Tuesday, 19 July 2011

I hope it's not too late...

The great gardening myth is that everything has to be sorted, sown and planted by the start of May. This isn't true! Do you think in the days before refrigeration people really had a harvest season that only lasted a month or two? You can grow a surprising amount of stuff later in the season- quick crops like radishes or rocket, as well as some winter crops. With all the weird weather we've had this year, it looks like we might get a long summer, with mild days all the way into October.

I went to Wilkinsons yesterday, the only place that stocks a good range of garden stuff within walking distance of my parents' house. They had 75% off across all their seeds, so I picked up all of these for less than £2!

Peas tend to commit suicide when it gets too hot, but we're having such a damp, cool summer that I'm not too worried about them. I'm more worried about birds or mice eating my peas or their shoots! Last year I planted peas and lost nearly all of them. I've got some in the greenhouse as insurance, but I'm worried they'll overheat in there.

This is my pea set-up. The variety I'm growing are a climbing mange tout pea. I don't think it's worth growing petite pois or garden peas because frozen ones are British and affordable. In contrast, mange tout or snow peas are often expensive and flown in from Kenya! Is it right to take food from a water stressed part of the world if it causes their economy to grow? Being constantly shown the results of the current African drought, I have to say no, it's not. When countries export food, they export their own water in the product and divert water from growing their own food.
It's also inappropriate in this case, because many of the legumes that are being grown in places like Kenya grow perfectly well at this time of year in a British or European climate, needing less irrigation and using less fuel to transport.

Here's a good example of local food- an apple picked less than 50 metres from my back door. It's a Cox's Orange Pippin (I believe), a cultivar first grown less than 5km from our tree. 

I love my local food :)

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