blog which’ll give us all more encouragement during this lockdown. Do get in contact if so.

#gardeningduringlockdown #lockdowngardening #sleepinginlatertocombatlockdown #sniffindisinfectant

What? The sun is shining again?

A massive thanks to all at the Thompson and Morgan gardening blog for the box of Beneficial Flower seeds containing all sorts of great stuff for bees and pollinators including cornflower, cosmos, dill, foxglove, catmint and wild poppy. After the last frost (have a look at this site here for estimated dates) we’ll be sowing them in the bed at the bottom of the garden. We’ll even mix some of the other box we got from the pound shop (nowhere as good as the T&M box but it was a quid!) the other week for added effect! Cheers again T&M, we’ll keep you posted!

Prompted by the person who said to us the other month: “Why don’t you write a blog and keep track of what you planted where and when”, yesterday we sowed a row of golden acre cabbages and a row of red salad bowl lettuce (both from the free seeds from Kitchen Garden Magazine). It may be a bit early but they are sown under glass. This bit of window was found in a skip many many moons ago and is still in use at Weeds HQ. Waste not want not!

And to celebrate the sun coming out again here’s a belter of a tune that’ll if all goes well will be getting an airing later this month on the next episode of Free Radio Skybird as part of a mix called “Radio Fanatics of the world unite”. The tune is from Yemanjo & Monarch Duo called Roma (Yemanjo remix) on Jumpsuit Records. Any record label that describes itself as a “curation project of The Polish Ambassador and his cohort of scientists, spirit animals and vibe consultants” is alright by us! May the sun shine on all day.

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…

Dub gardeners of the world unite

Jochen harvest 2013

A big shout to Jochen of Splintercell Sound out of Germany for getting in touch and for letting us use some great pics of his veg cultivation. He’s been growing veg for a good few years in a limited space using minimalist techniques but still gets some great results (as these images show!) with the aid of his greenhouse and some tricks learnt along the way!

pollination in progress

Alongside growing other plants, he got fascinated with cultivating Bonsai. He read a lot about horticulture, studying books, blogs and online forums and did his first ‘experiments’ in the small yard of his parents house.

After school he completed an apprenticeship with a breeder of agricultural seeds, studied horticulture for one year, worked at the Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food and now is studying Urban Planning. Sounds like a good grounding for this veg growing lark!

Jochen 2013 greenhouseMost of the plants are grown in pots as he only has limited space and has a small greenhouse on top of his carport (above). As he says “it’s urban gardening!” Brilliant!

He grows a lot of different vegetables and plants and always tries to use special strains and varieties. He told us one year nearly every plant was blue; blue potatoes, blue kohlrabies, blue carrots etc. Brilliant, well up my street as blue is one of my favourite colours but I am not sure what I think if it was served up on my dinner plate!

inside the greenhouse_jochen

He also tries to grow something interesting like melons or special tomato or chili strains because of his limited space and he tells me that this years cucumber-harvest was amazing! I’ve only tried growing them outdoors twice and haven’t had much success but these below in his greenhouse look brilliant!


Even more up our street, he’s part of Splintercell Sound and also promote a regular party called “Feel like Jumping” in Münster where they play (rocksteady, early reggae and dancehall and conscious Rap.)  Here’s a mix on their great soundcloud site (with lots of modern “roots” tunes!) which is well up our street :

And a couple of great tunes picked by Jochen as well, out of his many favourites at the moment, Tell them fi farm by Tydal

And Queen Ifrica with Make you rock produced by Silly Walks Discotheque

Big up Jochen, his veg gardening and the splintercell sound!

Bee Bee Cee News Report

Foxgloves in da garden

A view of the garden tonight taken while having a cup of char watching the Bees working their way around the Foxgloves on the left. It’s all starting to kick off growth-wise now!

I was feeling a bit overwhelmed today as it’s been a busy old week but it was only while listening to Wilko Johnson being interviewed on Radio 4 who was sounding well chipper even though he’s terminally ill that put all my moaning into perspective! I’ve never been a massive fan of Dr Feelgood but did see them at the Lanchester Polytechnic in the late 1970’s. A bloke who was doing the sound that night told us the band were really late arriving and so drunk they were turned away by the door staff thinking they were a gang of cockney blokes on a stag-night. It was only when a fan who was in the queue told the bloke on the door “You can’t do that mate, they’re the band!” Brilliant!

A big shout to our good gardening friend Scarlett (who also writes the excellent Heavenly Healer blog), who sent us an excerpt from her “Attracting Beneficial Insects” factsheet which she has kindly let us reproduce here. The following list applies to Bees and other beneficial insects.

  • March/April – Bluebell, Rosemary, Bugle and Dead-nettle
  • May/June – Aquilegia, Geranium, Campanula, Chives, Sages and Thymes, Wallflowers, Vipers bugloss, Birds foot trefoil and sweet peas.
  • July/August – Lavender, Cornflower and Centaurea, Marjoram and Scabious.

In general all insects love Sunflowers and Hollyhocks. Comfrey is great for the Bees (and for making liquid feed!) Monarda didyma, Linum, Agastache, Marjoram and Oregano, Astrantia, Thyme, Yarrow, Sage, Borage, Fuchsia, Geum, Cosmos, Poppy, Mallow, poached egg plant (Limnanthes douglasii) as well as climbing plants such as clematis and honeysuckle, are just a few examples in an exhaustive list.

Scarlett also let us know of a great exhibition currently at the V&A called From Club to Catwalk. Great stuff and great photo! Thanks for the list and the exhibition info. We’ll pop down over the summer for that. Talking of the summer, can we have the sunshine back?

Big up the Bee (yet again!)

Thanks to Teffany for letting us know about an edition of Radio 4’s Costing the Earth called “Bees Fight Back” about Bees and Neonicotinoid pesticides, which is worth a listen.

While looking for it I stumbled across one called “The Bee Inspector” (still up on the web here) which gives a great introduction to the world of Bees and Beekeeping over four short programmes. It’s well interesting stuff even though it’s ten years old. Give it a whirl!

Is there anyone out there who can give us a definite list of Bee-friendly plants? I’ve noticed we’ve got a good bit of self-seeded Borage coming up this year but more suggestions would be appreciated! Post on comments below or at onedeckpete@gmail.com

Big up the ‘umble Bee!