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Are you fed up yet?

This week: Fed up of tomatoes yet?; Potting on; Something outstanding;

Summer sun and sunflowers
Summer sun and sunflowers

We are baking yet again!

Another heat dome has established itself across the western and central Mediterranean and underneath everything is heating up.

While some tourists might like the heat, others are less than happy with the high temperatures.

Although the Balkans are on the periphery of the anticyclone, it is still 33ºC outside here in Dol and 34ºC down the road in Jelsa.

However it isn’t just the absolute temperature, but also the feel. And my weather station says it feel like 36ºC.

So once again, for another week this summer, I have retreated inside after doing my morning watering chores in the orchards.

This has given me some time catch up on some reading, make some nice desserts and do odd jobs.

It really does feel just too hot to do very much more.

Are you fed up of tomatoes yet?

So following on from last week’s “tomato special blog”, are you fed up of hearing about my tomatoes yet?!

The saved seeds I showed last week, on the kitchen paper have sprouted.

Saved tomato seeds
Saved tomato seeds

Once tomato seeds are dry, they are easy to removed from the paper, although I usually leave them and write on the paper what they are, because I cannot remember…

I put these seeds into a yogurt pot with tepid water and soaked them for 24 hours and thought I would try again with the “paper towel” germination method.

I don’t need many tomato plants for myself. I’m not preserving them for the winter, just eating them fresh, so four plants fruiting at any given time is fine.

After 24 hours soaking, I put half the seeds into Styrofoam pots with a mixture of potting and garden soil. The pots were then placed in a plastic bag to keep the humidity high inside.

The other half of the seeds I put into a different bag.

I found this suggestion on-line earlier in the year, but my attempt at growing Jacaranda seeds this way failed. I am certain now that the Jacaranda are old seeds!

Cutting a piece of kitchen paper to the width of the bag, I folded it in half and put it on one side of a clear plastic supermarket vegetable bag.

I used boiled water from the kettle, so there would be no/few mould spores, and drizzled some water onto the absorbent paper.

Not too much, just enough so that it was damp. Then using tweezers, I laid out the 10 soaked seeds on the paper, folded the bag over and put it in a light, airy space on the top of the kitchen cupboards.

Soaked seeds on absorbent paper
Soaked seeds on absorbent paper

36 hours later on Tuesday morning, I checked the bag to see if it needed some more water. It did. But what I also found is that all the seeds have germinated and are showing their radicle (primary) root.

Radicle roots visible
Radicle roots visible

So just 56 hours after putting dry seeds in the tepid water, I have ten germinated seedlings.

The next problem is to pick the right moment, after the first shoot appears, to move the germinated and developing seedlings into soil, so they can grow.

With warm temperatures in my polytunnel into December and a germination to fruiting rate of 75 days, I am hoping I will have fresh tomatoes in November. At least that is the theory.

This is another of my horticulture experiments….

Potting on

It was just 72 hours after I put the seeds in the water to soak, that I removed them from the plastic bag.

The Radicle roots were now quite long and the first green leaves had appeared.

I think I left it a little too long, or I was using the wrong kind of kitchen paper.

The roots had started to infiltrate into the layers of paper and I broken one off when I was trying to gently remove it.

Green shoots have appeared
Green shoots have appeared

I carefully cut around the roots and then planted the paper, root and emerging greenery into more Styrofoam pots.

Seedlings in the Styrofoam pots
Seedlings in the Styrofoam pots

These also went into plastic bags to maintain the high humidity that the seedlings have become accustomed to.

Meanwhile, when I checked the seeds which I planted straight into the Styrofoam after being soaked, they have also all sprouted.

So now it will be a couple of weeks before the root system has developed enough to safely transplant them into the border in the polytunnel.

Something outstanding!

Regular readers know of my interest in police history and historical items.

Every so often something that is completely outstanding turns up and this week is one of those occasions.

Arriving from the UK (thank you Andrew) is a Police Hangar from c.1870.

1870 Police Hangar
1870 Officers Police Hangar

Hangars are the name name given to the short swords used on land. Naval Cutlass are the same swords, but used on water. Don’t ask me why there are two names for the same item though.

I have found a 15 minute video on YouTube with some of the history behind the police use of swords.

Most people know that British police have until the very recent deployment of Tasers, been a completely unarmed service.

There have been occasions when firearms were issued, but mostly officers have just had a short wooden staff called a Truncheon for self defence.

There is quite an amount of historical documentation on the training of police in the use of swords. The fourth edition of the Manual of Drill and Sword Exercises is dated 1868.

Police guide to Drill and Swordsmanship
Police guide to Drill and Swordsmanship

This is clearly an almost straight copy of the Drill Guide used by the British Army. When you look at the illustrations, I cannot really see some of the movements ever being of use to a police officer.

Military style of swordsmanship
Military style of swordsmanship

Newspapers and periodicals of the time showed groups of police officers practicing the various drills and exercises.

Police Drill - The Illustrated London News
Police Drill – The Illustrated London News

It all looks very “Gentlemanly”. Somehow I doubt a criminal armed with a sword would have obeyed the rules.

Early photographs do exist of officers training, like this one of the Bristol Constabulary in 1870.

Bristol Constabulary sword drill
Bristol Constabulary sword drill

There are also photographs of police officers having been armed with Hangars for strike duty. Here the East Riding Constabulary are all carrying Hangars during the 1893 Coal Strike at Wheatley Wood Colliery, near Barnsley

East Riding Constabulary 1893
East Riding Constabulary 1893

My Hangar came with an unusual cloth belt with a leather shoulder strap. Although the leather is of a similar age, I do not think the two go together.

Police Hangar and belt
Police Hangar and belt

Just looking at the condition of the blade, there is not a speck of corrosion anywhere and the leather is extremely subtle.

Someone has really looked after this exceptional and unusual item of police history. NCG