Saturday 12 April 2008

Things we dig up in the garden - Part two

I found this screwtop bottletop thingy while I was planting my Mr Little's Yetholm Gypsy potatoes. It's plastic, but it's an old, dense, heavy type of plastic, probably bakelite or something of that ilk. I love the smell of bakelite, but to be honest this just smells of earth at the moment. I love the smell of earth too though, so that's OK. It was buried in a part of the garden which hasn't been dug over for years, possibly decades. There's a logo and inscription stamped on it, scratched and damaged but still legible, a capital B and the words "Bartholomew" and "Cheltenham". I've no idea what kind of company Bartholomew was or what products it sold, but it's a little piece of social history dredged up from the soil.

Now, one thing I'm certain of is that ever since the dawn of civilisation, when mankind first tilled the soil and sowed seeds and invented agriculture, people have delighted in finding misshapen vegetables which look ... well, rude. So it's my great pleasure to share with you these lewdly bulbous Jerusalem artichokes which I dug up yesterday while clearing the space for the greenhouse. Fnarr fnarr.

If you have a slightly less puerile sense of humour than me you might prefer this artichoke elephant.

The chokies will have to find a new home elsewhere in the garden, but I'm sure they won't mind.

Just after I'd posted about Sugar Magnolia peas and how they have these unusually long touchy-feely tendrils I went and had another look at the description of it on Dr Kapuler's website and saw something I hadn't noticed before, a reference to hypertendrils. Now I must confess my ignorance and say I had no idea what hypertendrils are. Though it does seem like a good name for them, they are pretty hyper. When I googled it I only got three hits, all of which referred to Dr Kapuler's peas, so now I don't feel quite so ignorant. It seems (according to this inspiring article) that hypertendrils are the result of his breeding experiments using parsley peas interbred with other lines.

And funnily enough, I just came across a wonderful picture of a parsley pea on Miss Fuggles' blog the other day. They're not very common and I'd never seen one before ... they have long leafy 'fingers' growing out of them and are very unusual and distinctive. I can highly recommend Miss Fuggles' blog. She's only recently started blogging but she has a lot of interesting stuff to share with the world and it's a great read.


Anonymous said...

I'm growing 'Parsley' peas this year, one of my choices from HSL. Interesting to see mine are only 4" tall but are showing the same tendrils already. Interesting article link, thanks.
Deb P

Matron said...

Love the artichokes! reminds me of the vegetables people used to post to Esther Rantzen on 'That's Life!'

Jeremy said...

"Parsley" is a really great pea. The leaves make a great addition to salads and, if you add them right at the end, to a stir fry.

Rebsie Fairholm said...

I'll be interested to know how your Parsleys get on, Deb. And thanks for the recommendation, Jeremy. I was tempted by the Parsley pea in this year's HSL catalogue but there were too many other things I wanted. I'll see if I can get hold of some in a seed swap for next year.

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh - thank you very much for your kind comments Rebsie! I've got a couple of follow on pics which I shall post or forward to you for your records when I'm feeling a bit less dozy. If I get a successful harvest of seed you'll be very welcome to first call on it - I would be glad to see it going on to help your projects!

Kath said...

I dug up a 1945 threepenny bit on my previous allotment - on the 50th anniversary of VE Day. It felt quite special and I still have it somewhere.

Love your blog - mind if I post a link from mine?

Seahorse said...

Social history - the best kind!

And *snigger* at the rude veg!

fiona said...

as lewdly bulbous vegetables go, these take the biscuit!!

dwarf beans are growing well (posted picture yesterday).. and I've sent some seed to my greenfingered mother-in-law in Essex, too.

might need your help at some point, rebsie, to identify some heritage peas I was given this week by a lady from the North London Organic Gardeners Society.

Very exciting! but there are 5 or 6 different shaped or coloured peas in the litle envelope and I've no clue what they are.. is there a good site or book for this?

Anonymous said...

I believe that the object you dug up in your garden is a beer bottle stopper - I have found similar items in my garden too. I keep them in my garden museum!!!


Rebsie Fairholm said...

Miss Fuggles - thank you, I'd love to have a few seeds when they're ready and look forward to seeing the pics in the mean time.

Veg heaven - a link would be very nice, thank you. The threepenny bit is a great find. I was living in the town centre at the time of the VE Day 50th anniversary and had no garden. They set off a load of cannons in the local park and the vibrations set off all the car alarms right down the street. It was quite a racket.

Claire - I agree about social history. I was always bored stiff by kings and battles and charters in school history but give me a piece of broken pottery or a bottle top with writing on and I'm in heaven.

Hedgewitch - I'm glad the beans are doing well. I'll do what I can to help identify your peas. Some peas are distinctive enough to recognise from the seeds alone but others might be easier to identify when you've grown them. I wish there was a book or a site to help with these things ... the lack of them is one reason I started this blog in the first place. To my knowledge there are no specialist pea books at all ... I think I'm going to have to write one.

Barkingdog - ah, a beer bottle stopper ... thanks! I must admit there's nothing I love more than to glug a bottle of English ale while I'm working in the garden so it's nice to think that my predecessors enjoyed the same pleasures. Maybe I should bury a few Spitfire crown caps for the benefit of future generations.

fiona said...

Thanks, rebsie .. I just posted a photo of the peas

and would be grateful if you cast your expert eye over them!