Friday, 31 May 2013


Spring is springing!  My crops are well on the grow.




Last year I planted a Jasmine at the foot of the arbour.  I read up on it before I planted it, so I knew it died back in the Winter, but I didn't realise just how much it dies back!  All the leaves fell off and the vines shrank and turned a very dark green.  I was convinced by March that it had died.  I thought "crap, I'm gonna have to dig this one out, amend the soil and go buy a new one".  Then just as I was contemplating doing the work we had the first hot sun of the year and the Jasmine burst into life, grew half a foot and sprouted a mass of leaves in less than a week!  Now it looks like this: 

I fully expect that Jasmine to be a further foot taller come the Autumn.  Also in Spring news, my lawn received its annual infestation of weeds.  This year however I used a weed knife and cleared half the lawn in a few hours.  I really must recommend a weed knife.  Compared with a hand fork it takes a third the time, a quarter the effort, and leaves the grass minimally damaged; whilst hand-forking is hard, long, sweaty labour that leaves your lawn looking like it lost a fight with a platoon of moles.  Seriously, get a weed knife.  Best tenner ever spent!

So yeah, all in all I'd say there's no overstating the boon that a little sunshine can bring to my garden.  And of course as soon as there's hot sun on the grass you'll catch Bill outside, shedding his Winter stoicism in favour of his Summer friskiness!  

Until next time xx

Monday, 27 May 2013

I have invented something amazing!

After much tinkering, I reckon this is the ideal mix for a Baileys Malt:

Into a blender add

  • 1/3 of a tub of ice cream, 
  • 1/2 a bottle of baileys, 
  • 4dsp ovaltine, 
  • 2dsp cocoa powder, 
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste, 
  • milk up to the max line.  
Whiz it up until smooth and serve ice cold.  The genius thing is that it lines your stomach and gets you pissed at the same time!  I've had two and a half mugs today.  Big mugs.  I should probably sit down now :)

Saturday, 25 May 2013

The State of the Garden Address

Here's where we are just now.  I've put in the sage bed, clockwise from back left: purple sage, common sage, tricolour sage, Icterina sage.  

My lemon thyme turned out to be common thyme.  I got it from amidst the lemon thyme and the label said 
"[£1.99]mon Thyme", so I assumed it to be like its neighbours.  Ah well.  I picked up a variegated lemon thyme today and put it in the centre of the thyme bed.  

That'll teach me to not buy a pig in a poke!  

I've planted up bed 3.  There's two frames of bamboo and wire in there.  The one nearest the trellis is growing runner beans (Wisley Magic) and the one nearest the lawn is growing sugar snap peas (Sugar Ann).  

And the lawn is thickening up a treat.  It'll need a mowing and a third seeding to make it ready for the Summer, but imperfect as it is it's still a joy to walk barefoot on after all those stones and nettles.
Approved by Bill!  

In other news: at the bar last night we had a gap between doors and the first DJ showing up, so I got up and DJed for half an hour.  When I DJ I tend to write my set down as I go along.  I got near the end, looked back over what I'd played and realised "shit, I've been watching too much of the news!"  Take a look and see if you can see what I mean:  

Jam - Eton Rifles, 
REM - End Of The World As We Know It, 
Cranberries - Zombie, 
Prodigy - Firestarter, 
Manics - If You Tolerate This, 
Clash - Rock The Casbah, 
Chumbawumba - Tubthumping, 
Alice Cooper - Poison, 
Skunk Anansie - I went to play Hedonism but the disc was bad, so I played Weak.


And I reckon I'm starting college in October, if I can get this bloody paperwork squared away.  

Later :)

Anatomy of a herb bed

Dig a small pit


Nail in place




Compost and grit



Water heavily the once to bed it in


Friday, 24 May 2013

On the tension in London

Here's the score: for twelve years now, successive administrations from Blair's New Labour onwards have been playing divide-and-rule between Muslim communities and the rest of us. Meanwhile they've bombed every Muslim country that they can find an excuse to bomb. 

It's understandable that the Muslim community would feel a bit picked-on, a bit resentful; and while violence is deplorable it is nevertheless understandable that some turn to violence because of their anger at what they see. There has been a race war brewing for twelve years and now our chickens are coming home to roost. 

Idiots on both sides want blood. A soldier has been decapitated, a grandfather has been run through on his way home from the Mosque, a Mosque has been firebombed, and the EDL are out on the streets of London in ski masks. 

This is a time for human beings to start acting like human beings, not pouring more fuel on the fire. If you've got anti-religious views about any group, I don't wanna hear it right now. Keep that shit to yourself, because trotting it about like it were fact in this climate could well get some innocent person killed. Just stow it until this shit blows over.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Now that my heartbeat has calmed from a whine to a purr...

So I'm building my third veg bed out back, minding my own business, and I hear the alsatian over the back go berserk and a girl shriek. Damn near shat myself, but I pulled out my pruning knife and ran up to climb the fence. Got to the fence and it turns out somebody's brought an unfamiliar dog into the garden, the alsatian's showing dominance in its own territory and the girl shrieked at the aggression of it. 

Fucking frit the life out of me!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Today's incident

I don't know how much truth there is in the speculation that today's incident in Woolwich was a terrorist attack.  Maybe it was, maybe it was two bampots trying to be big men.  Who can say?  All I know for sure is that a man has been murdered in a singularly gruesome way.

Leave out the religious thing.  Hell, my neighbours are Muslims.  The dad drives a cab, the mam raises the kids, they get on with us.  She's got a beautiful lawn that one.  If these acts of violence were "a Muslim thing" as the papers would have you believe then why's my neighbour not down Radnor Gardens bombing the bowling green?  It's bollocks.

