Leeks


Very talented.

Allow me to introduce the Attenboroughs. Three very gifted siblings, all in the same family. (Bear with me on this, it is a gardening blog entry…) There’s Richard, the Oscar-winning actor and director, David, the naturalist who surely needs no further introduction and then there’s John.

I don’t know much about John but by all accounts he’s a big cheese in his chosen world, the motor industry, and for him to be a comparative failure would really screw up my analogy, so who am I to argue?

Three super-talented individuals, all slightly different but all with fundamentally the same genes and theĀ  same family name.

Which brings us nicely to the Allium family, the Attenboroughs of the plant world. (See! Got there in the end!)

All of these heroes have a starring role in my garden and allotment. The onions, leeks and shallots are my absolute bankers in the eating stakes: dead easy to grow, practically impervious to bugs and slugs, staggeringly low maintenance and incredibly long lasting. In my book that makes for perfection, and I’ve got healthy looking crops of white and red onions, Musselburgh leeks and Shallots (Longue de Bretagne) doing very nicely thank you very much.

And happily now that the daffodils and the tulips have faded away, my alliums are taking pride of place in the flower bed. Purple Sensation and Globe Master are thriving right now, to be followed by my favourite, Sphaerocephalum, in a month or two.

Lastly there’s the littel chives in the pic at the top. They’ve sat there happily for years,dying down in the winter and then flowering and pushing up fat chives all year long. I don’t use them for much – pretty much just chopping them up and sprinkling over a potato salad – but they’re still a great thing to have to hand.

Masters of the herb, vegetable and flower worlds. Could you find another family whose members have so effortlessless dominated in their chosen careers? Apart from the Attenboroughs, of course…

On the ipod while…ahem…watching Britain’s Got Talent: The Beautiful South / Prettiest Eyes. Not you, Boyle.

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Take your bloody bog roll with you next time

So there I was down at the allotment, just minding my own business, when this mouse scampered into the bed I was weeding. Next thing I know he dropped its mousey trousers and had a crap in the bed! Right in front of me!

Of course, I knew you wouldn’t believe me so I grabbed my camera to snap it. But I was too slow. He whipped out the rodent loo roll he’d brought along, wiped his backside and shot off before I could focus.

By the time the camera was all set up all that was left to photo was the loo roll he left behind, and that’s what you can see in the pic above.

No? Don’t believe me? I can see why you might not.

How’s about this one then? Over the next few months that strip of tape in the photo is going to grow into a big row of yummy leeks! No, that’s almost as silly.

Except it’s true; in the garden centre the other day browsing seeds I saw some packets of seed tapes. I’ve never used them before, but in the interests of investigative horticulture (and a desire to reduce gardening to the minimum amount of effort possible) I thought I’d give them a whirl.

Apparently all I need to do is just bury the tape in an inch or so of soil and then the seeds impregnated therein will germinate and grow into leeks.

It sounds a little too good to be true, given all the faff I read about leek seedlings and having to bury them deep in the soil to encourage as much of the veg to turn white as possible. Still, the idea of growing a vegetable just by putting some paper in the soil and wetting it appeals to several of my baser instincts, so here we are.

Still, it’s not just me: it does look like bog roll, doesn’t it?

On the ipod while clearing up after the mouse: East 17 / Stay Another Day. I can’t explain it. I think Mrs Drooling must have been messing with the Ipod again…