Thursday, 27 August 2009

It's later than I think! Time for old cook books and Thai Cauliflower!

The English bank holiday weekend is like a gigantic signpost pointing toward autumn for me. It's a great time of the year - as is each of the transitional cusps between seasons. WTA is looking fine, although there are odd gaps of bare earth beginning to show where crops have been harvested and autumn seeds sown. The last of the cauliflowers were picked today and it won't be long before the second broad bean sowing will have had its day, stripped of any remaining pods and pulled out. It's gratifying to grow your own but it comes as a bit of shock when you realise how quickly some things get used and the gaps they leave. It's always later than I think on WTA! Still, WTA's pumpkins are pulsating and continue to grow and set fruit unabated. The rough ball onion seeds planted a few weeks ago are beginning to raise their heads above ground.

Francaise Jo, made a guest appearance on WTA last Saturday morning and helped pick French climbing beans, courgettes, gladioli and gather the last of the potatoes still in the ground. It's always a great to have Jo around and I get feeling allotments and 'growing your own' is beginning to get under her skin.
WTA Cooking...
WTA's Cauliflowers have been a revelation this year I adapted this recipe from one found in an old Ken Hom 1996 book - Ken Hom's Hot Wok - a is gem. The book was brought charity shop about 4 years ago for £3.50 on a whim and has become a bit of a foundation for some of my Thai/Vietnamese cooking. I've tended to 'pimp' and some of Ken's recipes to give them an even bigger South East Asian taste - the recipes themselves area brilliant base for some experimental fusion cooking.

Thai Cauliflower a la Hom
1 medium cauliflower head divided into small florets
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
6 crushed garlic cloves
1or 2 medium red chillies seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon of finely shredded spring onions (or one finely cut small red onion)
1 tablespoon of lemon grass paste
2 tablespoons of finely chopped basil or coriander
1 tablespoon of soya sauce
1 teaspoon of palm or caster sugar
1 tablespoon of Thai fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
450ml water
2 teaspoons sesame sesame oil.

Heat up your wok or large frying pan until extremely hot. Gently pour in the vegetable oil. When the oil starts to smoke, toss in the chili, garlic, spring onions and lemon grass paste, moving them quickly around the pan for about 30 seconds. Toss in the cauliflower and stir fry for 1 minute. Add your basil or coriander, soy sauce, sugar turmeric water and fish sauce. Reduce the heat of your cooker, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Stir in the sesame oil and sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve immediately.

What's been ordered...
Maybe I'm a sucker for punishment but in a triumph of hope over experience I've decided to sow some garlic on WTA. Autumn orders have been placed, with respective seed and set suppliers and I girding my loins for some planting and sowing over the next few weeks.
  • Garlic Vallelado (Chase Organics)

  • Winter Cress (Chase Organics)

  • White Lisbon winter hardy (Chase organics)

  • Radar Onion sets (Chase organics)

  • Early purple wight garlic (Thompson and Morgan)

Whats going in...
Kale seedlings - Calvanero

Winter Broad Beans (the Sutton)

What's gone in...
Onions - white Lisbon.
What's my scene?
Browsing through a magazine, which claims to be the "UK's No1 for allotment holders" I came across a column by one Edwin Oxlade, in which Ed bemoans the fact that the "Popular Media" have "lost sight of what kitchen gardeners and prospective kitchen gardeners are really into" and in doing so "have put superficial short-lived appeal before reality". Ed goes onto claim much of the media coverage of growing-your-own is no more than "self indulgent lifestyle froth". I'm no fan of the popular media, but Ed's assertion knows what all kitchen gardeners are "really into" seems rather grandiose. And even if the media's preoccupation about writing on growing your own is self indulgent "lifestyle froth" (another subjective generalisation made by Ed), by my reckoning if it attracts more people to experience or at least try to experience veg gardening then it's fine by me! Short-lived or long-lived the experience of growing-your-own is just that, an experience!
Anyone who spends a month working on allotment/kitchen garden realises it's not always than some halcyon garden of paradise... but isn't that the whole point? Carl Jung in the Transcendent Function said: "Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health". For me the processes involved in having an allotment is more about having my hands in the earth - remaining psychologically grounded. Difficulties in the allotment, as they are in life are numerous, but so are the joys and no one has a mortgage the subjective nature of human experience or how they experience growing-their-own. Grow Well!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Last pickings and vege regenerations

WTA's first cucumber!

