Sunday, 25 October 2009

A creative gap

I had been looking forward to yesterday for a long while - a day to myself. Funnily rather than fill it with shopping or pampering, something I threaten to do but when it comes down to it never want to do, I went on a workshop. As part of the Cambridge festival of Ideas I had a go at intaligo printing, all for free! I have never done this before and had no idea what to expect. At the end of the day I had etched and printed my first ever plate. I felt very relaxed and happy as I headed home.

Sunday, 18 October 2009


I have planted out four types of garlic, yes four different types. Why this extravagance you may ask?

Well I'm not sure. I use garlic in my cooking but generally its been the bog standard supermarket garlic. On holiday this year in the Isle of Wight we visited the garlic farm. It was here that I lost control and went wild with my wallet.

I bought 3 jars of chutney after a marathon tasting session to ensure that they were the three I liked the best. Plus some garlic to sow. After a period of indecision (we were in the shop a very long time all in all) I chose solent wight, lautrec wight and Provence wight bulbs for sowing.

Each of these garlics should have a different taste when we get to eat them. As I broke the bulbs apart you can really smell the difference between the varieties. I love their white papery skin and the shiny veneer of each clove. When I was younger one of the favorite drawings that I made was of a garlic plait the texture and bulbous shapes were fun to draw.

The Garlic farm is worth a visit if you are ever over there - time it right and you can take some garlic back home to grow. The farm has a few boards about growing and the history of garlic, but because of our timing we didn't see any garlic actually growing. They provide excellent planting instructions with your purchase and it even has recipes for roasting which I might have to try. I now realise that they are on the net so if this lot of planting prove to be good then I can order again next year. Mind you I would rather have the excuse to go back to the Isle of Wight again.

A work colleague of John's donated some elephant garlic to us to make up the fourth variety this is very mild compared to other garlic but is supposed to be good for roasting.

I also planted out my radar onions today.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

stormy moonlight

All that big talk and a hopeful to do list in the last post means nothing when all I can manage is about 30 mins down at the patch. Had to squeeze that in at the end of the day, and it's definitely October as it gets dark really early now!

So I ticked off 2 items, planted the field beans and the crocus it will be next autumn that they make an appearance so I think I might need to get a little sign made so that I remember where I planted them, then I won't dig them up inadvertently.

I did go to the Allotment Association AGM last night it was quite interesting as they had a talk from the head gardener at Wimpole Hall about the walled garden and it's restoration. I adored the sepia photos from the 1920's which showed the herbaceous borders in their full glory.

There will be no gardening tomorrow as I am off to Stowe Gardens on a photography trip, I may have some shots to show if I'm lucky

Friday, 2 October 2009

focus with the to do list

Often my progress can be a little random down at the patch. Do a bit of this, ooh look at that, fiddle, become distracted, go home remember what I should have done.

This approach is a complete nightmare when time is against you before you know it weeks have past and little has changed. So before I know it winter will have set in and even less gets done then and I always feel like I'm on the back foot playing catch up against nature.

Where I live was one of the driest places in the country during September and the patch is like a dust bowl at the moment. So digging is not easy but as I have previously said I need to fit in as much as possible in the Autumn so of course it suffices to say that digging is always on my to do list at the moment.

For this weekend the list looks like this:
  • plant young (spring) cabbage plants out
  • sow radar onions sets
  • plant garlic (from the Isle of Wight hope to post about this soon in more detail)
  • sow field beans as green manure
  • Sow crocuses (from Saffron Walden)
  • start Owens bulbs off in pot at home
Tonight is the allotment association AGM I have never been to one before and am not sure that I will go. The only reason I think I want to go is in case they discuss plot holder who are poor at cultivation - I suspect that I would fall into that category although I can't see it as an agenda item so I'm not sure I will need to defend my actions.

Evidence of my poor cultivation skills is definitely mounting, I grew from seed with love and attention summer purple sprouting broccoli, the plants have been good and strong. I was so hopeful. The moment the purple heads appeared the plants have immediately exploded into flower - as in the picture. Is this because September was so dry?