A frosty reception this morning

It’s always the way, awoke to a frost this morning (above). Typically a couple of days after planting the elephant garlic out under a thick mat of leaf mulch. We reckon we may have lost them but let’s see if they survive. That’s the trouble with gardening, just like life you get good days and bad days. We’ll update you about the garlic.

At lunchtime we got some plug plants through the post, some White Foxgloves off ebay (below). Expertly packed or what? They’re not going out just yet even though it said on the supplied notes they can be overwintered in a cold frame. Possibly, but they’re staying on the windowsill for a couple of days before we can knock up some sort of cold frame-like structure with protection outside in the garden. We’re talking an old piece of glass on some bricks or something, it won’t be pretty but it may work. Trouble is we don’t want the plugs to get too comfortable indoors even though they’ve probably come from a greenhouse before being posted.

And below is the latest episode of Imaginary Stations, KBUS which was broadcast last night on WRMI (also home to This is a music show and Radio Northern Europe International). The show’s theme is travel which features all sorts of eclectic goodness as ever featuring this tune below by Wesley Willis “Harmony Joy Bus Ride” which we’ve never heard of, shamefully we’ve never of the artist before either. We must do some more research on Wesley Willis as he was an interesting fellow by all accounts.

And at 43 minutes in on the show is One Deck Pete’s “Where’s me travel card?” mix.
Here’s the tracks:
John Harvey – Automated Announcement, Platform 7, Shewsbury station
Ceramic The Band – Tickets, Please
Tabasco Driver meets Delroy Wilson in Dub
N&L – Metropolis
Inteus – Angry Bus Driver
Phil Pratt – Safe Travel
kK4P M3TR0 – NEXT STOP – Riverside – Town Creek

Fingers crossed those garlic bulbs survive!

Big props for keeping up the fence!

Cheers to Gerry Hectic for giving us an update a few hours ago on the Fence versus Storm Eunace battle. We love the barbell arrangement and the whole thing looks like it may have worked. We love a bit of garden inventiveness here at Weeds!

We here meanwhile thought it would be a good idea to go out and try to pick up the wheelie bins that had fell over mid-storm until we got a bit spooked out by the speed of the wind so shut the front door. Then we thought to ourselves “What’s the point, the bins will only go for a burton again” so they’re still strewn across the drive.

The storm seems to have quietened down now but we can still hear the wind howling and we’ve even had the odd sharp shower of halestones over the last few hours. What a day!

Relatively safe from the madness outside we’re seeing a bit of movement on the couple of seed trays we’ve got in the propagator on the kitchen windowsill (Jalapeno’s and Cape Gooseberries.) It’s taken a good couple of weeks for the seeds to germinate but we must remember it’s still technically the winter. It shouldn’t be long till spring!

And an apt record from Incognito with a wonderful mix from Carl Craig from many years ago.

Take a chance on me

We’ve all heard stories of keen gardeners on seeing the sun in the early months of the year getting the seeds out or travelling to the local garden centre to buy plants. Then come the day after the seeds or plants have been put in, the weather changes and then there’s a frost.

We’re not immune to it here at Weeds even though we know the risk. Over the last week we’ve had nice sunny days so took a chance to stick a couple of the seed spuds in the raised bed which has protection from some plastic and another couple under some old seed propagator tops weighed down so they don’t get blown away by the cold winds. Fingers crossed if we get snow they may be protected. It’s worth taking a chance, you’ve only got a couple of seed potatoes to lose if the weather gets too cold. (Please) roll on spring.


Sunflowers, snails, slugs and squirrels

The weather has been a bit changeable of late to say the least. Some of the sunflowers have been attacked by snails, slugs or squirrels but there are some that have out outmaneuvered them like the one next to the garage (above). It’s so tall nothing can climb it without a bit of work and is a little way out from the garage roof so the squirrels can’t even reach it from on high. This one above is at least a ridiculous 10 feet or more! We’re going to try and save some seed and if anyone fancies a swap for something just as crazy we’ll be game. We go for anything labelled as “Giant” “Rare” or “Out of this world” so if you have anything to exchange, drop us a message via comments!

Another thing with this changeable weather is it is a breeding ground for slugs and these are the gits (above) we have to contend with in SE23. They’re sturdy old things and we think they’d return if we collected them all in a bag and slung them up the local park. These are not common or garden slugs these are south London slugs and they mean business!

At least the pond has been loving this present weather even though we haven’t. The fish and plants seem happy with the rising waterline and if you stand still for long enough you’ll see mini-frogs jumping about in the areas around it. Let’s hope they gang up all together and teach those damn slugs a lesson!

Freedom blues

Since the relining earlier this year things have gone a bit haywire (in the best sense of the word) down the pond. The water is a hell of a lot clearer, the fish seem happier and we’ve seen far more wildlife in and around there.

