August 1, 2010

A long overdue blog post for the start of August.. It’s been raining a LOT so I took the step of forgetting about everything growing outside for a week, and leave mother nature to water things for me. I was forced to go out today and take matters into my own hands, because mother nature took today off. As it turns out, in a week things can grow a lot. I roped one of my housemates in to take a photo of myself next to the Courgettes so that the casual observer could gauge the true size of the flora..

Courgette MONSTERS

You have to look quite hard in the foreground to see me. I think you can just about makeout my shield, and maybe my crossbow. Upon seeing this, you might then further question why I feel the need to equip myself accordingly. However if plants are that big, I’m truly terrified what manner of creature must feed on, or live in them. Ant’s the size of Pianos? Butterflies the size of Buses? it does not bear thinking about.

The second plant of titanic proportions is Remi’s single surviving sunflower. I am however a little sad about one thing. I remember when Blue Peter used to have a competition where the viewers all had a go at trying to see who could grow the tallest  sunflower. If we’d entered (and if the competition is still going), I’m almost certain the Sunflower would bring us deserved victory. That Blue Peter Badge would have looked very nice on me. Oh well.

The Giant Sunflower

The Giant Sunflower

Last photo is another snap of the Chillis sat in my window. I’m fully aware that this photo looks pretty much exactly like all the previous photos I’ve taken of the same chillis in the same place. I shall endeavour to arrange that next time I take a photo of these Chillis that they’ll be engagged in some form of exciting activity, maybe landscape painting, or tabletennis.



Now that I’m a few months into my project, I need to decide what to plant for the Autumn/Winter. Of the hugely ambitious selection of things that I planted back in whenever I planted them, the survivors are the Beans, The Chillis, Some of the Tomatos, the Courgettes and the Pumpkins. Not really a spectacular survival rate If I’m honest.. I’m going to make another trip tomorrow to see what I can find. Pak Choi hopefully.


It’s only been a week since the last update. You’re just confused if you think otherwise. Yup.

July 13, 2010

Well, it’s been faaar too long since my last update. I don’t really have a legitimate excuse. I have lots of smaller legitimate excuses such as a holiday, putting on gigs, going to gigs, harry potter, work, tiger woods golf etc, but these excuses don’t really add up when put together. So I apologise for my tardiness, and shall henceforth turn over a new leaf, hopefully allowing my blog to bloom as it should. I know the grass is always greener on the other side..


Well, when I came back from european lands the first thing I noticed was that the Courgettes are HUGE. They’re at least 50 times bigger than they were when I was left. I am also delighted that they appear to be so happy and satisfied that they’ve flowered and started to produce lots of scrummy little courgettes. Ymmh.

Aww, look at how happy they are! I shall reward them tomorrow with some more delicious nitrogen rich plant food, what a treat that nectar is. A predictable snag I have now encountered is the newfound attention of ravenous gastropods. I popped out yesterday to see a snail homing in on the biggest plant. I threw it aside rather too enthusiastically, meaning it hit the wall with a rather unpleasant cracking noise, I feel so mean. I need to find an anti gastropod solution, without resorting to horrible methods like metaldehyde. My mum had a book with handy pain-free tips, the only three of which I can remember are grapefruit traps, and rings of pine needles or eggshells, each of which is either slightly impractical, or impossible. Hmmh.

Yeah, the beans. Unfortunately they haven’t quite reached the clouds so far, (meaning I’m not currently in a position  to fight the giants yet) however they are still looking pretty majestic, and are definitely grateful for the climbing frame we slaved over making for them.

Beans Climbing!

That’s not really very clear as photos go, The salient point is that three of them have reached the first cross-section. I am slightly worried though, as the donator kindly informed me that the beans will gleefully grow up to roughly the height of a second floor window, so I suspect that I might need to carry out renovation or expansion to the playground.

My curiosity is also piqued by the fact that whilst four of the stems are flowering with white flowers, the centre bean appears to instead to be bucking the trend and instead is showcasing red flowers, Most odd. Clearly the only logical solution is that it is a communist bean.

Comrade runner bean, Hero of the Soviet Union

I didn’t notice the jealous tree-bloom in the background eyeing up the plant when I took the photo. I shall have to keep an eye on the tree, lest my bean be forced to live up to its hero status.

