Thursday, 9 April 2015

Frogs required

I've had the most fantastic day, pottering around in the garden, digging and planting at the allotment, basically spending the whole day outside. It was so gloriously warm.


When we moved to No, 17, I brought my bucket pond with me and we still have one surviving fish, but the pond is little . And seeing as Sherlock and Charlie dug a massive hole in the lawn the other day, I thought it might be an idea to make a new pond.


It's going to take a while to settle. At the moment it looks rather like a muddy puddle, but I've planted up around the edge and Josie's done some decorating.


I particularly like her fishy sign, next to a broken bike bell, edged with glass stones.


It'll be a while until it's ready for fish so in the meantime we've borrowed Sherlock's plastic beach fish, but what I'd really like is for some frogs to move in. There really are plenty of slugs and snails for them to lunch on and I'm sure Sherlock would find them most entertaining. It's not so far fetched either because for the past two summers I've seen a frog hiding out in the greenhouse.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Real seed

 

 

As if there wasn't enough to worry about in the world of food already, with supermarkets filling our heads with the need for special offer junk, sugar in absolutely everything and multi-national companies tampering with whatever takes their fancy, GMO OMG has planted the seed of nightmare killer corn and chemically engineered soya.

I thought I was doing my bit by being a vegetarian, growing my own fruit and veg and forcing it on my kids instead of feeding them McDonalds, but "no!", the scientists have been at my seeds. When I first got my allotment there was an enormous parsnip growing happily there that went to seed and I was warned against collecting the seed because my parsnips "wouldn't come true". I nodded wisely, thinking "poppycock" in my head and collected the seed anyway. But what was in this whole "not coming true" business? Should I be scared of my hundreds of seeds that I got for free?

Basically a F1 hybrid seed involves hours and hours of hand pollination and careful conditions and work on the part of the breeder. It's like the elite of seeds, you can't have any old insect coming along and cross pollinating from other common old plants. So on purpose the seed with not be the same as its parent otherwise what would have been the point of all that hard work. However I'm not sure I care much for elite veg as I'm just growing food. I'm not a seed breeder trying to make a profit nor am I up for discrimination against my veg. GMO seed are a little more sinister. It's where the DNA of one organism like bacteria is injected into another to result in new traits effectively making a super seed that can then be owned by corporations. Things are a bit more complicated than that but the solution is quite simply to just grow some real seeds.

 

I got these ones today and I feel much better about everything already. They are from The Real Seed Company who state that they provide "real seeds for real gardeners wanting to grow proper vegetables."

It feels like I'm doing the right thing and even if it's just a selection. It's keeping heirloom and heritage varieties alive and they have such fantastic names like 'Glory of Enkhuisen' cabbage.

 

And 'Grandpa Admire's' butterhead lettuce which could easily have been seed saved by my own Grandpa.

 

 

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Real Games

Today was the first day of the Easter holidays. After a rainy start, the sun shone, the children played, Sherlock sunbathed in the garden and all was fine in the world. As far as the year of the sock is concerned, it's time to try the second green leaf pattern sock, that I made such a mess of in February in between gardening.

This afternoon there were some problems with the Internet and it was probably off for a couple of hours but it wasn't the disaster you'd imagine for a couple of kiddies off from school. Charlie did come out to tell me it wasn't working and that Josie was making her own real life Cluedo but I was in the middle of planting out peas so didn't really take too much notice.

Next thing I knew, Josie was outside, giving me directions as the murderer and instructing that I don't remove the clue from the slug pellets (the murder weapon). There were clues all over the house and several murders that went on for at least a couple of hours. The children were not only playing real games that didn't involve electronic devices, but we're playing nicely together.