Monday, December 31, 2007

On The South Downs


The location of a very productive sloe tree.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

IYP Countdown - 2 Days


Hitchcock rummages through a sack of potatoes at the scene of another horrible murder, Covent Garden Market, where you can buy the "fruits of evil and the horrors of vegetables".

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ziegenmist

" If the pellet's of goat's dung, the size of a bean, are hollowed out, and the seed of leeks, rocket, lettuces, parsley, endive and cress is inserted in them, and then sown, the plants will thrive in a marvellous degree."
Pliny found this advice.

Oh joy. This morning I posted my order to the Heritage Seed Library for some beans and peas and got home to find a bubble envelope on the doorstep that made a 'shishing' sound when I shook it - the Kokopelli consignment! Aubergine 'Slim Jim' & 'Apple Green', Tomatoes 'Omar's Lebanese', 'Pineapple', 'Golden Queen' & 'Yellow Ruffles'. Cucumber 'Armenian Snake'. Hot pepper 'Chimayo' and 'Zia Pueblo'.'Hubbard Anna Schwarz' Squash and 'Solaize Blue' Leeks.
Now I just need a goat.


Illustration: Wolf Erlbruch

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Novopus


Look at the brute what I wrassled out of the mud this morn.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Woolgathering


The Inuit (or Australian aboriginals?) measure nocturnal temperature by the number of dogs they must bring under the covers with them to stay warm. A three dog night is a very cold one. The increments on my loaf-meter are pots of tea. This morning was a 3 pot morning - bone idle.
" December 13, 1916. Walked down the bottom of the road and hung over some wooden railings. A little village baby-girl aged not more than 3 was hovering about near me while I gazed abstractedly across the Park at the trees. Presently, she crawled through the railings into the field and picked up a few dead leaves - a baby picking up dead leaves! Then she threw them down, and kicked them. Then moved on again - rustling about intermittently like a winter Thrush in the shrubbery. At last, she had stumbled around to where I was leaning over the railings. She stood immediately in front of me and silently looked up with a steady reproachful gaze: 'Ain't you 'shamed, you lazybones?' till I could bear her inquisitorial gaze no longer, and so went and hung over some more railings further on. "
At some point while trawling through cyberspace I happened on The Journal of a Disappointed Man by W.P.N. Barbellion, 1919, serialized on Barbellionblog. And it's a good place to head to on wet grey days such as this.
" March 12, 1917. 'I used to get very muddy,' I remarked lamentably, 'in the old days when stalking birds on the mudflats.' And they rather jeered at such an occupation in such a place, just as those beautiful sights and sounds of zostera-covered mud-banks, twinkling runnels, swiftly running thin-legged waders, their whistles and cries began to steal over my memory like a delicate pain. "
Dip into 'this entry' and this rural idyll.
There. I hope I've set you off for several hours of delinquent flânerie.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Planning Ahead

" I only want to live in peace, plant potatoes and dream."
Moomintroll
I finally got around to testing my soil this fall, and found the pH to be hovering down around 5.5 to 6. Not too healthy for vegetables other than potatoes. So, I ordered two blueberry bushes which seem to appreciate acidity (for the back hedge) and then set about dusting the beds with lime. With that done it's time to settle down to my favourite task in the grower's calendar which is reading seed catalogues and planning next season's produce. Just 26 shopping days left until 2008 - International Year of the POTATO !!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

It's A Wrap


Get some popcorn, draw up a chair and click HERE to see the highlights of this past season (excepting the carrots which were '06) in my neck of the woods. Something to warm the cockles - those poor frozen molluscs in the months ahead.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

'The Apple Detective'


If you are interested in old apple varieties, you can 'listen again' to this program. I particularly like the bit when he explains to Helen that those 'sprigs' coming off the main stem are known as branches.

