Sunday, 12 October 2008

You can always rely on the Government to let the people down

It seems that the soundtrack to the past week has been a constant thwack thwack thwack of the shit hitting the fan - with alarming frequency. And the global meltdown has finally impinged on my life. I was due to start a long term temp booking this week, but late on Friday afternoon I was told that due to the financial situation, my prospective employer was going to have to cancel any new temp bookings.

So I'm still on the scrapheap. Never mind, keep plugging away, and in my spare time plan my entry into the black economy. I suspect I won't seen much of the pension money from my last job, so I better find ways of earning money till I drop.

I have to confess, I did purchase a few investments this week. On Tuesday I went to the RHS Autumn Show at their HQ in Westminster, and bought seeds - plenty of them. A few frivolous thins like a yellow Echinacea and some dye plant seeds, but the majority of purchases will go towards feeding us next year.

At least the weather has been good this weekend. We spent a wonderfully productive day over the allotment, and we now have the first of the peas and broad beans sown for next year. We swapped some of my lovely yellow courgettes for a beast of a marrow from our neighbouring plotholder. A few of us picked windfall apples on an abandoned plot. I think there may be a chutney making session in the next couple of days.

We ended up staying until dusk again, and were rewarded by the sight of foxes frolicking in the
long grass, woodpeckers flitting from tree to tree, and as the full moon rose over the woods, a bat looping the loop over the site, just like us making the most of possibly the last good weather until Spring.

Looking in the Wartime Weekend Gardener, tasks for this week include cutting down the dying haulms of Jerusalem Artichokes. Well, mine are still fully green and alive, and some are in flower. I hold off cutting them back until after the first frost, and leave some of the cut down stalks stacked somewhere sheltered so insects can hibernate in them.

Also mentioned is making a last sowing of Winter hardy lettuce. All the varieties mentioned in the book - Hardy Hammersmith, Arctic, Imperial and Stansted Park - are long ago lost. There are however, still a few good traditional cultivars around, mostly originating on the continent. I bought some from the Seeds of Italy stand on Tuesday for this reason. There are a few endives and radiccios that you can try sowing in the next week or so, plus some of the hardier oriental brassicas. They may not put on much growth before Spring, but a few fresh leaf crops surviving under cloches through the Winter will be very welcome.

It may be another Winter of Discontent for many, but for me it's a chance to prepare. A lot of people are starting to realise that the easy times are over. Letting go of your dependence on supermarkets for your food may be difficult for some, but those who started on the path of un-dependence a while are reaping the benefits already (literally!)

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