Sunday 31 March 2013

What a difference a week makes

I started off these 'Stuttgarter' white Onions in the Greenhouse at home in plug cells, as you can see they have rooted well and shot up, so it's time to plant them out, as daytime temps are better. 
I also started off some 'Super Aquadulce' Broad Beans, in toilet roll tubes in the Greenhouse, they took a while to get going but most have now rooted & sprouted, so I planted out the best of them, 17 in all. I have protected them with individual bottle cloches, as nighttime temps are still freezing.
I know I keep hoping the Rhubarb will be taller each week, but as temps, last night it was -3 degrees, they are still slow to grow, but more leaves and buds are showing, so won't be long now. 
Well as I said night times are still very cold, night temp (at 2am) it was -3 but by 3pm today it was +9 an increase of 12 degrees! So lets hope now Summer time is here we can have some Summer weather. 

I shot a video too to show our Allotment a month on since the last one. Watch it to see the bottle cloches on the Broad beans and watch our Chickens as they clear a patch of weeds.
Thanks for reading, watching and returning. Ian

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Chickens enjoying a treat

I mixed up a treat of Apples, Pears, Spring Greens, Cornflakes & Mealworms, they love their mid-day treat, so I filmed them for #chickenhour on Twitter, its every Tuesday night between 8pm & 9pm (UK time) where like minded folk chat about Chickens, lots of advise, photos & the odd video too. 

Sunday 24 March 2013

Snow stopped all allotment tasks!

The Chickens braved the weather briefly to peck around the garden, they don't stay out long as its so cold, later today the melting snow made the garden so muddy again I had to scatter a few bags of wood chips to make it easier for them to get about, muddy feet not good!
But the sun came out so we decided to take a walk to the Allotment, not to do any work but just to empty the kitchen waste bin into the Compost bin & spread a bag full of Chicken poo, from the hen house, around the Fruit Bushes in the cage.
One of the Cold frames with Snow 3" thick, the glass is broken at the corner but still does a good job acclimatising seedlings etc.

Oh well, I haven't wasted the weekend due to the weather, but caught up on some decorating at home. Looking good now.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

More preparation for Spring

Whilst clearing a patch of weeds and grass, where the Carrots were growing last year, I dug up more that I forgot were there.
Luckily the fleece tunnel, despite a rip in it, did it's job at keeping the dreaded root fly off them and they were perfect. Had some of them with our Sunday dinner, nothing like freshly harvested Carrots.
We tidied up the Leeks, had to do it by hand as I planted them a bit too close together to get a hoe between the rows. 
You would have thought after 13 years of growing veg I would have got that right!

Anyway they are doing well, hope to harvest these later in the year.
The Rhubarb has halted growth a bit due to falling temperature, it has been cold this week.

So I continued weeding around the Runner Bean frame, both sides are ready for muck to be added. 
Runner Beans like lots of well rotted manure, as they are hungry plants. But it's worth the preparation for a bumper harvest of long green pods, that can easily be frozen for storage.
On Saturday we visited the Edible Garden Show in Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. It was a great show, with lots to see about growing Veg and keeping livestock, Goats, Pigs and Chickens were on show, which was nice. 
But while we were there, one of our Chickens, Mabel, who had been quiet on Friday afternoon into Saturday, sadly died. 

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Freezing NE wind, but we wrapped up warm

Yes despite the cold wind, we did venture out to our Allotment, on foot.

Here alongside the permanent netting, I weeded the border ready for plenty of muck to be dug in. 
We grow Runner Beans up this netting and have started them off in the Greenhouse at home.

We didn't bring the Chickens today, but hope to next week. Watch this space.
Rhubarb again, I know I have mentioned this before, but today I spotted 4 more leaves through now and many more just a bout to burst out. The cold spell forecast for next week might slow it down a bit, but Spring is just around the corner.
So as I said it was cold, even had a few flakes of snow fall today and more on the way.

But next task is to get more Horse Manure from a local stables, free too. 
The Potatoes are 'chitting' well and I am just waiting for the ideal time to plant them out.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Tuesday 5 March 2013

What a difference a day makes

Such a lovely warm sunny day, ahead of the rain. 

So I decided to carry on with a bit more digging, I have now removed all roots, weeds & clumps of grass from the patch to the left of the Leeks. The two planks of wood are protecting the remaining Parsnips that are there, we had some on Sunday for dinner and were so sweet, leaving them in the ground longer hasn't done any harm.
Finally a Stockbridge Arrow Rhubarb leaf, just poking out from behind that bud, it really wont be long now. The warmth has helped, we are expecting 3 days of rain next, so I'm hoping to see more Rhubarb leaves next time.
As you can see the Incinerator Bin has moved & in use again, I have managed to burn all the dried weeds, including all that I dug up today too.
So a very productive, but tiring day, but I do have a satisfied feeling I got all that done before the rain.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian 

Sunday 3 March 2013

Lots done today, Chickens too.

So today was a good day to get lots done, it's been dry all week so the soil was easy to dig again.
Last week we cleared the far raised bed you can see in this photo, today we dug over the near one, removed old plants and weeds, then topped up with saved New and used Compost that we grew Tomatoes in at home.
I also dug over a bit more of the Potato patch, weeded the Leeks that we put in last year and burnt a lot more of the dried weeds, this time in the Incinerator Bin. The bin is easier to burn in as you can control it easier by putting the chimney lid on which makes it burn quicker, as I was putting in fresh dug weeds, it burns them better than on an open bonfire. 
Here, in the greenhouse you can see the Feltham First Peas I put in at the start of the year, they have done really well, not flowered yet but will soon with warmth and sunlight. The direct sown seeds are coming on well too, I showed them in the video last week.
Chicken News:
We decided to bring the Chickens today, sadly two didn't want to come, Freda and Mabel weren't keen on being caught and put in the transport box, so we didn't want to stress them. But Maud, Matilda and Flo came gladly and had a great time. I filmed them for you, take a look here
So a great day for digging, weeding and Chicken scratching, even the Buzzards were busy overhead, I counted eight circling above, both adults and juniors, our Chickens were safe in the fruit cage!

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian