Sunday, August 19, 2007

spring: the evidence

Crocuses, sprouting potatoes, tomato seedlings. I also found a sunflower had germinated yesterday. Signs of more spring bulbs also. One of the things I learnt when trying to capture it all on film (or pixel?) is that my enthusiasm for gardening is not matched by skill at photography.

Yesterday was a perfect later afternoon after a long period of wet weather and so we went down to the beach near us and foraged. The boys got sand for the sandpit and built a dam (there is a creek running into the sea near us). Brighid and I found some seaweed for the compost, collected some plastic rubbish to take away as my way of compensating for taking the seaweed and then found a lovely Nikau palm trunk, obviously washed up on the beach from further north in recent bad weather. So that went on top of the wheelbarrow of sand and will be used to raise one side of the beetroot-carrots-leeks-onions-lettuces plot. Here it is against our fence, demonstrating that my gifts on this earth are not centred round photography.

Also yesterday, Fionn and I got out the paper shredder and shredded years' worth of credit card statements and today they went on the compost. Finally a good use for them. That compost will go into holes in readiness for pumpkins sometime next month. I'm thinking of starting a separate slow compost on the other side of the fence for cotton clothing which no longer is wearable and leaves, which take ages to decompose. I think cotton will decompose faster, but I'm about to find out for real.

Got quite inspired on the tomato front after reading this from another mentor from afar, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall (who is not sexy like Monty Don but definitely knows some useful things):,,2149790,00.html . That is going to be me at the end of this summer.

Not about gardening: I went to the pub for book group tonight. Saturday by Ian McEwan is a great read. Drinking wine with no children around is superb.

Not about gardening: I'm looking for somebody who knows a lot about cow farts. Seriously. I've been told that eating meat is worse for climate change/global warming/carbon dioxide emissions than driving your car. And I had understood that the car driving thing was pretty bad. I have a thousand questions about how that research was carried out and exactly what variables were taken into account. Then I want to know whether the breed of cow makes a difference. Like if the calculations I read involved averaging out the methane emissions over the whole edible part of the cow, then do smaller breeds fart less methane or are the larger breeds more efficient at producing meat per belch? And if I ate nearly every part of the beast (see Fearnley-Whittingstall's meat book for more on this) would that make emissions per meal less?

Not about gardening: I'm not even going to discuss fish eating. But I did have a long internal dialogue (monolgue?) with myself about this in the supermarket this afternoon.


Fire said...

Was it a dialogue with Your Conscience (aka me)? BTW I posted some links on tnn about cows and methane. Do you get New Scientist? You should. It was there. Google "meat is murder on the environment" and you'll find it I think. Also Erin T has some info on goats versus cows. She says goats are better. And I'm sure eating offal makes it slightly better.. are you thinking of doing so? Or raising your own cow perhaps? I'm intrigued!

Sandra said...

More on this later but for the moment, Kim Hill is interviewing Fergus Henderson this Saturday morning and he is the king of eating every known and unknown part of a beast. I'm looking forward to it.

Nik said...

Cute seedlings! My tomatoes are looking pretty good too. I'm disappointed my potatoes are taking so long to sprout - they're *still* sitting on my windowsill with sprouts about the same size as yours and they've been there for over a month.