A View From The Greenhouse; Global Warming,,,,,,Innit?

Crop Rotation On A Small Scale
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2023

The time of abundance is mostly upon us, potatoes, more beans than one can shake a stick at, strawberries, courgettes, beetroot, spinach, chard, radish, leaves of many and various kinds and even a couple of misshapen carrots have made their way to the pot over the last couple of weeks. The first plantings of broad beans and peas (those that didn’t get eaten when freshly picked) are now stored in the freezer for future use. The first three short rows of potatoes have been lifted and (mostly) eaten in a variety of ways (if you haven’t tried crushing par boiled new potatoes, putting them in an oven dish, seasoning liberally with salt and pepper and drizzling them with olive or rapeseed oil, before sticking them in a moderately hot oven for 30-40 minutes, then you really should) and I’m replanting the same rows with main crop reds. The first row (about five weeks in) is through and looking healthy and a second row has gone in, just this past week. Another part of the plan to grow for longer and not have too much of a glut at any one time (beans excepted, of course).

The Man’s A Genius
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2023

Those of you that can be bothered to read my biweekly ramblings may well remember the simple solution Dave came up with to support the netting over the small brassica plot. Dave, being new to the game and me being both forgetful and a little haphazard in my planning, hadn’t factored in the fact that both cavalo nero and brussel sprout plants tend to take on height quite quickly when water’s in plentiful supply and the sun’s shining. Another dilemma, another solution needed. It was so simple I think I might have even come up with it on my own, but Dave, in his inimitable fashion, took a pallet to pieces and built this wooden frame, which (as he knew it would be) is quite perfect for the job. The sides even roll up to allow cropping and weeding! The man’s a genius.

Pointy Cabbage, Right On Trend
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2023

I do get around to a bit of weeding, every now and again (even if I always miss a couple) which gives me an excuse to show off me cabbages. Three are hearting up nicely, two not so much, but I’m guessing they’ll all eat well. It didn’t say “Hispi” on the seed packet, but what’s in a name anyway, all the “top chefs” are using pointed cabbage these days, I’m right on trend.

A Plan Approaching Fruition
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2023

Back to the grapes, which, as you can see, are coming on with great fecundity. The hard(ish) pruning has clearly paid dividends and I’m expecting a bumper crop (again). I also think the weather, which was hot for the first three weeks of June, as the berries were developing but it’s cooled down somewhat over the last couple of weeks which (hopefully) will lessen the instances of the odd bunch withering on the vine. I may look to pruning some of the smaller bunches out and I’ll certainly take off the “low hanging fruit” which occasionally detach themselves from the main bunches.

Watched Tomatoes Never Ripen
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2023

The sharp eyed amongst you will probably recognise these seven tomatoes (I’m thinking of making them a regular feature), which look likely to be the first to ripen. I have no idea of the variety (there’s a second plant the same) but they’re a nice sized fruit and, dependent on the taste, they may well become my predominant tomato plant of choice, although there are a couple of other options, one of which, although putting out lots of trusses, is producing some queerly shaped specimens (more of which next time).

Getting To Be Almost Like A Real Gardener
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2023

Earlier this year, when I was clipping some of the old “branches” from the vine I had the idea of taking cuttings. I’d read a little bit about the practice and, even given my track record I couldn’t see how it wouldn’t work. I was right to do so, although finding a spot for them will be a bit of a tester. The pictures not great, the centre pot of the three has two cuttings, which seem to have rooted and the smaller pot to the left is actually a new vine which self seeded in the leek bed, obviously from a fallen grape. I’ll probably plant the large one in the greenhouse, once I find a suitable spot, and see if I can’t fin a good home 9with a neighbour) for the other two. Apart from tomatoes I think the process of growing grapes is the one which gives me the most pleasure. If you’d like a young vine and you’re able to collect, just let me know!

Innovative Anti-Slug Defence
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2023

Did I say? Dave likes cucumbers. I don’t mind them, but as I’ve got older they have a tendency to repeat on me and I can take them or leave them. I wouldn’t bother growing them, although Norman, when he was running the market garden, had a poly-tunnel set aside for them. Any road up, Dave put half a dozen plants in and lost one to slugs before he came up with the idea of putting strips of corrugated tin roof sheet round each one as a protective barrier. Given there have been no more slug attacks (there are beer traps nearby) they seem to be working. Like I said, man’s a genius.

