Monday, 23 May 2011

Raised beds and strawberries

The unusually warm spring has made the strawberries appear! First ripening ones of the season. Hopefully the slugs won't get there first.

Our modest veg bed is all planted.. just need some rain now

Next job - stopping the mint from rampaging over the entire garden! Next week armed with plant pots and loppers - and looking forward to some mojitos and tea with all those mint leaves!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

What happens when you don't do the garden for 5 months....

... the things that should grow don't and the things that shouldn't grow do. Or, everything just grows. and grows. and grows.

So, we have nettle battles again! Never mind - nettles are great - pretty easy to get rid of, and so many uses.. Looking up recipe for nettle soup/cordial/wine/tea/salad right now. And apparently where nettles grow, so do vegetables, so we should get a hearty crop this year!

There's a fair amount of clearing still to be done but the fruit bushes and strawberries are coming along just lovely. At least some of the garden is able to look after itself.

Ash gets ready for weeding....

... while I jump up and down on the compost heap.....

....and break it

Finally we're done - we've done a good amount of tidying, and seen to it that the nettles don't take over the whole place again. Mint is in abundance (mojitos, anyone?) and although the chard probably can't be eaten now, that garlic looks yummy!
Until next week.....

Monday, 27 September 2010

Coggins checking in. Crikey Moses, it’s been a while since the blog was updated, but we’ll try to keep it ticking along with regular posts from now on.

I was only in the garden for an hour or so on Saturday, so I mostly focused on tidying up. The butternut squash plants, while not producing very much actual butternut squash, had snaked a good five metres away from where they were supposed to be and had started interfering with the herbs, so they got a taste of the clippers.

There were a few things to be harvested, so I got to take home a nice bag of stuff.

I was pretty amazed to find four garlic plants growing when the carpet was off! They’d been forgotten about and covered up for a good few months but had still managed to grow. They were looking a little anaemic but hopefully they’ll be alright when they’re left uncovered for a few weeks.

There was a massive amount of worms in the soil when we were turning it over, so that’s a good sign. I’m going to work out what should get planted this week and then get it in the ground next weekend.

Today involved a bit more effort. We lifted up the carpet that had been covering one of the unused beds and gave it a good forking over.

The stone and pebble harvest from the patch was bountiful.

The last thing we did was weed and rake over the area next to the path, and we discovered some comedically small potatoes. No idea if they’re edible, so if I never update this blog again, you can assume they weren’t.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Winter update

Hi all

OddMod signing in.

Many apologies for the chronic lack of update on the Hackney Greens' allotment. But what with canvassing, leafletting, dancing, drinking, Copenhagen, Christmas... well, you know how it is.

We're pretty much waiting right now for Guru Ed to give us the nod to begin work again.

Now, this update is likely to be faily light on deep Green and permaculture philosophy, I'm afraid. I'll leave that for the Guru and Greenfinger. This isn't my area of expertise. I am merely but a foot soldier in all of this, albeit one who finds digging and planting stuff theraputic and fun.

But anyway, here's where we are right now...

The first plants went in before the Autumn was out. On the left handbed, after sterling de-nettling work from my goodself, we planted a dozen or so fruit bushes, all of a different variety. Or, rather, bare stems that the Guru assures us will grow into fruit bushes.

On the third middle bed we planted some thyme, garlic and rosemary herb roots.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr's Hanley and Hulm - "the Morecombe and Wise of Hackney Green Party" (c. Cllr Mischa Borris).


The main bed

When we first arrived, not only were we confronted with 6ft high nettles but also a floor thick with weeds. Dave the Scouser had often complained that he had twice attempted to tackle these, but they just came back the next year with greater ferocity. Dave had his doubts about whether our merry gang had the wherewithal to halt the ferocious campaign of the nettles, moving Trffids-like towards his back door.

However, this was before they met us.

Now, it's well worth us taking a minute here to make a before/after comparison:

We went from this, day 1 in mid August...

to this... mid November.

Here is Jon Shorts (left), Clissold candidate Peter Jones (centre), Guru Ed (right with green shirt) and our very own Caledonian lion Raymond.

We went through the main bed about 4 times with shovels and pitchforks, eeking out every last damn root and weed to make sure the little buggers didn't return come next spring. Fingers crossed.

