Monday, March 31, 2008

(Sob) I miss the 15th Century!

Daniel Clowes pines for the last century. Click on it to read.

Rhubarb & Custard

"To make a Custard. Breake your Egges into a bowle, and put your Creame into another bowle, and straine your egges into the creame, and put in saffron, Cloves and mace, and a little synamon and ginger, and if you will some Suger and butter, and season it with salte, and melte your butter, and stirre it with the Ladle a good while, and dubbe your custard with dates and currans." (or rhubarb)

Rhubarb time! (Not fruit but leaf petioles actually)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


"Mr.Earbrass stands on the terrace at twilight. It is bleak; it is cold; and the virtue has gone out of everything. Words drift through his mind: anguish turnips conjunctions string parties no parties urns desuetude claws Antipodes mush glaciers incoherence amputation tides deceit mourning elsewards..."
The Unstrung Harp by Edward Gorey

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sonic Horticulture

"In a room near Maida Vale there is an unfortunate carrot strapped to the table of an unlicensed vivisector. Wires pass through two glass tubes full of a white substance; they are like two legs, whose feet are buried in the carrot. When the vegetable is pinched with a pair of forceps, it winces. It is so strapped that it's electric shudder of pain pulls the long arm of a very delicate lever which actuates a tiny mirror... Thus can science reveal the feelings of even so stolid a vegetable as the carrot."
A report in the British publication 'Nation' 1916 on the pioneering experiments of Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose. He claimed that plants feel pain and understand affection and wrote papers on 'The Nervous Mechanisms of Plants' and 'Researches into the Irritability of Plants'. Among other things he was able to show that they grow faster and healthier when played pleasant music. Anyone who has ever read 'The Secret Lives of Plants'* or 'Secret Life of the Soil' will have some inkling about the published research in psychobotany. So, I'm going with it. Trying to tailor my playlist around what I imagine my little seedlings would appreciate. Resonancefm is always the radio of choice - no disturbing 'news', ads or traffic updates but I'm also giving them daily doses of Django Rheinhart, Glenn Gould and Thomas Tallis. What are your plants listening to?

*The 1979 documentary on this book is now available on youtube in bite-sized installments. Check out part 5 in which the cabbage correctly identifies the murderer of it's mate!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Crystal Palace

We've just been down to the workshop where they are making our glasshouse (see below). Yes, the intent was to self build and we got as far as laying the brick wall - 2 years ago... Now it looks like we'll be taking delivery of the pieces this weekend and all we have to do is reassemble it. Ulp. And not a moment too soon as all the tomato seed that I sowed 7 days ago has germinated - Yellow Ruffled, Omar's Lebabese, Golden Queen, Pineapple and Tondino di Maduria. After having been plagued by blight 4 of the past 5 years and looking on in horror as hundreds of tomatoes blacken and rot, I'm hoping that the glass will create a cordon sanitaire for this year's developing fruit.

C.H.Whitehouse Workshop (today). A very happy-making place. Click on the picture for a better look at the pin ups.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I've just noticed that one of the hot pepper seedlings is a mutant. Is this like finding a four-leaf clover?

And speaking of mutants, Michael @ Articles & Texticles has just sent me a link to the artist Uli Westphal's 'MutatoCollection'. Scroll through the pictures along the bottom for a laugh.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Culture Shock

I'm just acclimatizing after 10 days in "The True North, Strong and Free" (minus 14° and 2 feet of snow). In my absence Aubergine 'Slim Jim', Sweet pepper 'Aconcagua', Hot pepper 'De Rata' & 'Jwala' have germinated. And this grew in the fridge.