*The photo is one by Harry Cory-Wright which I've had on my bulletin board for many moons.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Final Straw


Last evening I got some straw down on the garlic and around the artichokes just ahead of the predicted frost. It was well past dark by the time I got to the allotment but with the clear night and full moon it looked like a day for night scene from the movies. Everything went swimmingly until I realized that I had dropped my specs somewhere and then the whole enterprise seemed a little ill-conceived. It wasn't so bright after all. Half an hour on hands and knees just left me muddy and cold so I abandoned them and went home slightly more miserable than I started out. As there is still a pair on the loose in the garden somewhere from a year and a half ago and another that did a runner on the seafront in the Netherlands, I was more than happy to find them in the morning light - unscathed.
I'm not sure the temperature did drop below 0° last night, but everything is bundled up and ready now for when it does happen.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Swan in Love

"A swan came flying up the Lythe, &, without regarding objects before it, dashed itself against Dorton-house, & fell down stunned. It recovered, & was sold to the miller at Hawkley."
Rev. Gilbert White again 1789


Happily Petra the black swan and the love of her life (a plastic swan boat) who summer on the Aasee will once again be able to winter at the zoo in Münster. Moving day is set for the 5th of December.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Out & About


Tuesday lunchtime I perused a monograph on the war artist Evelyn Dunbar at Hatchard's Book Shop. I've had a post card of 'The Queue at the Fish Shop' on my bulletin board for the past - oh, 5 years now, but have never happened on any of her other paintings. She was hired by the British government to document the war at home particularly the work of the women in the Land Army. The beautiful painting above is 'Pruning at East Malling' which I lifted from the Manchester Art Gallery website. Check out the link for more.


Last night we went along to friend Katherine Tasker's party to celebrate the opening of her deli/cafe 'Lemon Monkey' @ 188 Stoke Newington High Street. During the renovations to the former betting shop they uncovered the original Victorian proprietor's ("W.A.Higgs") hand-lettered signboard well back of the current facade. It compliments her fittings and suits her endeavor to sell locally sourced, home-made comestibles. Although the cupboards were still bare she's due to begin trading next Tuesday. The above is not the final logo but happens to be my favourite of the ones that Michael designed.
And I eagerly anticipate Monday's screening of the documentary 'Beekeeping After War' at the Roxy Bar & Screen followed by a director's Q&A. It was filmed in the Balkans, postNATO blitzkrieg and is free!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tidy Up

"Brought away Mrs. Snooke's old tortoise, Timothy, which she values so much, & had treated kindly for near 40 years. When dug out of it's hybernaculum, it resented the insult by hissing."
Gilbert White 1780

Most of the weekend was spent raking, weeding, pruning and beating back the brambles. Satisfying toil against unruly nature as Richard Mabey puts it. I'm not leaving it very ruly, but want to get the big work done now rather than turf some little critter like Timothy the Tortoise or Betty the Bumblebee out of his or her hybernaculum in the middle of winter. With the help of the azada (which I can't recommend highly enough) I've grubbed up an area big enough for the planned hen run. This would have taken three times as long using a spade or fork. And then I built an almighty compost heap (my best ever) and moistened it with lashings of dilute widdle. However, rather than illustrate that, the picture below marks the progress of the oats sown 6 weeks ago.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wildings

" I fear that he who walks over these fields a century hence will not know the pleasure of knocking off wild apples. Ah, poor man, there are many pleasures which he will not know."
H.D.Thoreau 'Wild Apples' 1862

Last Saturday I finally got the garlic set out which I got in a trade with Patrick @ Bifurcated Carrots - 'Red Toch' And 'Metechi'. Hopefully I wasn't too late getting them in? I'm planting out the three apples that I grafted back in the spring this weekend. They (2 William Crump and one nameless neighbour) have all grown away quite well I think.
My current project is to grow some from pips. They won't come true of course, the chance seedlings which spring from discarded cores may turn into anything, possibly with echoes from ancient ancestors. In each seed there are lost varieties and potential new ones. Which is what makes me so curious. The 'Reinette de Canada' is thought to be the ancestor of the 'Ribston Pippin'. 'Granny Smith' apparently grew on the compost heap of an Australian woman and 'Keswick Codlin' was found in the garden rubbish at Ulverston Castle. The varieties with words such as seedling or pippin as part of the name have occurred just so.
Well my plan is to grow the pips pictured below and in a few years hence I will plant them in some out of the way locations as I don't have the property to start an orchard. Guerrilla gardening . Once they're fruiting in about 5 or 6 years I'll publish a map of their whereabouts so that everyone can enjoy the results.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Coming Soon...

... to an allotment near you!


