A couple of weeks ago my hair stylist Frankie showed me an article in Grazia magazine by Tom Moggach, a food writer, journalist and founder of urban gardening company City Leaf. It was an extract from his book The Urban Kitchen Gardener – Growing & Cooking in The City about growing fruit, vegetables and herbs in a city or town environment with the challenges (space mainly) and advantages that brings. Straight after my appointment I dashed up to gorgeous bookshop Daunt in Marylebone to buy a copy.
As well as all things you would expect to see, carrots, strawberries, lettuce etc. there are less usual things such as mouse melons and chapters on edible flowers, eggs and honey. Each section comes with full cultivation instructions and recipes that are a bit different from the norm.
In one of those strange twists of fate I came across Tom a couple of days later on Twitter asking if anyone would like some Shiso seeds to cultivate.
Derek in particular is interested in growing different things at the plot so I didn’t hesitate to take up the offer. They arrived at the end of last week with full instructions.
The starting point is to put them in the fridge for a couple of days to mimic winter and that’s where they are right now. I’ll post more on the project as it progresses.
The Urban Kitchen Gardener
After the washout that was Saturday we felt determined to spend at least a couple of hours at the plot today. So we set off this morning with good intent, a list of jobs and a flask of coffee. The truth is it was cold and wet, as a result we stayed little more than an hour.
For the first time ever the paths on the plot were flooded.
Having drained the gravel trays yesterday they were full up again this morning (yes that is a worm swimming around).
The peas planted a couple of weeks ago were looking a bit sorry for themselves. They seem to be able to cope with the rain but not the cold wind so we’ve put a fleece around the bed to keep the worst away.
The broad beans needed staking.
On the other hand the peas planted for salad shoots and the salad leaves are doing really well. I’m thinking that the the lip of the bag offers them some protection. It we’ve lost any plants from the main bed then I’ll prick some of these out to replace them.
And that really was all that could be done. I seldom complain about the rain but even I’m fed up with it now and hoping for some brighter and warmer days ahead.
This week is soggy to say the least and there’s really not a lot that can be done on the plot beyond working in the green house. On Sunday I potted on the Cosmos Purity and Borage seedlings that were sown two weeks ago.
I’d read in numerous books that borage doesn’t like to be transplanted so I decided to put them into peat pots so that they can go straight into the ground when large enough. Yes they did flop but plenty of water and the cooler temperature of the green house and today they were back to normal.
The Cosmos were fine though the thin leggy stems needed some care to separate.
The sweet corn planted last weekend has also germinated in eight days. The seeds are Mais Zuccherino from Franchi.
But no sign of the Nigella sown at the same time. Albeit it’s not been covered so it’s to be expected that the germination time will be slower.
So given there is still not let up in the weather and afternoon with Terry Walton’s book My Life On A Hillside Allotment beckons.