Sunday 28 March 2010

Shooting Up!

(With apologies to anybody googling for drugs - forced laughter) My addiction is this pink vegetable. It's something to do with the acid content. My little laboratory has produced an early batch this year from a clump I discarded on the rubbish heap where it got a good frosting, and then dragged back indoors to fire up under the influence of central heating. This isn't "blanched" rhubarb, this is "forced" rhubarb. My experiment has left me on a high!

Putting Ennilid On It

My worms have survived the winter (-14 degrees Centrigrade, remember)!

and in the process they have reduced my kitchen and garden waste (plus a heap of cardbord and paper) to this lovely mush. (It was full to the brim last summer)

I've transported a goodly number to my second dalek (see below), which has been filling up over the winter. The rest of the compost has been dug into the vegetable patch, enriching it and improving the soil structure, and now the empty bin can be started from scratch again.

Don't you just love those little ennilids???

Sunday 21 March 2010

Look Who's Stalking

It turns out Edinburgh is not at all far behind southern regions. This weekend some banks of daffs look like this:

and some look like this

...and with a bit of cosseting in the "spare room" the rhubarb that spent all winter above ground, out in the cold, now looks like this!

Eat your heart out Gardeners World! (They're just transplanting theirs)

Much less exciting housekeeping.

Last weekend I spent two hours gardening at the plot - Parsnips and carrots sown under a cloche. Broad beans.

This weekend 3 hrs. More parsnips and carrots, spuds - first three rows some Rosevale that had sprouted away and two rows of Epicure which has earned a reputation for shrugging off any frost dammage. Also sowed some lettuce and Boltardy betroot both of which had dubious sow by dates. If they come to nothing - nothing lost. I laced them with parsley seed as an insurance policy. A real cocktail. I just can't bring myself to throw away potentially viable seed. This way if there's any life in it it gets the chance to be a star by growing early, otherwise I'm left with slow growing parsley. If that comes through I know the rest really weren't worth it. (Hope you follow my logic).

Perhaps I should record too that my new "Walk In Greenhouse" got battered to pieces by the first serious winds this week. I had to take the cover off before it flew away/was ripped apart. The wishbone shape design of the frame is very weak and needs to be turned into an A frame before I'll put the cover back in. So it was off toe get a new cover for my dilapedated old "4 tier mini greenhouse" so I have somewhere to bring seeds on for now.

Mone spent £16 grenhouse cover + potato fertilizer

Song of the week : Donald Where's Your Houses

Sunday 14 March 2010

Seen any daffodils yet?

It's Mothers Day and I hear there is a daff crisis. Have you seen any flowering trumpets yet?

The snowdrops have been out for ages and the crocus-s have joined them but not one daff yet.

Happy Mothers Day Mum!

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Weird Science

Meet Nobby:

He arrived today and, with his pal Max (see below), will let me know when I can get started on my sowing schedule.

This week I'm establishing what the greenhouse and soil temperature base levels are.

The first day greenhouse temperatures are a bit perplexing:

Min -2C
Max 45C ???

Song: More Questions Than Answers

Monday 8 March 2010

As Good As It Gets

Here's the plot

I know it's just a patch of soil but... there's the rhubarb forcing in that dalek. In the foreground there are jerusalem artichokes - my first planting of this year, to the left the new "pigpen" is in place (no, not really for pigs, for brassica protection from the flying pigs). The manure's been dug in and the limes been scattered. Hell, I've even moved the paving slabs to the rough location of the path! OK, the current brassica patch looks like a scene out of Silence of the Lambs (or was that fava beans?) but that'll be taken care of when the spuds go in.

and here's the new nursery:

It's up, it's anchored down and the Max-Min thermometer has been installed. Just need the temperature to go up a bit. But I'm ready and will start off the indoor sowing this week. Let battle commence!

This week's song: Life's Been Good To Me So Far ~ Joe Walsh

Money spent: £11 (Soil thermometer + Jerusalem Artichokes)
Time spent : 2 hrs

(I can see I maybe need a separate total for "time spent at home" now - "Time spent" is restricted to plot visits. Not sure if I can be bothered with such detail - home is no effort)

Monday 1 March 2010

FEARN – Freeze Edinburgh Allotment Rents Now

This post is devoted encouraging Edinburgians to fight against the proposed rental increases set out in the City of Edinburgh consultative document "Cultivating Communities: A Growing Challenge – An allotments strategy for the City of Edinburgh (2010-2015)". The full document can be downloaded:


Tucked away on page 29 is Table 6: Proposed allotment rent increases over next five years with the following projection:

Full plot
2011 £70
2012 £80
2013 £90
2014 £100
2015 £100

The fact is that Edinburgh allotment rents have already doubled over the last 5 years from £30 to £60. This far outstrips the rise in cost for any other amenity run by the Council. To continue this punitive policy is madness.


· Contact your councillor – remind them that our elected representatives are there to rein in the beurocrats when they get carried away with their own power.
Search for your councillor

· Respond to the consultation objecting to the increases email:

Let FEDAGA (The Federation of Edinburgh and District Allotments and Gardens Associations) know that they do not have the support of their members when they agree to higher rents. email to:

You might want to mention that :

To keep pace with inflation (RPI) in the last five years rents should have gone up by £4.20. In fact they have gone up by £30.

· If the council tax, road tax or TV Licence fee had gone up by the same rate there would be uproar.

· Far from disadvantaging future allotment holders keeping rents low is in their interest too!

Present allotment holders cannot be blamed for the Council’s inability to respond to the new demand ( I recall being told there was a two year waiting list back in 1989!)

· Allotment holders make considerable investment in time, effort and money in order to increase the fertility, sustainability and biodiversity of their plots. They are the best custodians and should not be treated so badly by their landlords, City of Edinburgh Council.

FEDAGA have acted without the support of their members by agreeing to above inflation rises in allotment rents for each of ten successive years. Like turkeys who have made a pact with the farmer they are voting for Christmas.

Here's my strategy for keeping good allotment provision in Edinburgh. I think it would be a fair rule that the Council could raise rents only by the amount that they increase provision. 5% more allotments = 5% higher rents across the board. 5% fewer allotments = a 5% cut in rental. (Just by the way, last year Edinburgh added no new allotments, and some were lost, as they have been year on year)

Consultation means that if we Edinburgh Allotment Holders don't kick up a fuss now (via our elected representatives and the media) we will only have ourselves (and FEDAGA) to blame. Act now!

Councillor contact details (click on pictures to expand):

Hope the blogoshpere will excuse me addressing just Edinburgh residents on this occasion.

This can now be found at FEDUPAGA

The old acid?

Latest miracle cure?

I do remember reading in (I think)the introduction to the "Good Cafe Guide" how the regulars at an establishment in a less salubrious area insisted that the rhubarb crumble was the secret of their longevity.

No gardening this week.
No money spent.

Song: Get Ready - The Temptations