*We have just roasted this double-barreled beauty with some potatoes and beetroot - S Weet!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

On Visiting Two Yards


Happily Hooting Yard is back on the air again after having been quiet all summer while Resonance decamped to SE1. You can listen live on Thursdays at 6:30 or the repeat broadcast 1:00 Mondays. And I was more than a little pleased this week to find myself linked there in a piece which mooted a Peasant's Party for the U.K. Hear! Hear!
On Thursday's lunch break, I went to Pied Bull Yard to see the paintings which Julian Perry has produced on the Manor Garden Allotments - Sheds Lost to the Olympiad. The title of the show 'A Common Treasury' is a quote from the Digger's manifesto of 1649 which protested their right to grow food to feed themselves. " In the beginning of Time, the great Creator Reason, made the earth To Be a Common Treasury, to preserve Beasts, Birds, Fishes..."
The sheds themselves are now buried behind the 11 mile wall of the Olympic Security Zone.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rings of Saturn

" ... we had walked out together into the garden, where night had already fallen. We waited for the taxi beside the Hölderlin pump, and by the faint light that fell from the living-room window into the well I saw, with a shudder that went to the roots of my hair, a beetle rowing across the surface of the water, from one dark shore to the other."
Sebald, again, on leaving Michael Hamburger's home.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Best in Show

About a week ago Alyson and I rendezvoused at the RHS Great Autumn Show for a lookround. There, under the high vaulted ceiling of the Horticultural Halls, vegetables and fruits were laid out on draped tables to be judged on criteria which generally require all sorts of unnatural growing techniques from forcing under lights to holding back in the freezer and more besides. It felt a bit clinical, fusty and antiquated and, to be honest, the displays just didn't look like food. I had the impression as we shuffled past that we were part of a cortège paying our last respects to the dearly departed.

Well yesterday I dug up a few things at the allotment and I have awarded myself a Silver Gilt medal in the category of Curiously Lumpen and Hirsute Root Vegetables. Marks were deducted for the smooth complexion and near symmetry of the turnip. And yes, that red thing is a radish.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Appy Happle Day


Striped Beefing, Cornish Gilliflower, Bloody Ploughman, Greasy Butcher, Worcester Pearmain, Devonshire Quarrendon, Peasgood Nonsuch, Oaken Pin, Ashmead's Kernel, Hoary Morning, Blenheim Orange, Thorpe's Peach, Winter Banana, Pitmaston Pineapple, Duck's Bill, Pig's Snout, Hen's Turd, Cat's Head, Broxwood Foxwhelp, Eynsham Dumpling, D'arcy Spice, Leathercoat Russet, Tom Putt, William Crump, Transparent Codlin, Lodgemore Nonpareil, Phelp's Favourite, Barnett's Beauty, Dredges Fame, Farmer's Glory, Hanwell Souring, Sweet Cleave, Jackets & Waistcoats, Dumelow's Seedling, Burr Knot, Ringwood Red, Hocking's Green, Polly Whitehair, Crimson Victoria, Golden Knob, Black Dabinette, Maind's Costard, Howgate Wonder... Apple Day, October 21st.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Squash Roundup

This year hasn't been brilliant (as I've whined many times already). The squashes were smaller and fewer but I've herded them all into one corner for a group shot and they don't look so bad after all.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Poet & His Apples

"Peering into the pantry, which held a particular fascination for me, my eye was caught by several jars of preserved fruit that stood on the otherwise empty shelves and by a few dozen diminutive crimson apples on the sill of the window darkened by the yew tree outside. And as I looked on those apples which shone through the half-light much as the golden apples likened in Proverbs to a word fitly spoken, the quite outlandish thought crossed my mind that these things, the kindling, the jiffy bags, the fruit preserves, the seashells and the sound of the sea within them had all outlasted me, and that Michael was taking me round a house in which I myself had lived a long time ago."
W.G.Sebald 'The Rings of Saturn', on visiting Michael Hamburger's Suffolk home


On a recommendation from friend Ren, I've just been to the Frith Street Gallery (now located on Golden Square) to see a very beautiful and affecting film by Tacita Dean. The film was commissioned for Waterlog, an exhibition which looked at the East Anglian landscape and Sebald's writing there. It is a portrait of the poet Michael Hamburger finished just a few months before he died. He holds and speaks about the apples that he has grown (some from pips), their history and associations. Outside the wind blows, clouds part, we peer in through a gap in the curtains and see his wife spooning out dinner...
If you get the chance, see this film.

