Saturday, 21 May 2022

Split Ash Baskets - Day 1

 On a whim the other day I booked a weekend away for my wife and me. Now obviously I'm someone who enjoys doing something and when I saw a course about ash basket weaving I was really interested. This wasn't a subject I knew anything about and I thought it might be a good mix of my woodworking skills and my wife's skills for knitting/sewing. 

The course was near Bristol, was over tow days and my wife had been given a hotel voucher to use for her birthday so we decided to make a weekend of it. The course was through a company called Tree to Treen and the instructor was to be Chell Mateo

Sunday, 15 May 2022

City Veg by Cinead McTernan - Book Review

 This book of "City Veg" by Cinead McTernan was given to me by Bloomsberry Publishing, but it in no way affects my review. 

Now I'll start by saying this is a beautiful looking book. Inside the pictures are gorgeous and is lovely to leaf through to look Cinead's small but beautifully formed garden. 

Her writing is also beautifully composed. I've not come across her before, but I'm under the impression she is off the telly (I don't really watch much TV so have no reference other than a google search). The book takes the form of a year in the life of gardening their small urban veg garden. I love how much they fit into their garden and the crops and meals they enjoy. 

Each month is broken into different sections about certain plants grown or harvested that month, then a simple recipe to finish it, to give inspiration on how to use that crop. 

I did enjoy the book, I imagine it would be a good winter read while dreaming of summer days in the garden and gluts of crops to come. However I don't think I'm this books demographic as it didn't grab me and make me want to keep reading in big gulps like I normally read a book. 

There was also one bit with a factual inaccuracy I was kind of shocked to read. 

In the section about seed saving (one of my obsessions) it says that "Tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas and pumpkins are a good place to start as they're very simple to save".

This isn't true. Peppers cross like no ones business, as do runner beans (although French are fine). Tomatoes are easy unless they have a protruding sigma (there are lots of varieties out there that do) and pumpkins are from the squash family (either c.pepo or c.maxima) and are promiscuous veg to say the least. Sometimes even crossing with inedible gourds, one reason we won't take them at the seed swap unless we talk to the person saving them to make sure they live either isolated (by a fair distance) or tape the flowers shut and hand pollinate. At best it grows true to the plant it's saved from, more likely it will mean someone puts effort into growing a plant that is a cross and potentially has insipid fruit on it that doesn't grow true. At best it grows true to the plant it's saved from, more likely it will mean someone puts effort into growing a plant that is a cross and potentially has insipid fruit on it that doesn't grow true. At worst it could be an extremely rare case where its dangerous. Google toxic squash syndrome for more information on the worse case scenario, although hopefully it wouldn't come to this. 

Then the next page it goes on to talk about cleaning them and collecting from more varieties of veg (some of which listed cross easily) as if it's an easy thing to do. Don't get me wrong, some seed saving is dead easy, but some isn't. It's a shame this wasn't made more obvious and is misleading. 

So this is a enjoyable light reading gardening book, but if you're looking for something more in-depth it might not be for you. 

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Lawn Edging From Logs - part 1

I keep trying to find ways to use the timber around me. So the other day at mum and dads I pulled out some pear logs from a tree they had to fell a few years ago. 

Getting them back they were too big for what I wanted, I decided to cleave them down smaller, into quarters. 

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Growing In The Cracks

In my quest to lessen where weeds can grow I'm trying to grow plants to fill spaces that would otherwise be taken by weeds. 

One of these spaces is in the cracks in my paving slabs. I left gaps for this purpose though as what I wanted was a sea of creeping thyme between them (mum has this in her patio and I always think it's lovely).

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Sowing Carrots After School

 All week he'd been on about sowing some carrots in the garden. So Last Thursday night I prepared a bed with extra compost. We marked out 4 rows and we sowed the seed between us. 

He was so happy to do this! Really makes me happy that he's so keen to grow his own food. 

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