More trials

Here’s a quick visual update on the Thompson & Morgan seed trials. The tomatoes are looking more like beefsteak ones every day and look at the size of them!

The sunflowers are also doing well too! We love the surprises we’ve had with the trials and it shouldn’t be too long now before we’re informed about the actuals names/varieties of the plants. We’re still waiting on the spaghetti squash to ripen and we’ve a couple of lettuces on the way too. We love the trails we do!

Back yard reportage 2

A big thanks again to Thompson & Morgan blog (have a look as it’s interesting stuff with tons of hints and tips!) for sending us some seeds to trial this year and this is how they’re doing in July! They are all watered on a daily basis and have a comfrey feed weekly.

The above is the spinach (in the front pot) which was started off on the kitchen windowsill and a couple of the seedlings were transferred outside but here’s the pot with two left in them. They haven’t gone to seed yet and are doing well!

The daft idea we had to stick a row of the lettuce and spinach in the area shaded by some broad beans (so they didn’t bolt) may have not been a good one but here’s what’s going on so far! We won’t even mention the idea of sowing lettuce in the gully between the earthed up potatoes as nothing has germinated there.

The spaghetti squash is coming on a treat and we reckon we may have put it in the wrong place but “Hey! it’s an experiment”. The other squash that had lots of space to run free has been decimated by the slugs so this is the only one at the moment!

And as the song goes “Where have all the zinnia’s gone?” We don’t know what we done wrong but there’s no sign of any zinnia’s yet. Damn! But the tomatoes and sunflowers seem to be doing well and we eagerly look forward to seeing what variety they morph into! Ta again T&M, there will be updates!

Live at the seed trials

Thanks a million to all at the Thompson & Morgan blog for sending us a lovely package a few weeks ago that contained some packs of yet-to-be-released 2020 seeds to trial in our garden. They came in a nice green wallet and the actual seeds (that were in sealed plain white metallic packs) were labelled simply “spinach 201902”, “squash 201904” etc as the proper names of the varieties are under wraps and will be given out later this year. We love that sort of thing here at Weeds. Very GCHQ. Walls have ears and all that!

Above is a bit of an experiment, we recently moved a small silver birch we originally found in the street a couple of years ago (post here) and around it we planted a ring of broad beans, don’t ask us why but it made sense at the time!

In the circle we thought we’d sow a row of the lettuce and spinach. Hopefully the shade will be just enough to keep the plants growing but not bolting (aka going to seed early) as spinach and lettuce do have a tendency to do so if the weather is too hot. It’s only an idea, let’s see how we get on.

We’ve already started off a fair few tomato varieties this year but we welcome another one with open arms especially one in a plain white envelope just called “tomato 201905”. We may have started them off too late (and we didn’t write down the date of the sowing sadly) but it seemed like they took their time to germinate on the kitchen windowsill (compared to the spaghetti squash that was planted on the same day). Out of the three tomatoes that have germinated so far, nearly all of the seedlings are nowhere near the centre of the pot. When/how did the seed move? There must be a scientific explanation, answers on a postcard please. We look forward to finding out what varieties these are. Will they be small cherry tomatoes or beefsteak ones the size of your hand?

The tropaeolum (nasturtium) was sowed directly outside in the Lewisham Council recycled bottle bin and has germinated like a treat. We’ll transplant a couple of these around the garden. We like the look of the darker leaves than the usual varieties of nasturtiums we usually put or self seed in our garden.

The spaghetti squash is something new to us and it will be great to see what they look like and actually taste like. The seed was germinated on the kitchen windowsill and went out in the garden just when it had two seed leaves on with the minimum amount of hardening off (one night under a cloche!) and it’s doing well!

Apart from spinach in a pot on the kitchen windowsill (above) there’s sunflowers in a seed tray, some lettuce sown (in the ridge) in between earthed up potatoes and zinnias (that we have never grown before but look interesting) sowed straight into the ground. We will keep you posted!

Dubs to welcome the sun back

Here’s some of that new fangled dub stuff from Teflon & Zinc Fence a new set called Dub Policy to welcome back that yellow thing in the sky we’ve missed for a day and a bit. As Kirk Brandon once sang “Come back, come back. All is forgiven”.

