A mountain garden from across the pond

You know we love seeing other people’s gardens and a friend of ours Thomas sent in some great pictures of his space atop a mountain in western North Carolina, USA and we love it!

His vegetable beds are at an early stage of growth he told us but they still look impressive, we love those logs! “We’re still not beyond our last frost date, so the veggie garden is still very young. Indeed, we even had a few snow flakes last night.” Being up in the mountains the garden is 2-3 weeks behind the valley below.

He said “Keep your expectations low, this is basic gardening”, wow keep them low, how can we do that with all that lovely scenery! Thomas mentioned “We go for what I call a “National Park” look. The sort of landscaping we find here at national/state parks: basic, using natural materials, and almost exclusively native plants.” 

Thomas’s space puts us in mind of Zdenko Franjic (DJ Zdena)‘s garden in Zagreb, Croatia another lovely spot which we covered a few years ago (more on Zdenko‘s garden here.)

Thomas also included a photo of his wood shed (above) “I’ve been spending an incredible amount of time this year sawing down trees and splitting wood. What’s in the shed is a fraction of it. Kind of back-breaking, but somehow satisfying at the end of a day.” What a lovely looking wood shed. We live in a place called Forest Hill but sadly there’s no wood-chopping done around these parts but if there were, we’d want a wood shed like that.

“We have made a few paths through the woods around our house this year, too. We do so not only to have more hiking trails, but it also makes it easier to see our flowering plants like Trilliums.” Thanks a million Thomas for sharing your inspiring outdoor space, it don’t half look magical!
We’re always up for seeing other people’s gardens, plants on windowsills or balcony spaces so please send us your pics and we’ll gladly post them up on Weeds.

And the beet goes on

And here’s something interesting from our good friend across the pond, Justin Patrick Moore with a piece that’s well up our street! Cheers Justin!
There is nothing like some good down beet veggies, and downtempo music, to get into an up beet mood. I was thinking of this yesterday when scraping out the remains of my crock full of homemade beet and red cabbage sauerkraut. I was also thinking about something I recalled from Sandor Katz’s book Wild Fermentation (where I learned the basic techniques for making kraut and sour pickles, among other things). He said something along the lines of “The only difference between rotting vegetables and a fermented food is salt.”
Boy, ain’t that the truth. Before I tried making kraut, I always thought it would be hard. It turns out its as simple as chopping up a bunch of cabbage, and other veggies, throwing a bunch of good salt on them, pounding them down into a crock, then sticking a plate on top of it all, with some weights or a clean rock you’ve boiled, and then waiting for the amazing lactic acid transformation.
Sandor’s recipe for Kraut and is super easy to make with just some basic equipment and veg. Recipe in detail here.
This batch of kraut that I made here included the following ingredients, all shredded, like a punker rocker making dangerous swipes at a guitar:
About 9 or 10 raw beets
1 head purple cabbage
1 bunch of radishes
1 turnip
1 head of garlic
3 or 4 habaneros
1 large piece of ginger
The ginger & habanero pepper marry really well together with the flavor of the beets. I suppose you could also use the juice to dye your hair red, or if you were wanting to make your own Hammer horror film.
(By another chain of association, all this puts me in mind of that classic Dead Kennedy’s album, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. Now you know there is a cure for that, just add salt.)

I’m looking forward to when my pickling cucumbers come up in the garden. That’s when I’ll use Sandorkraut’s sour pickle recipe again. Mr. Katz is a great author, and Wild Fermentation, and his other book The Art of Fermentation, cover not only kraut and pickles, but sourdough and other living breads, wine, beer, cheese and even stuff like how to make miso or tempeh. It’s one of the few kitchen books I have that really makes the stuff grown in the garden, whether mine, a friends, or something picked up at the market, really sing with all that salt. Once you make a few batches of something you’ll be experimenting and trying new things out in no time, because it really is pretty simple once you get the knack.
With all that, I’ll leave you with this groaner and a track called Cultivator Dub from the DJ Spooky vs. Twilight Circus Dub Soundsystem collaborative album Riddim Clash.
What do you call someone who raps about vegetables? A Beet boxer.

What’s in the mix?

Life is all about what’s in the mix and the above is what we recently found after clearing out our compost bin of its organic matter. There’s some surprises: a sonic screwdriver (for God’s sake), a silver teaspoon and a plastic bag with some Caesar Salad mix in it! It’s frightening as we think we’re really careful of what we put in the heap.

As for our latest bit of listening pleasure: the Rhythm Doctor’s audio mix for FatCat records (above), there’s no unwanted rubbish in there! Listen out for the following!


Ten On-U’s from The Head Gardener

The garden of earthly delightsBig thanks to The Head Gardener aka Shane Q from the excellent long-running radio show The Garden Of Earthly Delights (for who Weeds’ own Madtone did a session for a few years ago) for getting in touch and sending some tunes. We’ve just heard that the show will return soon, broadcasting from a new studio in a converted toilet block in Milton Keynes (how good is that?)

If you want to know of the sort of stuff that’s played on the show before then, there’s mixes galore herehere and here and there’s even one aptly named “Melvin, gardening on a Summers evening.” It’s a show well up out street!

Shane has sent us Ten of his favourite On-U Sound tunes and there’s some crackers here. Here we go…

1: Bim Sherman: Nightmare

2: Audio Active: Free The Marijuana

3: African Headcharge: Hold Some More

4: Gary Clail & The On-U Sound System: Privatise The Air

5: Dr Pablo & Dub Syndicate: Dr. Who

6: Andy Fairley: Jack The Biscuit

7: Creation Rebel: Creation Rebel

8: Little Axe: Hammerhead

9: African Headcharge: Somebody Touch I

10: Singers & Players: Water The Garden

Big thanks again to Shane and we will be listening when the show returns!