You’ve come a long way…

It’s mad, the photo above shows the raised beds just before lockdown in March. My, how time’s flown eh? How many week’s have we been lockdown for? 14, 15, 16? The garden isn’t bothered how long though, it’s cracking on and with this present warm and wet weather here in London it’s getting on with what it does best. Look at those raised beds now (below), the spuds (Two bags of seed potatoes from Shannon’s. By the way the garden centre did a sterling job getting people supplied with stuff around the start of lockdown) are starting to take over and it’s becoming a bit of a jungle around there. There’s peppers, lettuce, carrots and a cabbage somewhere in amongst that lot! That’s our new incinerator too, ta for Marc B for dropping that off in a social distanced manner!

We’ve pulled out a few handfuls of spuds from around the potato plants making sure that the plant wasn’t disturbed too much and then we piled the earth/compost over the crown of the plant so any spuds near the surface wouldn’t have the chance to turn green. And here’s the spuds (below), we’re confused if they’re the first earlies, second earlies or premature maincrop ones. It doesn’t really matter, they tasted excellent and what did they taste of? Yes potatoes but real potatoes!

The lockdown may be getting us all down but if you’re fortunate enough to have a garden/windowsill/balcony and growing stuff, you know that it keeps you that little bit sane(r)! By the way here’s two tips we swear by here at Weeds, the first is to nip the sideshoots out of your tomato plants (not if they are the bush variety though) so all the goodness goes into the main stem and the flowers.

And a silly but effective one, if you know it’s going to rain get the hoe out a few hours beforehand and just scratch up the surface of somewhere in your garden that don’t look that grand. Below is a particulary not brilliant bit at the bottom of the garden which seems to get all sorts of weeds and bindweed a lot. We gave it a good “tip-around with a hoe” (as they used to say in the council) yesterday and it now looks great! We’re hoping it get’s a good covering of borage for the next couple of months to keep the bees happy. Happy lockdown gardening! #gardeninginlockdown #goingmadinlockdown

This is a pepper

We filled some of those raised beds a bit tight at the beginning of lockdown and it’s starting to look a bit like a jungle in some of them now. Perhaps it wasn’t the correct way of using them what with all the plants fighting for space, soil and water. In the raised bed (below) we’ve two tomato plants and a load of peas at the back, a lettuce and two cabbages in the middle row and in the front row either two chilli peppers or more than likely two peppers PLUS some spuds. Can we put anything else in there? Talk about square metre gardening!

With raised beds they do tend to dry out easily so we’re forever giving them a water during the morning. The great Joe Maiden would say never water at night as the slugs and snails would be attracted to the moisture and suggested always early in the day is best for watering and we’ve also started giving the raised beds a comfrey feed once a week too.

The peppers or chillies or whatever they are, are flowering (top and bottom pics) and there’s some mini-fruits too! We love those raised beds!

About the weather (in June)

Weatherwise it hasn’t been the best week this week but tonight looks like it may be taking a turn for the better as we had a little bit of warmth and even a hint of the sun an hour ago. It was nice to be out there.

The raised beds (below) have been doing great, there’s all sorts of stuff in them, spuds, carrots, beetroot, cabbages, tomatoes and even peppers. Talk about square metre gardening and sticking in as much as possible! They’ve come on a long way since that first week of lockdown when the local shop had the 3 spuds per person rule that made us think that we must obtain some seed spuds and any packs of seeds we could get our hands on.Now we’re off the furlough we’re only spending the lunchhour and after work gardening and much of the big work was done when we were off. Once you get a good headstart on yourself, gardening gets a lot easier but it’s getting that start. We managed to keep the bed on the right hand side (below) a lot tidier than usual and even stuck in some tomatoes, cabbages and spuds amongst the flowers. The comfrey we use daily, pulling off massive handfuls to stick in the compost heap and for putting in holes before we transplant something. That keeps the comfrey under control as it can swamp everything if it gets its way!

Something we forgot to do on most of the tomatoes was to pinch out the sideshoots of the variety we have, so the plant can put all it’s goodness into the trusses on the main stem. We’ve been through all of the plants now and there was only one that had two stems but that doesn’t matter, we’ll keep it as “an tomato experiment”. More on sideshooting tomatoes here.

And talk about best laid plans and all that, this bed below was supposedly going to be rested this year and was going to be full of the Thompson and Morgan wildflower seed mix. Well we sowed them at the back with the borage and we’ll see what happens. Can we now have the sun back please? It is June.

