Post-frost therapy

There was a frost here Wednesday morning (as we’re sure we saw a white veil over the local cars on the way to work) and hopefully that’ll be it now, even though it’s still a bit parkie outside today.We’re not taking any chances here for a few days at least, the tomato plants that were outside in the upside down terrarium are now in the back room (that might have to be hardened off a little before they go out) and there’s still fleece over the Easter Sunday sown spuds. And then there’s the brassicas, runner beans and peppers that want to go out, finger’s crossed it won’t be too long now…And if you have lost a plant or two in the recent frosts here’s a tune for you…

It’s a corker from the great Mongo’s Hi-Fi (which we’ve featured a few times here at Weeds) with Johnny “Move Out Of Babylon” Clarke called “Rain keeps falling” which comes back with a lovely dub as well. The 7″ single is a special record store day release and you can get it here and if you fancy the download go here. Tune!

Songs to sow seeds to

Songs to sow seeds to-March

Here’s a nice collection of tunes to accompany your seed sowing this month. It’s an excellent mix tape from Chronixx and Federation Sound as mentioned on the great David Rodigan show the other week.

It features some well known chronixx tracks over some classic rhythm tracks like jah jah jahovah, king tubby meets the rockers uptown, cuss cuss, monkey man, joyride and much much more!

This month is a funny one for seed sowing as it’s still not warm enough to sow everything outdoors but you can give some carrots, beetroot, kale, broad beans, leeks, parsnips, spinach and turnips a go if it’s not too cold. I sowed a row each of beetroot, carrots, lettuce and spinach the other day, if they don’t work, they don’t work and it’s only a couple of rows of seeds wasted.

You can always start these indoors this month: aubergines, herbs including basil and the like, brussels sprouts, cauliflowers, chilli peppers, sweet peppers and tomatoes and what about starting a pot of salad leaves on the windowsill.

It’s still a bit early for spuds but in a couple of weeks time it will be and the gardening season will get underway and we won’t know what’s hit us!

STOP PRESS: Cheers to our mate Ciarán in Canada for sending us a pic of his advocado from seed (and some find looking sage in the background) that have grown all the way through their mild winter. How good is that? avocado

After the storm has gone…

Kuage – A Part Of You

A nice bit of off-the-wall electronica for a Thursday night heard on Rob Da Bank’s show over the last couple of weeks.

Busy Signal – Same Way

And another piece of tunage, heard this time on the Rt Hon David Rodigan’s show. A piece of minimal electro reggae straight out of the land of wood and water (and organ stabs straight out of toytown!)

Sarkodie Ft. E.L. – U Go Kill Me Instrumental

And by the power of youtube the instrumental the drum roll of which, reminds me of Bango (to the Batmobile) from the man like Todd Terry…”Let’s go!”

Todd Terry – Bango – To the Batmobile Lets Go

Mid-week blues (dance)

Chino & Di Genius – Roots Sound – Big Ship

Rodigan’s been giving this tune some stick of late, a lovely rootsy number from Chino & Di Genius (son of the great Freddie McGregor) and it wins “ lyric of the week” here at weeds as it rhymes “dances” with “Corduroy pants-es” and “Sister Nancy’s”, brilliant!

Earlier this evening I put the hose on the garden as the beds were looking a bit dry. You know what, as soon as I finish watering, the heavens opened! Great timing eh?

There’s a sting in our tail

Thanks very much again to Sharon Bassey of the London Beekeepers Association (LBKA) who’s been in touch with us on a regular basis and for recently letting us know that the capital growth fund is releasing more grants of up to £750 for community food growing projects, see for more info.

The LBKA will be running their “Introduction to beekeeping” two day weekend course at St Paul’s Church Hall in SW4 in a couple of months time and after that they run a mentoring scheme where you are assigned to a local beekeeper for a year before going it alone. A great organisation running excellent and informative courses. The cost of the forthcoming one is at the great price of £150 which is not bad at all!

For more information:

Pic: The Worker Bee from Enlightened Cushions

Get up and use me

One thing I’ve learnt over the last few years being broke, is to make the most of what you’ve got and to reuse as much as possible. Bob Flowerdew, gardener’s question time panelist and recycler to the max, always comes out with brilliant ideas, reusing something ordinary in an unusual way that’ll benefit his garden, from old fridges as cold frames, knackered radiators as garden paths and thin strips from old venetian blinds as plant labels. Inventive eh?

Being broke shouldn’t stop you gardening, if anything it should inspire you to be more creative with whatever material comes to hand. I compost my garden/kitchen waste, collect autumn leaves and make leaf mould, reuse all plant pots after giving them a good clean and save all my bamboo canes for next years runner beans like everybody else does but here’s a few more ideas:

  • Jam jars: Brilliant as mini-greenhouses for starting off seeds outdoors or giving those just planted seedlings some protection.
  • Plug plant containers: Take out the plants, refill with compost, sow some seeds, water and hey presto more plug plants!
  • Gardening twine/wire: Wrap onto a small bamboo cane rather than throwing away and use again.
  • Long twigs and non thorny prunings: Use as “peas sticks” to support your prize peas!
  • Scratched CD’s, jam jar lids and free DVD’s from the sunday papers: Thread twine through them and hang between bamboo canes to keep birds off your seed beds. 
  • Comfrey and nettle leaves: Make your own plant feed which will save you a fortune!
  • Ice lolly sticks: Great as seed and plant labels.
  • Margarine tubs, yoghurt pots, persil capsules (or similar) plastic tubs: Stick in a few drainage holes for great seed containers.
  • Cardboard egg boxes and cardboard toilet roll holders: Double up the egg boxes for a good seed tray and use the toilet roll holder as a pot for seeds like corn that don’t like their roots being disturbed.
  • Car tyres: A local nursery school has a few on top of each other as planters. They look a lot better than you think.
  • Small metal dustbin: Drill a few large holes around the bottom of the bin for a great mini brazier for your garden or to take camping (thanks Marc for that top tip!).
  • Old biscuit tins: Great for saving your seed packets in, you know I like a box!

The list is endless and the above is only a start. If you have any good recycling ideas post them up here as I love a good gardening tip like anyone else!