We usually get frogspawn, then tadpoles and then usually nothing after. This has had us scratching our heads thinking “Where have they gone then?” expecting to see lots of “something” but no, nothing, just an pond full of fish and plants, nothing frog-related at all.

It’s been different of late as there’s a load of mini frogs sunbathing, swimming and some even making the trip out of the pond out to the surrounding jungle (it’s going to look like a jungle to something so small!) We’ve been watering around the pond recently as we usually just leave it to go dry so we wonder if that’s helping matters too. Nice to see a frog sitting down comtemplating what to do next (above) on this the so called “Freedom Day”.

What the hail?

Here’s some pictures to convey how bad the weather was yesterday around 5pm in London town. It started as a downpour, then heavier rain and then mad hail! To say it was chucking it down was an understatement. A fast flowing stream appearing under the back gate from the drive and then the hail built up at the start of the lawn and it’s still there now.

Watch those seedlings. We may not be having frosty nights but heavy rain and hail can be a pain. One good thing with all of this rain is that the pond is filling up. That makes a change!

The weather it is a-changin’

Wow, it’s December can you believe? No wonder it’s freezing out there and the rest of the week looks like it’s going to be getting colder. We’ve heard from our gardening pals in Cincinnati  (Cheers Justin!) and Freiberg, Germany (Cheers Jazz’min) where they’ve had their first dusting of snow so I doubt it won’t be long until we’ll get some.

Those dahlias were still looking fine last weekend but we reckon it won’t be long till the frost comes and blackens the plants when it will be time again to dig them all up and stick them somewhere frost free and dry for the rest of the winter, keeping an eye out for any rotting or mouldy tubers while they’re in storage.

We can’t complain as those spikey orange ones have been great this year, flowering right up until we last looked so going to the effort of digging them up and storing them indoors is a small price to pay for a few more years of the same.

And the nice plastic looking pink variety we were given this year was great too (cheers Marc).

And the beds in front of the Dad corner (that has been productive this year thanks to the new raised beds) have been tidied up a bit and now ready for the winter. In the pic you will notice a couple of cabbage stalks that we left when we cut the leaves off them. Not sure if it will happen over the winter but usually when you cut them off like that, the leaves grow back again. Value for money or what?

And the question is…

It’s been lovely weatherwise this week and now it’s a Saturday, why has it decided to rain? To tell you the truth the ground is a bit dry so we could do with a bit of rain but as long as it clears up later we won’t hold it against mother nature too much. 

As for the garden we’re loving that we’re getting the first tomatoes ripening (above), the plant isn’t at its best looking as a few of its leaves have been taken off so the sun can reach them but as the great Bob Flowerdew says below at around the 4 minute mark “I don’t eat the plants.” A video worth watching.

Things are hotting up in the raised beds too even though plants are battling it out with each other (that reminds us we’d do a bit of a thin out of the veg there tomorrow as we’re sure there’s some carrots we can pull up.) We weren’t sure if the below was a chilli pepper at first but it now looks like it’s a pepper pepper (so to speak). We’ll be keeping up with the watering and the weekly feed of comfrey liquid as those beds tend to dry out well quickly.

And it’s only taken a day or so for the first courgette/zucchinni to show after its first flower. We chucked a bit of organic matter from the bottom of the compost heap around the plant and a good feed won’t go amiss either. Never mind the lockdown, keep on gardening! #gardeninginlockdown #londonlockdowngardening

And here’s a nice and chilled tune if you’re stuck indoors this morning from Adriak called Sandalo (original mix), it’s a tune to cheer you up if it’s dull outside. Eight and a half minutes of nice ambience with a lovely bassline.  #lockdownambience

As big as a wall, wall, wall

It makes us laugh, we’ve got some cardoons at the bottom of the garden we bought in Shannon’s a couple of years ago, they were only a few quid and they didn’t come with any claims about them being giants or anything, all we got were a couple of unassuming healthy plants with a plant label in each pot. We’re on the second year now and both plants are near on seven and a half feet tall and there may be more growth left in them!

Now compare those cardoons to the giant sunflower we got on ebay. In the ad for the seeds there were all sorts of claims of massive, large, tall and the like and there even may have been mentions of it being the actual plant in Jack and the Beanstalk. Use the small cabbage on the left of it as an indicator of scale. That is no giant cabbage!

And here’s an oddity (pic below) from one of our raised beds. The lime green fruit towards the top of the pic is a tomato. The dark green one towards the bottom, just behind the poppy bud is the fruit of a potato. Eat that and you’ll regret it!

As it says on wikipedia: “After flowering, potato plants produce small green fruits that resemble green cherry tomatoes. Like all other parts of the plant except the tubers, the fruit contain the toxic alkaloid solanine and are therefore unsuitable for consumption.” Now we know!

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