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!

 

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

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

Tomorrow never knows

Dig this 2015

It’s short notice, but this year’s Happy Seeds Festival/Tomato Planting Extravaganza takes place tomorrow, Saturday 16 May from 11am – 6pm at St James’s, New Cross Gate London SE14 6AD (next to Goldsmiths University and St James Hatcham Primary School) and it’s FREE!

The event will feature 90 varieties of tomato plants (90, how mad is that?) alongside 50 varieties of potted herbs and loads of seeds for sale. There’s lots of activities like making planting boxes, music, workshops on seed paper making, cooking, food, a beekeeping demonstration, local honey for sale and a fund raising book stall.

Happy Seeds/Dig This Nursery know a thing or two about growing tomatoes and sounds like a great day out, so pop down if you get a chance!

Woop-woop! That’s the sound of da fleece!

fleeceI popped into Shannon’s yesterday and grabbed a big roll of horticultural fleece for around £6, which will come in well handy over the next few weeks. Some of my tomato plants were started off well early (there’s even a couple with flowers on them!) so after a couple of weeks in the mini-plastic greenhouse I’ve recently put them outside. On the nights I now cover them over with fleece. If you want to do it cheaper you can always use old net curtains or as Joe said, some sheets of newspaper draped over the plants.

I was listening to a recent Gardening with Tim & Joe on BBC Leed’s and Mr Maiden was saying even though some shops have tomato plants for sale, it still doesn’t mean that it’s safe to stick them outside as there still could be a frost for a good few weeks yet. And also chatting at Shannon’s yesterday I was told it’s not just frost you need protection from but also damage from cold winds and rain.

I also treated myself to a couple of Courgette plants as the seeds I sown haven’t amounted to much. You really don’t need more than a couple of courgette plants as you’ll be overwhelmed with the bloody things come autumn!Courgette_2