As I’ve pointed out before, the average age of UK farmers is 54. We’re clearly going in the same direction as the Japanese. Our imports-to-homegrown food ratio is in the same ballpark.
So where’s the grassroots movement towards sustainability and home-growing here? I’ll tell you: it’s not happening. Not in commercial agriculture, anyway.
In the UK, you’re either a grain baron farming 1,000 EU-subsidised acres with industrial pesticides and fertilisers. Or a mud-spattered smallholder drowning in red tape and struggling to pay the electricity bill.
And all created, ultimately, by urban morons who are happy to pay £15,000 for a new Astra but won’t pay more than £2.50 for a chicken.
Some gardening and veg growing types got together in Oxford on Saturday, arranged by the indefatigable Patrick. As ever, I was on the way to somewhere else and had no time. Apologies to all for slinking off in a hurry – this is my life nowadays.
Couldn’t bring the videocamera proper, but shot this brief video with the iPhone; it’s the redoubtable Emma (of AKG Podcast fame) answering questions about keeping chickens. Thanks to Patrick for long hours he must have put into organising everything, and apologies again for my fleeting semi-presence.
Sign on allotment site gate informs us we’re no longer allowed bonfires. At all. Anywhere.
Which raises a few questions. The first to jump to mind are:
• WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THE STUFF WE CAN’T COMPOST?
• WHICH MORON THOUGHT THIS ONE UP?
No doubt more will occur to me.
In the meantime, anyone got any thoughts on how to run a large allotment without ever burning anything? For instance, what to do with blighted potato and tomato matter, couch/bindweed/brassica roots etc?
Obviously I could haul it all home in a large sack and make it the council’s problem to dispose of. Or – the obvious route – stuff it up my arse.
I’m not usually one for posting YouTube virals, but I have to make an exception for this one. If you’ve ever worked for clients in the creative industries, in any capacity, you’re going to LOVE it. And if you haven’t… well, all I’m saying is: Don’t be the cretinous client. Please.
Hate shelling beans. After only seconds, your neck starts to ache. Then your fingers get cramp. It’s about as much fun as a wet weekend in Crewe.
But it’s worth it, because this is next year’s French bean crop. Store them in a cool, dry place, in paper envelopes, and all should be well.
If you’ve never saved seed before, beans are a great place to start. It’s almost impossible to cock it up; they pollinate easily, and saving the seed is a simply a question of leaving the pods on the plants until they’re huge… then picking and drying them.