Tuesday, February 12, 2013


In one word the sub-title of a Guardian story (to which I was alerted by Lucy Jones, who will be speaking at our garden club meeting in March) sums up much of what underpins my commitment to gardening organically.

I do not doubt that science, research and development have much to offer, after all gardeners have always tinkered about, experimented and sought to build on what nature offers us, but I do not think it is any kind of progress if what we do breaks our relationship of stewardship for the land and responsibility to those who will follow us.

So, the story of Bhutan's commitment to organic production couldn't fail to be of interest to me. In the UK our government at one time talked about measuring happiness, which perhaps shows that at least someone was thinking outside the usual box, but Bhutan has gone much further, basing its economic development on the pursuit of collective happiness. (Now there's a topic for the political philosophers amongst us; here's one for you conspiracy theorists too - when I originally miss-typed "amongst" the browser's in-built spell checker offered Monsanto as an alternative.)

The full story of Bhutan's commitment is told here in The Guardian's article - enjoy.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I was Potato Day here yesterday and I now have quite a range of varieties to try - working on the assumption that whatever the weather, the more the merrier and more chance of something doing well.

My potato varieties (including 2 of our favourites, Charlotte and Toluca):

British Queen (2nd early, floury)
Casablanca (1st early, multi-purpose)
Charlotte (2nd early, waxy)
Harlequin (early main, waxy)
Orla (early main, multi-purpose)
Premier (1st early, floury)
Rosabelle (1st early, waxy)
Sherine (1st early, floury)
Toluca (early main, waxy)

So, let's see what the seasons bring.

I also bought onion sets. The over-wintering onions will give an earlier crop, but the spring planted ones generally keep better. I bought Turbo and Red Baron.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I can see the back wall of my potting shed again!

Do you marvel at people with neat sheds and workshops, with immaculate tools set out, gleaming and ready for the next job? I don't know how they do it, my shed seems to have its own force-field, not repelling  but attracting every manner of junk to its heart, slowly but surely accumulating such quantities of rubbish that I can barely open the door and shove a fork or rake in there before swiftly securing the door again.

Well, today, not being wet for a change, I was able to empty it all out (now I know what that smell was: a dead mouse) busily brushing corners that had lain undiscovered seemingly since the last ice age. It is now the perfect example of horticultural order, at least until the force-field once again draws all unto itself.