Life in Crouch End, bikes, trying to be green and other randomness

Archive for Local food

Onion Selling Frenchman

On Friday at around 5pm there was a man stood by a bicycle in crouch end outside Woolworths, on the bike were bunches on onions and shallots. There was a small notice on the bike saying “stop me and buy one” so i did. The man had a ridiculously thick French accent, which led me to think he wasn’t actually French, but regardless he has plaited bunches of shallots and pink sweet onions for sale for £2. I bought some shallots, and very nice they are too (here they are hanging in my kitchen). No one else i know has seen him there before – did anyone else stop and buy onions? I should have taken his picture, but it was Friday night, I wanted to get home….but Paul kindly has taken a picture and put it on his site!.Shallots


Very Local Food

It doesn’t get much more local than this – Central Hornsey and District allotments and horticultural society are having a produce sale at their annual show at the Moravia Hall on Priory Road at 2pm on Saturday September 8th – I’m definitely going to take a look in!

CHADAHS Annual Show

The Annual Show for the Central Hornsey and District Allotments and Horticultural Society takes place on Saturday September 8th, at the Moravian Church Hall in Priory Road, N8, on the corner of Redston Road, close to the lower entrance to Alexandra Palace (buses 144, W3 and W7). See below for a form if you wish to enter one or more things you have grown or made.

The Show is one of the largest in London and is now in its 58th year and more popular than ever.

Along with exhibits of vegetables, fruit and flowers, arts and crafts and the children’s art competition, there will be plenty for visitors to enjoy all afternoon, from stalls selling plants, vegetables, flowers, honey, hand-made cards, to the exhibits of flowers, fruit and vegetables, plus artwork, and not forgetting the delicious teas with home-made cakes and the exciting End of Show Auction of produce of all sorts. All this plus a raffle, gardening quiz, tombola, caption competition and Guess the weight of the cake!

The Show starts at 2pm, prizes will be presented by the Mayor at 3.30pm, and ends with the Auction of cakes, fruit and flowers at 4.30pm. Entry is 30p.

May Harvest

It’s June, and all of a sudden the weather has gone from almost wintery, to distinctly summery. About time too. What’s more the increased day length and fall of solar radiation means that everything is suddenly growing at a rate of knots – keeping everything under control is a challenge.

Now that things are coming on apace i thought I’d summarize what I managed to harvest during May – not very much as most of the things I am growing either become fully mature in July/August, or I gave away the plants that had made the best progress as presents……

Still – we managed

20 radish (French breakfast)
4 rather mangy “January King” cabbages that didn’t really form heads.
2 bowls mixed salad leafs
3/4 swiss chard leaves
1 Artichoke Globe head


Potatos grown in buckets

The first of my early potatoes in buckets have reached the point where they can be left until there’s just the wait until the flowers form on the top, indicating that there are are lots of lovely new potatoes underneath waiting to be eaten. They are an Arran Pilot variety which I chitted at the beginning of March, and I’ve grown them in buckets – a method similar to this one –  where each time the potato shoots come up, you fill in soil around them. This means the potatoes should grow along the stems. You know when the barrel is ready for eating when the potatoes flower on the top.

Potatoes in a Bucket Potatoes earlier in a bucket

To help the plants, i have planted some bush beans, one on either side which you can just about see on the first picture.

Progress in the garden

Over the Easter weekend i strung together a wrecking crew of guys and we took my old rotten shed down – this solved the dangerous rickety shed problem – but also created a large pile of wood……

Hapilly, I have some room where I did have some empty beds, dying to have some raised vegetable beds put in. I’m experimenting with companion planting this year, and as you can see from the photo I’ve managed to put some of this into action already – the geraniums either side of the wooden ends of the bed are intended to catch attract hover flies that feed on aphids. The tomatoes are deliberately at the back to be shielded by the peppers in front which prefer the full sun. There some garlic there too which deters pests, and going in there later will be some basil, parsley, carrots and lovage – all beneficial.

The most pathetic cauliflower EVER!

a tiny cauliflowerI tried to grow lots of cauliflowers this year, but only one survived the house move, and for a while it was doing ok. Having survived the viscious slugs of Tottenham Lane it looked like it would flourish – instead the cabbage whites ate it to shreds. It was sharing a pot with some tomatoes – so i didn’t remove it. Its been sitting there for a few extra  months and  I was about to  compost it  when i noticed there was a small white head on the stem…….

Purple carrots in Crouch End Budgens

Hurrah for Budgens who are selling English grown purple carrots. Its encouraging to see different varieties of vegetables in the supermarket – even if Budgens in Crouch End is a bit more  of a special supermarket that seems to be very responsive to the clientele. But – big but – the carrots, sold in roughly a dozen are in a plastic tray and then wrapped in more plastic – there’s really no need for so much plastic!

I didn’t take Local Environment minister Ben Bradshaw’s advice, instead I didn’t buy the carrots. I’ll write to Budgens and see what happens.