Anyway. The chillies are thriving very well, as are strawberries, pumpkins, whereas the tomatoes on the other hand are being a bit rubbish. I hope they decide to become less rubbish (as it is most annoying), but the signs are not the most promising. More about them when I take some photos of them for when I am a very good boy and update this again in the next few days. Promise!


June 20, 2010

Ah! Hallo Chillis!

Ickle Chillis

In the background are the wimpiest of the Chillis, still cowering safely inside our house. All the stronger heartier Chillis live in my room or outside. In the foreground are (is) the disappointing Pepper. One of them haS grown, and the others sort of grew above the soil a bit, thought “nah” stopped bothering, and wilted. I had hoped that surrounding the pepper with lots of happy chillis might make them feel a bit inadequate and want to grow some more. Didn’t work though. Oh well.

Thom and I built a trellis for my beans, which took  quite a long time because it was very hot. He also (wisely) made sure that I dug the canes in, as my preferred method was just to stab them in the ground a bit until they stopped falling over. I think if we’d gone my route I’d be a very unhappy boy.


See how happy they are!

Less than a day after they had their new climbing frame they were joyfully clambering over their new toy, and telling me how much fun it was. Lots of my other plants saw this and made a big song and dance about favouritism and all that. After no end of whining and moaning I gave in. Accordingly I had to give some of the tomatos their own pole to climb on, all the chillis bickered until they got a pot each and so on. It was very tiring.

Remis old plantsies have now been joined in the quiet corner with assorted other flora. Our house-planting arrangement is arranged just like a train. First class accomodation can be found at the top of the house in the living room, the quiet-zone is just outside the front door, ands the standard accomodation is located in the garden proper, with all the raucous commoners like the Pumpkins and Strawberries yell and bawl at their unruly children.

The Quiet Zone!


No more updates untill the saturday after next, because we’re off in Europe having FUN!


June 13, 2010

Hello meadow

Yeah, that’s what our front garden looked like at about 16.30 yesterday.. I know I said that it was almost certainly chock full of all manner of exciting wildlife? well, Buffalo and Bisons are a bit shy and hid on the other side of the photo, so you can’t see them. We’re all pretty happy how the garden looks. It seems that that rubbishy plant seed that we bought from Quality save actually did have some seeds in amongst the sawdust after all. At least it looks more like a garden, and less like a garage forecourt from a low budget American movie.

Beans beans beans

After making myself look a bit silly by asking what the bean plants above were because I forgot, I managed to work it out myself by looking at them the next time.. I had to move them out of the greenhouse as they were getting all climby& fractious and it was upsetting all the plants who lived on the floor above. I’ve popped them on some slabs of concrete until they get a bit taller, then they all get their own custom made teepees. Not sure where to put them mind, Our gardens big, but it isn’t that big!

You can see the start of the Pumpkin/Courgette patch I’m making in that photo. I planted the pumpkins in-situ, and they’ve come up quite rapidly, which is very kind of them indeed, much better than the last lot. I forgot to make the NO PIGEONS sign, but they seem to have gotten the general idea anyway, as I’ve seen neither pigeons, or poop anywhere. I think Bill Murray ate them all.



They’re all so happy. Some of them gave up their custom broken drumsticks to give them to the beans, which I thought was quite kind of them really. I’m a little bit worried about them all though, as I’m off on holiday at the end of the next week, so everything has to fend with whoever I can convince to look after them. Trepidation. I’m sure they’ll manage without me, however sad they might be.

I forgot to take photos of the tomatos, and chillis again, but I shall gloss over this oversight with a gratuitous cat photo.


I felt he deserved a photo this time, seeing as he actualy helped (read= did not actively hinder) me for once. Awwww


June 2, 2010

Euch, I’m not exactly very impressed. I’ve now set my courgettes free from the greenhouse into a very hastilly and haphazardly cleared slab of land in the back of my garden. They’d been out there for less than a day, when some marauding avian decided to do a sloppy horrible poop right on one of the leaves. YUK. What’s up with that? It’s not a particularly nice way to act. I have to assume that the Pigeon (and I’m sure it was a pigeon..) saw the morons that were urinating all over our strawberry plants/garden in general at the last house gig we had, and thought it was an okay to behave that way. Well pigeons, It isn’t, and as you have more brain cells than our no-longer-welcome house guests, I expect better. I shall make a sign for the promotion and betterment of behaviour in birds.

Aerial Carnage

Splat. Poor thing.

