Archive for April, 2009

It’s grow while you watch time….



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24 hours of rain and counting.  Oh and just in case the air isn’t wet enough with water coming down in lumps, there’s fog too.

Good, in a grudging kind of way.

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Everything is growing like crazy.  Including the weeds, obviously, although after this afternoon’s hoeing action (soundtrack Kate Rusby and a compilation from this gentleman)  a lot of them have gone the way of the less popular wives of King Henry VIII.  The purple sprouting broccoli just keeps on giving: a huge bunch of it is going with today’s beef, while cousins, aunts and uncles are getting theirs.  And it’s lovely: steam, butter, sea salt.

The early spuds are peeking through the soil, the shallots (bunching onions in the local tongue) and garlic are coming on, the rows of seeds are putting up -lings in defiance of the coarse clay soil and near-bloody drought conditions of the last month (about an hour of storm shower yesterday, that’s all the rain for month in the north of England – it barely dampened the surface).  Lollo rosso has come through and will be planted out in a raised bed, the sweetcorn are starting to sprout under cover.  Preparing a bed for those tomorrow.

The overwinter onions are there, but straggly.  I don’t think no 16 is good onion soil.  Yet.

Front to back: early potatoes, shallots, cauliflowers.

Front to back: early potatoes, shallots, cauliflowers.

Meantime, two fellow allotmonats came over and enquired about the Phaecelia.  One thought they were weeds, another pegged them as green manure right away.  One bed I will cut down and dig in, the second I will use the cuttings soaked in water as liqui fertilizer and see what happens.  I’m also going to be interested to see what the roots have done to the verdamt clay that wantons mere inches below the surface.

Phaecelia tanacetifolia AKA green manure.

Phaecelia tanacetifolia AKA green manure.

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I’ve found the chard seeds.  And the sweetcorn.  We are rockin’ a fat one.  Now then.  If you ever have the urge to take a wheelbarrowload of your crumbly finest compost to the allotment that is fine.  If you have an irrepressible urge to add your new water butt, half-full of precious rainwater to the load, let me give you some good advice.

Water is HEAVY.  I am working on dehydrated convenience water.  This was so hevy I was followed to allotment by Somalian pirates.

Water is HEAVY. I am working on dehydrated convenience water. This was so heavy I was followed to the allotment by Somalian pirates .


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The fun, exercise and  feeling of smugness when you cut/pull/pick and eat your own are just extras.  But really it’s about growing the food.  So it was good to read Hook, line and thinker: coastal food foraging in yorkshire.

North Yorkshire.  Staithes, in fact, the next village to the north here, 2 miles away.

…an old friend, Chris Bax, got in touch: “Would I be interested in doing a weekend course in coastal food foraging? There’s a few other people coming. We’ll hunt in rock pools, go out in a boat, make sushi . . .” I saw my opportunity. No longer a slave to trawl nets and industrial ocean hoovers, I would salvage dignity for myself and the fish. The nobility of the hunt would be mine, plus some Yorkshire sushi.

Do go and read. They had a great time and ate some fantastic food.  The course is run by Taste The Wild, and it’s good to know that there’s an abundance of good free food to be had around here.

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purple sprouting broccoli, fresh out of the ground.  And very nice it is, too.  More later, but for now the sun is out….

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Busy busy busy…

however, off to no 16 later today to do some more hoeing. CHard to go in and sweetcorn germinating.  In the meantime go and look at Out Of Our Own Back Yard.

Ooooby is…

– food growers and locavores with a goal of food interdependence.
– a place to learn from, connect and exchange with local growers and eaters.
– a social enterprise which pours profits into food growing projects.

It’s based in New Zealand, but what a good idea for here.  And, frankly, everywhere. H/t Cryptogon.

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