Tomorrow’s tomato today

Judging by the weather forecast it looks like the good weather is returning next week. We’ve had some rain and sun this week which may have kept us in but it’s making the veg and the back lawn come out of themselves. Those scorch marks on the grass have now turned a shade of dark green and here’s something we spotted this morning, our first tomato, we know it’s early days but it’s the first one! We’ve already started feeding all the veg once a week with that smelly comfrey liquid so it is doing something! Roll on the good weather!  #tomatoesinlockdown  #lockdowngardeningnearlewisham

Live from the town and comfrey show

Comfrey liquid, don’t we all just love it? Looks awful don’t it? Well imagine the smell is about 1000 times worst as how it looks and you’re close. Drain out the liquid from the above abyss into a bottle then transfer a capful into a watering can and add some H20 and you’ll have some top end plant feed, we kid you not. As well as being bunged into a 1980’s Boot’s homebrew bucket we’re use a leaf or two to put below tomato plants (and other seedlings) before they go in the ground. A very versatile plant and the bees don’t half love it!

The actual plants where we’re taking the leaves from are taking a hammering at the moment (and it’s not even June!) but they don’t seem to mind. If you’re going to get some go for the “Bocking 14” variety. As the song goes: comfrey, what is it good for?

 

There’s good jobs and bad jobs!

Well we finished the big job of clearing the ivy off the front garden wall (there’s still a little bit on the top right hand-side but that’s covering part of the wall that’s fallen down) and getting rid of the weeds so we can start again from afresh. There’s still the odd bit of ivy root in the ground that when it starts to grow again will need knocking off with a hoe. Some parts of the ground were so hard we couldn’t get the garden fork in deep enough but on those bits we just ruffled the surface a bit. Once we have that bit of rain we’ve been promised this week it will hopefully look like it’s all been forked over well!

And a job we do hate is draining off the liquid from the bucket which houses the brewing comfrey liquid. To say it smells is an understatement. And for God’s sake don’t even get any of the stuff (even if it’s been diluted) on your gardening gloves or clothes.

More on making your own excellent (but stinky) comfrey plant feed here. Comfrey is a must-have in the garden as it’s great for the bees and for plant food! You’ll have to be careful though, as the plant has a tendency to take over if you don’t regularly check it.

And the final result just in…

Okay, so something got to it before we did (pesky squirrels!) and it is looking a bit bruised but the excellent beefsteak Thompson & Morgan trial tomato is a winner. This specimen is next to a 50 pence piece and weighs 500 grams, that’s half a kilogram! You would be mad not to try these next year. The plant required minimum fuss, some support, regular water and a weekly comfrey feed. What a tom!

What a difference a few days make

We know it’s only been a few days since the last pics of the Thompson & Morgan seed trials have been posted, but look what’s happened in that short time. The tomatoes have moved on a bit and all of the plants are doing well. We keep them regularly watered and feed comfrey liquid to them on a weekly basis and those fruits are now starting to swell!

And yes we’ve had problems with cheeky daytime slugs and the spaghetti squash (see post here) but for some reason they’ve missed this one!

And as for the sunflower, there’s more buds forming! It’s a value for money plant if you’re going to be buying some when they are released next year. Our specimens may be a bit on the small side but we’re not complaining! More power to the (vertically challenged) sunflower!

And thanks to whosampled:

Smells like teen spirit? No.

We here at Weeds swear by comfrey liquid used as a plant feed. Ours is made well out of the way at the bottom of the garden in a 1980’s Boots homebrew fermenting bin. A good few handfuls of the leaves of the plant are chucked in the bin alongside a few of borage and nettle and are left to rot in a small amount of water for a good few weeks weighed down with a housebrick, talk about simplicity!

It’s a brilliant feed used well diluted but what of the pong you may ask? Comments heard the last few times we’ve used it have ranged from “that smell is blxxdy awful!” to “that’s worse than the wiff of a thousand dirty ashtrays” to “urgghhh, that reminds me of body odour off a sweaty armpit stuck in your face on a tube at rush hour times ten”. Never mind the niff, it’s brilliant stuff, it’s cheap and works wonders! #comfreyliquidforever #comfreyplantfeediswhereitsat More comfrey info here.

