Sunday 28 February 2016


raven feb 
Cheeky girl cat enjoys a spot of sunshine.

This is the internet so here is a cat. I've noticed something odd happening to my blogging habits. At the moment blogging seems like a self indulgence when there are more and better things to be doing elsewhere.

This isn't really true, this blog is where I hold onto a shred of personal awareness and autonomy. But I'm not doing it, or anything else much. So. What has been happening? Seeds came up.

Purple basil and the old favourite, sensitive plant. Just kids at heart.

There's been a bit of self indulgence in seed buying at least. I've obtained seeds for two sorts of Armenian cucumber. I'm not sure how they'll do in Normandy but I've wanted to try them for a long time and also some Queen Anne's pocket melon. This small melon which ripens to reddish brown with yellow stripes is not particularly nice to eat but allegedly has a lovely fragrance, the sort of thing to keep in your pocket for when the nosegay has wilted and the orange pomander seems too wintery. If I can get it to set fruit at all it will be interesting to see what it smells like.

Plans to get on with the new plantings at the farm are progressing. Something that has come out of my efforts for ocabreeders is that we may be getting a polytunnel at last. This is to make the nurture of over 700 new seedling varieties of oca just a little bit easier in the short term but of course it will quickly be turned into a useful area for our other crops as the season progresses. Also planned a new deer proofed area. It's all good stuff which helps to offset some of the other life impediments we're experiencing at the moment to do with jobs and family.

Next week I'm taking a trip to Devon to meet up with Incredible Vegetables. Mandy has been generously growing out some of ocabreeder's babies and will grow more for us this year. She's got skirret too and I'm hoping to buy some to bring back for a new bed in the vegetable garden as several attempts to start it from seed have been unsuccessful.

Friday 5 February 2016

Exercises in hope


I've often said how difficult I find it to start writing without a relevant picture to hang my words beneath. Finally something turned up although I'd rather the cats hadn't done it (and thank goodness they couldn't get it through the cat flap).

The winter is horrible, no matter this is one of the mildest I've ever known and that on most counts my life is pretty good, there's something about grey skies and my life style choices that don't mesh and the sooner it's over the better.

On a moment of slightly more manic exuberance I did buy a lot of seeds from Thompson and Morgan, even though I despise them, who had a whole load of cheap packets. Just 99p each made it worth my while to pick up various exotics and ornamentals that would ordinarily be left behind to allow for more odd vegetables to be collected. There was a list on the site of these bargains but I can't find it now. Somewhere under special offers I think, you may be more lucky than me. At any rate some of the cheap things I bought are still listed at that price so just search for your favourites and you may get lucky.

I'm now waiting on three types of banana, some sensitive plants and lithops to come up. All things I've grown before that have been lost by the wayside of too many relocations and unexpected cold snaps.

Also in this first batch of seed sowing some oca seeds, bought from Cultivariable and from their out crossing project, seed type OC-14-2x08x05 x OP ( whatever that resolves to and written here because I always lose these things). These along with some others yet to start will, I hope, form part of my contribution to the Ocabreeders project this year. The seedlings, if they come up, are only part of my commitment as I've promised to create, tend and protect a bed of many of the Guild's germplasm, something which is nagging at me more and more urgently as the year trundles on and getting started never seems to happen. I'm hoping that some volunteers will appear to help me look after these valuable babies, so if you fancy a week in Normandy doing a bit of light hoeing (ha!) please contact me so we can make arrangements.

So, now the blogging baton has been picked up again perhaps it will keep running for another season. Happy growing, everyone.