Live at the seed trials

Thanks a million to all at the Thompson & Morgan blog for sending us a lovely package a few weeks ago that contained some packs of yet-to-be-released 2020 seeds to trial in our garden. They came in a nice green wallet and the actual seeds (that were in sealed plain white metallic packs) were labelled simply “spinach 201902”, “squash 201904” etc as the proper names of the varieties are under wraps and will be given out later this year. We love that sort of thing here at Weeds. Very GCHQ. Walls have ears and all that!

Above is a bit of an experiment, we recently moved a small silver birch we originally found in the street a couple of years ago (post here) and around it we planted a ring of broad beans, don’t ask us why but it made sense at the time!

In the circle we thought we’d sow a row of the lettuce and spinach. Hopefully the shade will be just enough to keep the plants growing but not bolting (aka going to seed early) as spinach and lettuce do have a tendency to do so if the weather is too hot. It’s only an idea, let’s see how we get on.

We’ve already started off a fair few tomato varieties this year but we welcome another one with open arms especially one in a plain white envelope just called “tomato 201905”. We may have started them off too late (and we didn’t write down the date of the sowing sadly) but it seemed like they took their time to germinate on the kitchen windowsill (compared to the spaghetti squash that was planted on the same day). Out of the three tomatoes that have germinated so far, nearly all of the seedlings are nowhere near the centre of the pot. When/how did the seed move? There must be a scientific explanation, answers on a postcard please. We look forward to finding out what varieties these are. Will they be small cherry tomatoes or beefsteak ones the size of your hand?

The tropaeolum (nasturtium) was sowed directly outside in the Lewisham Council recycled bottle bin and has germinated like a treat. We’ll transplant a couple of these around the garden. We like the look of the darker leaves than the usual varieties of nasturtiums we usually put or self seed in our garden.

The spaghetti squash is something new to us and it will be great to see what they look like and actually taste like. The seed was germinated on the kitchen windowsill and went out in the garden just when it had two seed leaves on with the minimum amount of hardening off (one night under a cloche!) and it’s doing well!

Apart from spinach in a pot on the kitchen windowsill (above) there’s sunflowers in a seed tray, some lettuce sown (in the ridge) in between earthed up potatoes and zinnias (that we have never grown before but look interesting) sowed straight into the ground. We will keep you posted!

Back after a short break…

A big thanks goes out to DJ Phil Harmony in Berlin for playing (and for the kind words too) a couple of tracks off Jazzmin & Madtone’s “This Frequency E.P” on his excellent Dubnight Radioshow on Radio Blau. Another gardener of the dub variety (a few interesting past posts from Phil are here and here) he’s sent us some recent gardening pics of his pots on his balcony where there’s limited sunlight.

The first is of the herb Lovage. As Phil told us “I was very surprised when I cleaned my pots as I found the root in the soil with little sprouts so I let it sit and a few weeks later it came back to life! I love this herb for potato or other soups. We also call it Maggi herb”. Looks good, we’ve heard of it here before but never used it, perhaps we should!

And some spuds he started off this year, and they’re looking grand! He only had a smallish harvest last year (below) but as Phil says “the taste you get from your own harvest is not like anything you can buy, not even in the organic shops! Even if you only grow just one tomato it’s not comparable with anything from the supermarket!” and he’s right! Good luck with the spuds Phil! Keep sending us those pics.

A fountain faux pas

There were big plans in store for the Weeds garden this weekend but due to the cold weather nothing was actually done. As reported last week, a new solar-powered pond fountain (due to the last one going for a burton after just two years or so we thought) was purchased for £49.99 but it was a small price to pay for keeping the midges away and the fish and pond skaters happy.

The whole kit and kaboodle was to be replaced Saturday afternoon combined with the pond being given a good clean-out but due to the weather all we did was plugged in the new charger unit (the model purchased was exactly the same as the last one and the old pump and fountain were still ok). As we said, we were initially fed up as the last fountain didn’t have that long a lifespan. And then we read the instructions…

Let’s just say the words “Bxggxr” and “Dxmn” came to mind. We must remember though there was a point when we moved in years ago (pic below) where we were going to fill the pond in but it was thanks to our good friends Anu and Chris who suggested we keep it going. Thank God we listened!

We’ve had problems with it but here’s to the pond and its many visitors over the years. Big shout to all of the Forest Hill pond dwellers!

In for a penny, in for a pond

There’s eight fish in there, go on count em! We’re so glad those eight goldfish are still alive as we haven’t seen much signs of life over the last few months. The water has been well cloudy as the pond pump went for a burton earlier this year but one has just been ordered so normal service will resume soon.

To add to that, we spotted the Lewisham Heron on Good Friday evening on the roof of the prefabs behind our garden. It has been making regular visits to the neighbourhood of late so we feared for the worse. The picture below taken earlier this year gives you some idea of what we’re dealing with. Look closely for the pterodactyl type thing standing motionless on the edge of the pond!

And here it is again giving it the freeze frame business on the fence, there’s no stopping the thing. Thank god we stuck the pea wire obtained from Shannon’s over the pond or the goldfish (bought from Lewisham’s Number 1 pet shop!) would now be goners!

Foxtail lily report stardate 20th April

The foxtail lily is looking a bit twisted, but you would be if you’ve been imprisoned inside a cloche/terrarium for the past few weeks but it’s off now and hopefully we’ll see some action and some untwistedness.

Also behind it are those mini cloches we found in the street here which are protection for some tomato seedlings we’ve put out very early as an experiment. You never know what this weather will bring!

A knife, a fork, some comfrey and a brick

It was a lovely sunny (Good) Friday yesterday so it was all hands on deck in the Weeds garden. The seed spuds from Shannon’s have now been put in. The great Joe Maiden used to say Good Friday was traditionally the day for planting your potatoes but Marie Thunn (who knew a bit about gardening as well) didn’t think yesterday was the best day according to the 2019 edition of her book (below).

Using a tip passed onto us by an old gardening friend we put some ripped up leaves of comfrey in the hole first before putting the seed spuds in which is supposedly good for helping them on their way.

Talking about knitbone (another name for comfrey as is bruisewort) we started a new batch of comfrey liquid in a lovely 1980’s Boots fermenting bin (above top). Don’t it look great?

To the handfuls of leaves and a small amount of water we added some borage and nettles for good measure and finally a brick to weigh it all down with. Now all we have to do is let the rotting (and ponging) begin! It may niff a bit it’s a damn good feed, cheap and easy to make! More on the David “Don’t call me Dave” Blaine-type-magic of comfrey here. #keepitcomfrey!

And after a good day’s work in the garden it was nice to unwind with some well downtempo business below, an aural equivalent of a Radox* bath. * Other bath salts are available as they say.

Dub poetry and US radio hams

We send a big shout to Dr Strangedub and DJ Baby Swiss for playing the new tune “This Frequency” from Jazz’min Tutum & Madtone at 56.55 minutes in (here) on this week’s Echo Chamber on KFAI. It’s a show worth tuning into if you like the reggae, dub and chilled side of life!