What it is is individuals who made a choice - for whatever reasons - to bring violence to our streets.  Those individuals might claim a religious motive, a political motive, but at the end of the day they spilled blood in the streets of my damn city.

The EDL have gone down to Woolwich since.  They have no place there.  A bunch of drunkards looking for the least excuse to spill more blood in my city.  They can get the fuck out.

Condolences to the guy's family, and to all the families who are going to be swept up in this bullshit.

Effort and sunshine and water and soil.

So my thyme bed's planted!  It already smells beautiful, and that'll only get better as Spring gives way to Summer.

Clockwise from back left: orange thyme, lemon thyme, golden thyme, silver thyme.  

This weekend I'll be sorting out the sage :)

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Grumble grumble

Throat bug and feeling fluey.  Taken to bed all weekend with a rooibos and lemon and just trying to RPG my way through it.  Nobody bother me until Monday.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Repotting, reseeding and Georgeproofing

Mike got sick again.  Mature leaves turned red, new leaves turned black.  Bit of a disaster really, and fearing fungus I decided that a windowsill was no place for a tree.  I moved him to an outdoor pot and as I took him out of the existing pot I was met with an almighty reek.  The compost in his pot was rotting around the roots!  Aaaargh!  So I scraped as much away as I dared and binned it.  I took off some diseased roots, patted the rootball dry with a towel and applied mycorrhizal fungus.  He's been potted in fresh compost in a bigger pot with a bed of stones and a topdressing of further stones.  I've pruned all affected leaves and moved Mike out front, where he looks thoroughly forlorn.

I've mentioned previously that George is in the habit of climbing into the Strawbrary while he barks into the dark.  Well, I think I've got him foiled:

If he gets through a trellis with a bush behind it then he's some kind of Houdini dog!

Lastly then, the lawn has been reseeded.  This is it now, and fingers crossed it'll be thicker than thick in a month's time.  

Feels like for the past few days I've done little but grafting, eating and sleeping.  With emphasis on the eating and sleeping.  I've even set Skyrim aside!  Tonight then I'm going to get squared away and make some time for me.  I'll knock together a Baileys hot chocolate, colonise the couch and put a game on.  I haven't played Dragon Age in a while...

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Alliums, Blackcurrants and Cuteness

Got another three sacks of that organic, peat-free compost that I like (and it's great that it's 3 big sacks for £12), and I've planted up the second bed.  This one's the allium bed.  I've planted, from the left:
Leeks (Musselburgh), Onions (Ailsa Craig), Garlic (buggered if I know).

 The allium bed is shallower than the potato bed for now as I had to top up the potato bed with half a sack of compost because somebody has been digging up my spuds.  And my lawn.  Somebody who's going the right way towards being a furry hat with earflaps.

The lawn's greened up a treat; but in a week or two I'm gonna feel the need, the need for a reseed.

Now George likes to climb into the Strawbrary via a rip he's made in the netting at the back, so that he can get as close as possible to the cat that lives a few doors Eastward and over the back before barking furiously.  This is a behaviour we've tried to discourage in various ways, of course, but still he rips the netting as fast as I can fix it.  So today I've planted a big blackcurrant plant in that corner, and I'll be putting a trellis over it just as soon as the stain has dried.  That'll go some way toward excluding George and keeping my strawberries from being trampled any further.

Lastly then, because I did indeed promise cuteness:
Young person pushing a dog on gardening supplies in Twickenham
George, of course... ;p

Monday, 6 May 2013

Busy weekend, pt. 3

Picked up three big sacks of organic, peat-free compost for twelve quid the lot and put my spuds in.  The early crop were potted about a week before my first attempt at putting the beds in, but then I broke my good hand and couldn't work.  Then we had a mini Winter.  As a result the early crop potatoes were badly, badly in need of planting out.

Two sacks of compost in as a base layer, plus some mycorrhizal fungus and a little bonemeal.  

 Early crop - Estima

Salad crop - Charlotte

Maincrop - King Edward

All buried now, and the earlies got a triple thick coat to catch up with their ridiculously long stems.  

Potaters gonna potate!

And so shall I, with a mug of cider รก la shed.  

Next weekend I'll be putting in the allium bed, possibly broad beans too :)

Busy weekend, pt. 2

I've finally got the first of my beds built!  I've built the fruit bed and the first two vegetable beds.  I would've blogged this last night but just as I sat down to the keyboard there was a mass exodus out the door to see Iron Man 3 and I just had to go with.

The long bed that runs along the East fence is the fruit bed.  The shorter one in the centre of things is one of the veg beds.

You want broken bricks in the bottom for drainage.  If you can only get so many bricks but have a bunch of slabs then divide them as follows: bricks under the veg beds, slabs under the herb beds.  The reason for this is that slabs have a higher pH than bricks, and herbs can generally tolerate a higher pH than veg.

I dug a pit and filled it with broken bricks,

-parked a bed over the pit,

-and half-filled it with soil.

As you can see from the plan, these are bed 1 and bed 2.  The finished beds will project twice as far.

This week I'll be shopping for compost to fill the remaining space with, as neither my compost nor my leafmould are fully decomposed and ready to use yet.  It looks shabby just now but this is the bare bones, and even that much isn't finished.  Once I've got stuff on the grow it'll look better, and better still when I've got grass growing in the rows between the beds and perennial plants like herbs in the herb beds and fruit in the fruit bed.  The rosemary will really set it off.

Lastly then, because I am a fantasy gamer to my bones, a little flourish:

Back to the grind...