And here’s a wonderful piece of music to welcome the sun back when it does finally return from the great Blundetto called Paseo. Tune!

Capsicums from Canada

Big shout to our good mate Ciarán over in Vancouver for sending us more pics of his chilli seedlings (see previous post here) and they’re looking even better than they were last month! As he told us “We’ve just had one of the driest and warmest March’s ever. We had loads of days in 20’s and they were loving it.” We are well jealous here as it’s cloudy and grey outside this morning and looking at the BBC Weather for SE23 it’s saying “Light rain showers and a gentle breeze”. Damn! Great Chilli pics by the way Ciarán!

We welcome all gardening related pics here, just drop us a line at onedeckpete(at)gmail.com

Right back where we started from

It’s blowing a right old gale outside tonight so let’s turn our minds to bit of indoor gardening for a few minutes. Big shout to our good mate Ciarán over in Vancouver for sending us pics of his chilli seedlings and judging by the ones at the top they’re looking well healthy at the moment unlike ours which didn’t even germinate!

Here’s what we’ve got on. There’s some pea shoots, herbs and some sweet peas just poking through on the tray to the right. Send us pics of how you’re getting on with your sowings. Roll on the warmer weather!

After the sun has gone

Last weekend was a corker when it came to sunshine as on Sunday the temperature in London reached 20 odd degrees. The lawn was cut and a good load of jobs were completed and we even gave the seedlings (tomatoes, brussels sprouts, peppers and walking onion) that are on their way indoors a bit of a break in the sun.

Very much influenced by (episode 4 of) Jane Perrone’s On The Ledge podcast combined with the fact that in our seed tray were a few dealer bags with a tiny amount of seeds in them (cress, peas, beetroot, lettuce, coriander, basil and more) that needed to be sown, we filled a large pot full of multi-purpose compost and threw them all in. Come a couple of weeks time we’ve have some micro-greens to accompany our dinner!Traditionally this week (Good Friday) is the time for putting seed potatoes in (so the late great Joe Maiden used to say on his radio show with Tim Crowther). We aren’t too sure if we’ll be doing ours as it’s still cold out and as someone once told us at a potato fair, as soon as it’s warm enough to put your hand in the ground for ten seconds without it feeling cold that’s when you should put your spuds in. Sounds like good advice!

And while you’re waiting for your ground to heat up here’s a nice bit of mix-up business from one Mr Andrew Weatherall on Rinse FM the other week (8.04.2017).

Cork it Kojak, cork it

mc-demijohnToday a chap collected some demijohns that were finally put on ebay last weekend after throwing in the wine-making towel a few years ago. There were more failures than successes making vino, including once ending up going to bed early one Saturday evening feeling “well woozy” after a bottle of white wine made from a Boot’s kit. The attempt at making mead using cheap honey procured off a man who sold unfridgerated ham, cheese and european varieties of sweets you’ve never heard of in a market in Farringdon ended up “displaying a intense battery acid type flavour” and was duly tipped down the sink cleaning the U-bend out in the process. Sometimes you have to let go of things.hidden-chitting-and-propagatorOn a happier note it’s mid-way through February and there’s a little bit of gardening action at Weeds HQ. More seeds have been procured from Shannon’s today (sweet pea and night scented stock) and there’s spuds chitting underneath a table. The plastic plant propagator in the back room has a few pots with peppers and tomatoes in them and after listening to a tip from Christine Walkden on Gardeners Question Time the other week some foil was stuck on the back of the propagator to reflect any light so the seedlings don’t automatically lean towards the window and hopefully don’t grow on the leggy side. Roll on spring!

 

Harvesting in harmony

greenhouse classics_Phil Harmony

Thanks to our good friend Phil Harmony of the Dubnight Radio Show out of Berlin for sending us this Greenhouse Classic. It’s a tune in a suitable vegetable growing vein from Israel Voice called Farm up the land. It’s a tune and a half and one for blaring out whilst out in the garden!

As  well as DJing and producing some rather fine tune-age, Phil grows his own produce organically on his 2.5m x1.50m (approx) balcony outside his flat in Berlin (see last year’s post here). For a small space it’s great how much he grows which includes peppers, raspberries, strawberries beans, basil and tomatoes.Phil Harmony Balcony_1

Phil Harmony Runner beans

Phil harmony a fistful of toms

Phil Harmony_balcony2

phil harmony strawberries

And a ginger plant started from a sprouting root from his kitchen, look at it now!

Phil Harmony _ GingerPhil Harmony PeppersThanks again Phil for the great greenhouse classic and the brill balcony gardening pics!

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!