Wednesday, 21 March 2012

How Long do Seeds Last

You have in your drawer since Candlemas Day,
All the seed packets you dare not throw away,
Seed Catalogue cometh as year it doth end,
However, looking ye drawer before money you spend.

Throw out ye parsnip, it is no good next year,
And Scorzonera if there is any there,
For these have a life that is gone with ye wind
Unlike all ye seeds of ye cabbagy kind

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sprouts, Cabbage and Kale,
Live long like a farmer who knoweth good ale:
Three years for certain, maybe four, or five,
To sow in their seasons they stay in ye drawer.

Kohl-Rabi last with them and so does Pei-Tsai,
The winter ‘cos-lettuce’ to sow in July,
However, short is the life of ye turnips and Swedes
Sow thinly and often they will never be too strong.

Last years left lettuce sows three summers more,
And Beetroot and Spinach-beet easily four, But ordinary Spinach, both prickly and round,
Hath one summer left before gaps waste your ground.

Leeks sow three Aprils and one has gone,
In addition, this is as long as your carrot will last,
Onion seed keeps till four years have flown by,
However, sets are so easy and dodge onion-fly

Store Marrows and cucumbers, are best when they are old,
Full seven summers sowings a packet can hold.
Six hath ye celery that needs frost to taste,
So hath celeriac before it goes to waste.

Broad beans, French ones, runners, sown in May,
Each hath a sowing left before you throw them away,
In addition, short peas tall peas, fast ones and slow,
Parsley and Salsify have one more spring to sow,

Then fillen ye form that your seeds men has sent,
For novelties plenty, there is money to spend,
Good seed and good horses are worth the expense,
So, pay them your poundies as I paid my pence.

Lawrence D Hills,

Friday, 9 March 2012

Rats and Compost


There are many myths about rats. Just to set the record straight: There are no rats as big as cats or such things as super rates and rats do not bite the faces of sleeping children for the fun of it!

Rats are mans enemy: in the 1300s, rats wiped out nearly one third of the European population. However, in many ways it is not the fault of the rat but of humankind. . Rats are tempted by traces of food that is all and we leave food lying about in the form of litter and dirt in our streets, houses and anywhere else that we are. Dropping a crisp bag on the street or leaving rubbish outside will bring rats to you door and into your house.

Just to put the record straight: Rats are a very serious health risk and can carry the following diseases;
0. Weil’s disease
0. Salmonella
0. Tuberculosis
0. Cryptosporidiosis
0. Ecolab
0. Foot and mouth disease
0. Leptospirosis
0. Virus things
0. Parasitic things
0. Rats are a vector for plague.

We are all to blame for the rats that roam our streets and live in our houses. The only way to get rid of them is too go back to bases and up our basic hygiene. Do not leave litter around. Dispose of food waste in a proper manner and do not use it on the compost heap because you are shore to get rats.

I do not put food waste on my compost heap and yet last year 2010 I caught 58 grown rats on my plot. This year to date; I have caught four.

I do not use poison because it is a cruel way to kill any thing and you are never quite sure what you are killing.

I believe and use the good old fashion rattrap. Now many people cannot catch rats with a trap but the secret, if there is one, is to use peanut butter on the trap so that the rat has to lick it off and in so doing will set the trap off and kill it in one clean snap.

Make sure that birds cannot get at the trap. I put mine under things like a paving slap leaning on a wall or in a large piece of pipe.

The increase of the rat population is a very worrying thing and it is about time that we all did something about it!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Jerusalem Articokes

We are now well into March and today it is pouring down with rain. Last Sunday it snowed nearly all day. However, one thing is for sure about this time of year and that is that spring is coming.

Yesterday I managed to get down to my plot and plant my Jerusalem artichokes. I only put in 20 tubers and that gives me enough to make some wonderful soups to get through the winter.

I plant them in my raised bed a foot apart and two-foot in-between the row. Of course, I dig in a good supply of wonderful compost. Jerusalem artichokes are a bit of a growers dream really.
1. You can plant them in the same bed for five years
2. Grow you own seed. I just selected the lest knobbly ones that are about the size of a hens egg and pop them in the ground.
3. There are really no pest or disease to speak of
4. The plant can grow to a height of eight feet and so can make a wonderful wind break.
5. Once they have taken off, there is very little work. I find that a good weed after three weeks of planting is all they need and then they will smother any new weed growth.