Tuesday, 22 June 2010

WDM conference & 40th, and a walk in the Peak

Kevin and I were in Sheffield on the weekend, at the WDM Campaigner Convention and AGM. It's also WDM's 40th year. Yay WDM! The picture is of a celebratory cake made for a recent Oxford WDM group 40th celebration. Made from Fairtrade ingredients of course!
The best part of the conference for me was the launch of the new campaign on food commodities speculation, Stop Betting on Hunger. The gist of the campaign is that investment banks, like Goldman Sachs, are betting on the price of staple foods, like wheat, maize and soya. This is causing food prices to rise and making people go hungry. Betting on food was one of the things that lead to the food riots in 2008. The new WDM campaign will be calling on the UK government to stop food commodity speculation.I'll write more about the campaign at a later date, but in the meantime, go to WDM's website to take action.

On Sunday, Kevin and I joined a large group of WDMers for a 5-mile walk in the Peak District, walking between Hope and Edale, passing Mam Tor. It was a stunningly beautiful day and great company. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking...

The peak looming over Castleton.

From a field of buttercups to Mam Tor.

shadows and light

(WDM) Group photo!

I made it to the top. Hollins Cross, on the ridge between Hope and Edale.

Kevin striding towards Edale. "We have a train to catch, stop taking pictures Gwenfar".

Happy Gwenfar. And thanks to Sarah from WDM Sheffield for organising such a beautiful walk.

More pictures on my web album.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Of broad beans and black fly

As mentioned previously, I'm experimenting with not pinching out the tips of broad beans this year to see if it makes any difference with black fly. So far my experiement is going well. I've had some black fly on a couple of plants, but after spraying with my steely soapy water squirter, the black fly have died and my beans continue to grow very nicely. The ones in the front garden are about 4 ft high!

Someone mentioned to me that the other reason for pinching out tips of broad beans is it encourages the beans lower down to grow. Well, so far the beans lower down are growning just fine. I expect next week I'll have my first harvest of broad beans.

I don't know how representative this year is of every other summer when it comes to my small experiment. It's warm, but with cooling winds quite a bit, so maybe not humid enough for the black fly to really take off. So I'll continue with my experiment this year, and try the same again next year and see what happens.

In the meantime, only a week to go (roughly!) for my first broad bean harvest. yum yum yum - my taste buds are tingling just thinking about it!