WTA's first cucumber (Marketmore) was picked amid much celebration yesterday. I hate to boast, but it was a taste sensation - crisp, succulent and cool! This gorgeous green gem will be used to make a Japanese-style cucumber salad.
Operation Red Hot Chili pepper continues to go well - The savaged Romenescu look like they might even recover yet, and look to be sprouting again. Caterpillar numbers have dwindled dramatically and now appear to be under control, with little further leaf damage.

This week Autumn's cool fingers felt like they were beginning to edge closer and gently wrap themselves around WTA of a morning. The weekend brought some hot weather that seemed set back the onset of chilly winds and turning leaves - it's strange to think I'll be planting my onion sets for next year's crop in the net few months.

I managed to harvest another lot of broad beans from a late crop of about a dozen plants that are still standing but looking a bit worse for wear due to chocolate spot infection. Foraging bits and pieces left over at the end of the crop can be really rewarding and provide some excellent and unexpected meals.

Part of the tail end of this year's broad beans

Saturday saw the last of the Parmex carrots and some of the first broad bean planting being pulled out and the ground they were in turned. Both have produced excellent crops and will be definite starters next year. The broad beans were a particular revelation, and I plant to try and double the amount of plants I had this year - broad bean bruschetta has me in its grip!

The carrots below were pulled yesterday and needing a quick salad for dinner, I came up with the following 'recipe'...

WTA's Carrot and sesame salad
3-4 large carrots

1.5 tblspns Sesame oil

2 tblspns black sesame seeds

Grate three to four largish carrots into a bowl. Add one and a half tablespoons of sesame oil and mix through the grated carrot. Sprinkle with two table spoons of black sesame seeds. Mix the black sesame seeds into the carrot and sesame seed oil.

Passers-by steam in for WTA's Carrot and sesame salad
Grow well!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Operation Red Hot Chili Pepper: organic pesticide fight back!

Operation Red Hot Chili Pepper is in full swing on WTA after waves of marauding caterpillars marched into town and began laying brassica crops, including my Romanescu broccoli (see above pic), to waste. These Romanescu were under horticultural fleece but I obviously hadn't sealed the cloche properly allowing some bloody devious cabbage white butterflies a way in. The rest, as the say, 'is history'. Artisan Tracie reckons some organic gardeners often need a 'sacrifice' crop - a crop you let pests eat so they (in theory) eat less of your other crops - so I suppose this is my yearly sacrifice. In the mean time, I wanted to save the rest of my calabrese, sprouting broccoli, sprout and kale crops from devastation so it was time to spray - organic and home made spray of course! I used the following general organic pesticide recipe adopted from an ABC TV, Gardening Australia formulation (see links) to strike back and strike back hard! I love the smell of chili, onion and garlic in the morning! It smells like...victory!

Organic Pesticide Recipe

4 Red hot chillies
2 Cloves of garlic
4 Onions (red or white)
2 tblspns of eco-friendly washing up liquid

Brewing Up!
Chop up chillies, garlic and onions and place in a medium sized mixing bowl...

Add two tablespoons of an eco/enviro-brand dish washing liquid.

Pour in water so it just covers the contents of the bowl and then stir.

Cover the bowl with clingfilm and then set aside for 24 hours.

The following day pour the contents of the bowl through a fine sieve and reserve the liquid.
Discard the onions, chillies and garlic.

Dilute the reserved liquid in 5 litres of water...

Organic, effective... red hot!
I've use an old, clean, hand pump sprayer to deliver the fiery liquid, which I've been doing most mornings and again in the evening. The results have been impressive... the caterpillars definitely don't like it up em! But I've needed to consistently apply the spray to keep on top of newly hatching 'pillars, whose eggs I haven't managed to squash in the mean time...

Without the good old 'Red Hot Chili Pepper' spray I'm fairly sure things like the brassicas pictured above would now be little more than skeletal stalks.

Missing..presumed having a good time

Johnny Bridgemeister's absence has been noted on WTA. He's yet to make one of his several annual pilgrimages to WTA this year to carry out his fierce attack on all manner of weeds and nettles. Perhaps his failure to show can be put down to him starting up his own blog: where he and the crowd primordial archetypes he writes and runs with reflect on the more quirky side of the game of bridge. The Bridgmeister's site is already garnering some impressive reviews amongst the on-line bridge world and building a sizeable and dedicated following in the UK and abroad.