Back yard reportage 1

A belated Happy Solstice to one and all! It was a shame we couldn’t get Ken Barlow, Jamie Reid or Arthur Pendragon (they were busy elsewhere) in our garden first thing yesterday to give the plants added help with a blessing or two but we have the next best thing, a bucket of home-made Comfrey Liquid (with added borage and nettle leaves) ponging away nicely!

It’s been such a boost (we use it diluted, 10 parts water to every 1 part of the dark stinky liquid on a weekly basis) all over the garden especially the various poppies that are coming up now after we used the “throw em randomly and see” method of distribution from seeds obtained from Shannon’s, ebay or off a seed swap or two. A few years ago we were into how many types of mint we could find, now we’ve moved onto poppies!

We mention Comfrey liquid, yesterday we passed on a bottle of the said pongy stuff to Honor Oak Park train station to add some weight to their entry in the annual “Station in bloom” contest. We gave them an accompanying set of instructions ‘Warning this stuff smells (think of  body odour and times it by twenty), apply once a week diluted 10 to 1 very early in the morning or you will lose customers!” Best of luck to them!

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.

Are you feeling comfrey? Then we’ll begin…

Comfrey is a plant that the bees love and a very useful one for the gardener. Get a root of it and you’re made for life but watch out as the plant can spread and easily get out of control. A thin layer of comfrey leaves can be used as a compost activator – alongside human urine applied from a bottle of course! – and a couple of leaves put in the hole before you put your seed spuds in will get them off to a good start.

We also use a big handful of the leaves to make a wonderful plant feed (that needs to be diluted) adding some borage and nettle leaves to give it extra goodness. Leave everything to steep for a few weeks in a bucket with a small amount of water and wait until it all turns to a horrible looking dark mush.

Public health warning: The liquid smells to high heaven, like a intense case of body odour or the smell of a dustcart in hot summer climates times fifty! We’ve had family members retching after spilling a bit in the kitchen when filling up our watering can the other month. Do not, we repeat DO NOT get any of the neat (or diluted for that matter) liquid on your clothes or gardening gloves as the smell don’t half linger. If you want an exclusion zone when walking through a crowd or a row of seats to yourself on the train in the morning then this is the perfect aroma for you!

Aside from the downside of the pong of the liquid feed, it’s a great plant to have in the garden and if Witchipedia is to be believed: “Wrap your money in a comfrey leaf for several days before going to a casino, poker game or bookies. It will help keep your bets coming back to you.”  #keepitcomfrey!

Ponds and pumps and the origin of dub

It’s been a busy couple of weeks at Weeds HQ; the builders are in doing some work and a fair bit of clearing up has been done in the back during a couple of days dedicated to just gardening. Also after years deliberating, a solar powered pump is now in action in the pond, all for the bargain price of 40 odd quid and what a difference it makes! The new load of fish bought from the Lewisham pet shop now with a net over them (to stop that pesky heron here from murdering this current batch) are looking well happy and so are the frogs and newts too! The bottom of the pond can now be seen, which is a first!The builders had some stuff delivered on a nice mini-pallet (above) which has now been utilised for the mini herb garden just outside the back door. Apart from a couple of leaves being nibbled in the night everything is doing fine. The first chilli is now showing (below).The weekly comfrey liquid feed around the garden is turning up trumps what with the giant tomato (below) that is nearly ripened. The comfrey liquid might pong a bit but it don’t half work wonders.This week the following radio show has been on constant replay. It’s Jah Life‘s excellent Backawall University from July 7th and this episode contains something very special indeed. It features dub plates from King Tubby’s younger brother Stagga (aka “Young Tubbs”) made in Brooklyn, New York in 1970 before King Tubby began his dub experiments in Kingston. There’s some great dubs on here: Phyllis Dillon’s “One life to live” (with the vocal just about audible), The Sensations “Everyday is just a holiday”, The Jamaicans “Baba boom” (retitled “Boom Baba”) and more. More on Stagga Ruddock here. Big shout to Dubby Doo for alerting us to this show which is musical history!