This blog shows my activities and other people's initiatives. There are also articles that have been contributed.
The photo shows the garden in early May 2013

Monday, 9 February 2015

Sunday, 31 March 2013

New Pages

Take a  look at  'What's happening on the vegetable plot. Don't forget to click 'more' to see the rest.

There are now new pages on this blog. By clicking on the pages link on the right hand side (half way down) you will find a variety of articles.
Page 1 Provides a brief introduction to the editor and an article by the editor on fish keeping

A variety of articles are posted on my blog they do not necessarily reflect the blog author's views. .

Page 2a
Paul has kindly allowed me to reprint articles from his website however I recommend going to see the full range of interesting articles. See address below.
Yet again the versatile Paul Brecher has surprised us with a Brand New Article called the Anomaly of The Meridians . As I found this article so fascinating I have created a new page 2a where you can find this most extraordinary article  Paul runs a variety of courses and you only need go to his website:
Page 3
On Page 3 there is an article by Paul Brecher. my Teacher, which is an introduction to the martial art of Pa Kua Chang.
A new article by Paul Brecher has been added to page 3 The Wooden Man Form. For more information on this please contact Paul.
For those wanting a different perspective  an article on food and Traditional Chinese Medicine has been added. If you go to Paul's site you can now find new additions  to purchase books on Martial Arts, Traditional Chinese Medicine
 These have been reprinted by kind Permission of the author. These articles and more can be found on his website:  You will also find information about his classes.
Paul also teaches a no nonsense methods of dealing with difficult violent situations. For more information look at this website.
I have just added a link to The Pau Chui , Cannon fist performed by Paul brecher
Paul brecher has also published a number of books. Two of these can be found on page 3. Go to his website for more details and to see a great deal of fascinating material.
The following link: 

The link above is an explanation of the origins of taiji from Wutang 700 years ago..
This will give a 'taster'.

Page 5: Contains articles by the blog author. The latest is: The secrets of Drip irrigation.

Page 6
I have added a new page showing some of the paintings of Matan Peles , a resident of a community for adults with learning difficulties on Kibbutz mahanayim, Upper Gailee, Israel.

I recommend looking at these photos which can be purchased online. Every painting purchased is more support for the community. You can see more of his paintings  on their  url:   The site is in Hebrew but there is a translate button on the right hand side.
Under this article there is an article explaining The Israeli Kibbutz
Page 8 There is an explanation of the Shaw Trust, a Horticultural Project for Adult with learning difficulties.
A brand new page has been added 'Poems by Mark Shuck' .  Anyone who has been troubled by squirrels in the garden will surely relate to the first in a series.

More articles wanted on a variety of subjects. I hold the right to refuse articles I consider
inappropriate and likely to cause offence.

Go to the following link to watch my neices Tanya and Lauren Seifert performing a beautiful performance of pole dancing

On the Plot

 Many entries have been erased as I have found that the page can't hold so many entries