DIY queen and vege chef Sandy has also been fairly quiet lately. This vegetarian cordon blue has also been much missed on WTA and needs to get on that two wheeled stallion of hers and get up here quick!

In the meantime...protect your crops and grow well!

Monday, 17 August 2009

WTA's courgette and pecan bread success!

Got an early start this morning determined to fit in cooking some WTA produce into my MA thesis writing schedule. Inspired by fellow bloggers Allotment 2 Kitchen, A girl named Go and Rossdorf allotment , I thought I'd have a crack at making some Courgette and Pecan bread. The idea of using courgettes for making something other than savoury dishes and that could be eaten with cuppa or used as a dessert when still warm (this could be good with ice cream, yoghurt or sour cream) had me baking. The result was delicious!

Courgette and Pecan Bread

3 eggs
2 cups of caster sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 cup of olive/canola oil
2 cups of grated courgette
3 cups of plain flour
1/4 of teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 cup of chopped pecan nuts


Butter and flower two loaf tins or deep muffin tins.
Beat eggs until foaming, add sugar, vanilla and oil and beat until thick.
Stir in grated courgette.
Sift all dry ingredients and fold into courgette mixture with chopped pecans.
Pour into prepared tins and bake in a 180C oven for about 1 hour for the loaf tins or 25-30 minutes for deep muffin tins, or until a skewer inserted in the bread comes out clean.
Remove from oven; allow to sit in the tins for about ten minutes and then cool on a cake rack. Slice and butter or eat by itself when warm...

Growing Update...


The climbing French beans (Cobra) are really hitting their straps. About 2.3kg of their slender green pods have been harvested in the last week or so and eaten raw or blanched and frozen. Having climbing beans on an allotment makes good sense - they are great source of instant, super-healthy 'green snacks' while working away. I often find myself devouring a couple of beans straight off the vines when the hunger pangs hit mid-weeding or digging.

WTA's cucumbers (Marketmore) are producing some handsome fruit. which should be able to be picked soon. You could have knocked me down with a feather a few years ago if you told me cucumbers could be grown outdoors in the UK - but here they are! Perhaps having some cucumber sandwiches and a glass of Pimms under the walnut tree next week might be a very English way to mark the summer success of WTA this year!

Eat and grow well!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Complete Gestalts and Strange Brews.

Fred the Chemist's gladioli

Veg aren't the only things growing onWTA. Earlier in the year about 2 dozen gladioli bulbs were planted, alongside edible crops, to provide the cottage with cut flowers. This week the gladi's began to bloom and the stems were cut (see pic above). WTA is proud of these beauties as they have a strong link to forebear and Anglo-Aussie - Fred The Chemist - who also grew and loved gladioli. The generational gestalt is complete!

Organic Pest Control

WTA's brassica's are under attack from caterpillars. Little do those caterpillars know WTA has the trump card to end their orgy of WTA eating. The ante dote is brewing away in the kitchen as I write. I've used one of the organic pesticide recipes on Gardening Australia's (The Aussie version of BBC's Garden's World) website and started producing an potent concoction of 4 onions, 2 garlic cloves, 4 chillies and eco-friendly dish washing liquid. The liquid produced from the mix pictured below is being applied tomorrow.

Organic pesticide in the making

This morning was spent lifting the last lot of potatoes, weeding the broccoli bed and physically squashing a variety of ravenous caterpillars swarming over some leaves.
There was also a chance to use some of the organic liquid fertiliser (pictured below) from the worm can on my leeks (another great product of worm can composting).

Worm casting liquid - black gold!

WTA mates... still helping out on the plot 10,000 miles away!

Many thanks to Jeremiah Bullfrog, proofreading savant, for his time earlier this week. The Bullfrog spotted and helped iron-out a variety of errors appearing in previous WTA postings - not bad from a vantage point on the other side of the world in Western Australia...

The Bullfrog: Language errors can run but they can't hide!
Grow well!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

A quick Saturday pick.

