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Usefull Websites

Seed Companies

  • Royston-Petrie Seeds P.O. Box 1152 Ph: (61) 2 6372 7800
  • Cornucopia Seed Cornucopia Seeds and Plants Ph (03) 5457 1230
  • Select Organic M.S 905, Lower Beechmont 4211 Organic Seeds
  • GreenHarvest 52 Crystal Waters, M.S. 16, MALENY 4552 Ph: (07) 5494 4676
  • Greenpatch PO Box 1285, TAREE, NSW 2430 (02) 6551 4240
  • The Italian Gardener Allsun Farm, PO Box 8050, Gundaroo, New South Wales, 2620 (02) 6236 8173 Italian vegetable seeds
  • Kings Seeds PO Box 2785, Bundaberg, QLD 4670, Australia Tel: 07 4159 4882
  • Phoenix Seeds PO Box 207 , Snug, TAS, Australia 03) 6267 9663 Only postal Very unusual seeds
  • Diggers Fantastic company become a member and help them in their work, they have two sites, St Erith (nr Daylesford) and Heronswood (Mornington Peninsula) and when you become a member you get sent out a free magazine / newsletter
  • Eden Seed M.S. 905, Lower Beechmont 4211 (07) 5533 1107 Lots of information botanical and taste
  • The Lost Seed The Lost Seed PO Box 321 SHEFFIELD TAS 7306 ph: 03 6491 1000 Has a selection of very rare vegetables, and a great free download of sow what when chart

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Coles Park Allotments, Isleworth

Whilst visiting the UK I thought I would pay a visit to some local allotments, to tie in with my general obsession with all things edible. In the UK, allotments are small parcels of land rented to individuals usually for the purpose of growing food crops. There is no set standard size but the most common plot is 10 rods, an ancient measurement equivalent to 302 square yards or 253 square metres.

Allotments and Cottage Gardens Compensation for Crops Act 1887 obliged local authorities to provide allotments if there was a demand for them. The local authorities resisted complying with the act and revision was required to strengthen the act. Having spoken to a few people on my trip about their allotments it appears that most of them were aware of this act. Only two people have to apply to the council, if there are no allotments, the council has to purchase land for the purpose.

The Victorians set them up as
‘a productive use of time keeping the poor away from the evils of drink and providing wholesome food for a workforce housed in tenements and high density terraced housing without gardens to speak of.’

During the First and Second World War Germanys blockade of the UK caused food shortages and allotments were vital in growing food for the population

I arrange for someone to show me around, a member of the association called Patrick and his Jack Russell. My memories of allotments are of them always being behind locked gates, to prevent people from stealing the precious harvest.
Coles Park Allotments are on a piece of land that was donated to the people of Isleworth by the Duke of Northumberland. Part of the Duke’s estate consists of a fantastic house and garden nearby, Syon House. The gardens were laid out by the famous Capability Brown. The house also has a fantastic garden centre within the grounds.
The land was originally an orchard, as was most of Isleworth. This means the soil is extremely fertile.
Walking around the allotment, it was fascinating to see all the different varieties of vegetables being grown and how moist and green it was compared to the gardens back in Geelong.

Also the size of the plots, however I must admit that my garden at home is probably the size of three allotments, the amount of space we have is a luxury.
For many people in London the allotment is their garden, some of the members grow ornamentals mixed in with the vegetables.

Others just dispensed with the vegetables altogether.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

May in the Garden

Well I am off to the UK for a couple of weeks and leaving the garden in the capable hands of Chris. He denies having anything to do with the garden, but he collects water, eats the produce and looks after the ladies. Today was just generally tiding up before my trip. I cut grass at front and back in the process collecting up the leaves, when I get back I will turn the compost in to the back one and start again a fresh bin.
I weeded the oxalis under carpet roses and will plant some sort of herb out there, and lay newspaper down before the next lots of mulch. I weeded the irises by the fence. In several of the boxes I planted coriander and parsley seedlings grown at work.

I also sowed broad beans, peas, radish, s.onion and turnip.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Green Tomato Chutney

Well this recipe is adapted from the site above, but I put in less onions 500g to 1kg of tomatoes is just ridiculous.

1kg Green Tomatoes
200g Onions
200g apples
2 cloves garlic
1tbsp fresh ginger
1tbsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1tsp black pepper
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
1tsp chili flakes
1tsp mustard seeds
1/2 cinnamon stick
1tsp cumin ground
300ml cider vinegar
225g brown sugar

1.Put all ingredients except sugar and half the vinegar in saucepan bring to boil and simmer for one hour.
2.Leave overnight
3.Bring back to the boil, add sugar and remaining vinegar and simmer for 90 mins
Put in sterilised jars