Shout to Rt. Hon. David Rodigan for playing a track off the E.P. the other week thus letting us know about it. Pic above: A happy Sunflower from the Weeds HQ garden. Certainly not “Giant”as stated on the packet (the plant stands 3ft high) but not bad all the same.

Reach for the sky

Crap sign

This morning I popped into a local greasy spoon for a bacon sarnie and noticed up on the wall a collection of “hilarious” signs (“you don’t have to be mad to work here but it helps” “don’t ask for credit as a smack in the mouth usually offends” etc etc) and saw this one above. Did people really laugh at these in the 1970’s? I somehow doubt it.

sunflower_2Anyway there are no complaints in the Sunflower size department. The Mongolian Giant Sunflowers we bought on ebay earlier this year are certainly living up to their name. As the blurb said on the ad, “These sunflowers are monsters which grow up to 15 feet tall with enormous heads of up to 20 inches in diameter.”sunflower_1Below is what they started out like in March. We love anything here that is advertised as “Giant”, “Special edition” or “Rare”. Big up the Sunflower!tall, tall, tall

A surrealist style summer

Here's gone summerAKA Is this the summer or are we in a perpetual state of hoping for one?

I’ve haven’t long got back from a family break in Camber Sands. The night before I left for the seaside I gave the garden a good old dousing with a hose, thinking it wouldn’t get another drop until I got back. All through that evening and during the night it tipped it down, great eh?

Yesterday I popped into my local supermarket to “get some bits” and said to the chap behind the till, “where’s the sun gone, mate?” as it wasn’t the best of days weatherise.

I thought I’d just get a smile or a jokey reply but he came back with a long bonkers theory that the british government are firing chemicals into the atmosphere during the evening (so no-one will see) to make sure our summers only last a few weeks or even days. The conversation went like that for a few minutes much to the disgust of the long queue forming behind me (he was the only one serving!)

I nodded and picked up my shopping bags. Judging by the weather forecast for the next few days, perhaps he’s right! Solitary squashOne thing in the garden that seems to like the rain, is the mad butternut squash that has filled the square bed at the side of the garden (only one squash on it though) and now trying to climb up the plum tree. Madness!

The best things in life are (nearly) free!

Seed swap_1_Edit
A big thanks to Lewisham Gardens and Golightly Gardens for organising the great seed swap in Deptford yesterday. I got nearly everything from my wants list and there were loads of great seeds available. These events are always good for meeting fellow gardeners, getting growing advice and for picking up those odd varieties of seeds.

I got sunflowers, sweet peas, hollyhocks, poppies, foxgloves and gaillardia in the flower line. I wasn’t looking for too much veg as I’m happily sorted for those after getting a bargain of mixed veg seeds on ebay the other month.

I did get a couple of varieties of basil (bush and sweet genovese), french beans and a beefsteak tomato called Marmande which looked like it could be an extra from that silly 70’s film Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.Seedswap deptfordI was on my way out when I met a lovely chap who was looking for the seed swap who worked for Lewisham council. He told me later after a long shift at the council all he wants to do is spend the rest of his day up his allotment. Great stuff! Back in the seedswap he shared a wide variety of seeds (and I don’t even think he wanted anything in return as far as I can remember) and I got a tomato called Black Krim from Russia!

When I finally left I visited the new and improved Dig This Nursery in Clifton Rise, New Cross after being ribbed by Mihaly (who was doing a talk at the seed swap about growing veg in small spaces) for not being up to speed about knowing that their shop has moved. Sometimes I find it hard enough to keep up with what’s going in me own small world let alone outside it! They’ve even opened a new shop in Rye Lane in the parish of Peckham too.

In the New Cross shop is a second hand record section where I flicked through some old reggae singles (£3 each) where they had a copy of the late great Nicky Thomas tune Love of the Common People (to hear the original jamaican version without the strings click here). On the B side of that well-known single is the tune below which I was reminded about by The Rhythm Doctor when he span it at one of our events at Limewharf last year.

And thanks to the excellent Dancecrasher website (from The Tighten Up Crew) here’s the vocal version of the above from Slim Smith. Well I never knew that!

Thanks again to Lewiham Gardens and Golightly Gardens for this event. More seed swaps please!