Whilst I’m aware that bird crap generally is chock full of lots of nice nitrogen and phosphates, I think it only really benefits plants if it’s applied to the soil, and not plastered on the leaves.

I’m sure you note that I’ve artfully used a broken drumstick to support the tired leaning of the courgette. Aww. I had to be careful of course, as I did not want the other plants becoming jealous. So I dug around in the basement, and found each of the plants their very own broken drumstick. They were all quite happy about this.


(prospective) Courgette Patch

I’ve kept them suitably far apart so that they don’t start bickering, growing into each other and pushing one and another around. It doesn’t really look like they’ll be getting up to any of that sort of behaviour imminently soon however..

If the angle of that camera was turned a hundred and eighty degrees in the opposing direction you’d be able to see the sunflower that somehow survived the shower of idiots. Handily enough I made that happen..

Just the one sunflower

I hope Remi is happy that his sunflowery legacy will live on. I should also have taken a photo of the front garden as well, as that’s looking quite good in a scruffy medowy sort of way. If it carries on, I fear we will have all manner of beasts therein, with will-o-wisps leading people astray from the path, and into the murky depths. Eeep.

Next plan is to plant up the fennel in another patch next to the courgettes. Apparently the fennel I’ve selected grows exceptionally fast, so maybe this will help counteract the fact that pretttymuch all of my plants are determined to grow as slowly as possible. That said, loads of the peppers and chillis are starting to establish themselves a bit, and there are more than enough of those..

Zoooooooooom (withphotosthistime)

May 25, 2010

Two minor calamities have stricken me since the last post. Well, more like one and a half calamities I guess, as one was only half bad. The first calamity to strike the  land was thanks to some inconsiderate guests standing all over the strawberries and Garlic plants outside, flattening them. The garlic’s gone to Plant Valhalla for sure (doubtless dragged off into the heavens by a well-endowed olive tree, sat in a glorious winged hanging basket) but amazingly it looks like some of the Strawberry plants might survive. I am not holding my breath though.

Calamity number two relates to the fact that I forgot to undo the front of the mini-greenhouse when I went to work yesterday, meaning the greenhouse plants got most of a day’s worth of hot-housing in 25 plus degree heat. The calamity side of this relates to two dead tomato plants, and some complaining pumpkins on the top shelf. They most certainly weren’t happy with me, but I think they’ll live. Well I hope they’ll live, I don’t want a run in with those pumpkin-lawyers again. The plus side is that everything on the ground and first floors LOVED the experience, and grew up real nice.

Greenhouse (now open)

If you squint you can just about see how unhappy the Pumpkins at the top look compared to the verdant metropoli of the ground and first floors. Kindly note how the Richmond the cherry laurel snuck into the picture on the left (inexpertly silhouetted against the wall)

A Courgette Posing

Wow, that courgette really IS posing. It’s gone to the extent of clambering out of the greenhouse, and having a shot taken from the most flattering angle. What a complete show off. I hope the other plants don’t learn from the vanity on display there.

I’m not too distraught by the two tomato deaths, that brings us down to probably only about 30 plus tomatoes in total! My weedier tomatoes are hanging inside by the peppers (growing at their own sedate pace) and the Chilli plants/shoots (now numbering about 18 or so across multiple pots)

Chillis and friends indoor

That’s the bigger (older) chillis in the foreground,the weedier tomatoes over left, and some of the chilli saplings down in the bottle houses. The cat-grass on the  left isn’t too happy though. I think this is due to the fact that whilst the name “cat-grass” implies that the plant likes cats, this really isn’t true whatsoever. I think it actually actively dislikes cats, particularly the sort that eat it. It probably also dislikes not being watered too I think (as both me and thom have been assuming the other person was watering the it)

The grass has been cut, so when I feel like I have a few hours spare, the back garden is going to get a makeover. I have some fennel seeds to throw down (apparently extremely fast growing/maturing) so I’m looking forward to seeing if that works. Fennel is the best.

No pictures

May 19, 2010

Yeah. Not putting my camera onto charge means there are no pictures. None at all. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem however, you’d merely need to look back at the previous pictures, use a little imagination, and picture them all kinda the same but a little bit taller. This obviously only works for the plants in the pictures, I mean none of my housemates have suddenly randomly grown a foot taller in the last few days for example.

