Monthly Archive May 2014


More Violet Artichokes and Potato Onion Duds

Another purple artichokeI had to write a post simply so I could get this photo online. It is another pretty violet artichoke I grew from seed. The picture on the seed packet is much less impressive being a mucky violet and green affair, the variety is violetta di romagna by the way. I have been told that there is quite a lot of variation with artichoke seed and my experience seems to bear this out. Both the very violet artichoke plants are shorter, have vicious barbs, have some less jagged leaves and fruit early in the year (ie, now in May). The other seedlings I grew from the same seed packet last year are looking good but different, taller, more jaggedy leaves and not yet forming buds. Read More


Rule x: ‘Obtain a Surplus’

Flicking through some gardening books at a book shop on Park Street, I stopped at a heading on a page that caught my eye. I can’t remember what book it was or who wrote it but the heading read something along the lines of:

“Is a few hours spent relaxing with friends on a plot any less of a ‘yield’ than kilos of vegetables?” Read More


Compost Disaster, Trimming Compost Material From Hedges

Backyard 22-5-14Every now and again I feel like I am winning, that I am finally getting the skills and I can move on to the next stage. Then I find out some calamity has taken place, throwing my confidence. Take composting, for instance. Composting is not rocket science, leave any organic matter around long enough and it will rot, eventually becoming topsoil. After a couple of years of successful composting, often intensified (but never really hot), I find this spring that my compost is not composting properly. With the heat and rain and all the turning I am doing, it should be a lovely brown material that is full of nutrients and holds moisture. Instead I find a slimy mess that has lots of uncomposted lumps. It was not like this last spring, or the spring before. What did I do different this time? Read More


A diary for me, sustainability and artichokes

An artichoke, believe it or not...I’ve found myself increasingly searching this blog, looking for what date I did this or that, last year. Timing has become an important consideration for me in my gardening. I have found that using cloches and starting really early is just too advanced for me and I realise I must wait until I have developed better sensitivity towards the plants and their conditions. So this blog is becoming a bit of a diary (that’s ‘dia-re-all’ in the bristollian dialect) for me as well as somewhere to let the world know what I am doing, should it care to be interested. Read More


Peas, youtube videos and warm soil

Sorry for not posting very much recently, but have been occupying myself with a new hobby. I have discovered that not only do I have an HD quality video camera on my phone I also have an interest in making videos. I’ve got over the embarrassment of speaking to camera and have now headed of merrily to youtube land. See my channel here.

It is much less work to record your thoughts and the fruits of your work with a video camera. I feel though that you lose something that belongs to the written word. Perhaps, thoughtfulness. I don’t know. Read More


Cabbage Experiment (Mixed Results So Far), Potato Onions and Brassica Cuttings

I’ve spent quite a bit of time (nearly a year now) on one of my favourite experiments. According to Bill Mollison (one of the two founders of permaculture) you can grow a cabbage, chop its head off, watch 4 or 5 new small cabbage heads appear where the main one once was and then remove them, bung them in the soil and grow new cabbages. Well, I set about confirming this (what appears to be a little dodgy) information by trying it out, in reality, in my back garden. I choppped the heads off two of my greyhound cabbages, waited for multiple small ones to regrow and removed them carefully using my thumbnail to get in right up against the main stalk of the plant. From previous experience taking cuttings from perennial kales & kailaan I know it is at this point that roots will grow, where the cutting meets the main stalk. Read More

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