Monday, October 08, 2007

2007 Gurning Champions


Pear Doyenne du Comice, Tomato Pink Brandywine, another Pear, Quince Meech's Prolific

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Me and My Shadow


This robin keeps me company all the while I'm harvesting, clearing and spreading compost. I sowed my porridge oats (Vicar) on Friday. Four 9 foot rows.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pestilence

"I adjure thee, beetles, who dissipate and destroy the food of men in this place, that you should depart henceforth and go where you can harm nobody."
from the text of a manual of exorcism circa 1500


In 1545 the good people of Saint-Julian-de-Maurienne sued a plague of flies for destroying their vineyard. The court ruled that it was 'unbecoming to proceed with rashness and precipitance against the animals'. Thirty years later when the insects returned and the harvest was again lost the court accepted a formal complaint against the insects. It appointed Antoine Filliol, a distinguished lawyer to conduct the defence. He argued that the plaintiffs were acting unjustly, since his clients - like all living things - were commanded by God to 'be fruitful and multiply.'
The plaintiffs acknowledged the insects rights and agreed to set aside a piece of land outside the vineyard for the purpose of feeding and multiplying. We don't know if this was successful or not as the papers recording the outcome were lost, apparently destroyed by insects.
I found this story along with one about a pig hanged for murder in 'Strange Histories' by Darren Oldridge.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Knit Knit Knit

Autumn is now officially upon us. I can draw a line under the worst summer in the garden since, well, since that other one. Time to stoke up the fire and sharpen my knitting needles. And if I get started now I can knit that special someone a soft Christmas present such as the Tudor Jerkin below that's modeled by the mock-Tudor jerk. See more inspired knitwear at 'threadbared.com'

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Oriental Roots

Hot radish
Pierced my tongue,
While the autumn wind
Pierced my heart
- Matsuo Basho 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North'

August 30th I sowed seeds of turnip and winter radish. And here they be on September 8th. Still trying to create the illusion of summer. The Giant Luo Buo radish can grow to 10 inches and weigh over 2 pounds and the Hinona Kabu neep grows to 12 inches long and is white with purple shoulders. If anyone has any good recipes for cooking or pickling them please let me know.


Bitten by fleas and lice,
I slept in a bed,
A horse urinating all the time
Close to my pillow.
- Basho again, farther down 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North'

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

It's Open Season on Mushrooms



A day or two too late for this quarry, something else got to it first.
(9 inches across!)

Stocking the Larder


Hmm, September. I guess that was it for summer then. There aren't too many things that are going to have a sudden spurt of growth at this late stage, but still, I don't feel like tallying up just yet. Something there is lots of right now and that's fruit. We're getting our fill of apples - apple sauce, apple crumble, apple pie - blackberries, and the neighbour's plums. And I've tried to lay in a few stores for the long, cold dark nights ahead. I stewed a couple of bottles of an elderberry cordial, good for sore throats, croup and catarrh. And then made this crabapple cheese, very like quince cheese in texture and probably usage as well, but with the addition of a little cinnamon and clove spices. I'm sure it will cure whatever ails you and it's quite more-ish.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kaiser Alexander


The longer you garden, the more varieties of each vegetable you discover which are really to your liking and you don't want to be without. But the most fun in growing your own is experimenting with strange things that you won't find in the shops. This year I realize that most of the garden is old favourites and I'm missing that buzz. The 'Kaiser Alexander' cucumber is one of the few new trials for me and I just picked the first one. Yeee-ha! Really crunchy (like biting into a raw potato) and sweet and mild. About 7 inches long and 3+ in diametre and they apparently store for a while. I've come late to cucumbers, this is just the third year. The first time I sowed two varieties of gherkins and they were quite bitter. I read later that you shouldn't grow two different types side by each. But I came across a number of theories for bitterness. Last year I grew just one with mixed results. But this here is a winner. And therefore will probably grow it again next year...

