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Where have we been?

Our ambition is to tour Can You Dig It? to every county in the UK.

Spot the snail

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Snails get everywhere it seems, including onto the grave of well-known plant hunters and gardeners John Tradescant Senior and John Tradescant Junior. I spotted this snail sliming along on the Tradescant family tomb, which is at the Garden Museum in London.

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It’s a brilliant place to visit if you are a gardening fan. There are lots of interesting things to see including a collection of gardening walking sticks designed for gentlemen gardeners who liked to do a spot of gardening while roaming around their country estates. Maybe I should get one for Dan. However, my favourite exhibit was a tin of Slug Death, some kind of toxic powder that promised to obliterate all slugs. Not that I would use it, unlike Dan.

I spent far too much money in the museum shop on gardening-related items that I do not need including some soap for “weary gardeners” and a new allotment journal. So far I have recorded that I have planted some potatoes.

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Look at all the exciting vegetables I am going to be growing on my allotment this year. These are all from Seeds of Italy where Dan and I did a gig last week and were literally surrounded by seeds.

We’re off to Vegfest Brighton on Saturday where we will be singing some songs and making carrot recorders and then we’re doing the full show in the evening at The Dukebox Theatre.

We spring into action

We’ve officially had the first day of Spring so it is time to spring into action. I have been very busy on my allotment, building compost heaps, making new paths, pruning fruit trees and bushes and digging over beds ready for the new growing season. This is what it looks like at the moment.

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It is fairly dormant but will soon be crammed with new crops. As well as getting ready to grow stuff, Dan and I have several shows coming up. We’re performing at a family event at the fabulous Horniman Museum on Saturday, March 14, when we will also be doing some carrot recorder-making workshops. Not long after that, we’re doing the show on my home turf in Harrow, where my allotment is. We’re very excited to be performing at Seeds of Italy’s seed warehouse on Thursday, March 19. Tickets, which can be booked via the Seeds of Italy website, are selling fast. Then on March 28 we’re at Vegfest Brighton – a Mecca for vegetable-loving vegans (Dan used to be one – I hope they still let him in despite the fact he has since betrayed vegan-kind by becoming a meat-loving omnivore).

Dan hose best

Serious hose

Dan has embarked on a crazy scheme – he is trying to connect a hose to the internet so he can water his tomato plants remotely by typing some commands into his computer. He is writing a rival blog about it here. On the surface it may seem like a good idea to get your computer to water your plants for you but some people have pointed out that he could just ask his neighbour to do it. Too many things are done by computer these days, meaning we are losing the ability to communicate with people face to face. Surely the point of gardening is to have a direct connection with the land/soil and not to garden by proxy with robots, Dan? Anyway, I have told Dan that my friend’s friend’s brother-in-law’s brother-in-law claims to have already connected a hose to the internet meaning Dan is on a quest for a Holy Grail (or Hosely Grail) that has already been found.

Heaps of effort

I spent all morning building this – my master piece, or masterheap – basically a new compost heap.


It may look relatively simple but it took ages because first I had to select the right pallets from my collection of pallets and then I had to repair one of them and then I had to level off the ground and then nail the thing together. All in all I am pleased with it. It will be a shame to ruin it with compost.

It’s been a very exciting day today because not only did I complete my masterheap but when I got back from the allotment I found the schedule for my local produce show had arrived. I immediately turned to the flower-arranging section to find out what kind of displays I will have to come up with this year in order to retain my silver cup and remain the champion. The categories are: On The Seashore (accessories allowed), All Green (green plant material only) and Let There Be Light (an arrangement featuring a candle). This is all very thrilling. I can’t wait to win again.

I have also been busy rehearsing songs because Dan and I are on tour again – this time with a ukulele-based cabaret show hosted by our friend Tricity Vogue. It’s annoying because Dan plays the ukulele in it and that is MY instrument. We’re doing shows in Leicesterhsire on Friday and Saturday but don’t worry, we are still doing Can You Dig It? too. Our next show is in my home town of Harrow, north west London, on March 19. You can book tickets here.




Allotments in miniature


I have just got back from a short trip to Germany where I visited Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg. It’s basically the world’s biggest train set, which features many mini mountains and mini towns as well as mini gardens and mini allotments like the one above. There was even a mini garden centre.

Garden centre

You can’t see it in this shot but one customer has foolishly overloaded their trolley with pots and other gardening items and it has toppled over in the car park. Nearby someone else has just been hit in the face with a plank, which is comedy law if someone is carrying a plank. Having said that, the inhabitants of Miniatur Wunderland do appear to be more accident prone than normal folk. Another one of my favourite tableaux featured some kind of flower/garden festival where the immaculate lawn had been ruined by a mole. The hapless mini mole is shown being arrested by the police with a mini tear running down his cheek. This made me feel sorry for the mini mole.


Card from DG!

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DG has sent us a Christmas card! It’s like getting a card from Christ himself. It’s a lovely picture of a sparkly tree. I have begged DG to te a NEW Expert book but he writes: “Leave while you are winning they say. The New Veg and Herb Expert tops the gardening book list this year so I am retiring while I’m still winning. But don’t you retire – keep spreading the word.” We will!

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Just Jo


If you are a fan of just me then you can come and see me do some songs – including a couple from the show – at a FREE gig at Seeds of Italy in Harrow, north west London, on Thursday, December 4.  The event also features a talk about gardening by Seeds of Italy’s charismatic owner Paolo, a glass of FREE sparkling wine and the chance to buy seeds and other gardening-related gifts (including our CD) in the run-up to Christms. This is ahead of us doing a boutique version of the Can You Dig It? at Seeds of Italy in March. Dan will be there for that.

You can reserve places for the FREE December event here. Or you can book tickets to the show in March here.

The rules

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The NEW allotment rules arrived in the post the other day. There has been much debate about them as our local council was proposing to ban bonfires entirely. Thankfully they have agreed to allow plotholders to have bonfires between October 1 and March 31. “Always have a hot, quick fire,” say the accompanying guidelines. “Only burn on your own plot, do not light fires for others.” The rules also make it clear that we cannot “keep any animals, bees or livestock of any kind” without written consent. I hope this does not apply to the one bee that occasionally lives in my bee box.


Caterham carrot

Dan at Surrey

This is Dan and the successful carrot slide whistle he made for BBC Radio Surrey when we went on the station last week to promote our forthcoming show at The Arc in Caterham on Saturday, November 15. Look at the mess he has made on the desk! The carrot slide whistle was a bit of a miracle given the quality of the carrots Dan had to work with. We got them at some kind of corner shop on the way to the radio station and they were very thin and weak – not the fat, sturdy kind of carrots that make the best carrot instruments.

We’re very much looking forward to performing the whole show in Caterham, which reminds me that I must do some urgent repairs to my morris dancing wellies.

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The Daily Telegraph

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Jo Stephenson and Dan Woods are real-life allotment holders and two of the UK's finest comic songwriters.

As well as thinning their lettuces and watering their weeds, they have collaborated on a unique collection of comedy songs about growing your own.

Can You Dig It? is touring the UK.

Read more about the project.

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