Ditches & Hoes

herbz by h0es
May 11, 2009, 9:10 am
Filed under: h0es postz | Tags: ,

hooray for coriander! (as we might say in the uk)

I love herbs me. They can really lift a dreary old tea to become a proper treat. Has anyone else been reading fuck yeah cilantro? It is possibly the most awesome blog ever. It has infected my brain – I totally want coriander on everything now so I’ve started some off.

The Fortress of Parsley

Before I started reading all that though I would have gone for parsley as my fave herb. I like to pretend it’s a vegetable and use it in massive handfuls. So parsley supplies are a precious resource in the ditches and hoes plot. Imagine my horror, then, when the recent spell of rain lured out some slugs from their hideyholes and into the herb patch. I was driven to construct the Fortress of Parsley. Those molluscy mofos aren’t getting past these fortifications any time soon. It’s bulletproof I tell you. Well, until the dog decides he wants to play with his ring, decimating my crop in the process. Or until the slugs decide to launch a surprise attack using the thyme on the right as a drawbridge. Hmm. Perhaps further defences are required… *starts building mini trebuchet*


Sprout fail, quiche win by h0es
April 28, 2009, 8:17 am
Filed under: h0es postz

unusual bouquet
Getting an allotment is a lot like having a baby.

Friends react with wild enthusiasm to your news. They come round in droves to enjoy the fruits of your labour. They imagine themselves doing the same thing, maybe in a couple of years, and smile fondly. But they only see the romanticised vision of what it would be like. Few realise that to get to this stage, you have to put in hours and hours of backbreaking work. You have to endure many failures where you haven’t had a clue what you were doing and consequently things have all turned to shit.

Like the sprouts. I dreamed of Christmas dinner with big piles of lovely glossy bouncing sproutiness. But the plants had only struggled to a couple of inches tall by then. I waited patiently throughout the winter and spring to see what would happen. Maybe I could have pretend Christmas in January… or February… or March. But they never really managed to make anything actually classifiable as a sprout, just a few sad, baggy clusters of leaves with clouds of whitefly cheerfully dancing around. The recent spell of hot weather was the final straw and they all bolted. I felt a bit sorry for them and, determined to get a crop, harvested the flowers into this ropey looking bouquet with a faint cabbagey aroma. Nice.

But you would never go back to not having an allotment – despite the blood, sweat and tears, it immediately becomes unthinkable. And now and again you get a reward which is so awesome you want to weep with joy. Like home grown asparagus quiche. Last year I forgot to harvest the asparagus as I was away for a couple of weeks, and this year it has rewarded my slackness with a bumper crop. Mmmmmm yum.
I don't care if it makes your wee smell funny

Dig for Survival! by ditches
March 5, 2009, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Ditches postz

I just found this pretty brilliant film on the ‘Dig! For Victory’ theme

and it got me thinking about the need for allotments in 2009, I mean, we have pretty much got used to supermarkets, 24hr shopping, just-in-time warehouse management and really its not going to get like wartime Britain again is it?

Well, Monty isn’t so sure really – have a listen:

and certainly when we start to hear economists put forward the case for the allotment – perhaps Monty is onto something?

Now, on one hand the idea of scaremongering really does sit uneasy with me, lets face it unless i get used to slug sandwiches i am not going to do too well off my allotment at the current rate. On the other hand however I have been mentally preparing for the oncoming apocalypse since i read Brother in the Land and The Death of Grass (for what its worth I am also mentally preparing to lead the human revolt against the machines in 2013 but i can’t really go into too much detail about that).  So, yes i don’t want to get all alarmist about it… but maybe i secretly love it and you might laugh at me now but don’t come to me looking for a go on my Marestail broth when you’re starving and your last packet of covent garden soup has past its sell by date.

Social Gardening by ditches
March 2, 2009, 9:05 pm
Filed under: Ditches postz | Tags: , , ,
brews FTW

brews FTW

Just last week i was making very little sense about social networking and gardening, but it then that it hit me…. if you ask your friends if they will give up their saturday and help you spread 1.5 tonnes of shite on your newly built raised beds, then they will probably, and with good reason, tell you do one.  However if you do a Facebook thingy and invite everyone to a ‘Shite Shovelling Party’ then before you know it half  the city will be round wanting to get in on the web2.0 flash-mob zanyness….

1.5 tonnes of organic matter from new smithfield market in Openshaw was dumped to be distributed on my new beds by about 0.3 tonnes of hungover organic matter. Work was slow and ramshackle but that was as much to do with the foreman not really knowing what he was doing as much as any unwillingness from the press-ganged.

I have a feeling that i have perhaps left it slightly too late for putting compost down and i haven’t really had enough soil in which to mix in with it, so i do fear that it might be a little to rich and cause the plants to bolt…. but only time will tell.

Plans have been drawn up, beds have been allocated, named ranked and there is some idea of what will go into them.. i’d be lying if i told you i wasn’t nervous – you see last year my corn got a right going over by a mob of fat bastard squirrels, the carrots never bothered doing anything and the slugs ravaged my… i’m not even sure what it originally was the slugs left so little of it.  This year though, this year needs to be different….

Gardening 2.0 by ditches
February 28, 2009, 9:13 am
Filed under: Ditches postz

zomg! i'm sooo chitting right now...

I realise as i write that headline that the ‘2.0’ suffix is now a bit 2006 and now we are balls deep in social networking that i should really be looking for a twitter related pun… well i can’t and anyway, its 2k9 its all about ‘the cloud’ and i fear that any pun on that would be so convoluted that it would make me want to stop being the only reader of this blog… and thats not good in an opening headline.

Now you realise how much agonising thought goes into a headline you can imagine how much thought i gave to the idea of starting a blog, about growing vegetables. You see, it seems, at first that the two are a perfect match, the multimedia of the interwebs meets the good wholesome earthy fun and bright colours of the allotment – in fact just look at Gardeners World on BBC, jaw dropping photography combined with convivial hosts = GARDENWIN!!11 so doing a blog should be easy right?

Well no, there is a problem, this allotment revolution has been bubbling along for a few years now with the outcome being that i really should start the blog with “Hey get those preconceptions out of your head, allotments aren’t just for 30-something mac-using, guardian-reading, humourless vegetarians, there are some old fellas with flat caps hiding from their wives for the best part of 40 years down here to!” There is also the problem that if you are successful on your allotment, you will invariably come across as a smug self-satisfied twunt whom the reader will start stalking with the eventual aim of dead-heading and thinning out. And if you are shit… well then that just makes a rubbish blog. And finally, it can be kinda dull.. it doesn’t happen in a way suited to social networking, zOMG, gotta update my twitter to “CHITTING SEED POTATOES!!!!” while people log on to check the compost-cam.

But the fact is that it is an interesting subject and one that is perhaps, right now, worthy of a blog – there are good blogs out there, some very good, but just like allotments themselves there are those that are lying in a sorry state of disrepair with bits of carpet flapping about in the wind… I discovered this when looking for a name for my blog: allotment.blogspot.com and allotments.blogspot.com (listen, all my creative thoughts were used up on the gardening 2.0 headline) are lying fallow, and these are no means the only ones, over at blogs.allotments-uk.com we find what is possibly the electronic equivalent of marestail as a monumental pile of porn-spam seems to be filling up the blogs… its just like finding an old bongo magazine in the hedgerow really.

So welcome to the blog, if shoehorned gardening similes and puns around words like ‘chitting’ are your thing – you’re gonna be in some kind of heaven