Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Lettuce begin...

First sowing in the greenhouse, whilst listening to the wind, the creak of the greenhouse panes stretching in the sun and a programme about popes and the Lombard League - I didn't know they played football!

All Year Round Cauliflower
Primo summer cabbage
Red Rookie autumn cabbage
Olympia broccoli
Zen Calabrase
Giant Prague Celeriac
Musselburgh Leeks

Lollo Rosso
All Year Round
Little Gem
Red Salad Bowl

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Finally after last weeks wet weather and frosts, the weather held for a few days, enough for the wet to subside, the wind to dry out the clods and the earth to be vaguely workable - spent the afternoon, planting the last of the garlic, the onions and shallots, and prepping for the new term whilst listening to the Old Firm slug out the CIS final...

Whilst much revolves around the seasonal cycle, there are varying degees of investment required:

Long-term - Rebuilt the compost heap after last fortnight's slow overnight burn from emptying out the BBQ ashes (oops!) which had melted the compost bin.  And prepared the carrot bins having finally collected them from David. The bins should hopefully lift them above the 18" required that put them out of the carrots fly's reach, and produce my first proper carrot crop... Check the hosepipe rim safety feature!

Medium-term - Most crops are spent in the year, and some take years to establish themselves, such as the boy's apple trees - however last week I unearthed one of the great inbetweeners - horseradish, which takes a couple of seasons to establish itself and then crops regularly - whilst I had forgotten all about it, it has been busy sending down long tapers, which brought tears to the eyes back in the kitchen, making a great accompaniment to a roast beef at the in laws last sunday.

Short-term - And whilst at the in laws, I was presented with one of the first wind-up radios (Thank you Denis!) which can only be described as a relic from another era.  An investment of 2 mins winding gets you full capacity of 30mins listening.  In this age of smartphones, a 12" box which, you wind up and um you can get FM radio on, seems rudimentary.  But for far off places with limited access to mainline power and the outside world it provides a lifeline...
Such as rangers v celtic scoreline! They'll be dancin on the streets of Govan/Gabon tonight!  You do get the distinct impression that the killajoules produced winding it are directly converted as you watch the cranking shaft rotate slowly anticlockwise...

Best go - there's three images in this post - I better get cranking!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


A special morning for Patrick! - him and some pals from nursery walked up the hill and spent the morning working out rhubarb poking through the shuck, eating biscuits and making a scarecrow for taking back to the nursery veg patch - a great way to start the growing season!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Full circle

Aye, this time last year I was lamenting for freelance mondays down the allotment to get on with the planting - this year, I'm available!

Thanks to everyone for coming down yesterday to clear and tidy for our special visitors on Tuesday.  Managed to rebuild the fence with Jimmy, removing a section so that the greenhouse gets full light (and warmth)/ Sharon designed and build a fantastic cold frame/Armida sanded and taped the edges of ten boards/ Maggie spruced and tidied whilst Alayne and Colski kept the bairns waving and entertained.

One hour from each adds up to one person's full day so lots achieved - thanks! Plus I don't think I could drink a crate of Tennants by myself!

Had our annual fire of briars and spent wood with all the ash (potash-heavy) going right back into the spud bed. What goes around, comes around....

The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary picture is repeated without end... 

from Circles, by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Call for action!

With v. important guests confirmed for next tuesday morning, a call goes out for sunday afternoon assistance. Obviously can't say too much about the identity of the visitors, but here's a picture of the "Royal Princess" coming into berth at Oban from the shed...

So, much to be done: pictures to be straightened and dusted, scrap wood to be gathered, outlying boundry to be secured, fire to be lit, T to be drunk...

PS Solent Wight Garlic planted today...