Thursday, November 09, 2023

It's a Wrap

Summer is done. Time to plan for next year and dream about the bounteous pest-free crops that I'm going to grow. I'm cutting the hedging back to allow more sunlight in and I've hired a chipper/shredder to help with pre-digestion. 

The stars this year were broad beans, courgettes and aubergines. French beans did fine, tomatoes meh and squash very disappointing. Leeks looked splendid until about 3 weeks ago when the allium leaf miners started shredding them. I have pulled them all up, squashed all the bugs I could find and used what was usable. I'll skip a year and try to design some protective cover for future crops...

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Prelude to an Afternoon Shower

 (and they are in excess of 7 feet tall!)

Friday, August 18, 2023

An Orgy of Aubergines


... and courgettes, peppers and beetroot coming out the wazoo!

Friday, May 12, 2023

It's May

 But nobody told the weatherman. It's been a slow cool spring, but at least there's been some rain and everything is green and lush. The night-time temperature is hovering around 7°this week so I'm keeping tomato plants in the greenhouse for a while yet.

The broad beans I sowed late November are blooming and look splendid...

Friday, April 14, 2023

Mr. Stag

I planted out 10 asparagus crowns today in a trench along one side of the 'hugelkultur'.

 And whilst doing so I unearthed (and reburied) a massive stag beetle. Maybe because I usually see female ones, this one seemed particularly enormous. Was he a wee grub when I entombed the dead wood six years ago? Anyway, I'm hoping he wasn't too discombobulated by the experience ...

Thursday, April 06, 2023

Progress Report

Seeds sown March 12th growing on in the greenhouse. Cabbage Savoy 'Violacea di Verona', 'Rodynda', 'Green Acre', Lettuce 'Devil's Tongue' and 'Radichetta', Mustard 'Red Frills',  Beetroot 'Formanova' and 'Touchstone Gold', Celeriac 'Giant Prague' and Swede 'Best of All' and Leeks 'Monstrueux de Carentan' in the background ...

 Meanwhile indoors, peppers and aubergines (sown on same date) have developed true leaves. Tomatoes and cucumbers sown last week have germinated. Still waiting for courgettes to show up...

Saturday, November 05, 2022

In a Galaxy...

... far, far away...

Monday, October 24, 2022

Sweet Potatoes Rousted from their Bed

 My experiment on the greenhouse this year - meh. I guess they needed a longer season, but then, as they don't store as well as potatoes, and we have to eat them up sharpish ... mayhaps it's as well there isn't a heap. Lots of little squiggles that I suppose would have fattened up if the weather were to stay warm for another month. And they have been slightly neglected in the water department since the hosepipe ban ...

Thursday, October 20, 2022


 Now at 6:00p.m.  End of day and end of a dismal summer with no rain. Big rethink for next year - more drought proof crops, more perennials, more mulching and ...

Thursday, September 01, 2022


 I didn't think they would survive the drought, but only a few days after last Wednesday's rain life began to emerge ...

... just have to keep the slugs away until they reach a good size.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Meet Sydney

 My faithful (as long as there is seed) friend through this long dry miserable summer.  If you struggle to see the resemblance between the non-feathered terrestrial bi-ped Sydney Greenstreet and this wood pigeon, imagine him (the actor) with a monocle.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

First Fruiting

 It's not all bad news. Plants that I held back in the greenhouse are happy and even the outdoor tomatoes are looking as if they may survive/recover. Now that we have warm sunny weather everything is fluffing out with considerable exuberance. I've planted out three types of corn today - already a foot high - sweet Swiss and Mezdi and Rainbow popcorn. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Hail Mary

And, lo and behold, on May 17th the heavens did part ...

Monday, January 25, 2021

Monday, January 11, 2021

Monday, November 23, 2020

Room Mate

This little brimstone has taken up winter quarters in the greenhouse. I tried putting him out, but when he just sat and stared for a day and a half I brought him back into warmer environs.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Naked Seed

Sowed broad beans 'Aquadulce Longpod' yesterday and continued garden clear-up in sunny 16°. Also liberated the seed from 'Lady Godiva' squash. Not a very impressive take at 2/3 of a pint ...

Monday, November 02, 2020


Fougasse Luck of the Draw 1936 (click on illustration to enlarge)

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Will You Walk Into My Parlour...

"There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin; 
 And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in."

Thursday, October 08, 2020


This might have looked promising back in July/August, but I hold out little hope now of getting a bathscrub out of this vine. Perhaps next year I'll start the seeds much earlier. I sowed them late April along with the squash and they germinated well. But they didn't start to flower until September and until yesterday I never saw a female in flower. I've taken a little paint brush and transferred pollen on the off chance it will develop ahead of the cold weather...


Monday, October 05, 2020

Squash 2020

I put a question mark beside Zucca Mantovana because it doesn't look like what it oughta. It's either a sport or some mis-labelling has occurred somewhere. Not exactly a bumper year but I'm blaming lack of rain for all ills this year. Scabby potatoes, stunted beets that ran to flower, tiny miserable corn cobs, ...

Monday, September 07, 2020


 Well, in the event, it was 2 and a half years. But here they are!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Helianthus annuus 'Titan'

Today I liberated the head from it's stem and hung it in the potting shed out of harm's (in the shape of a squirrel) way. With remaining foot and a half of stem it weighs 5 pounds and is about 15 inches in diameter. Quite a beauty. Two more slightly smaller ones are netted for now. 

Friday, August 21, 2020


Yesterday I dealt with some of my cucumber overload - 5 x 1 litre jars of sweet and sour ...

... made with some love, spices and half a packet of GurkenDoktor.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020


"Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean."

And as days of pandemic inspired incarceration have stretched to weary weeks and now six months, I feel ever more kinship with the ancient mariner and more and more strongly that we have indeed, collectively, shot the albatross. 

The Richard Burton/John Neville reading of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner happily showed up on ResonanceFM's 'Voices on Record' about a decade ago and is still available as a podcast! I grew up with the Gustave Dore illustrated text - a facsimile edition that my mother gave me for a teen birthday. But scouting around now I see that there is another take by the wonderful Hunt Emerson. In fact I have just ordered two T-shirts, one for me and one for him indoors.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Tom-ay-to Tom-ah-to

It may be another bumper year for tomatoes. We are eating as fast as we can and also oven-roasting and freezing batches. The chief factor in their survival over the coming weeks will be my ability to keep up with their water needs as the gods have been no help whatsoever. These are possibly the driest 5 months I have experienced in London and currently a prolonged hot spell with no rain in sight. Ugh.


Friday, July 31, 2020

Spectral Dust

Dang! I see, too late, that there was a 'potato photo of the year' contest. Next time.