Tea bags dug up and ready to send

These are the tea bags I buried in the garden in July for the Tea Bag Index, a citizen science project investigating soil health. I dug them up a couple of weeks ago, and they have been drying on the dining room table. There are accompanying soil samples to go with each tea bag. It’s time to send them all off to Tea Bag Index HQ, so they can become part of the national and international data set. It will be interesting to see the results in due course.

I spotted a forecast that it was going to get very cold over the weekend, and that we were likely to have our first frost of the season, so I put one or two plants into the shed for protection, and brought one or two indoors. Then I took some photos on Saturday of what the garden looked like beforehand, as plenty of plants were still going strong:

Edible fuchsia berry still flowering in November
The edible fuchsia berries may not have the world’s best flavour, but you can’t beat them for flower power

Before the frost: Edible dahlia still flowering in November
Ryan’s mum loves the flowers on the edible dahalias (flower arranging is her thing)

Variegated foliage of nasturtium 'Alaska'
The nasturtiums are still flowering, too. This is the variegated foliage of ‘Alaska’

Oca and ulluco in November
And this is oca (in the middle) and ulluco (towards the front) savouring the long autumn

When I woke up on Sunday morning there had, indeed, been a frost. The car windscreen was frosted. There was a small amount of ice in the little bucket pond the Houttuynia cordata lives in, and it looks as though it’s about to retreat below the water surface for the winter. But apart from that? The garden didn’t notice. It looked exactly the same on Sunday morning as it did on Saturday.

Since the last of the summer crops don’t seem to be in a hurry to relinquish their beds, I sowed my broad beans in modules in the shed. I have some Chak’Rusga from the Heritage Seed Library, and some field beans. There may be space in the bed to sow some spring broad beans as well, and do a comparison.

And then, yesterday evening, we watched Before the Flood, Leonardo diCaprio’s documentary about the effects of climate change he witnessed during his time as a UN Messenger of Peace, in which he

discovers a calculated disinformation campaign orchestrated by powerful special interests working to confuse the public about the urgency of the growing climate crisis.

George Monbiot lays the blame squarely at the feet of Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems, and a concept most of us have barely heard of, even as it is ruling our lives. We need to talk about new ways of living our lives, of community and cooperation rather than competition. Of equal and equitable societies, rather than the continued rise of the 1%. I don’t have any solutions (I will be looking for some), but it feels as though sowing some broad beans is a small step in the right direction, because the answer may well be under our feet.

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