Just a short post. Lots going on and lots of produce from WTA right now. I picked this lot this morning. The Adelaide carrots are really sweet, while I'll use the yellow courgette to make an amazing Nigella Lawson recipe I've found and linked for 'Happiness, soup. Grow well!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Let 'em roll!

Downing a well-earned 'coldie' after a big seed planting and lifting a 5kg+ haul of potatoes this afternoon. I hate to say the 'B' word when mentioning my spuds, but after reading a couple of other blogs , I think some of my potato crops might have blight! As a result I'm getting rid of all affected leaves/stems and in a couple of cases have lifted part of the crops in case I'm too late and left with nothing.

In the mean time, I've 'Kept Calm and Carried On' with the autumn seed planting regime. I've also decided to have a bit of a gamble by sowing some seeds that should have been planted in June and July. These seeds - including parsnips and carrots - are probably going to lose much of their viability by next year if I don't plant them now, so in they go!

The following have been sown:
Parsnip-Hollow Crown (Country Value)
Good quality seeds (I sowed Country Value, Sweet Corn-Incredible -F1 which are doing brilliantly) but I'm throwing these in, in case they become unviable next year.

Baby Chinese Cabbage - WA Wa Sai (Marshalls)

Fresh seeds - that arrived last week and will be planted at the prescribed time. I'm planting these in the hope of getting some great veg for SE Asian-style stir fries.

Carrot Ideal (Dobies of Devon)
Fresh seed to be planted at the prescribed time. I've have already sown three rows of these but still have some left after ordering two packets!

Chinese Broccoli - Kailaan (Marshalls).

I liked the look of these as an easy-grow, 'in between crop' of broccoli. They look suitable for some cool fusion and SE Asian cooking that goes on after getting off WTA

Parsnip Panache F1 Hybrid (Thompson and Morgan)

Great seeds! I've had some outstanding success with these - but like all parsnip seed have a fairly limited viability. I planted some this time last year and managed to lift some lovely parsnips for Christmas dinner. Here's hoping I can manage the same feat this year.

Bunching Onion - Shimonita (Marshalls)
Fresh and planted at the prescribed time. Going by the description these beauties - a sort of cross between a leek and a spring onion;they may be a good seasonal spring onion substitute.

Broccoli-Rudolph (Thompson and Morgan)
Once again, will be a 'triumph of hope over experience' if these grow in the way they were intended but I'd rather have a go than not put them in.

Borecole (Kale) F1 Reflex (Dobies of Devon)
Kale was a winter staple of WTA in the early days and helped keep a variety of people fed with greens in the dark winter of 2007.

Carrot - Resistatfly F1 Hybrid (Thompson and Morgan)
A bit late again I know but I found this packet of seeds from last year, after losing them and would rather give them a go than have them lose their viability and lie useless in my seed box.

Spinach - Toscane F1 Hybrid (Unwins)
Always fantastic for salads and a variety of hot dishes. Spinach is an 'essential' on WTA. It's a first run for this variety so it will be interesting to see the results.

Onion - Toga (Johnsons)
A bit late, I know, but just consider it my way of betting on an Indian summer this year!

Onions - Toughball (Marshalls)
I really liked the look and the name of these onions and they let me continue to indulge in my continued fascination with growing this edible variety of alium.

More WTA weeding is scheduled for today along with some cooking with three more cauliflowers harvested yesterday. Grow well!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Lazy Sunday Afternoon, got no mind to worry...

A 'Day of Rest' on WTA . A quick inspection of the plot this morning to pick some carrots, check on my previous day's weeding and take the shots on this post was about all that was done.

Took some time off to visit friend of WTA, Johnny Bridgemeister, and Wonder Pam. It was satisfying to be able to take some fresh lifted spuds, carrots and red onions from WTA to these two legendary mates.

A Shout Out to WTA Friends
Some good friends of WTA are a bit poorly right now or struggling with some big work loads. They are being held in mind as I work away on the plot.

Mart The Chief of Staff . Get that dicky chest cleared up Mart - there's some work to do in October buddy!

Dorset Dave...Instrumental in helping clear the leek bed of weeds last year. The second of Dorset Dave's creaking and cracking knees was ditched and replaced by some good old titanium this week. I for one won't miss the 'orrible bone-on-bone grating noises as he bends down to some weeding next time he's on the plot! Hope your back on your feet soon Dave!