After Ed was satisfied with the weed excavation, we turned the soil over once more and then dug in several sacks of donkey cack, fresh from our local, friendly Shoreditch farm. I'm sure I don't need to explain what the manure is for. But here's some 'fun with poo' pictures for your amusement.

The top bed

Now, this is the action bit of the allotment. We planted some green things and red onions down there. Apologies for the"things", but I never really did find out what they were. Cabbages, I think.

For these Ed constructed a wee protective coat out of a bit of old fencing and some twigs.

Plant-wise, that was as far as we managed before putting the allotment to bed for the winter. We collected hordes of old cardboard and lay it all down over the beds, and then covered that with old carpet and rugs. Apparently, it's to a)keep the frost out, b)let the manure do it's thing, c) allow the cardboard to eventually breakdown and disappear into the soil from whence it came.
Will endeavor to update this blog a bit more efficiently this year.

In the meantime, here's some more pictures to goggle at:

Here's me and new HGP recruit Mr. Ash, pointing at a wall.

The ever-busy Miss Hughes, planting her fruit bushes. I'm considerably looking forward to making one of my famous crumbles from the fruit off these bushes. Eventually. Could it ever match my awesome Dave's Pear and Blackberry crumble, though?

Speaking of the lovely Miss Hughes, here's a sort of romantic montage of the happy couple, digging for all they're worth. Well done, Greenfinger.

Haven't a clue what this is, although the picture is labelled 'Canker', so I'll go with that.

And finally, a trenchant buffoon in ill-matching clothes, looking particularly pleased with himself after finding this old cabinet on the road and recycling it as our new tool cupboard, striking a rather camp pose and grinning like a loon. Nice.

Over and out. OddMod.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Update (sorely) needed

Uh oh, it's been ages, hasn't it? I've got the pictures, and I've got the knowledge, but just haven't had the time and energy to update for the last month or so. Suffice to say that there have been changes.

Watch this space, innit.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Power of Slogans

OK, before anyone accuses us of a lack of originality, we thought of the "Dig For Victory" slogan before this came along:

Interesting to note that Chris Leslie, my mum's former New Labour MP, is the "Czar" behind all this. Here's what Bradford Green councillor Martin Love has to say about him:
Leslie is a hypocrite. He spent most of his time as Shipley MP campaigning to tarmac over 2 sites of scientific interest (the Bingley North and South bogs).
So, what's the subtext, then? "Tarmac for Victory!" ?????

Right, in case you're wondering why there hasn't been much up here recently about the garden, that's because:
  1. Guru Ed's been away on a beekeeping course
  2. The political season is back in swing, so we hacks have been getting back to street activism
There WILL, however, be another session soon. Maybe not this weekend. The weekend after??? Let's get on it, Kidz.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


I've just been trawling around the internet, and hullo, Robocop's here already. If y'all don't start thinking about this now, this is what your bobby on the beat may look like in ten years from now:

I imagine that this gentleman probably isn't what you'd call a core Green voter. If I could get him to turn his swords into ploughshares (and his bodysuit into beercans?????) I think I'd have earned at least a PhD.

I prefer to see a picture like this:

Ah, how reassuring. The Green Party Autumn Conference, held this year in Hove (Brighton Conference Centre is a bit beyond our means). Obviously we were there because all our efforts for next year are focussed on at least getting Caroline Lucas (and preferably a couple more) elected to Westminster.

This was my fourth conference, but I guess you could say that it's the first one where I was feeling really involved, partly helped by the fact that so many people from Hackney were there.

I also learned about one Green concept which was very new to me: "Atunement". This refers to a one minute period of silence which we always have before a full plenary debate on any subject. The notion is that you're spending a moment to reflect and, errr, like, tune in to each other, Mother Earth, the Cosmos, and all that. It's pretty old-school hippie stuff for the wave of members like myself who have only joined the Green Party in the last few years, but I guess I can see why people want to hang on to a few of those traditions. It's certainly not my intention to steamroller over everything, but of course I do think we've got to atune ourselves a bit more to Jo Public, as well as each other.

I really don't know why I've only just learned about that. If I stumbled upon a moment of atunement at a previous conference I must just have assumed someone had died. Sorry.

Anyway, it was all a good laugh. We had cabaret from Mark Thomas and Attila the Stockbroker, and some decent weather. Back to London today, eh. Not sure if we're doing the garden tomorrow. Ed didn't seem too bothered about doing that.