Reach for the sky

Crap sign

This morning I popped into a local greasy spoon for a bacon sarnie and noticed up on the wall a collection of “hilarious” signs (“you don’t have to be mad to work here but it helps” “don’t ask for credit as a smack in the mouth usually offends” etc etc) and saw this one above. Did people really laugh at these in the 1970’s? I somehow doubt it.

sunflower_2Anyway there are no complaints in the Sunflower size department. The Mongolian Giant Sunflowers we bought on ebay earlier this year are certainly living up to their name. As the blurb said on the ad, “These sunflowers are monsters which grow up to 15 feet tall with enormous heads of up to 20 inches in diameter.”sunflower_1Below is what they started out like in March. We love anything here that is advertised as “Giant”, “Special edition” or “Rare”. Big up the Sunflower!tall, tall, tall

How did that get there?

BorageEarlier this year I bought a couple of packets of Borage off ebay and just flicked a light amount of seed here and there in a random fashion and forgotten where I sown it until now.

They’ve been appearing all over the garden from cracks in the pavement to the middle of OCD military-style sown veg beds. Thank god for anarchic type sowing!

I’ve just found this on wikipedia as well “Borage is said to protect or nurse legumes, spinach, brassicas, and even strawberries. It is also said to be a good companion plant to tomatoes because it confuses the mother moths of tomato hornworms or manduca looking for a place to lay their eggs. Claims that it improves tomato growth and makes them taste better remain unsubstantiated.”

The bees love it and I always stick a few Borage leaves in to add to the mix when concocting the evil smelling Comfrey plant feed. Big up the Borage!

Sucker for a sunflower

massive sunflowersWe’re a sucker here for a packet of seeds, plant or bulb that’s advertised as rare, unusual or giant, and a few weeks ago we bought some Mongolian Giant Sunflowers on ebay. The blurb said “These sunflowers are monsters which grow up to 15 feet tall with enormous heads of up to 20 inches in diameter.” Once we read that, our paypal details were disclosed in a flash.

We’ll be onto trading standards if ours doesn’t reach the dizzy heights of the picture above but we only sowed the seed the other day and this is what it’s like now. We’ll keep you posted…tall, tall, tall

The image has cracked

Piggot on a spiggotOn the way home from work tonight I walked past some stuff in the street outside a house. There was an old portable TV set and a couple of prints of famous jockeys on horses in broken picture frames. Beside them was a note saying “Take Me” on it.

A few minutes later, I passed a woman with a very heavy looking rusty iron clock-face about 6 foot high. The woman was leaning against a wall well out of breath, waiting for a cab as she couldn’t carry the clock-face to the bus stop. She told me she’d won it off ebay for £6.50 and had just collected it from the seller. My thought was “and much will it cost you to get it home?”

These two events made me think of one of our Sounds From The South episodes from christmas last year called “Take Me I’m Yours” about finding stuff in the street or on a skip, a subject that is dear to our hearts.

All of our other Sounds From The South podcasts are archived on i-tunes here or Stitcher here.

Never mind the sell-by-date, feel the width!

Flaming NoraLast week I got a right old bargain from ebay, 30 odd packs of seeds (plus a couple of seed collections thrown in on top too) for £9.56 including P&P! The oldest sell-by-date was 2013 so it weren’t that brilliant but most of the use-by-dates were at least 2015 and there wasn’t that many duplicates. Not bad for just under a tenner though!

A mate from work has just got an allotment and this weekend was going to the allotments’ annual Cheese and Wine, Seed Swap Barbecue, (how’s that for a good idea?)  I gave her a massive handful to make a good impression and I still had loads for myself. Bargains, I love them! Remember this bargain related tune from many many moons ago?

Free seeds, ferrero rocher and protoje

Back bedIt was an afternoon of good weather today so I tipped around in the garden and finished off clearing the back bed and it was nice to see it clear of weeds for once.

CornflowerI’m giving the bed a bit of a rest of veg this year so unusually it’s going be full of flowers if all goes to plan. This afternoon I sowed a load of cornflowers called ‘blue boy’ in the first quarter of the bed (600 seeds off ebay for £1.50 including p+p, cheap or what?)

Talking of seeds and good value, earlier this morning I picked up a copy of “Grow your own” magazine for £4.99 for the free packets of veg seeds (little gem lettuce, basil, courgette, kale, carrot and celeriac) from the WH Smiths in Lewisham. They were also selling cut-price Terry’s Chocolate Oranges and Ferrero Rocher on a special make-shift stall outside the store because of Mother’s day tomorrow. Aaahhhhh!

Grow your own

And to end on, a lovely tune in a hip-hop/reggae style from the great Protoje called Criminal. A tune to play whacked up loud while searching magazine emporiums for gardening mags with free vegetable seeds as it’s “that time of year”. Big up Rodigan for playing this the other week. More of the instrumental version please.

And thanks to youtube, a nice live version of the tune.

Good tidings of compost and joy

seeds of 30 types

Christmas Eve started on a good tip today with the postlady delivering the 30 packets of seeds I bought on e-bay for £6 odd the other day. There were some great stuff in there, flowers, herbs and vegetables and not a duplicate packet of cress seeds in sight! And they were well in their sell-by dates as well.

Talk about getting a good deal, I recommend everyone having a look on ebay (but not too often as we don’t want to put the local garden centre out of business!) On the veg tip I got some butternut squash, leek, cabbage, red onion, two varieties of tomato (gardeners delight and moneymaker, two decent varieties) beetroot, courgette and pepper (sweet minimix.) As for flowers lots of annuals including aster, cherry rose nasturtium, phlox and nigella amongst lots more. Bargain!

I even spent an hour or so today tipping about in the garden and sowed some leek seeds in a tray under a cloche. I know it’s a bit previous, but who knows what the weather will bring, saying that the weatherman mentioned some cold nights and frosts to come.

So a big festive greetings to all gardeners everywhere and let’s hope 2015 is one good year when it comes to the garden!