At the Allotment - January
This is rhubarb - Rheum rhabarbum
. More about growing it - here -
It is grown commercially in the "- Rhubarb Triangle -"
- an area between Morley, Leeds and Wakefield. Much of the growing is in huge sheds, in darkness, which "forces" the rhubarb and apparently makes the stems sweeter. Apparently, in the commercial sheds, it grows so quickly you can hear it.
Gardeners will often force their own plants by covering them with old chimney pots with a slate on top. It doesn't harm the plant as long as it's given time during the summer to grow naturally and replenish the rootstock. It's a hungry plant that benefits from being manured.
This plant isn't being "forced" and I'd think it will be covered up with either soil or compost to protect it from frost. It does seem very early, but then I don't know much!
The stems are harvested by pulling them, gently but firmly upwards, until they "pull" away from the plant. The leaf is removed and also the white spur at the base of the stalk.
Cut the stalk into pieces about an inch long and simmer gently - no need to add water, but it does need sugar. It's delicious with a hint of ginger, either fresh/grated or dried/ground.
The leaves should not be eaten, they are toxic. They used to be boiled and strained, the water used as a pesticide.
Picture taken 16th January 2009
This series of pictures are from local Allotments, which is land owned by the council that can be rented for growing plants (fruit/vegetables/flowers) for use in the home. The land is separated into measured strips, rather like the mediaeval field systems.
I do not have an allotment. I am grateful for the tenants who didn't mind me taking a few pictures.
Those of you who saw my blog yesterday will know about the proposed changes to Freedom of Information legislation due before Parliament today (22nd January 2009), which would have allowed MPs to keep details of their expenses private.
The decision to try to change the law was announced only last week, tucked away beneath information relating to the Heathrow Runway business.
A High Court ruling last year stated that MPs expenses should be published in line with FoI legislation.
Mr Brown has decided to abandon this parliamentary vote and has withdrawn Harriet Harmans' amendment for now (pending discussion), even though he had imposed a three line whip for Labour MPs. It seems that Mr Brown realised opposition MPs would not support it, and nor would some Labour MPs - because they had signed an Early Day Motion relating to the matter.
More information is on the site that started, and then co-ordinated, the online information "campaign" "- mySociety -"
I understand that over 7,000 people joined the Facebook group.
Maybe the internet has more uses than we realised - all this took just 6 days. This may also demonstrate why our government plans to work alongside the USA to "police" the English-speaking internet.
By the way, Tony McNulty (Employment Minister) reckons he can see a "light at the end of a tunnel" regarding employment (or lack of it) - here -
and - here -
and - Daily Politics Show bbc - .