After the virus has gone

pumpkings-and-juniorIt’s been a fair few weeks since any work’s been done in the weeds garden due to that nasty virus doing the rounds but to help to get us in the mood here’s a pic of a couple of pumpkins.

Thanks to the good folks at Shannon’s where we got the pumpkin plant from and also a big thanks to the rodent who was caught in the darlek compost bin. It was seeing the retreating large back end of the rodent that made us decide to put all the decaying waste into a compost trench (more on that episode here) and buy said plant to plonk on top of it as pumpkins do love a bit of rich soil.

On the left is the fruit of our labours weighing in at a nice 4.8kg and to the left and from an very close associate of weeds (from her gardening club at school) a nice smaller variety at 2kg. It’s great this gardening lark isn’t it? We can’t wait to get back out there!

And while we’re here here’s a tune that’s nothing to do with Pumpkins.

Chirpy chirpy cheap cheap

jims gardening tips

A big shout to our good mate Jim N for sending us some great gardening tips (culled from lots of different blogs) found on the web. There’s some right gems here, our favourite is this brilliant one above taken from a farm of your home, talk about making the most out of something!

Rotten apple

Also a big thanks to another good mate of ours Will J for passing on the story about an anonymous artist in the US who is turning rubbish into something useful on the streets. The project is called Rotten Apple, the above is our favourite, well clever! More on the DIY pallet compost bin here.

Top of the pile(s)

The top of the pile

There’s not much gardening been done in good old London town this week due to the Christmas festivities/very wet weather but this morning I did rip up a few big cardboard boxes from the kid’s christmas presents (image above with brandling worms posing at the top of the pile, the vain gits!) and whacked them in the compost bin in layers in between some kitchen waste (remember to keep your pile well-balanced, man!) And the more varied stuff you put into the heap, the better quality that will come out of it and all that good compost is free (and you can never have enough of it!)

Compost bin number 1 can’t take much more now so the other darlek type one I’ve just emptied (bin number 2 which I got gratis off the council, so check if you can do the same!) will now be the one I’ll start to fill again. Talk about full circle!

While down the bottom of the garden I noticed there’s still a massive pile of cuttings/prunings that couldn’t go in the bins and that I need to get rid of, so as soon as it all dries out (some chance with this blimmin rain) I’ll be getting that incinerator back into action (cue neighbours complaining and slamming their windows shut!)

Also one last thing. I’ve got some assorted herbs on my kitchen windowsill (Basil, Lemon Balm, Coriander and the like) and it’s attracting a lot of mini-flies even in this climate. Any ideas how to keep them away?

I don’t do resolutions

The weather was brilliant today compared to the horrid rain of new years day.  I ventured out and did a bit in the garden to work off the load of tia maria and after eights I had over christmas. I did a good bit of tidying up, cutting back, forked over the beds and carefully with a hand trowel put back the spring bulbs I accidently disturbed. The third attempt at a compost heap was filled to the brim with stuff at the end and the second one is looking well rotten.

With the clean up, I can now see what space I really have in the garden and can plan what to put in the forthcoming year. This will save me a good bit of time and energy come spring. It’s been over four years since moving into this house and in that time I’ve sorted out ten year’s previous neglect in the garden, found beds and paths that I didn’t think existed and mainly been growing veg, herbs and salad. The garden is like a blank canvas now and I am now going to take the plunge of designing a garden that combines flowers and edibles as before I just made it up and put stuff in as I went along. It is time to make a start!

It’s okay for the make-over shows and TV personalities to show what you can do to improve your garden with a nice old budget but what if you haven’t got much to spend on it and you haven’t a team of builder “geezers” to help you out?

I’ll  be trawling the skips, small ads, e-bay, gumtree and freecycle and be on the look out for cheaper ways of getting the plants and materials (I mean I’d love railway sleepers as part of a raised bed but I can’t afford them).

The big jump of designing a garden combining flowers with veg will be a bit of a challenge, but it will be good experience as I’ll be constantly learning, something that is brilliant about gardening. I have to keep telling myself to approach one problem at a time as if I thought about all that I have to do, I’d probably give up!

Happy 2012 to all!

Ain’t bin to no music school

There was a frost this morning and mighty cold out, but I still managed to have a look at my third attempt of a compost bin. A fortnight ago it was filled to about three quarters of a way up with alternate layers of “green” and “brown” material but today when I lifted the lid, it’s gone down to about a third. It looks like things are happening even in this temperature. Today I threw in some veg peelings, ripped up sunday papers, a couple of cardboard middles of loo roll and some leaves, the same sort of material as usual. The neighbours must have thought I was mad taking snaps of it all.

The other attempt of a heap is going great guns too, after throwing in more “browns” and giving it a good turn with a garden fork a fortnight ago after it went slushy and smelly. I lifted off the top and it looked a rich brown colour and the number of writhing worms which were there have lessened, a sign that the thing is finally on it’s way!

I heard last week citrus peelings are a bit of a “no, no” to stick on the heap. I’ve looked for info and found conflicting reports. Any ideas as I throw in a few lemons over a week and really would like to get it right this time. Rot on!

Vinnie Riley’s musical project before he went a bit more “jokey”.