16th June 2016

28th August 2016
I have erased lots of entries to make way for new ones. We have started to harvest Gobo, a Japanese root vegetable. Other unusual vegetables on the plots; yacon and Oca both South American vegetables. Potatoes and onions have been collected. Lots of other vegetables including in the polytunels and green house. Worked in the Brussels Sprouts patch yesterday supporting them and taking off lower leaves where Brussels sprouts have started to form. Have sowed more Gobo and Pak Choy.
11th September 2016
I have been too busy to add to this page. The melons in the polytunnel are really looking good. They are receiving a regular drip feed from am external barrel. Sowed some carrots in trays in the greenhouse to grown in a tub with a mixture of sand and compost.
Had a few winter cabbages plants which I planted in one of the polytunnels. I have cleared some ground clearing spinach as I have some elsewhere and other including the Runner Beans to make way for stockpiling compost until I prepare the ground for onion sets which I have purchased. I also want to put a layer of manure in the same area. Have also move the compost box to allow for better access.
16th September 2016
More recently I have spread compost made from recycled waste on a section of the 'first plot' (mentioned above).
This area will be for onions and some information on the internet mentions sowing sets without Manure however experience has shown differently and I wasn't happy with the size this year. They were 'OK'
Harvested and pulled out a few rows of red cabbage on the new plot. The heads were small this time and I think that was due to very late planting.
The Melons and other are doing well in the polytunnels
20th September 2016
Changed the soil in The Greenhouse in the main bed. There were masses of young tomato seedlings sprouting and it is good for soil health. Transplanted some lettuce and Pak choy Seedlings and other into the bed and sowed some Bok Choy in trays. Outside I constructed a framework to protect  some Pakchoy which had been eaten.
Went on to the other plots.
30th September 2016
I have been away so some catching up. On Tuesday the same day I retuned from New York I rotavated  the area where I am going to plant onions and garlic and mowed. yesterday  I  I cleared dwarf beans as they had finished and dug over the area. In the polytunnel.  I picked the melons even though they weren't ripe as the plants had exhausted themselves.
4th Oct
Onion and garlic set have been plant and a net has been draped over to deter birds from plucking out the sets. Once they sprout I can remove the net.
Hoed up Brussels sprouts to give them more support. I have also removed the tops on some as I notice that the sprouts were bigger where I had experimented,,
Decided to cut the heads of most of the Brussels Sprouts. I noticed I get bigger sprouts on the main stem when I do that. I changed the greenhouse around. Pulled out the aubergine plants and changed the soil. The Pak choy in the green house is growing well and I may well harvest some soon. Today I dug down and took a tuber of Yakon and cooked it. Tasty in a veg dish.

photo taken when there were tomatoes.

taken in August
Unfortunately I had to pull out tomatoes in the greenhouse  on the new plot as they were infected. There are still tomatoes in the first polytunnel.
15th October 2016
Planted more Garlic yesterday.  I checked the Oca and have uprooted them as there was no showing of tubers. Last year I had a good crop. I think this may be due to my using last years tubers and starting them off early in pots.. I have continued to sow salad type seedlings in the polytunnel. Harvested a lot of Pak choy. The outdoor sown pak choy recovered under a net after having been mauled. In the greenhouse sowed larkspur seeds.
Did some jobs around the site. Mowing etc..,
18th October 2016
Filled an old water tank with compost from recycled waste, regular compost and sand. Sowed carrot seedlings and covered with a plastic cloche.
In the garden I have spread a layer of compost mixed with manure. I have started wrapping the banana trunks with Utah sacking to add an extra layer as a cold protection.
20th October 2016
Bok Choy and carrot seedling have been sown in the polytunnels. Harvested spring onions and dug over the soil. Have done some other jobs around the site. Having said that the Oca did not produce I have found another row which I had forgotten about. Hopefully I will get produce from this row
Installed a watering system in the greenhouse at the school where I do voluntary work. The pipe connections going into the control box which holds the timer leak and need changing. Something that was installed before I started at the school.
26th October 2016
Moved the compost box to a new spot adding more contents from the plot and I also cleared another plotholders 'section' for compost (with their agreement) as they were having difficulty managing it. I added that as well. I will need to get it up to heat up perhaps with the addition of manure and compost made from recycled waste + discreetly added urine.
I pulled out squash plants from the new plot and the other plots and added them to compost box. I harvested some Yacon  seasoned and roasted them. A success! They are also more nutritious and healthier than potatoes. I shall grow more next year.
Comment: Some people show disbelief when I suggest male urine works on breaking down compost. I'm convinced of it's effectiveness.
30th  October 2016
the other day collected fresh manure with wood shaving/straw from the local community farm and added it to my compost boxes to heat them up. I have kept some for possibly building a hot box which can be for earlier sowing  or just to add to small area in one of the polytunnels,
1rst October 2016
In the last days I have dug down fairly deeply around poles left, by a previous plotholder, along the side of the new plot. They seem to be cemented in. I have been cutting with a hacksaw..
3rd October 2016
The poles are out. I have a new compost box to build and a cold frame to build. I will try to use this as a hot bed and even see if I can germinate seeds though I especially due to low light levels.  have my reservations. Tomorrow we are due a load of horse manure on site. I will limit the spreading to only two plots as root vegetables don't benefit from manure.
.I am also adding things that can be sown now outdoors and some info for indoor facilities i.e polytunnel, greenhouse:
Outdoors sow peas, sweet peas (though i have started mine indoors), Broadbeans aquadulce , (not all broadbeans, Can still plant onion, garlic, shallot sets. can cover salad stuff outdoors with a  cloche
Indoors: salad , oriental mix (if already planted