When I said in a previous post that pretty-much everything was growing, I should have clarified that really, and said rather that I have at least one fine specimen of each plant growing. The peppers for example are still being rubbish, and only have one representative out of 10. They’re doing better than the Pumpkin seeds I planted though, with no plants from 4 pots. But before I start insulting the race of Pumpkins, I  feel I have to disclose that I did only plant them about 4 days ago. I think the Pumpkins Lawyers would have a good case that I am being unreasonable to see signs of activity in a mere 4 days when the packet says they germinate in 7-21 days. Curse those Pumpkins and their hot shot lawyers.

The Tomatoes, Courgettes and some of the assorted Chillis are looking particularly good however (well to be honest nearly everything is, really), as well as the Butternut Squash shoots that are now showing their handsome faces. I have however committed a bit of a Chilli related error I must confess. I split the two varieties between two different kinds of plastic bottle houses, however when watering them, I accidently put the tops back on in a random order. I should probably also own up to the fact that this is unlikely to even matter, as I forgot which variety the Dr Pepper Bottles and Tango bottles represented anyway. So of the Chilli plants that are coming up, I have no idea what to expect. I’m sure in some further implausible plot twist, they’ll actually turn out to be fledgling passion fruit trees, or something else completely nonsensical. Oh well.

It’s actually pretty good fun coming home from work and seeing how much things have grown in my absence. I’ve never spotted things growing when I’m looking at them, they’re quite sneaky. Maybe I should take a day off work, sit in, and try to catch something growing. HA! But I suspect that rather, they’d just not grow to spite me. So it’d be a bit of a waste of time really.

I’ve put my camera on charge now. Yep.

A wee update

May 12, 2010

Yaps, Just a little tiny update. I have no real justification for it only being a small update, as I have enough time to do a proper one but I’ve decided it is, and it will be, meaning there’s nothing you can do about it. NOTHING WHATSOEVER.

Well, more things have germinated, I think practically everything is showing signs of life now. I’m even seeing positive looking signs from the peppers, and they’ve been sat there since the dawn of time. I’m particularly happy with the courgettes, as they’ve only been planted for about a week, and they’re already looking promising. In the manner of any crafty person, I’ve taken a photo of the best one, meaning you’ll think all the others look just as good as it. And who’s to say they don’t?

The happiest looking courgette plant in the world

I’m a bit suspicious about that Fosters glass there, I sure didn’t put it there. I hope my plants haven’t been hitting the sauce. And indeed even if they have, I would have thought they’d be more discerning, and choose something a bit nicer than Fosters.

I snuck into Thoms room earlier, and papped a quick photo of what he has growing. It’s quite funny how he’s essentially managed to turn part of his room into some form of ad hoc garden. It’s mostly tomato plants of assorted shades and hues, with some baby carrots in the trough at the back of the photo.

Quite a lot of Tomato plants

I also have a selection of things on the outside of the kitchen windowsill, which miraculously have yet to be knocked off by marauding birds, curious felines, or whatever other manner of impediment can be found in a suburban garden. Whilst I can claim credit for the onions cheekily peeking round from the back of the image, all the plants towards the front were donated to me by Holly, Thanks! they’re looking more joyous and full of vigour than most of my things.

Oh look, it's a windowsill.

Well, that actually wasn’t that much of a wee update in the end. Oh well.


May 8, 2010

I’m happy that since I started carefully paying attention to the instructions on the back of seed-packages, plants are starting to grow MUCH better, and germinate successfully. Turns out plants aren’t actually like computer games at all, you can’t just disregard the instructions, and start making it up as you go along.

All the planties were perfectly happy living ontop of the Beatles Rockband box, but I’m a very reasonable landlord, so I felt it was time to redevelop the living quarters. I didn’t want anybody suing me for being a bad landlord and not looking after my tenants. So at great expense and effort I carried out some far-reaching renovations, creating some new vibrant living quarters. New plant homes for the 21st century.

Plant Penthouse!

I have no idea what a “Penthouse” actually is. I remember when I was younger I read a book where some yuppies were living in a Penthouse Apartment, so I guess they must be nice. You don’t catch yuppies living in any old shed. They’ve got aspirations, them types.

