Archive for the ‘allotment’ Category

It really is ….

I read today that The Grimreaper Inc (AKA the demon of retail Tesco) are struggling huzzah. I have been trying to convert colleagues for years to shop elsewhere. Tesco destroy our high streets, tarmac our green spaces, destroy farming livlihoods with their price fixing contracts, support poor quality food, push meat (two chicken for £5 anyone?) make huge profits without returning anything meaningful and generally provide misery in bucketfuls.

It now seems that Tesco think that by making the store appear more rustic they can con the great British public into thinking the store cares about the environment. Come on, just be honest, you are the Arthur Daley of supermarkets. Anything to turn a quick profit without so much as a fleeting thought of the impact the actions of Tesco may have on our world.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the labelling was accurate so that shoppers could rely on the information provided. They should turn the stores over to the local community so that they could be used to sell truly local organic produce, or better still share around the surplus among the needy each taking what they need and no more.

I hope that I am witnessing the first cracks in the unsustainable profiteering of this capitalist society leading to the destruction of our current wasteful system and the birth of real sustainability. Probably not but we, I, live in hope.


I have just read today’s BBC news concerning the state’s repression of the freedom of speech and action concerning GM. It appears that the government arranged for the closure of public footpaths, the deployment of large numbers of Police Officers (taking them away from other functions no doubt.

What were the protesters, the villains of the piece demonstrating against? A grain crop that actively discourages aphids. Now as a gardner I am not fond of aphids. They do spoil my gooseberry bushes. They infect my cherry tree and anything else they fancy. However, aphids are part of the food chain. The government are aware of the depletion of bird species. They appear to approve of labelling insect friendly seed to encourage us in the gardens of our homes to increase insect populations for the good of bio diversity. Then along comes the aphid killing grain.

The anonymous spokesperson (best be politically correct) for the site stated that the genetically engineered destroyer of nature’s bounty is:

“just one tool in the toolbox to create more sustainable food”.

On what level is it sustainable? How much has been spent on producing enough grain to sow this field? What price does that make a bushel come out at to the retail trade. How is the grain propogated in future, and am I really supposed to believe that the food scientist is a philanthropist who will not expect a vast financial return for taking something freely available to all (essentially grass seed) and turned it into a cash cow. I have seen no figures published to show the ammount of noxious emissions released into the atmosphere of our beleagured planet as a result of the creation of this teenage mutant ninja seed. The oil cost of it’s production and the heat and power wasted are not quantified by anyone.

Perhaps the money would have been better spent converting the sterile field environment into self sustaining food forests. That is what I call sustainable food, not something that requires human input to bring the seed into existence where it may destroy the green and pleasant land it was planted in.

Professor John Pickett, a principal investigator at Rochester Research, told BBC News there was “a very, very remote chance that anything should get out”.

“All it would mean was that some other plant – if it ever did miraculously transfer into another plant – was making a smell like the aphid.”

Is that not the point. There is tacit acceptance that there MAY be some cross contamination and make another plant smell like an aphid thereby depriving the much maligned creature of another chance to breed. This breaks the food chain Professor Pickett. A depletion in aphid numbers = less food for their predators being less food for the predators predators etc etc an nauseum. Result less food for US.


And why are the government supporting the profligate waste of a bankrupt industry. Farming has caused untold damage to the environment sterilising the soil to the point where nothing grows without massive pertro chemical inputs. Oh, of course Dave’s chums need to make a profit to buy another Ferrari, own more houses than they can live in and swill at the trough in a glutonous manner.

It’s no good. I have been trying to think of something grumpy to say. A wrong to rail against, a politician to lambast, something to vent about. My heart is not in it.

The sun has come to Saelig Sussex in abundance. My rest days have arrived, Monday morning was lost due to the lateness of my finishing work but the birds woke me with their exuberant song. But hist, strange light through my curtains.

A few chores done, then out to the allotment. Devastation, my quinoa that was growing so well has been eaten, in place of the crop a few stmpy stems and weeds 😦

Four hours of weeding and re seeding followed. Not a cloud, just broiling sun.

An evening walk to the Downs, I have never seen so many cowslips.


