Birds At Winter Nightfall (Triolet)

Around the house the flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone
From holly and cotoneaster
Around the house. The flakes fly!–faster
Shutting indoors that crumb-outcaster
We used to see upon the lawn
Around the house. The flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone!

Thomas Hardy

Winter Promises

Tomatoes rosy as perfect baby’s buttocks,
eggplants glossy as waxed fenders,
purple neon flawless glistening
peppers, pole beans fecund and fast
growing as Jack’s Viagra-sped stalk,
big as truck tire zinnias that mildew
will never wilt, roses weighing down
a bush never touched by black spot,
brave little fruit trees shouldering up
their spotless ornaments of glass fruit:

I lie on the couch under a blanket
of seed catalogs ordering far
too much. Sleet slides down
the windows, a wind edged
with ice knifes through every crack.
Lie to me, sweet garden-mongers:
I want to believe every promise,
to trust in five pound tomatoes
and dahlias brighter than the sun
that was eaten by frost last week.

Marge Piercy

Winter Trees

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

William Carlos Williams

Approach of Winter

The half-stripped trees
struck by a wind together,
bending all,
the leaves flutter drily
and refuse to let go
or driven like hail
stream bitterly out to one side
and fall
where the salvias, hard carmine–
like no leaf that ever was–
edge the bare garden.

William Carlos Williams

Good uns

Here are some vegetable varieties that do well here. Please give us your own favourites with a few words saying why you like them.

VegetableVarietyQualitiesAuthor
CabbageGreyhoundTasty and trouble-free cabbage for early summerPeter Byass
CabbageMarner White StoringHuge dense round heads that stand well through the winterPeter Byass
KaleNero di ToscanaFairly hardy - delicious dark green leaves late summer and autumnJoe Foster
KalePentland BrigVery hardy - pick leaves in autumn and winter and sprouting shoots in springJoe Foster
OnionCenturionRound, good cropper, keeps well in storePeter Copeland
PotatoCharlotte2nd early, ready before blight and slugs hit, salad typeJoe Foster
PotatoHarmony2nd early, some blight resistanceJenny Ward
PotatoKestrel2nd early, ready before blight and slugs hit, delicious baked or mashed and a good cropperJoe Foster
PotatoNadine2nd early, some blight resistanceJenny Ward
PotatoNicolaEarly main crop, salad variety, some blight resistanceJenny Ward
PotatoRecordMain crop, floury, some blight resistanceJenny Ward
PotatoRemarkaEarly main crop, some blight resistanceJenny Ward
PotatoSanteMain crop, some blight resistanceJenny Ward
PotatoSarpo AxonaLate, good blight and slug resistance, good cropper and keeperJoe Foster
PotatoSarpo MiraLate, good blight and slug resistance, good cropper and keeperJoe Foster

The Rose Family

The rose is a rose,
And was always a rose.
But the theory now goes
That the apple’s a rose,
And the pear is, and so’s
The plum, I suppose.
The dear only knows
What will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose –
But were always a rose.

Robert Frost

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay

Robert Frost

Swedish Crispbread

Jayne brought some one of our work parties. Delicious!

(Jayne brought some of her Swedish crispbread to one of our work parties, and it was delicious. I’ve converted her deciliter units to cups. Joe)

Here is the recipe for the Swedish crispbread.  Our corn flour isn’t as good as the Swedish Risenta corn flour (majs mjol) but polenta flour may work.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups cornflour
  • 2 cups seeds – for instance : 
    • 0.5 cup linseed
    • 0.5 cup sunflower seeds
    • 0.5 cup pumpkin seeds
    • 0.5 cup sesame seeds
  • 1.5 cups boiling water
  • 3/8 cup sunflower or rape seed oil
  • 1/2 teasp salt.
  • flake salt for topping

Method: 

Mix flour and seeds, add boiling water and oil and mix thoroughly. 

Take half of the mixture and place on sheet of baking paper the size of oven shelf.  Place another sheet of baking paper on top and press or roll mixture until flat.  Take top piece of baking paper off and place in oven. 
Bake at 150 degress for 45 minutes.

Try to do all the mixture in one go as it doesn’t sit very well.

Jayne Harnett

Lottery Funded Fence

We have a new, secure fence along the bottom of our site, thanks to the Big Lottery Fund.

Over the last few years we have suffered many break-ins on the allotments. Sometimes they are just about annoying vandalism, but things can get more serious: thefts of crops, tools, a greenhouse and a polytunnel, and even arson. This has a corrosive effect on people’s morale here. We have seen some allotment sites abandoned because of this problem, and only revived when security was improved.

Part of the problem is the old chestnut paling fence along the public footpath at the bottom of our site. It is only about four feet high, which makes it easy to vault or to pass stolen items over, and it is badly decayed, literally only held up by bushes in some places. Thieves were easily breaking through the rotting palings and stealing some quite large items. We have done what we could, repairing the damage and planting brambles as a deterrent, but this was no longer enough. We conducted a survey of plot holders’ feelings about our security, and about 85% of us felt a new fence would be helpful.

A good, high security fence along the whole bottom of our site was bound to be expensive, so we made a case to the Big Lottery Fund for help. Their generous gift of  £9,128 allowed us to select the best from several quotations, and the work was finished by Airedale Fencing just this Thursday, 26 Oct 2017. So, big thanks to the Big Lottery Fund!

Thanks also to our volunteers, and to Leeds City Council Parks and Countryside, who turned up to help clear the space for the new fence. 

Here are a couple of Before and After photos of the fence:

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will encourage the blackberries and sloes to grow through the fence to soften the look of it from the public footpath, as well as planting some spring bulbs and bee-friendly flowers along the base.