Mariner Tim.. The turf excavator and onion planter extraordinaire has been working his bum off on the good Yacht 'Conspicuous Consumption' with some rather difficult clientele...hang in there mate, all this will pass...

The cleared bed above is all that remains of the up turned turf, cow manure and cardboard after planting and lifting good crop of potatoes within the space of a couple of months.

These leeks are looking good but will have to be soiled up to ensure they have good long, white shanks.

The Jerusalem artichokes are going great guns. They've provided an effective windbreak and visual screen to the entrance of the allotment and just keep getting taller and taller.
Grow well!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Summer Saturday Update

A classic sunny English summer's day at WTA. Leek and onion beds were weeded and 'test plot' potatoes lifted. Reluctantly dragged myself off the plot at 7.30pm this evening but pleased with what had been achieved.
The potatoes had been planted in a non-dig bed of cardboard, up-turned turf and Dairy farmer Tom's cow poo and straw. The cunning plan was to see if the spuds could break up the turf and accelerate the process of creating a new bed in matter of months - and it looks like it has worked! Stay tuned for further updates. Right now however it looks like I've ended up with a big bag of potatoes and a cleared bed! It will be interesting to see if the late potatoes planted under overturned turf last week can do same things.

WTA's pumpkin patch has hit its straps in the last few weeks. It didn't look good for a couple of the seedlings I'd put into a pile of straw, cow poo and soil a few months ago, but rising night time temperatures have kicked in and what seemed like a potential disaster, averted. One of the miriad of bumblebees (above pic) is enjoying the pumpkin flowers - take a look at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website under WTA's 'Hot Topics' listing - and helping produce this beauty below which was discovered this week under the foliage. (A WTA " bee posting" is in the offing.)

More veg postings to come tomorrow... Grow well!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Life, the universe, religious experience, bodily functions and compost heaps!

"My whole life had been spent
waiting for an epiphany, a manifestation of God's presence,
the kind of transcendental, magical
experience that lets you see your place in the big picture. And
that is what I had with my first compost heap."

Bette Midler

WTA loves its compost, heaps! Both compost bins were constructed pretty soon after taking on the plot almost two years ago and have produced some mighty fine 'black gold' from a combination of veg scraps, lawn clippings, garden waste, cardboard, paper and cow manure thrown on them.

WTA kitchen waste (above) headed for the temple of compost.

Being pro-recycling, WTA's compost bins have been constructed from old wooden pallets for free and 10 wooden stakes - no fuss and effective.

A black plastic composting bin - used to solely compost weeds and nettles - has also joined the crew and has converted kilos of weeds and nettles - I try to keep the two open bins as weed-free as I can.

The Inspiration
'Grand' forebears of WTA, 'Technical Tom' and 'Fred the Chemist' were mad keen composters, both of them having their own techniques and apparatus to produce the 'black gold'. Technical Tom was a fan of the 'Compost Tumbler' - a commercially made drum mounted on a frame (see pic below) on which is could be turned. Fred the chemist favoured the big multi bin approach, constructing four huge adjoining squares made out of old corrugated iron and fence posts.

Whatever the shape or size - commercial or non-commercial - it's important to get a compost heap and find composting style to suit your garden/allotment and the type of materials you are composting.

Accelerators- keeping your heap in hyper drive.
Creating a 'Formula One heap' is a mix of art and science. WTA recommends a few inexpensive components to keep the bacterial engine of the your heap throbbing:
  • Bone meal/pelletised poutry manure - nitrogenous bacterial stimulant that feeds the microscopic buds doing the hard yards to break down the waste.

  • Gardener's Lime - great to cool things down and 'sweeten your heap' if things get to acidic in your rotting matter.
  • A good peace of thick carpet - vital for covering your compost heap warm and keeping bacteria working when the temperature drops.
  • Human urine! - even the beer or cuppa you have after a hard day's graft on the allotment can be recycled! Ensure no one is in vicinity (We don't want Allotment holders getting done for indecent exposure!) and have a good old wee (probably easier for blokes) on your heap.