8th November 2016
Quite some changes. I moved half a pile of cow manure which had been off loaded onto the main path and not claimed. It went onto my new plot and then I rotovated it in. The pile had been unclaimed and stopped access. To provide a solution I paid for it. I prefer to use horse manure.
I have decided to relinquish the very back plot that runs parallel to the perimeter fence though i have said I will keep it under  clear until a new person takes it on. I have said I have an interest in a plot on the main path to make life easier. Next year i am keen to focus on Yacon and Oca.. I have already moved some Raspberry canes. I now have a cold frame which I will attempt to use as a hot bed to grow early crops. I turned off water for the whole site.
10 Nov
Sowed lettuce and radish into the frame with hotbed as an experiment that was yesterday today cut metal that was protruding. it meant digging down and cutting with a hacksaw. Dug out apple tree and cherry tree from the plot I am giving up. Cleared other vegetables that were not up to standard and  replanted some lettuce in the polytunnel. In retrospect i don't think this was a good mood they seem to hae suffered from it and perhaps it was better to add them to the compost. There were only a few and i may well do that. I am not sure if they will  continue to thrive. Dug a trench for climbling beans and such.  will throw eg waste into the trench.                                                                                              15th November planted Egyptian walking Onions about 9 inches apart  and 12 inches between rows
16th November 201
Cleared a lot  of the brassicae which I considered would provide a substantial harvest from the back plot which I intend to give up. I plan to have Brassicael on the New Plot next year and . Potatoes will be planted on the lower plot next year. . Surprisingly there are still tomatoes in one of the polytunnels. I feel they have finished their life, I will pull them out soon. 
Currently I have salad in one of the polytunnels and Pak Choy in both the greenhouse and in a polytunnel. They have slowed down in development because of light levels.
If I have compost from my compost box I simply turn it into the soil with a spade. The less soil disturbance the better. The compost is turned regularly. I also add urine occasionally. I am convinced that it is effective.
I am using this time to think ahead where main crops are going to go. Other things will slot in in the spare spaces. 
18th November 2016
I was pleased to  see germination in the hotbox (a cold frame with a layer of fresh manure and on top a layer of compost.. It's not something i done before and didn't really expect a result..
I may attempt something similar in one of the polytunnels..
I brought down three loads of manure to the first plot. I thought I might scatter some in the potato trenches and other.
Removed tomato plants from the back polytunnel left two in. tThey still have a couple of tomatoes.
Removed compost from one of the boxes to the other. as a way of turning it.
Harvested two sticks of brussel sprouts, turnips, pak choy, salad leaf which i  gave to a neighbour..  
It came up today on facebook. A friend in Israel had her lettuce 'munched' . I suggested to her that birds and other will widen their menu at this time of year. I mentioned Pak Choy that recovered from being severely'munched' after I covered with netting draped over hoops.
After the success with the 'hotbox' I decided to take a 'gamble' and spread fresh manure and then a layer of compost in one of the polytunnels and sowed Giant Winter Spinach and some radish. Then I placed a glass pane over it supported by bricks. This is a gamble because of the weather and short daylight hours.  

