Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Comprehensive spending review. Parsnips, leeks and winter hardy lettuce.

As many of us in the U.K. wait for the government's comprehensive spending review's axe to fall over their heads, their homes and their lives - our allotments and gardens (if we are lucky enough to have one) - bring some comfort - and as food prices and the cost of holidays and days out for the family rise - fruit and veg growing offers some practical help too.

The unlikely parsnips in the picture are momentous. Really. It's taken me four years to get parsnips like that. Our allotment was derelict when I took it on four years ago. The soil was very heavy clay and riddled with bits of broken glass and brambles as thick as your thigh - so heavy for such a long time - it was well nigh impossible to sow seeds directly into the ground. The plot is quite a way from our house, so I had to rely on natural predators to keep the slug population down.

The parsnips in the picture were sown (last March) directly. Most of them are beautifully straight and blemish-free. Compare them to the parsnips I harvested two years ago - when I first started out which forked and got orange parsnip canker - a fungal disease.

See this previous post: Problems with parsnips

Also in this picture, leeks, parsnips, winter hardy lettuce and lots of Newton Wonder apples.

Last but by no means least - if you're having problems with the present government cuts (as well as problems with parsnips) - you might like to check out the the links on the right to the Coalition of Resistance...

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Autumn in the organic garden

As we feel the first frosts in the air and the growing season slows down - I'm tempted to look back at the two years I've been writing this blog - and the others...we've had our allotment for four-and-half years now - taking it on coincided with more intensive striving towards publication of my writing. Gardening as a metaphor for writing?

As our plot became more productive and our soil improved - I started to write more and more. I've just finished the chapter of a book on the English Early Years Education system - which has been submitted now. The book (if the publication of it is on course - difficult to tell in the current climate...) - will be called "Dissent and the English Early Years Education System". I'd been  asked to join internationally-renowed early years researchers in the contribution of my chapter. The writing reminded me of converting our allotment plot from derelict. Really hard and emotional. Bags and bags of broken glass to remove, and sharp objects to take away. Endless word-composting.

The book will, I hope - take us all back to the beginning of everything. Remind us that our children ARE future generations - and how we need to take the greatest of care in the process of allowing them to BE during the ages of birth and five. Things that we write don't always see the light of print for lots of reasons and that's really hard - writing into a void. I really hope the chapter and the book do. My blog about Early Years Education is called "A Parent's Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage" and I've been writing that for over a year too.

It's time to look back. And forward. The peach tree is pruned and mulched. The asparagus bed is already cut down and mulched too. The leeks, parsnips, parsley, winter hardy spring onions and lettuces are nearly ready to go. We still have plenty of autumn raspberries. We need more mulch, some weeding out and some more compost heaps in readiness for next year.

I'm so grateful to this piece of land for all the things I've learned about growth and creativity in the past year. Not saying all of my writing has been brilliant, but some of it readers may find fairly decent, practical and useful (?)...

Try visiting my newly-created true sustainability and triple crunch series of articles at Brighthub:
Sustainability, the Triple Crunch and Solar Power

Or, the two hundred or so articles I've written at Helium. Here is a link to the Organic Gardening articles.

HeliumEnvironmental benefits of organic gardening.

You'll find plenty there too about Search Engine Optimization and Blogging.

HeliumPros and cons of blogging

And here's to another gardening year...look forward to sharing it with you all.