And so I shan't.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More Whingeing

Speaking of tea, the gardeners at the Horniman Museum gardens have planted Camellia sinensis this year. It will be interesting to see how well it grows here on the misty moisty slopes and rarefied air of Forest Hill. Hmmm, I never thought of growing my own tea before.
Meanwhile , I've taken to sitting, crumpled in the potting shed staring out into the sodden gray yonder. And lo and behold found there the birdhouse gourds that I grew last year. They are completely dry now, so I've started cutting little circular doorways in them. Very easy with an exacto blade, rather like cork. Rattling them I imagined a couple of seeds inside but have found over a hundred in each fruit. In other words, I've got more than enough and if anyone wants some just let me know. Otherwise I suggest contacting Chris Bauer, the UK branch of Kokopelli Seeds for a good selection of gourd shapes.


Four to suit tits and two for robins or tree sparrows.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Under the Weather

Minnie Bannister: "Yes, yes, what a nice summer evening, typical english weather."
Henry Crun: "Mnk yes, the rain is lovely and warm. Minnie ?
Minnie: "Yes?"
Henry: "I think I'll take one of my sou'westers off..."
Minnie: " Oh, you devil you!"
from the Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler of Bexhill on Sea


This is the view from my allotment today. I dug the last of the charlotte potatoes and planted out (better late than never) young florence fennel. But really it's a day for staying in and making pots and pots of tea. And now that I've seen 'Tea Making Tips' (flagged up by our friend Mike @ Articles & Texticles), "every cup will be a cup that cheers!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

AllSwell

The garden has survived my absence which happened to coincide with the only two rain-free weeks all summer (thanks Iz!). And below is a testament to the growth that has been happening there.


Once these things get started they develop rather quickly. A curious researcher in 1894 weighed a developing squash fruit hourly and found that they gained at an average of one gram per minute. Last year for a while I was running out with a tape measure every morning and recorded growth in the circumference of up to 5cm. in a day. But those were the days when we had sun and heat...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

R&R


We're off to the seaside for a fortnight. We've taken 40 more pounds of honey, tallied up the July rainfall (99mm., the average is 38), packed our haversacks (see Thurs.2nd Feb.in the Hooting Yard archive), battened the hatches and I'm leaving this lot to hold down the fort.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bud the Spud


I've just harvested the Roseval salad potatoes and I'm well pleased. The weather hasn't adversely affected this lot. There are 100 excluding the top row of little ones, from only 5 seed potatoes.
Here's Stompin'Tom to sing the praises of his home growed potatoes.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Detritus 101


A part of the 'Integrated Pest Management' that beekeepers must routinely do is an inspection of the litter tray. You insert a sticky/greasy paper under the mesh floor and after a few days take a good hard look at what's dropped there. The idea is that if a mite falls it'll stick and be counted. And the good folks at DEFRA have calculated mite populations based on that. Well we've got good news and bad news. One hive with less than 2 mites a day is very good for this time of year. But the other one with about 8 a day will require some immediate action. It's going to interrupt the honey harvest from that hive but hopefully we can get the bee population healthy enough to last the winter. The honey bee got a lot of press this spring (not as much as Paris Hilton maybe) concerning the phenomenon that has been termed 'Colony Collapse Disorder'. Current thinking is that it isn't any one thing but rather like a bee Aids, whereby their immune system is weakened (stress, pesticides, etc.) and then they can be finished off by something that wouldn't normally be fatal. Anyone interested can 'listen again' to a recent Food Programme on Radio 4 which looks at the problem. And I see that Patrick @ Bifurcated Carrots has flagged up an article which has yet another theory.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Vestal Virgins


It's so heartening to see the first female flowers on the squash plants as there can be a long succession of male only, particularly early in the season. And you can already begin to see evidence of the shape, colour and markings of the mature fruit in the unfertilized ovaries.
John Loudon, a best selling garden writer at the turn of the 19th century commented on the growing of squash that " The seeds of pumpkin are scattered in the field, when planting corn, and no further trouble is necessary than throwing them into the wagon when ripe."
While I know this to be essentially true, I still go and check on them daily and wring my hands when the fruit doesn't develop but just turns yellow and drops off. Some plants wait until late August to start producing a real fruit. I have a couple of plants that have only managed one or two male flowers so far. Some of the factors affecting flower production and sexual expression such as temperature, daylength and light intensity, I know I can do nothing about anyway. So I'll take comfort in the evidence of past harvests.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Daylight Robbery


The philosopher Democritus advised that for a long life you must 'moisten your insides with honey and your outsides with oil'. Yesterday we made off with 28 lbs. of the sweet stuff from our two hives and there was a lot of licking up needed doing to get it packed into jars. By the end our innards and outards were well moistened. This crop is very light coloured with a decidedly flowery taste. Mmmm mmm.
Apparently in Slovenia, Job was the protector of beekeepers. Here is a little painting of the guardian sitting atop a pile of manure next to the hives from the Museum of Apiculture in Radovljika.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tender Buttons


"It was a cress a crescent a cross and an unequal scream, it was upslanting, it was radiant and reasonable with little ins and red."