22nd November 2016
Today was mostly organizing. The canes and nets.Dismantled the middle path on the oldest /first plot and took the boards up to the new plot. I won't do all the sides as it is too costly.                          

4th December 2016
I have not been on the site as there were a lot of things to deal with outside of the allotment.
Despite that I have been active onsite. Compost made from recycled waste was delivered today. I organize the deliveries. I immediately set to wheelbarrowing compost to my plots and later to my wife's raised bed. I then raked the compost. I have also been involved the last two days in digging down in the area behind the polytunnel  to remove a metal bar which I encountered whilst digging over an area.

Just as a prompt for those who are not sure what to do;
Spreading manure,
If you have heat in a greenhouse  at the beginning of January you can try sowing kohl rabi inside and onion seeds. Though I have sown tomatoes in mid January. It is better to wait until .
Broadbeans can be sown in pots or  sown outside in mid February
In general if you haven't got crops to harvest during this period in the vegetable garden and you would like to have some then you need to be asking what can be done differently.
Shallot sets can be planted out in mid February. Potatoes can go in gro sacks or other container  indoors in February for an earlier crop.

8th December 2016
Rotavated most of the back plot which i have said I will give up  an the first plot to mix the manure with the compost I also like to work the rotovator to check that it is working.. It is necessary to rotovate now I prefer to spread it out. 


Monday, 10 January 2011

Scenes from Vietnam Taken on our visit

The Scenes in this slide show are a mix of Kua Lalumpur and Vietnam.
We visited Vietnam in 2009 with some friends. That visit left a profound impression and a deep respect for the people. The effects of what they call 'The American War' can still be seen. Ironically the socalled 'greatest power on earth were not able to subdue this 'peasant people' even with the ghastly methods used. Vietnam has never, to my knowledge, been compensated by the US government.

There are some scenes of the presidential palace. Ho Chi Minh went there to receive foriegn guests but chose to live in a simple abode. The pictures of the bird sanctuary were taken in Malaysia.


Scenes from Vietnam

We visited Vietnam in 2009 with some friends. That visit left a profound impression and a deep respect for the people. The effects of what they call 'The American War' can still be seen. Ironically the socalled 'greatest power on earth were not able to subdue this 'peasant people' even with the ghastly methods used. Vietnam has never, to my knowledge, been compensated by the US government.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Thought for the day

Confucius – “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.”

Thursday, 18 November 2010

A few simple tips about bonsai care

I have added the following as I was asked today for some advice about a bonsai. There seems to be a common concensus thaty bonsai trees are difficult to look after. I don't think that is the case and it isn't time consuming.
The most common trees to be found on sale are Fukian Carmona, Serissa Foetida (tree of  a thousand stars), Sageretia Thezans, Chinese Elms,
The first three are best indoors. Chinese Elm can be kept outdoors. If kept outdoors and sometimes indoors it will loose it's leaves. Sageretia Theezans is not a good tree for a beginner they can be temperamental. but they often have wonderful ancient looking trunks.

Often labels on bonsai will tell you how often to water. This is incorrect. The tree roots take up water according to a variety of external factors. During the winter there is less need for water and if you followed the instructions you would be 'drowning your tree'. I generally use the finger test. If the upper crust of the soil is dry. Than watering is needed. I prefer submerging the the pot until the bubbles have stopped.. Lift and let the water run out.It is also helpful to spray the leaves daily with water.


Feeding is best carried out from March to Sept.
There are special bonsai feeds though I tend to use regular feeds such as tomato feed, bio feed etc.,

Is more of an annual task if needed. I will talk about it on another occasion

Placing the trees.
Indoor trees: An area where there is plenty of light except when it gets really hot. Then move to a shadier spot. Do not place near a radiater. Outdoors : I have found by trial and error that during the summer it is better to keep the trees in semi shade. In both situations it is worth turning the trees around occasionally. Though trees outside need less care they still need checking for watering during dry spells.