Politics, Storm Clouds & A Ray Of Sunshine

IMG_20140522_125820 copyI’m very proud to have voted Green in last week’s European election, and today I’m very happy that Dr Molly Scott Cato has been elected as the South West’s first MEP. Over the weekend it felt like a huge bank of oppressive political storm clouds were gathering as quickly as the real weather was changing, giving several rumbles of thunder on Friday and Saturday; the continued focus on UKIP made it very difficult to find out any election results that didn’t involve them and/or the thumping of the poor old Lib Dems in the local elections (by the way, Nick, if I didn’t vote Green, I’d have voted for you probably. Hope that helps).

Therefore I began to dread the results of the EU election… So I felt mahoosively relieved that as well as UKIP, Conservative and Labour MEPs, we now have a Green MEP representing us, and the interests of anyone at all interested in the climate and future (so strange that politics is so incredibly short-term now). It’s also good news that the Greens now have 3 MEPs, up from 2 last time. Turnout natiowide was only just 34% (!), and I know people who refused to vote, arguing that “that’ll show ’em” and that :”they’re all as bad as each other”. ??? How can saying nothing show anyone anything, when people don’t know what you’re saying nothing about? It’s not a one-to-one conversation; the political elite that they seem to be disgruntled with can have no idea what the issues that matter to you are if you say nothing. I’m with that advert from years ago, which said that if you don’t vote, then you can’t have an opinion on anything (economy, pub opening times, council issues, EU, immigration, food, law, wages, tax…). If you thing the system is wrong/rotten/unworkable, then change it! Start your own party, stand as an independent, campaign for a little-know existing party, revive None Of The Above from Brewsters’ Millions, whatever: otherwise you run the risk of looking lazy, ignorant and like you’re talking out of the wrong orifice.

IMG_20140523_161751 copyI also completely agree with Zoe Williams, who marvelled at the lack of media coverage of the Green in the run-up to the election, despite positive polling stats; every time I switched on a radio, TV or picked up a paper, it was all about UKIP. She suggests that this isn’t necessarily political bias; it’s simply the (mistaken?) notion that Farage = a good story. Was anyone else completely bored of this story months ago? I wonder if some people voted purple because that was the only party they’d heard of?

ANYway, congratulations again to Molly; and here’s to positive policies winning the day. Talking of positive action, we’ve been putting up the new small polytunnel that I was given last year by a kindly neighbour; the frame is up, the new door frames are in, and I’ve just finished digging the trench for the plastic skin. Meanwhile I’ve found a piece of Mypex to put down and keep the flipping couch grass away – the frames are small so I’m planning on trialling this tunnel as no-dig. Plus the last of the tomatoes and peppers are in the Marmalade tunnel, and the first lot are starting to take off a bit now, and needed a quick side-shooting on Friday. Soon that will be a fortnightly chore; but I can’t wait!

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Just In Time!

IMG_20140509_172704 copyPhew! Catch my breath a minute. I’ve been toiling away in the sun all day (gurt lush!), wheel-hoeing a few bits and pieces such as the early brassicas (well, the mostly re-planted ones to make up for the early slug-scoffed ones), broad beans which are now up, and first lot of dwarf French beans; although the top end of the field looks like a desert with nothing at all there. I’m not quite sure what’s going on up there; nothing has germinated (even weeds) – or if it has, it’s been grazed off straight away by slugs/pigeons etc. The same thing happened (to a bigger area) in 2012; and like 2012 the carrots still aren’t showing, even though a few parsnips are. The tilth they were sown into wasn’t great, because the soil was a bit too damp to rotovate properly, which might partly explain it; so I’m not sure whether things will appear, but later; or whether that’s it. I’ll give it a few more weeks and showers to see what happens.

Talking of showers, that was why I’ve been planting, planting, planting today! I didn’t bother putting anything in the ground on Friday last week, because the hot weather might have taken a few casualties; but now the forecast is for rain tonight from around 10pm, and then showers for the rest of the week (with sun in between, ideal for growing!). So in went more kale (mostly Red Russian, with a bit of green curly Westland Winter); lettuce, handful of leftover rainbow chard; butternut squashes (the last of the squash); sunflower; and 2 trays of Fino bulb fennel. Plus I drilled another row of spinach (Renegade of course), a row of Milan Purple Top turnips, salad rocket, and 2 rows of St Valery carrots, just in case the main carrot crop comes to nothing (although that will muck up my carrot trials!). So all that was whacked in; and now I’m having a long drink (not booze – yet), and waiting for the rain to do its thing. Bring it on!

Hungry Hungry Gap

IMG_20140502_110247 copyGah, come on salads and things: grow faster! At least this mixture of sunshine and showers is excellent groing weather; but May always sees that awkward change-over, where the autumn/winter-sown crops are finishing/running to seed, and the spring-sown crops are a little slow to catrch up and take over. So salad leaves are a bit thin of the ground at the moment; although there are some rocket leaves, pea shoots, bull’s blood beetroot, chard, spinach, last few claytonia leaves, leaf celery, parsley, chives, coriander, sorrel, chervil flowers and shungiko. The lettuces out in the field are doing to the equivalent of a horse bunching up their legs underneath them, before shooting off and producing lots of lovely leaves; so hopefully it will be only be a few weeks before they are good to pick. The crops drilled in the field in April are just starting to show now too (beetroot, chard, spinach, broad & dwarf French beans); although the carrots and parsnips are still hiding under the new flush of weeds. Fingers crossed I don’t get a repeat of sluggy 2012 and have no roots at all!

Meanwhile the module tunnel is full to bursting with crops nearly ready to go out in the field or other tunnels; the pumpkins and squashes will probably go out next week; and once the baby turnips are ready to pick, I can clear them and put the rest of the tomato plants in too. Then it will be harvest-time until next year!