"Very well. Certainly the length is thinner and the rest, the round rest has a longer summer. To shine, why not shine, to station, to enlarge, to hurry the measure all this means nothing if there is singing, if there is singing then there is the resumption."

Gertrude Stein

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Cloud-Cuckoo-Land


We've been having some wild weather here this spring/summer. After a lackadaisical April - the warmest & sunniest since MET records of 1914 with only 2mm. rain - we got the wettest May ever (103mm. in my garden). Typical of the last few weeks is this little sequence that I recorded while sitting in the studio yesterday afternoon. It came complete with lightning and then rainbows when I cycled into town later. It's enough to make you want to join the Cloud Appreciation Society. Have a look at their photo gallery and be amazed.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Stocktaking


Yesterday (Canada, Oh Canada, Day) we got a sunny afternoon so I went around the allotment and garden, camera in hand, to record the growth to date. This is the kind of list that nobody but me wants to read but I'm writing it as if someone will.
(a) A 12 foot row of climbing beans 'True Red Cranberry', after a slow start are now about 2/3 of the way up the pole, leaf amaranthe 'Kahulu' is over a foot tall, Roseval salad potatoes are in flower and 3 squash moschata 'Shishigatani' have vines 4 to 5 feet long.
(b) Corn 'Golden Bantam' (20 plants) is as high as an elephant's thigh (well knee maybe).
(c) Enough Morello cherries this year for 2 bottles of cherry schnapps methinks.
(d) Four courgette 'Costa Romanesca' are producing fruit now. I've also got three 'Albarellodi Sarzana' almost ready to plant out.
(e) One of 8 squash 'Blue Hubbard' in the foreground, some 'Weggiser' snap peas and a couple of the 10 'Green Globe' artichokes that I started for next year.
(f) Parsnips 'Half Long Guernsey' are looking hale while the cabbage 'Holland Late Winter' and brussels sprouts 'Groninger' behind are a bit pigeon-pecked.
(g)'Keswick Codlin' cooking apples will be ready in about 4 weeks.
(h) We're having salads most days to keep up with the lettuce which is thriving in this weather. In the top corner just visible are a few of the leeks I dibbed-in (?) 10 days ago - 30 'Swiss Giant Zermatt' and 45 'Siegfried'.
The cucumbers 'Kaiser Alexander' didn't get their picture taken because they have just sat and stared at me since I planted them out 4 weeks ago. Also not pictured but doing well are a dozen celeriac 'Giant Prague', 2 squash 'Marina di Chiogga', 5 squash 'Buttercup', climbing haricot beans 'Aunt Jean' and 'Soissons', dwarf bean 'Magpie' and 4 each of tomatoes 'Pink Brandywine', 'Yellow Pear', 'Stupice' and 'Isis Candy'. A dozen kale 'Nero di Toscana', 8 purple sprouting broccoli, and a dozen 'Westfalian' kale 5-6 inches in height got planted out yesterday. In modules 'Large Green' chard, corn 'Orchard Baby' and okra 'Beck's Gardenville' are about an inch high.
On Saturday I sowed a tray of lettuce 'Black Grained Simpson' and 'Craquerelle du Midi', more parsley and fennel 'Romanesco'. We have finished the early potatoes and are now on the 'Charlottes'. The 'Guerande' carrots that I thought had failed to germinate have just shown up and beetroot 'Devoy' and 'Lutz' have 2 true leaves.
Hmm, this diary could be useful in years to come if only I had kept a detailed record of sowing dates. Next year.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

More Artful Beetles



Three paintings by Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1600) which feature the stag beetle. More of his nature studies can be seen on the National Gallery of the U.S.of A. and at Giornale Nuovo.
Below is the ingenious folding new year's card that we got from Michael's uncle Werner who actually has a beetle named after him. I think it's one Coleoptera westfalia 'Starkei' - but not the one pictured below which is a chafer.