November spawned a monster

A few photos of the state of play in the Weeds garden at the moment. There’s fun and frolics in the pond with the goldfish and this year’s batch of tadpoles and it’s not looking too murky in there at the moment. There’s no sign of that thieving Lewisham heron either thanks to the folks at Shannon’s for telling us to put pea netting over the top of the pond (with a few escape routes dotted about for the local mini-wildlife).

The poppies are doing their thing too. Any seed heads that form we dry out and distribute around the garden so they’ll come back next summer.

The vegetable bed at the bottom of the garden has moved on since last month. The spuds are on their way, the alderman peas are starting to grow and we’re finally seeing the runner beans germinate. And about time too!

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Spud U like?

As it isn’t too long to Good Friday – traditionally the time to be sowing your potatoes (according to the late great Joe Maiden) – thought went out to the seed spuds chitting away merrily on the windowsill at Weeds HQ.

While on the internet researching about the variety we have chitting here ‘Rocket”, we found out a couple of interesting things about it on Gardenfocussed.co.uk. It turns out it’s easy to grow and one of the first early spud to mature. The other was that it was:

“A rather bland tasting potato. They can be perked up flavour-wise by adding slightly more salt than normal, a knob of butter and preferably a good sprinkling with fresh mint. But there’s no getting away from it, if you want a tasty spud, look elsewhere.”
https://www.gardenfocused.co.uk/vegetable/potatoes/variety-rocket.php

And we thought we were doing so well! So this weekend it’s back to the drawing-board and down the garden centre to get some Maris-Pipers or something tasty. The moral of this spud related tale is do your research!

And unconnected to anything potato based here’s a lovely tune as heard on On The Wire the other week: Rhythm & Sound’s History Version. Tune!

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!

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).

It’s never too early for “earlies”

It’s definitely that time again! I popped into Shannon’s today as I had a day off work and procured a small pack of first early seed potatoes, Pentland Javelin. Just like the last couple of years I’ve stuck my seed spuds in an egg box with the blunt end of the tuber upwards (the end that has the “eyes”) to give them a head start come the spring (aka “chitting”).Chitting 2015The process of “chitting” encourages the seeds to sprout before planting them outside. We’re not talking the long pale shoots that you see when potatoes have sprouted after being stored in the dark, but ones that are short and sturdy.

The important thing with “chitting” spuds is to make sure the container is in a cool position with natural light and where’s there’s no risk of frost. I’ve stuck mine next to the propagator on the floor in the back room by the patio doors.

A couple of years ago we were emailed a great tip from Shirley Calgary who said “Actually you do not need the whole potato – I have cut the potatoes in 2 or 3 pieces as long as you have a sprouted or sprouting eye you are all set.” Great stuff!

More on chitting here.propogator a week onAs for the propagator (post here), the seeds I put in last week have started to come through. How good is that? I know it’s early and I’ll be left with leggy tomato and pepper plants on the kitchen windowsill in the spring but why change a habit of a lifetime?

(Early) spud we like

spuds in JuneHere’s the first harvest of the spuds I planted “well early” under that terrarium thing I found in the street last year. As far as I can remember, these were “Swift” and the seed potatoes were from Shannons, chitted in an old egg box, planted under protection and tonight served with some Salmon. It’s good this gardening lark innit? Don’t worry that tinge of green (green spuds are not good!) on the little one in the left hand corner was cut off before eating!

Early B – History of Jamaica – Moa Anbessa