Saturday 19 December 2009

George's showdown with the idiot Plimer

The other thing that did make me cheer with joy during this awful Copenhagen week was George Monbiot's showdown with the idiot Australian* climate denier Ian Plimer on Oz news show Lateline (ABC, Oz equivalent to BBC). Watch George destroy slimy-Plimer here and enjoy.

*of course, idiot climate deniers can be found in all countries, it just happens this one is an Aussie.

Failure in Copenhagen

I have to say I'm pretty depressed about the outcome, or rather, lack thereof, at Copenhagen. I didn't have high hopes for much, but thought developing countries might get something and there might be some effort for the world leaders to seriously deal with climate change.

However, as I predicted, the only so-called 'new' money is money has previously been announced, comes from aid budgets and/or is going through the bloody World Bank. And don't be fooled by the $100 billion announcement - this is just an 'aim' by developed countries, nothing has actually been committed. And $100billion isn't enough. The best summary of the failure in Copenhagen is from WDM (though I would say that, wouldn't I!). WDM gives a good overview of why it was a failure for developing countries (actually, for all of us), the bullying tactics and bribery developed countries used and the facts behind the finance figures.

The only thing that has cheered me a little is Patrick's overview today about some positive comments about the fact that Seed Laws in the EU are falling apart, and the fact consumers are not taking to GMOs. Perhaps gardeners should be the 'leaders' of the world?

Friday 11 December 2009

Copenhagen - real news

COP15 is on right now. I must admit to not being that hopeful about a genuine deal in Copenhagen. Too many industry interests will be getting in the way of actually doing anything about climate change; they must maintain their right to pollute you know. Yes, I heard that the UK and France might double the EU funding for developing countries. But I bet that a) it isn't new money and b) they will try and move it through the corrupt World Bank.

If you interested in keeping up with the news from Copenhagen, that is, real news, not corporation-speak, see:
And if you would like to read a sensible analysis of so-called 'email climate gate', read Myles Allen's excellent article from The Guardian.

Thursday 10 December 2009

Heritage Seed Library catalogue

My yearly catalogue from the Heritage Seed Library (HSL)  came today and I'm rather excited to see I'm listed as a HSL Guardian I'm not sure I really qualify for the honour, as I've never officially asked to become a guardian, I have just been saving seeds and sending them back.

 One of the seeds I've saved in the past, is the Pea 'Latvian' (Pisum sativum Latvian). This grew really well the first year I tried it, in 2008, even though the poor darlings were flooded a couple of times. Somehow they survived and I got a really good crop. Here is a picture of Pea Latvian in flower. Very pretty and very prolific. And wow, they might be small peas, but they were incredibly sweet and juicy (below right). They are currently my favourite pea. I grew it again this year, but because we had moved house and I didn't have time to get much in the way of growing done at either the lottie or at home, it was just a few in pots.

Other seeds I saved and sent back to HSL were Pea Robinson and Purple Podded Pea. Robinson is my next favourite, not quite as prolific as Latvian, with white flowers, but larger peas and very yummy. Purple Podded have a beautiful flower, similar to Latvian, however with amazing, well, purple pods! These are way prolific, fast growers and I even found I sometimes got late flowering on plants that looked dead near the root. However, if you don't eat them young, they aren't as yummy. So if you miss picking them young, best to save them for soup/stews in my opinion.

So, returning to this years catalogue. To have the best chance of getting the varieties of veg seeds you want from the HSL, you have to be quick. So I was. This is my list of 6 varieties (you can choose up to 6 as a member of HSL) that I hope to receive:
  • Kale Russian/Hungry Gap
  • Kale Madeley
  • Parsnip Kral Russian
  • Beetroot Dobbies Purple
  • Carrot London Market
  • Climbing French Bean Extra Hatif de Juliet
Kale Hungry Gap was the first ever Kale I grew, not knowing anything about Kale nor had eaten it prior to this. This variety is named for the fact it can be harvested during the 'hungry gap' period (roughly beginning of the year to April). I was told to use it like spinach in cooking so I tried that and it was great. Has a slightly nutty taste to it, more depth than spinach, though I remain just as fond of spinach. Kale, like spinach, tastes great if sautéed it in some butter and nutmeg. As you can see from my choices above, I'm now rather keen on Kale.

I've grown Parsnip Kral Russian in my previous garden. The reason why I've chosen it again, is that despite heavy clay soil and flooding, it still grew really well. So I want to try it again at my lottie where the soil is a lighter clay and therotically should be easier for Parsnips.

The beetroot choice? Because the description in the catalogue says 'looked amazing and had a knockout scent of honey' when flowering. So I want to test that out! Also, see how this variety compares with Beetroot Sanguina which I grew this year. Sanguina was great, dark, crunchy and juicy. Good in salads, and I used it when I made Forbidden Chocolate Brownies. I just want to see if another variety makes the Brownies taste different.

Well, it's getting late and I better get my list of seed goodies into an envelope. I'll try and save more seeds next year and send them back to HSL, that way maybe then I can feel that I deserve the honour of being listed as a Seed Guardian.

Saturday 5 December 2009

Guess who didn't get to go to The Wave...

I didn't make it to London for The Wave. Bollocky bollocks. My back has been bad recently so I was banned from going on the grounds that it was just starting to get better and therefore I was told that I couldn't risk sitting in an uncomfortable bus for hours and standing around for hours (because there is always lots of standing around before a march ever gets going...) and putting it out again. Hummm. Of course, the person who told me I should be sensible and stay home got to go and have all the fun. So since I cannot report anything, over to Kevin to tell you about it.

First, here is a groovy pic of him imitating a Pict. Actually everyone was pretending to be Picts, what was that all about? Oh, it was suppose to be a wave. ok.
Kevin reports:
I went to the Wave in London to add my voice to many others about our concern over climate change. I met up with World Development Movement (WDM) people on North Audley St before the start of the rally and tried to make sure that other Oxford WDM members knew where I was.

The rally was very slow to get going, and it took well over an hour just to get all of us out of Grosvenor Square. This gave Sam (OxWDM group chair) time to meet up with me with 3 friends of his, plus it gave me time to accept the idea of having my face painted. There were lots of people, plus the WDM Coal monster and a walking Earth constantly looking in fear at the Coal Monster.

It was very loud, with lots of noise being made, and whilst we were stuck in Grosvenor Square there was a sound system with loud music, once out of the square those walking with drums and trombones kept the noise level up, plus the expected chanting of "What do we want" and in this case followed by "Climate justice now".

Once out of Grovesnor Square we finally started to move along. I got to carry the head of the Coal Monster for a while and I'm sure I've ended up in lots of peoples pictures of the rally, possibly even on telly though I doubt the footage taken was that exciting. But the delay leaving Grovesnor Square meant that for many of us did not get the chance to circle Parliament House by crossing the river, it was after 4 pm by the time I got to Parliament Square.

Throughout the day I caught up with old friends and made new ones. I know quite a few of the active members from Sheffield WDM now, and allowed one of them to paint my face.

It was a good day, but whether the goverment was listing or not is another question... Here's me with the Coal Monster.