Worm bins/cans
Wormeries are also an incredibly dynamic way of composting and also producing your own super quality . Wta has a an "off site" worm bin which to produce . One worm bin is far too small to handle the amount and variety of matter composted by the bins on WTA but I was lucky enough to pick a worm can similar to the one picture below on sale at a local supermarket chain. I use this little beauty to breakdown large quantities of paper waste (think of it as an enviro- shredder!) and a source of liquid fertiliser- an odourless, nutrient-rich liquid by-product, superb for fertilisng your crops.

Top Shelf composting material (But proceed with caution!)

Some of WTA's Jersey Girls - compost makers extraordinaire

WTA's custodiancan often be see roaming around the adjacent fields awith wheel barrow and shovel, followed closely by a small herd of inquisitive Jersey Cows, in search of quality cow pats. The occasional barrow load of cowpats on the compost heap does a world of wonders
for the end product. But be wary! You've got to know your shit! Problems with herbicide in some animal manure used on allotments was well publicised last year. Ask the owners of the land, on which the animals you get you poo from graze, what sort of pesticides and herbicides are used on the pasture. When in doubt leave it out! If you're new to the allotment game or missed the whole herbicide and animalmanure debarcle take a look at the relevant links and No. 10 petition listed under 'Hot Topics' on this site.

Get composting and grow really well!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

The Green Revolution continues!

Hey farmer, farmer
put away your DDT now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
(Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell)

A good week all up on WTA. The rain has been brilliant -no problems about finding water for the veg and it's free! The Met (British weather bureau) back-tracked on their previous forecast that we were destined for a 'BBQ summer' this week and have now said the 'Green and Pleasant Land' can expect quite a lot of the wet stuff into August - them's the breaks! It's throwing it down as I write this post.

Earlier in the week I decided to show a bit of The Anglo-Aussie spirit and head out on WTA despite the showers. It's relatively cathartic working away in the rain and I managed to get my 'late' seed potatoes planted and cut the last remaining bit of turf out of the the lower bed.

The last of Mariner Tim's onions were finally picked yesterday. Even after using quite a lot straight out of the ground, I still have four boxes of 'whites' and 'reds' left drying out in the garage due to the wet conditions. Mariner Tim dug the plot these onions were planted in and then helped me plant the sets last year. The results of his handy work are impressive...

After bit of weeding , digging and blood and bone fertiliser, the old onion bed was ready to take some Trafalgar Brussel Sprout and Dwarf kale seedlings I've been meaning to plant for ages (The rain has also been fab for watering things in!).

The cauliflowers (igloo and all-year-round) are now being harvested and used in dishes from Cauliflower Balti to soups. I've literally just made a 'cauliflower and cashew' nut soup gleaned from a Women's Institute soup recipe book I picked up cheap a couple of months ago it's a winner! Cauli's are a great veg to grow if you got a reasonable amount of space. They not only taste incredible when cooked well or eaten raw but are look spectacular looking vegetable when in their prime. This week WTA ordered some Mayflower (F1) cauliflower from Marshalls for Autumn planting. I've also got some 'Ideal' carrot and Borecole (Curly Kale, F1 reflex) seeds from Dobies that will hit the soil in the next few days.

Organic v. Non organic debate

The news that organic fruit and veg had the same nutrient levels as non organic veg hit the headlines this week if you hadn't noticed. The reporting of the issue seemed to miss the point why a lot of people grow and eat organic produce: that being many want to know what or, in the case of organic veg, what hasn't been used on food that we eat.
I've started a new "Hot topics" links section on the blog if you feel inclined to look at some of the issues that affect allotment owners and 'grow your own enthusiasts' in general. I've put a link to the latest BBC report on the organic v non organic nutrient level research presented this week.
No commercial pesticides are used on WTA - a decision I feel is a wise one when I see a plethora of bumble bees, native bees and a variety of bird life including Mistle Thrushes, Blackbirds, Wrens and Robins in and around the plants and hedges.

'Natural' Options for Pest and Problems

If and when there comes a time when WTA needs a bit of assisted pest control, I'm heading for the 'natural' options. The people at 'Gardening Australia' - the Aussie version of the BBC's Gardener's World have put a a brilliant 'fact sheet' on their website on making your own pesticides and herbicides from a combination of things including garlic, chillies, bi-carbonate of soda, vinegar, molasses and eco-friendly washing up detergents. I've created a link to the site under 'Pests and Solutions'
In the mean time these pesticide/chemical free broad bean beauties below are destined for the table tonight...Grow and eat well!