As well as the Chillis in the bottle-gators (Mixing the words “Bottle” and “Propagator” sounds dead good), the Chillis up top, the Peppers in front of them, and the Tomatos in front again, we also have Thoms Catgrass on top, some Courgettes (which started germinating yesterday) and some Butternut Squash. And that’s just that corner of the front room. There are also Chives, The Strawberries outside, Onions, Basil Lollo Rosso, Lettuce, my Cherry Laurel and much more. That’s without Remi’s multiple Chilli/Pepper plants, and Thoms Carrots, Tomatos, Garlic, and whatever else he is secretly growing in his room.

I don’t think England really needs to import food anymore, we can just export crops from our house to everyone else. We can start some form of economic crop protectionism, for when the North West & Scotland secede from the South of England, where 40% of people are idiotic enough to vote tory. Plant politics!

On the topic of my Tomatos, they’re looking a bit fractious and crowdy. I should start to put them up into something bigger within a few days or so..

'Matos fighting to be FREE

As you can see, the tomato second from bottom on the lefthand side was so overjoyed to be the subject of the photo, she threw her leafy arms to the sides with undisguised glee. I like her, she’s my favourite.

I should also document some of the other things that people I live with are growing. I’ve alluded to Remi’s monolithic Chilli plant, which has grown to it’s current height from the teeny 20cm sapling I gave him about a year ago. It’s horrifying, we may well have some Day of the Triffids like action on our hands here.


Hello Chilli. Don't eat me please.


Um. Anyway. I know I have alluded to the furry menace before, but it really does bear mentioning again that whilst most people think that birdies, slugsies, snailsies, catterpillarsies, bugsies and plant-burglers are the greatest threats, again Bill Murray seems to be the greatest threat to our beautiful plants. The bits that he hasn’t eaten, or sat on can be seen below. It’s even starting to look ever so slightly less like the forecourt of some scruffy second hand car dealer.

I have also just realised that for someone who doesn’t know that we have a cat called Bill Murray, I have just slandered the mightily fine actor by alleging that he sneaks over to our house, sits on the pansies and eats our tulips. I’ve also just called him furry. He might be furry, I don’t know. But I feel the clarification was needed.


Pwh. I should make sure I update this more than just once a week, I didn’t even have an excuse this time..

And I also admit that I made up the bit about the plant burglars.


April 29, 2010

Ooookay. Somehow and somewhere I discovered a rather awesome place by the name of South Devon Chilli Farm. It’s apparently one of the best places in England to get Chillis, Chilli seeds and Chilli related products. Having no willpower to call my own I had to get a few bits and bobs, including two packs of seedies. You would think that being in England that Chillis wouldn’t grow well, but you’d be WRONG if you thought like that. Sorry, just the way it is.

Oh, hai new seedies!

The seeds on the right (twilight) apparently make a very attractive shrub, covered with lots of mini multicoloured chillis in various colours (Purple, Pink, Yellow, Orange, Red). I hope it’s not too attractive, I don’t want my other plants to spend precious growing time ogling  instead. Maybe when they’ve grown up and left home they can spend time gawping over other plants, but whilst they reside under my roof, they play by my rules. And my rules say grow nice and big, so I can eat you up.

The other seeds are renowned for having a citrusy  edge (which I’m sure you guessed by the colour and name)which my tummy is quite interested about. Rumble rumble.

I’ve put some of each packet in some highly unoriginal containers made from chopped up 2l pop bottles, in the hope that they’ll enjoy their cozy warm mini-greenhouses and grow up nice and quick. Having seen how well both Remi’s chilli grew, and how the cayenne peppers I have planted already, I have high hopes. You chillis are now my proteges, in you I invest my hopes and dreams.

One of the Bottle Houses

I potted up the seeds in the side room of the basement. Pretty scary looking, huh? That’s because the particular room of the basement is known as the “nekro room”. It’s where all the frightening and shady goings on in our house happen. It’s so scary, that at the time of taking this photo, the other three other bottle-greenhouses ran away, leaving only the bravest.

We bought a load of plants for the garden (which looks better by the day) and a sub-project has already started around the BBC “Dig In” seeds which have arrived, but neither is quite ready for showing off about yet. Maybe next week.

Oh yeah, the basil? well it’s not looking great. But it’s also not apologised yet, so it can stay where it is. I’m a ruthless  horticultural dictator for sure. It’s fun.

Chorlton now has two punx gardening/food type blogs. Blogs are pretty ace. Beckii’s is better designed, but I might have to report it under trading standards as despite the title I can see no paperclips anywhere, whatsoever.