Wednesday, 28 May 2008

'vegetables', he said, 'were beautiful'

Hay festival: Monty Don returns in revolutionary moodCharlotte Higgins, arts correspondent Monday May 26, 2008 Feeling rosy ... Monty Don and Sky News presenter Adam Boulton at the Hay Festival. Photograph: Gareth Llewellyn/PA Writer, broadcaster and national treasure Monty Don was in revolutionary mood as he made his first public appearance since a stroke led to his retiring as presenter of Gardeners' World.

"I intend to make a full recovery," he added. "I am pottering about at the moment, having a nice time." Friends, he added, have said he looks better than ever; and he quipped that his ill health was due to "not eating enough organic vegetables".
If he seemed the merest fraction less hale than his old self, Don was certainly on fighting form, as his new role as president of the Soil Association was announced at the Guardian Hay festival.
Sharing a platform with Patrick Holden, the Soil Association's chief, Don spoke of his ambitions to turn the organisation into a people's campaigning body that will transform attitudes to food and the environment.
"My attitude to politicians is that they are a pretty useless bunch on the whole," he said. "You have to become a rabble. One should scare them and pressure them, and subvert the system from the ground up."
He said the movement should mobilise Britain's 11 million gardeners, and involve everyone from large-scale farmers to those growing a single basil plant on a windowsill.

Holden said that, in light of environmental concerns and what he believes is a looming oil crisis, he was calling for "a national policy of self-sufficiency in staple foods". Large centralised distribution systems will become economically unviable, he argued, and food will have to be produced locally. Imports should be limited, though he said there was still argument for shipping in certain cases.
"Maybe third world countries will have to suffer as a result of our national food policy," said Don.
"You don't necessarily have to stop all trade, but maybe you have to modify it. We should be trying to make third world countries resilient so they don't have to trade food."
He recalled a recent visit to Cuba, describing the "resilience" of the country in the face of the dwindling fuel supplies that had followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. "Calorific consumption halved. People responded by doing what they could do. People had to be self-sufficient. They had to grow their own herbs for medicine. In Havana, there were 300,000 people working on the land, growing superb-quality vegetables." Self-sufficiency, he argued, was thus not only desirable but possible; and he praised the exceptional quality of Cuban compost.
Holden and Don advised the turning over of private gardens, public parks or open space surrounding offices to vegetable-growing. He called most parks "boring and ugly", saying "planting designed by committee is always at best bland and at worst vile." Vegetables, he said, were beautiful.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Addition to my last

Kim also planted another row of onions (red onions) last Saturday! So now the line up is: Potatoes, onions, potatoes, red onions. Then cleared patch (ready for up and coming seedlings including broccoli, (Kathryn), and butternut squash and tomatoes (Kim) .
Then fruit trees waiting for planting out, the French beans & strawberries, and some semi cleared areas with raspberries. Finally rows of fruit which need netting.
(something like that anyway!) All this lovely rain saves the work of watering.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Colin & Kim.Saturday 24/5/08: 3pm 'til 6.45'ish pm:

Time really flies out on the plot, and the weather was sunny with a strong breeze. Weeded fresh ground. Subdivided the first section ofcleared ground into 3 sections of 5 paces each (very professional!) Planted and labelled a 2nd row of potatoes, copying the method of a nearby plot and with the advice of an'old hand' on the site (didn't catch his name!) Watered the row of potatoes and onions previously planted, and also the strawberries and French beans. Hope it rains tonight, soil's looking dry.The tool shed is building up an impressive array of tools!
colin & kim

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

the purple sprouting broccoli is moving on to bigger pots, on sunday kim and i weeded the first patch on the plot in anticipation of getting these guys in the ground sometime soon.
it's looking like sunday mornings suit most people best so aim for that if you want to be sociable or any other time if you'd prefer to potter alone.
jules has secured a supply of clay for his exciting construction project at the allotment ... more on this later ...

and that's the transition city wiener dog in the background there, leading the way in energy conservation.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

mary, nick, ashley, kim, kathryn and tim get busy in the sunshine

there is a bumper crop of redcurrants brewing...

rhubarb to pick ...

and strawberries to keep watered