Archive for April 22, 2008

Potatoes for Victory!

I really wish, when I confidently declared to Scientist Boyfriend the other day that, in the light of rising food prices, climate change, peak oil, the GM issue and biofuels, it was my moral duty to grow potatoes, that I had remembered that the bin I was going to plant them in* had harboured some pork bones for a couple of months. Of course I remembered as soon as I went out to inspect its potential potato-growing capacity. Oh yes, they’d smelt so bad I’d put them out there instead of in the kitchen one as the bins weren’t going to be collected for another few days. Well, I can tell you, two months later on, that really would have been the lesser of two evils. Yeurgh. Maggots. Yeurgh.

My seedlings are coming on nicely. I have actually potted on the Brussels sprouts and the peas (I accidentally decapitated a sprout… I’m a bad mother…) and the peas’ roots were SOOOO long already. I will now have to consult my gardening books, my forums and my dad and learn what to do next. I think it is that strange thing known as ‘pricking out’. Or ‘hardening off’. I wonder if there’s a difference. Some squash and pumpkins are coming through, and even some of the butternut squash seeds that I saved from a squash from the farmer’s market and kept in a mug over the winter cos I never got round to roasting and eating them are maybe, possibly, starting to possibly think about germinating.

Ruddy peppers resolutely not though.

The bf finished his exams last week. We walked an hour through the forest to get to the ‘village’ down the road to get to a celebratory curry and everyone thought we were nuts. At the weekend we put a big vat of chardonnay (mmm…) and stout (erm…) on to brew, which basically meant we spent the whole weekend washing up, and I tried to fix my bike and bent half the cutlery drawer getting the tyre off and then it turned out to be the valve not a puncture, and I’m actually tempted to get a new bike because that one is so rubbish I almost resent spending any more money on it. I had to get the back wheel replaced (or something… the bf did it while I was at work and he didn’t really know what he’d spent £40 of my money on) and that was almost the worth of the bike. There was a 1930s ladies’ bike for renovation on Freecycle, but I didn’t get it. Meh.

I’ve splurged and bought the Jamie at Home book, because I’m actually warming to Jamie Oliver (even if I say it through gritted teeth) and we’re having courgette carbonara tomorrow.

I’ve also bought a bokashi bin. I have come into some money – not very much money, not enough for a smallholding or anything fun: enough for a woodburner maybe, but not for a Clearview – and since the world is going to hell in a handcart, I thought that as well as whacking some of it into savings and praying it didn’t get swallowed by the banking crisis monster, I should invest some of it in sustainable things, so some of it is on the way to various useful charities and some of it earmarked for the furtherance of backyard sustainability.

I bought compost-related items.

With free seed potatoes.

My mother, who spent countless holidays and Christmases quietly tearing her hair out while my father and his father and sisters discussed chitting and ericaceous compost and carrot fly over the breakfast table, is close to disowning me as it is. She was only wincingly enthusiastic about the seedlings. She fears I am lost.

I didn’t tell her how excited I was about getting grow-bags.

Free seed potatoes though. Don’t care if it is a bit late, I’m so enthusiastic about potatoes saving the planet I had potato salad for lunch instead of pasta or a sandwich. Get me and my reducing my grain dependency.

* This plan may be scuppered by the fact that bins tend to lack drainage and it doesn’t seem polite to drill holes in the bottom of someone else’s property, even if it is your contribution to alleviating the food and fuel crisis.


April 22, 2008 at 9:44 pm Leave a comment

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The Heritage Crafts Network

Rob Hopkins, Transition Handbook

“Environmentalists have often been guilty of presenting people with a mental image of the world’s least desirable holiday destination – some seedy bed and breakfast near Torquay, with nylon sheets, cold tea and soggy toast – and expecting them to get excited about the prospect of NOT going there. The logic and the psychology are all wrong.”

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

"Food is that rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure."

Carlo Petrini

"A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is an idiot. An environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is, well, sad."

Sharon Astyk

"I am, of course, firmly opposed to consumerism and corporatism in all its forms, and I believe that we are deeply confused about material needs and wants. Now let me explain how books and yarn are totally different than the material things that other people want ;-)…."

Raj Patel, at Slow Food Nation

"Biofuels, which is the preposterous policy that we should grow food not to eat it but to set it on fire."