Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Those who find they're touched by madness, chit down next to me...*

Ok, seriously overdue for some blogging.

I'd planned to do a sort of garden/allotment-themed blog entry a few weeks ago, but didn't get around to it, so this is a sort of catch-up entry.

In an attempt to speed up the onset of Spring, I couldn't wait to sow some seeds. So, about a month ago I did my usual early sowings of pepper/chilli/tomato seeds in the propagator. I'd acquired a huge heated propagator from a car boot sale for £5, so that's now occupying a large chunk of the space in the conservatory. Yeah, the space in between the leaning tower of craft materials and junk and the dogbed day, no doubt, it will all come tumbling down.

Each year I carefully plant these things and several weeks later I have some dehydrated limp, gangly seedlings that are desperate for some light and tlc. (Mostly light, as they can usually survive without being serenaded or having their toenails clipped). My solution has been to do a sort of DIY reflector, made of tin foil and cardboard.

Does it work? Well, sometimes. The - very fetching - DIY job on the kitchen windowsill seems to work fine (behind that cardboard are two seed trays of leek seedlings, honest).

The one amongst the leaning tower of craft materials isn't working so well. Perhaps this is because being hidden amidst the leaning tower of craft materials there isn't actually alot of light to reflect.

Anyway, I noticed yesterday that my nice little pots of tomato seedlings were looking half dead. Same thing every year. I get enthusiastic, then get distracted. Never mind, I'll just plant some more.

Tomato plants (ok, use your imagination) ->

Today I braved the allotment with the kids. There's something comforting about looking at the allotment plots at this time of year. Of course it's lovely when all the crops are growing, but if the crops are growing then so are the weeds which means WORK: neverending weeding and hoeing and digging. At least this time of year it's too wet to dig and the most I can do is cut down some brambles, do a bit of pruning, shift compost around a bit, and generally have a tidy up (with the reassurance that the weeds aren't growing while my back is turned).

One plot is looking ok. The other one, well, let's just say that I've just ordered a huge roll of heavy duty weed suppressant...that's my equivalent of two fingers up at the allotment Weed Police.

The Weed Police Suspect
(honest Officer, it wasn't me) ->

I set the kids to work.
Funny how they always like the destructive jobs...

(Couch) potatoes, chitting.
Chitting is what your 1kg bag of Tescos King Edwards does, even if you put it in a light-proof bag in the darkest cupboard, under the stairs. However, if you want to grow potatoes you have to carefully coset your darling little seed potatoes in egg boxes in a warm, light place to do exactly the same thing. Makes sense huh?->

*Apologies for the title. I was desperately trying to find some sort of pun around chitting, but once I realised that The Drifters song lyrics didn't contain the line 'chitting up on the roof' - or even 'sitting up on the roof' - I had to resort to James's 'Sit Down'. In case you're curious, or even if you're not, lyrics are below:
If you want to sing along, try this Youtube vid with the words
Alternatively their rather strange vid at
(the vid's fine, but don't let the kid read the comments underneath, unless they want to learn some new rather-unpleasant vocabulary!)
I'll sing myself to sleep
A song from the darkest hour
Secrets I can't keep
Inside of the day
Swing from high to deep
Extremes of sweet and sour
Hope that God exists
I hope I pray
Drawn by the undertow
My life is out of control
I believe this wave will bear my weight
So let it flow
Oh sit down
Sit down next to me
Sit down, down, down, down, down
In sympathy
Now I'm relieved to hear
That you've been to some far out places
It's hard to carry on
When you feel all alone
Now I've swung back down again
It's worse than it was before
If I hadn't seen such riches
I could live with being poor
Oh sit down
Sit down next to me
Sit down, down, down, down, down
In sympathy
Those who feel the breath of sadness
Sit down next to me
Those who find they're touched by madness
Sit down next to me
Those who find themselves ridiculous
Sit down next to me
Love, in fear, in hate, in tears
Down Down
Oh sit down...etc


Sam said...

I'm glad it's not just me with the potatoes growing legs! Could I plant them, out of interest, or should I buy proper seed-things? (No lack of knowledge here!)

Anyway, I've tagged you on my blog for 8 random things, if you want to play along :-)

Big mamma frog said...

Ah...well...last year I dug up an equal number of potatoes to the amount that I planted, so I'm certainly no expert lol. The rebel in me says just bung em in and they've got a 50:50 chance of doing something, the gardener in me says that I should probably spend a fortune on seed potatoes, then hours digging neat trenches and lining them with manure and spending my entire summer hoeing, weeding and watering them. The former sounds less work, so that's generally what I'd go for {g}