After the virus has gone

pumpkings-and-juniorIt’s been a fair few weeks since any work’s been done in the weeds garden due to that nasty virus doing the rounds but to help to get us in the mood here’s a pic of a couple of pumpkins.

Thanks to the good folks at Shannon’s where we got the pumpkin plant from and also a big thanks to the rodent who was caught in the darlek compost bin. It was seeing the retreating large back end of the rodent that made us decide to put all the decaying waste into a compost trench (more on that episode here) and buy said plant to plonk on top of it as pumpkins do love a bit of rich soil.

On the left is the fruit of our labours weighing in at a nice 4.8kg and to the left and from an very close associate of weeds (from her gardening club at school) a nice smaller variety at 2kg. It’s great this gardening lark isn’t it? We can’t wait to get back out there!

And while we’re here here’s a tune that’s nothing to do with Pumpkins.

The awakening

It’s just gone the month of February, maybe it’s because I’m a little bit impatient and I have a touch of the twirlies but there’s already some spuds chitting and seeds sprouting indoors. Also if I get a minute this week, I’m going to stick a double layer of fleece over a couple of patches of the garden to warm the soil up for the big kick off in the next couple of months.chitting 2016 styleeI bought two types of spuds from Shannon’s, who have loads of varieties in stock from the different cropping types (first earlies, second earlies, main crop and second/late main crop) the terms of which used to confuse the hell out of me. A simple explanation about all of that is here. The ones “chitting” in the back room (above) are Sharpe’s Express (first early) and the good old Maris Piper (main crop.) seed starting 2016 styleeAlso in the back room near the window, is a covered propagator with tomatoes (Moneymaker) and sweet peppers off to an early start, which will be no doubt be leggy as hell before they’re ready to go out.foxtail returnsAnd talking of Shannon’s, this is where I bought the Eremurus aka foxtail lilly or desert candle bulb from and it looks like the monster is ready to resurface again for it’s year long reign of terror (above.) It might be not even be an inch at the moment but before you know it, it’ll be 6 foot tall and will be sending up a lovely flower spike like last year (below.)

But be warned, don’t get on it’s wrong side as it might come into your home and take over your life! On afoxtail 2 tip

Be afraid, be very afraid

Shannons tweetEarlier this week I received a great tweet from the good folks at Shannon‘s telling us that the Eremurus tubers (Foxtail Lilly/Desert Candle) had arrived. I had a shock when I picked out two of (the very strange looking) tubers today as these were huge (nearly a foot wide) compared to the one I had last year. I  even had to put both of them in a bin bag just in case they’d scare the neighbours! The tubers are very out of this world looking and wouldn’t be out of place in “War of the Worlds” either.Be afraid very afraidThey were £7.99 each which may seem a bit steep but what you get for it, a giant of a plant with a huge coloured flower spike (some varieties grow up to 3 metres), it’s well worth it! Here’s what it was like earlier this year. Roll on next year!foxtail last year

What a carry on!

I popped into Shannon’s this morning whilst the sun was out and on the way round deciding what to treat myself with, I noticed this delightfully named passion flower.

silly cow

While we were there, we bought a bag of coarse grit for my daughter’s cactus collection. On the way out we noticed a few people doing a double take at the bag my daughter was carrying. And this is why…

Coarse gritIn the background while writing this, we’re listening to this week’s fitting tribute to the late Joe Maiden “the godfather of soil,” by Tim Crowther and friends on BBC Radio Leeds. It’s a mixture of happy and sad and a show worth listening to on play again here. R.I.P Joe Maiden.

Never mind the proms

An oldie but goodie from the great Chronixx over a  minimal 1990’s-like rhythm track that’s just been played over the soundsystem at the annual party and barbecue on the estate behind us tonight. shannons on a saturday_2It’s been said it’s good to talk to plants, well I hope the vegetables at the bottom of the garden are listening to the other good tunes being played at the party. Especially the seed onions and the spuds that I put in after an early morning visit to Shannon’s today.

The onions (Troy) will overwinter and  should be ready to harvest early summer and if all goes well weather permitting, the spuds will be ready for christmas, (but I am pushing it with the timescale!) The Iris’s went in the front garden and will be forgotten about until the spring, you bet come April I’ll say, “when did I put those bulbs in?”

Top buzz

toothache plant_2As you know, I do like an out-of-the-ordinary plant (The Egyptian Onion and Eremurus for instance) and this week purchased a mad one off ebay for six quid. It’s known as the Electric Daisy (very Jimi Hendrix!) or the Toothache plant and has some odd properties.

What’s bonkers about it is, if you pop the flower buds in your mouth (washed first of course) it has a grassy taste followed by a strong tingling or numbing sensation and supposedly good if you have toothache. I’ve just looked online and someone likened the effect to when as a kid you used to put your tongue on a 9 volt battery, nice. Me, I’d rather pop a clove on the pain and see a dentist! Here’s the plant (below) in situ!

ToothacheAlso a big shout to the staff at Shannon‘s who thought of us the other day when they got a new delivery of plants in. It included a Eremurus Bungei (which is smaller of the species and only grows to 4ft) which I just had to have today alongside a few other treats too. Thanks for letting us know about the plant, and I’ll send you some pictures soon when it flowers.shannons on a saturday

To all the twirly kings and queens…

toms and peppers feb 2015It’s never t’wirly* here! A few days into the new year I stuck in some seeds (post here) and here’s how they are getting on nearly a month or so later. It’s all done on the cheap, (especially after the expense of christmas!) the propagator cost us £3.50 from shannon’s, the seeds were off ebay and the whole thing is stuck in the back room by the patio doors.

There’s some tomatoes on their way (tray on the left, front) and behind them, the peppers are starting to come through. Alright it’s been a month, but who cares as they won’t be able to go out till ages yet. The other seeds coming through in the pots are some lettuce leaf basil and some strawberries. The other two pots contain an odd one for me, alkanet, don’t ask me why but I’m giving it a go this year and also a chinese lantern (aka bladder cherry. what a good name!) More reports on those in the next few weeks.

spuds on the chit feb 2015And as for the seed potatoes from shannon’s (above), there’s signs of life! Keep on chitting on.

And to end on, here’s a happy sounding slice of tune-age from a few years ago with an apt forward-looking title (considering the weather of late) as heard on Tom Ravenscroft’s show the other week. It’s from Karriem Riggins called Summer Maddnes S.A. (Alone Together.) Roll on the spring!

*More on the cult of the twirly here.