Browsing Posts published on 07/08/2011


Fleabane.We’re pretty sure this is ‘fleabane’.

Its sat at the top of the rose bed on the Top Plot above the roses, next to the horseradish.

So, you may ask just why fleabane is called fleabane.

Apparently, it was used in medieval times to control… You guessed it: Fleas!

It was spread on the flooring of cattle sheds and kitchens in homes (…often the same room…) amongst the straw to control the pesky little mites.

Nowadays, we have ‘flea spray’ for cats.  In expensive aerosol cans, this stuff is absolutely guaranteed to have your cat running up the curtains to get away from you as you come at it wearing elbow-length leather gauntlets with a determined look in your eye wielding the dreaded orange and white can.

Well, Dear Reader, I have the answer!

A few months ago my cat, Alfie started scratching and fussing, and sure enough, he’d caught a good dose of fleas -probably from ‘Big Orange’, a particularly large and evil, smelly tabby who lives a few doors down.  Obviously, he’s Alfie’s best mate.

Remembering an old trick a friend told me many years go, I took a bottle of ‘lazy garlic’ (…pre-chopped…) from the ‘fridge and while Alfie was sat on my knee, I simply took a half-teaspoon or so of the stuff and carefully smeared it on his back by the base of his tail, making sure I got it well down in his fur towards his skin.

Now, unlike Big Orange, Alfie is particularly fastidious when it comes to his personal grooming, so he meticulously cleaned his back, consuming quite a bit of the garlic in the process.


Well, he probably wasn’t that popular with the ladies for a night or two, but the garlic got into his bloodstream, and fleas hate garlic!

Result?  A week or so later, his fur was back to its original black and silky gloss!  There was no sign of him scratching, and his skin was back its usual smoothness.

Now, every month or so, I repeat this treatment, and it seems to work brilliantly.

Okay, its not the ‘instant’ cure of the dreaded flea spray, but it doesn’t send your cat into paroxysms of fear and loathing, it saves your precious furniture and curtains, and more importantly: Its cheap and organic!

This also proves that despite other overwhelming evidence to the contrary, my cat isn’t an Evil Vampire Cat.

That’s just a story he puts out to impress his mates.



All wrapped up. 07/08/11

Yesterday was a day of wrapping. (…As opposed to ‘rapping’, but we haven’t got the huge sound system or the ‘Bling’ for any of that…)

We ‘wrapped up’ our precious cabbages in a long bed at the top of our Plots.Wrapping up the cabbge bed.

Here you can see Gary helping me sort out the long netting we had for the job.  If you look closely, you’ll see he’s putting old fence paling in ‘X’ patterns to support the sides.

After we’d done this, we put cut-down paling in the centre every few yards, then put old white plastic cups over the ends to stop them poking through the netting.

Then we had the so-enjoyable job of actually planting the different varieties of cabbages, making sure each cabbage was well down in the soil and that the soil was well compacted around them.All the cabbages safely planted and watered in.

As you can see, we’ve planted them and then given them loads of water.

Now, because this area is largely in the shadow from the trees by the road, we figure they won’t need too much watering, but we’ll have to keep an eye on them.  Yes, they’re not in direct sunlight, but they’re also in the rain shadow of these same trees, so won’t get a lot of direct rain water.

We’ve grown the cabbages from seed.  First, we planted them in seed trays, then they went through two further transplants before they got to this stage, so we have a great deal of time and effort invested in them, so they’d better get on with it! (…As I took a final look over them before leaving last night, I stood over them and told them so.  Well, you talk to your plants, right?  Does them good to know who’s boss…)Weeded leeks.

So yesterday started off pretty slowly, but through the afternoon, more volunteers turned up, and in the end we got loads done.

To the right here, if you click on the image to enlarge, you can just make out the leeks we planted some time ago.  New Sarah and Gary weeded these, and we think its looking much better.Di's sunflower.

During the lunch break, I wandered round with the new camera, and came across this.

This little beauty is on the end of a bed of squashes and was sown and transplanted by Diane a few weeks ago.

Okay, sunflowers may not strictly be ‘Plot Plants’ -apart from the seeds which are delicious for the birds, but we think they add colour and just shout ‘Its Summer!’ to anyone passing.  We also think they add a little ‘sculpture’ because they’re so tall, but at a little over four feet high, not too overpowering.Elephant garlic in flower.

I also managed to get a shot of this:-

Sat forlornly on its own in a bed that had shallots and onions in until recently, this is an elephant garlic that we’ve let go to seed.  This had been mistakenly left in the bed from last season, and as it looked so odd towering above everything else in there, we left it in.

Also on offer were some flowers from the dreaded bindweed, and as you can see here, they really are quite beautiful.Flowering bindweed.

This particular flower was poking out from the top rose bed that this autumn is going to get a severe haircut.  Yes, the roses (…and bindweed…), may be beautiful, but when you can’t walk all round it on the paths because of the encroaching roses (…and bindweed…), you just know you can hear the sheers and big loppers calling you come autumn.Roses.

Here you can see some roses from that same bed, and even though they haven’t been pruned in many a long year, they’re still quite beautiful.

I guess that’s the thing about savage pruning.  When you’ve finished, you look at just what you’ve done and think you’ve finally killed any chance of any fruit or flowers the following season.  Hells, you think you may even have killed it, but as Diane’s completely brutal pruning of the blackberry fence last year showed, things do grow back, and they grow back all the stronger from that pruning.

Oh, and talking of blackberries; I haven’t forgotten!

Yesterday quite a few of us made a ‘group effort’ and picked many, many blackberries, and I have four large punnets sat in my ‘fridge laughing at me, daring me to go ahead and make their day and turn them into blackberry jelly in the coming days.  Luckily, the chaps who refitted my kitchen left me a load of emulsion, so I’ve really got no excuses.  Blackberry juice on the ceiling and walls? (…There will be loads.  I’m an ‘enthusiastic’ chef!..)  No problem!  No need to scrub: simply re-paint!

Of course, it will be utter mayhem and carnage in my kitchen when it all happens.  There will be much cursing, there will be huge mess, but hey:  It’ll be great fun!Mitzi-Moos, surveying 'her' kingdom.

And so, I couldn’t leave you without yet another picture of the main lady from The Plots.

Mitzi was on top form yesterday, directing work in her own special no-nonsense way.

Of course, this was after I’d fed her and we’d all given her maximum fuss and attention.

Well, you have to.  After all:  She’s a cat.

To see all my photos from Saturday on Flickr, simply click HERE.

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