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Archive for November, 2008

Marching on…

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Nothing much to report: the exposed soil at the far end of each bed has been sown with green manure, there’s a small pile of hedge clippings waiting to be burned and the wheelbarrow has two sacks of leaves waiting to be dug in to the ‘soil’ which is frankly more suitable for throwing pots than growing crops in.  Thanks all for your soil improving encouragement and advice.  A good day is forecast for Thursday, so more grass will be scutted off, more leaves to be dug in, the exposed soil will march on towards the end of no 16.

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As part of my efforts to improve soil quality (etc. etc. bore bore) I’m trying a very late sowing of Phacelia tanacetifolia.  This hardy annual claims to ‘revitalise poor soil naturally and improve soil structure’.

It’s fairly simple: broadcast over finely prepared soil, dig overwintered plants into soil in spring.  I’ll let you know how they get on.

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Patrick at

Bifurcated Carrots (to whom I owe an apology for comfoozling him with Real Seeds) will be relieved to know that he, or the produce after which he named his blog, will no longer be illegal.

Of course we show our bottoms to such nonsense and we will be deliberately growing as many heritage varieties as possible on No 16.  I am delighted to say that a Belgian, from the very home of European Commission and its strange rules about vegetable shape, will be helping us. He has amassed a huge assortment of Belgian and German heritage seeds to try out in God’s Own County. The results will be documented and seeds saved.

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My local nurseries are all out of garlic bulbs for planting and say they are in ‘desperately short supply’.  So if you find them, grab them while you can.

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I know, I know dig in organic matter, but I want my soil perfect NOW! (Stamps little feet.)  If I was Gardening Barbie I’d be whining ‘soil conditioning is hard!’ but to the rescue comes a lovely email from Patrick of the Real Seed Catalogue. Plant beans, he advises, suggests which variety and even offers to send some seeds.  I am overcome with gratitude, and may well put a large chunk of no 16 under beans to see what happens.  Real Seed also have an autumn/winter sowing guide, very useful for we first-timers.

In the meantime I have used more of the turves cut from no 16’s long neglected surface to build a compost bin:after

It was just a promiscuous heap before and the neighbours were talking.

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Slow Food North Yorkshire!

Thanks to Karen for tipping us off to this great site.

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Allotmentality approves of

Landshare, an initiative kicked off by TV chef and smallholder Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall to match up the many British people (10,000 odd) who wish to grow their own but have no land with people who have land that could be put into allotmentological use.

Landshare is A Good Thing and in these cynical times must be encouraged.  However people should undertake to use the land they get, and if they have not started cultivation within a year give it up.  Our patch has several weedy, derelict allotments that were taken in the first looming of the recession and are now simply neglected.  Its a waste of good land, and they supply an endless procession of weed seeds and marauding roots to piss the rest of us off.  I know it doesn’t fit with the hello clouds, hello sky mentality you’d associate with grow your owners, but this is a serious undertaking.  If you can’t or won’t look after and make good use of your 10 rods of good (well…it will be) earth you should lose it to someone who will.

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