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!

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Thanks for the comment (and the link!). I've happily linked back to you - I'm real excited to read your weblog. Lots of interesting little tidbits and great ideas, I'll have to settle in and read back for a while!