To squash or not to squash

They must be firing chemicals into the atmosphere again (see post here for explanation) as it was lovely this morning, now the weather’s taken a turn for the worst.Butternut squashes away!Before it did rain I harvested the first of the (two so far) butternut squashes on one of the plants grown from seed. It might have the odd mark on it and a light slash down the side, but who cares!

It didn’t take much effort either, I sowed the seeds in May and popped a couple of them in each pot (of seed sowing compost) just in case only one germinated, as they were part of a job-lot of seed packets on e-bay where some had passed their “use by date” and pulled out the weaker of the two seedlings when they appeared. I waited until the first proper leaves appeared and put them in various parts of the garden after “hardening them off” first. Apart from weeding around the young seedlings and giving them a semi-regular feed of comfrey liquid (beware, it pongs a bit!) that was it. squash plant all over the placeThe plant that really took off was in one of the side beds which stalled for a couple of weeks then went absolutely mad, covering all the area and now trying to climb up the small plum tree and travel across the lawn. It’s an ideal plant if you’ve got a sunny corner or plot you want to cover for a season, just watch it though, as it will takeover!

The moral of this post is, butternut squash, it was easy, it was cheap (well cheap in fact!) GO AND DO IT (next year)!

Hand in glove

glove

I made a bit of a slip-up today and now have to buy a new pair of gardening gloves.

I was tidying up a comfrey plant that was getting out of control and snipped off some excess leaves as you do. I then decided to add the cuttings into some comfrey liquid that’s been fermenting in a bucket down the bottom of the garden for a couple of months or so.

The leaves went in, followed by my (gardening) gloved hands. The gloves had to be thrown away straight away and my hands thoroughly scrubbed!

I’m still haunted by that smell of rotting comfrey and can’t get the putrid smell out of my nostrils. Horrible stuff! (More on how to make liquid comfrey feed here.)

Walk tall (and look the world right in the eye)

Spring has well sprung and today it’s looks like it’s sprung a blimmin’ leak as it was tipping it down most of the day here. The Egyptian Walking Onions are starting to form topsets, boy what a mad plant that is! Mine was originally obtained from Shannon’s a year or so ago and the plant below is off one of the top-sets which I didn’t give away.

walking back to happiness I grow it as I love how bonkers the plant grows rather than to eat it. If anyone fancies growing some, let us know later in the year and I’ll gladly pass on a couple of seed onions (for the price of a stamped addressed envelope, remember those things?) Walking onionAll of the plant is edible and here’s what it says about that on egyptianonion.com; “Egyptian Walking Onions taste just like a regular onion, only with a bit more pizzazz! Small onions form at the base in the soil. They can be eaten and prepared just like any other onion. The hollow greens may be chopped to eat like chives or green onions. They are excellent when fried, cooked in soups, or raw in salads. The topsets are excellent when peeled and fried.”

Giant ComfreyAlso I’ve been noticing how mad the Comfrey has grown (it’s to the right of the Red Hot Poker above and swamping the Lupin!), the one above came from a root given to us from our good friend Scarlett and it’s nearly five foot now! If you rip off some leaves every now an again and let them rot in a bucket with a small bit of water for a couple of months you get some great liquid plant food. Putrid is not the word to describe the smell of the stuff while it is fermenting, it smells ten times as worse as it looks (and it looks pretty bad to say the least!)

brewing up

One scotch, one bourbon and one (special) brew

I'm only humusPopped out in the back garden for an hour and a bit this afternoon while the sun made a suprise appearance. I mainly tidied up and “tipped around” with a hoe (as my good mate Leo used to say at the council, and I tell you a lot of “tipping around” was done on a friday afternoon!) I also made up the levels on the raised beds with some top compost now ready from one of my bins. You always could be doing with more of the stuff when you see how good it is and there is never enough! I still haven’t perfected the recipe yet as there still a lot of unrotted eggshells and slivers of potato shoots but that isn’t much to complain about as the stuff is well rich and will do the garden well!

Liquid coshI also made my first batch of “One Deck special” a combination of comfrey liquid and the muddy stuff that comes out of the bottom of the wormery (essentially worm wee!) It has a dubious look and I wouldn’t  advise you to smell the stuff as it’s well putrid and I’m sure mine has maggots in it too (nice!) but I’ll be feeding me plants a watered down version of it next year and I’ll let you know how I get on.

jamaica conqueredEarlier this week I found a great site called “How Jamaica conquered the world” which has some great podcasts featuring how the Island has influenced the world from sport to music and more. Click here for the list of the episodes which range from Arthur Wint (Jamaica’s first gold medalist), The fair city of Birmingham, The birth of Hip Hop, Easy All Stars, Toronto, Lover Rock and much more. Well interesting stuff from Roifield Brown delivered in a different style!

Soldier, sailor, tinker, council gardener

cheap and cheerful coldframe

This week has been a lot better on the weather front. Last Sunday I “tipped around” in the back, stuck in the last of the seed potatoes (5″ deep just to avoid any future frosts!), weeding and generally tinkering around and also sowed indoors some different varieties of basil (cinnamon, lemon and also lime, great eh?). I also moved some cabbage and sweet pea seedlings off the kitchen windowsill into the mini cold frame which will start them off on the hardening off journey. I take the window frame off during the warmer days and put it over at night so they slowly will get accustomed to the outside climate.

abucketfulofworms

Tonight I checked the bucket that the comfrey liquid has been fermenting in for the past few months at the bottom of the garden. I think it’s now time to bottle it up as there’s maggots in there now! That’s not right is it? Or are they like the maggot at the bottom of the Tequila bottle, I reckon I should stick them on the garden to see if they work wonders like the Tequila worm is supposed to (it’s never worked for me!).

Also was listening to the great podcast that is BBC Leeds’ “Gardening with Tim and Joe” and they mentioned they were recently featured in the top 5 gardening podcasts in The Guardian online.  That Joe Maiden certainly knows his onions (and his leeks, daffs, roses, rhubarb etc). Always worth a listen and top tips galore, all for a free download. Can’t be bad!

Can you handle it?

Found this bit of gardening kit on a skip the other day coming home from work. It ain’t exactly a top of the range watering can but it’ll come in handy next year for applying some liquid worm compost or the home-made smelly comfrey liquid to the garden.

It would have been better if it was one of those antique metal watering cans but hey, beggars can’t be choosers. Using a term that a mate of mine (Hi Gord!) used this week, this green bit of plastic could be “an antique of the future”!
Big up all watering can and hosepipe massives!