In fact my new found sense of well being has become almost irrational. Tuesday broke clear and fine with another splendid day at the allotment, relocating a small poly tunnel and cutting grass that was ‘as high as an elephants eye’. Exhausted by the heat I went back to my garden potting up some seed (to replace plants destroyed by slugs, pigeons and whatever else has nibbled). The One and I decided to go for a walk. The Tesco walk. The ONLY good thing to come out of our local superstore is free safe parking very close to a stunning walk. It is the only thing I use the store for but today I am grateful for the facility.

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I should like to start by saying a Big Thank You to Vicky, I don’t know how you did it but you did.

Here in my little corner of the South East we are in a bit of a rain shadow. Over the last few years the rainfall seems to have been reducing, the hose bans more frequent and drought warnings every year.

This year the ban came into effect in early April and the drought has been declared the worst for decades. Just recently, over the last week or so, we have had the odd bit of rain. Today,

My little patch of suburbia is flooding. So Vicky, thanks for sending the water, I’m very grateful. What’s the secret, having you been doing a rain dance?

Interest in my little experiment, thank you folks. Growing seems to be easy, I bought a pack from Real Seeds and grew them last year, with ease.

The information is about the grain growing and prepping. When last years harvest arrived, I allowed the seed to dry and then collected them to re sow this year. This year I just put the seed onto well broken soil and raked it in, it appears to have all sprouted so I hope to have enough to use with some over for next year.

The seeds need to be soaked to remove natures protective coating before cooking like rice.

Easy grow tasty and nutitious.

Someone once said, ‘Be grateful for what you got.’

I do think I am lucky but something was recently said which brought me up short. Do we think enough about our blessings.  I take for granted, as do a lot of people, the good things. I don’t mean good on a geo political level, or on a consumer level. No, what makes us truly happy as individuals.  We are all different after all.

I decided I would write about my happy things, but not a la Poppins,  and ask others to contribute what makes them happy so a comment would be greatly appreciated.

Obviously there is close family, The One, Pickle and my son. No pets any longer but that is not all sad, I remember my pooch which is bitter sweet happy.

Spending time in the open, woods particularly are my thing, I love trees and the wind through the leaves, shade from the heat of the sun (OK not often in the UK).

The hills near my home I walk at every opportunity and have posted pics on the Pen for anyone interested.

Now to the real stuff, there is nothing quite like spending an hour or two at my allotment. I usually manage to get there when no-one else is around which pleases me. Peace, silence, outdoors, fresh air. If only the trains would stop running … bliss.

My polytunnel. I can start my plants early, crop foodstuffs later sit in the sun if there is a cold wind and contemplate the state of nature.

I make wine, this is really cool. Tax hikes on all alcohol every year mean the cost of booze is ridiculous. Not for me, a bit of sugar and yeast (no bone char in the sugar of course) water, go for a long walk, spend time in the gorgeous Sussex countryside picking fruit or whatever growing wild in the hedgerows = wine. Less that a pound a gallon!! Contrary to popular belief it can taste quite good. However, steer clear of vegetable wines I find them generally rough as. Rosehip on the other hand makes a lovely wine.

Ginger beer, (bit of a theme developing) ginger, lemons, sugar, yeast lift off. Half a litre of this concoction is enough to send me reeling. A colleague was given a bottle. Her girlfriend then forbade me from ever providing any more. Apparently my friend got wasted on just one bottle!!! Cost about £1 for a gallon.

Cider, last Septembers pressing has just been racked, I inevitably had to taste a little, sublime. Apple juice freshly pressed, a little sugar. Cost, nothing apart from time.

These are all time consuming but stem from a love of being outside and all feed into being outside. The One loves to cook and bake so we have to rotate in the kitchen which is tiny. To make my life complete an outdoor kitchen would be great, I could prepare my booze while the one cooks at the same time.

Work, which takes nine hours of my day, (11 if you include travel) robs me of six days in every nine. But, that’s OK as it funds my house and veg plot.

My latest found pleasure is Blogging but when do I get time for that?

Assuming the previous video has been watched, there is a chance some people may now feel less pleasure in food. The answer is in the garden, no really. Try this as an antidote to the previous post:

I defy anyone not to be uplifted by this single example of permaculture in action. For more in you tube search Geoff Lawton and just enjoy the positivism.