International gardening round-up

pumpkins in australiaThanks to a couple of good mates of ours for sending in some great gardening pics this week. First is from our good friend and musical collaborator Paul Greenstein formally of the East Dulwich parish now based in Melbourne, Australia of his (Jap or Kent) pumpkin harvest from only two plants, how good is that? Brilliant stuff Paul, hope you’ve got some good recipes to use them in!

phil H seedlingsAnd also to our fellow dub gardener Phil Harmony in Berlin for sending us pics of his tomato (from the free Heinz seed offer earlier this year) and peppers seedlings that he has on the go at the moment. Great stuff Phil, they’re looking good!

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.

There’s no such thing as free seeds

Thanks to Lewisham Gardens for letting us know about more free seeds! These are available from M&G to celebrate their sponsorship of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The kindly people there are giving away a collection of 11 different herb seed varieties, how good is that?

Fill in the form here and you’ll get your ‘erb selection within 10 days they promise. Get your application in while stocks last etc.

Never had nothing

Sunny jim

Anyone else lucky with the Evening Standard Sunflower seeds giveaway the other week?

I forgot all about it until Friday when a posh padded envelope arrived through me door with the free pack of seeds. If you didn’t, don’t worry there will be more free seed offers hopefully coming soon and we’ll be keeping an eye out and post them up as soon as. If you hear of any before we do, do let us know. Every little helps!

Heinz are giving you a chance to win a pack of tomato seeds when you “like” their Facebook page (taking a note of your profile and “friends” into the bargain.) You can have a try but I’ve just had a go but was “unsuccessful this time, please keep trying.” I’ve now “unliked” Heinz.

Free seeds with Kitchen Garden magazine!

Free seeds kitchen gardenPopped into our local Co-Op on Friday evening and saw a gardening magazine with free seeds on the front so I had to get it, anything free me! The July 2013 issue of Kitchen Garden costs £3.99 but it’s got two packs of seeds on the front (Beetroot-Bolthardy and Beet, Leaf – Bright Lights) and there’s some good articles in it (Bob Flowerdew has a spread in it, tips on how to grow Basil, perfect Peas and growing Oca, the New Zealand yam) so, it’s a bargain!

Short Newz!

Big shout to Will for passing on that the breakfast cereal Shredded Wheat are giving away free packs of seeds with each box and they are currently on offer at Tesco’s for £1.09!

Hornimans Museum in Forest Hill have their Horniman Friends annual plant sale on Sunday 19th May and Guerrilla Gardener and author Richard Reynolds is doing a talk there on Sunday 26th May. Great stuff for nowt!

A long time ago I sent Kid Strange, the singer from the Doctors of Madness a copy of my fanzine thinking it’ll be up his street after seeing them live. Ten years later I saw him in Brixton on my way home from the council. “Oi mate, years ago I sent you my fanzine, Ded Yampy. Do you remember it?” A suprised Kid Strange who was probably on his way home from a day job too, paused thinking for what seemed like a age and said “Ahhh, I remember that one, it was from Coventry weren’t it, all about beer…” (another pause) “…terrible!” Oh dear, me and blokes from old punk bands, I just don’t get it right sometimes!

Southern freeez

It’s been too cold this week to do any gardening but the Sunday before last I cleared out one of the compost bins (supplied free from Lewisham Council) and got three barrows worth of rich looking humus. Over the last year I’ve tried to be very careful what I put in the bin but I still found a blue biro, gardening wire, green plastic plant tags, chocolate wrappers and a couple of crisp packets! I have now a old plant pot down there as a rubbish container for those “I can’t see a bin so I’ll hoof it in with the compost when no one’s looking” moments!
bare veg patch in feb

long bedI spread the muck over a couple of beds where this year I’ll be be sticking in vegetables that’ll benefit from the richness of the soil like potatoes and courgettes. I also have to consider what’s been in the beds previously as you can’t have the same (or related) plants growing in the same area year after year. If so the plants would will drain nutrients making the soil unbalanced, and also leave it open to pests and diseases which in turn would infect the plants. You use something called crop rotation to counteract this, which is in it’s simplest form is putting vegetables into specific groups and rotating these groups one season after another in your plot/beds. More on crop rotation to come.

Also this week while bringing one of our cats to the vets in New Cross I passed a woman struggling with two very large plastic plant pots (nearly 4 foot wide and probably the same height) on a crossbar of a pushbike. It turns out the pots were being thrown out on a building site. She told me she was going to use them for spuds, but if you saw the size of them a couple of small fruit trees would fit in them!

Do remember those free seed tokens in the Daily Mirror this week. I’ll be bribing roadsweepers, newsagents and train cleaners to try and get some extra tokens. Keep em peeled!

Seedy Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…

How do you say pea in russian?I’ve just seen an advert on the telly about the Daily Mirror’s free seed offer which starts tomorrow. All you have to do is send one token from the newspaper per packet plus some cash to cover the postage. They have a selection from a wide variety of seeds including herbs, flowers and vegetables, not bad for a price of a paper eh? The seeds you get probably haven’t got the exotic packaging like the russian perennial pea I got off ebay the other day (above) but I reckon they have more seeds per pack than the eight I got in mine!

Keep those eyes peeled for a copy of a discarded Daily Mirror on the train and bus to and from work next week. Me, I’ll be scouring those empty carriages!