Didn’t Even Get A Jar For Myself
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2023

The daughters have taken a liking to beetroot, especially the kind that comes pickled, or as a relish and costs nowt (or so they seem to think). It makes sense to preserve it for later, in previous years I’ve grown beetroot and not really done too much with it (apart from a couple of jars of the relish with horseradish), meaning one or two have ended up like cannon balls, both in size and density and had to be chucked in the field for the old sheep to gnaw at. As with the potatoes, I’m planting three or four at a time, three to four weeks apart and using them as soon as they’re ready. Not a revolutionary concept, I know, but being less wasteful and planning ahead are fairly recent ideas, where I’m concerned.

Bright Eyed, Bushy Tailed, Climate Ambivalent
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2023

Of course, all work and no play would make even the most ardent veg grower a very dull boy and there comes a time when a little social interaction becomes not simply desirable, but needed to avoid the prospect of becoming a bit of an old gardening bore (quiet at the back there). Consequently, on Friday last I took myself off into the wilds, with my camera club chums, to visit a known habitat of our native squirrel. As I was driving there I got to thinking; we’d had some decent weather in June, which had done plenty of good for the greenhouse and made for an enjoyable holiday in Whitby, on several days it’d been quite hot even, as summer days are wont to be, I wouldn’t have called it anything out of the ordinary (or “extreme” or “deadly” or even “catastrophic”), but what do I know. It was properly raining, the thermometer in the car said thirteen degrees and Messrs Windsor (our new Monarch and all round WEF adoring eco-loon) and Khan (A man who’s relationship with honesty and integrity is tenuous to say the least) had just been seen together, laughing and joking, like a bargain basement version of Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr (no doubt at the gullibility of their audience) with the latest scaremongering gimmick, “The Climate Clock” (Hughie Green, eat your heart out). Now, forgive me for being a little bit flippant here, but I seem to recall, at various junctures over the last fifty to sixty years or so, we’ve had between eighteen months and five years to save the planet from (variously) an ice age, a hole in the ozone layer, acid rain, inexorably rising sea levels, the desertification of fertile land, caused by catastrophic “global warming” and now the ubiquitous “climate change”. According to the Met office, June 2023 has been the hottest month on record. According to The King, there’s a new number on the table and we now have 96 months to “Save The Planet”.

It isn’t that long ago that polar bears were soon to be extinct (there are as many as 30-35,000 living in the wild), The Great Barrier Reef would become lifeless within a decade (it’s teeming with life) and The Maldives and other islands would be completely submerged (they’re building new airports to cater for the rising numbers of tourists) due to the Arctic ice-cap disappearing and every major glacier melting . Not a single one of these doom laden, quasi-religious prophecies has come true but still the usual suspects (you know who they are), the lap dog main stream media and the upper middle class twatterati camp followers of Marxist organisations such as Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil et al continue (backed by Globalist quangos like the UN, the WHO and the WEF) to use highly emotive language and loosely veiled threats, in an effort to terrify everyone into believing our days (as a race) are numbered. Gratuitous, scientifically unsupportable numbers are bandied about which are claimed to prove “The End Is Nigh”, but it isn’t, and the mendacious charlatans pushing the agenda know it too.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t care about pollution (we should), I’m not even saying we shouldn’t invest in innovative, affordable renewable technologies over the coming decades (we should), but I am saying that putting a mandatory “cut off” point on the use of “fossil fuels” without having serious, high volume and proven power options which will provide all the energy we need as an alternative makes no sense. Those advocating it, and who’ll get rich from it, know it too.

The weather changes, it’s always changed and it will continue to do so, Mike Jagger, an Australian humanist, often opines about the hubris of mankind, for thinking it’s all about us, when it patently isn’t. Something I read in The Spectator recently, a column by Lionel Shriver entitled “Bring Back Weather”, brought home to me just how easily a slogan can be hijacked to such an extent that the proving of it goes right out of the window and the saying of it makes it true. She refers to the incidences of natural disasters being used as weapons to increase the fear being instilled within us all, and makes some very valid points; “Well, now we’ve loaded the erstwhile ‘natural disaster’ with moral and political content galore. Without fail, news presenters explain every unfortunate weather occurrence as being due to ‘anthropogenic climate change'”. She goes on to say that the once ubiquitous “expert” is no longer even needed to back up this nonsense and that; “Newscasters are safe in their surety that no one will demand evidence of a causal link between a drought in the USA and petrol-fuelled Land Rovers in Sussex”. I could go on; the article, which is scathing in its contempt for the media and the cod science is readily available and is an excellent read in its entirety. I’ll leave the last words to my friend, an eminent geologist and scientist, who’s studied how this planet of ours has heated and cooled over many hundreds of thousands of years, outside the influence of man; “Man made climate change Colin? It’s all bollox, another scam to transfer even more wealth to those who don’t really need it, from those who could best do with a little bit of it and to impose an authoritarian system of world government on us proles”.

© Colin Cross 2023