The lockdown lunacy has kicked in already

During lockdown, things get you down a lot easier than normal and the cabin fever sets in hard at times but a walk down the garden gives us a bit of respite from that.

Our new thing is why wait until you got a dishful of teabags to bring down the compost heap at once when you can bring each tea bag down separately. Is lockdown finally making us lose our marbles? Or is it making us go out and appreciate the garden more?

On our single-tea-bag-compost-bin-trips we’ve seen a few things that have cheered us up:
(Top) The broad bean seedling we pulled up by accident the other week and hastily replanted into one of the raised beds is now flowering.
(Below) The clematis montana on its way flowering-wise with an old clock dumped beside it for no reason than to hide a housebrick coming through from next door.
(Lower) The lone anemone in the pot near the house that makes us smile! #lockdownlunacy #gardeningduringlockdown

That’s the dad corner sorted then!

Today’s job during lockdown was to tidy up “The Dad Corner” at the back of the garage. There was all sorts of rubbish there earlier including a big pile of clippings and prunings that were far too big to be put on the compost heap. There was also a pick-up sticks pile of bamboo canes and a fair few weeds.

It’s now tidy as, and it may not look a big deal but it means a lot to us! We can actually walk around that part of the garden now and don’t have to risk life or limb tripping over bamboo canes to reach the veg beds!

And look at this tidy pile of clippings/sticks all cut to OCD regulation-length drying out in the sun ready to be stuck in the firepit when things return to some sort of normality. A time when friends can come round and sip alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks around a fire pit in your back garden. And a time when sneezes, dry coughs or sore throats aren’t treated with suspicion. Those days will return again before you know it!

Woo hoo! It’s bin night!

The refuse men are around again tomorrow morning so the bins had to be put out earlier this evening. In the present lockdown putting your bins out is a big thing, something to really focus on from mid-morning. Tomorrow is recycling, food bin AND domestic rubbish bin day so it’s a triple bonus! Big up all binmen/binwomen everywhere!

Do remember DJ Frederick’s Free Radio Skybird is having a broadcast on Easter Monday 13th April at 1100 UTC (1200 UK) on 6070 kHz via Channel 292. The programme will feature Justin Patrick Moore’s Radiophonic Laboratory and One Deck Pete’s “Tunes to cheer you up” alongside other great stuff! It will be a bit of a different Easter this year with that damn virus but it will be Easter all the same. Tune in and be entertained during lockdown.

Our job on the side

We spent about an hour today clearing around the side bed at the end of the decking towards the pond, right up to the part where we cleared yesterday. There’s a blueberry (the left of the above pic) that has been swamped by that horrible purple plant for a long while now and as we’ve thinned the stuff around it we should see some progress even though they should be in acidic soil not our London clay soil. There’s still a bit to do under the variegated hebe and there’s loads of the creeping plant behind it but we reckon we’re doing okay. The weather’s supposed to be nice tomorrow so we’ll be cracking on.

And there’s life from the celery, god know’s what’s going to happen to it but it’s growing! There’s a link here that shows you how you can do it even though we didn’t suspend over water, we just stuck it in the raided bed! #ifitgrowsitgrows #gardeningduringlockdown

We’ve got that “side of the pond plants” blues

Another row of spuds went in on Saturday in the bed we were going to “rest” for this year and beside the pond we started on a mammoth task.A few years ago a friend of ours passed on some plants. A root of Comfrey and a thug of a thing (we never did find the name of but we know the plant oh so well now!) that looks like a low-growing privet that has purple flowers and spreads like wildfire! It’s taken over the bottom corner of the garden now (pic below) and it’s our new “work in progress” during the lockdown.

We did a little bit of hand weeding on Saturday and above is the result. It’s hard work and you know it’ll keep coming back so we’ll have to be on our guard for the next few months but it’s a darn sight better. We will keep a little bit of it about though as we do need a bit of wildness by the pond for the frogs and wildlife to hide but not too much like it is now! #lockdowngardening #there’sneveranendtogardening

Tune of the week/month

And out of Braga, Portugal is Far Down Records that brings us this minimal classic from Sasskia called Half of me. It may not sound like there’s much going on on first play, but we guarantee you that this tune will get under your skin!

If all goes well, this tune will be featured alongside tunes from Mokka and Camille Murray on a forthcoming mix called “Radio connects us all” which will be broadcast on Free Radio Skybird on April 26th at 1100UTC on 6070 kHz via Channel 292.

The mix was influenced by the above youtube that features Patrick McGoohan, the Red Sands Maunsell Forts and an offshore pirate radio station. What more do you want out of a telly programme, Grant Mitchell and the Queen Vic? We don’t think so!

More on the Dangerman episode and about the tunes used on it have a look here. Thanks very much to This is a music show for passing the info on!

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.