Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer bounty preparations

Phew, I think I'm just about there now!
All the summer crops are planted up and the garden is beginning to look plentiful. We even had surplus from the seeds this year so I was able to give some courgette plants to family and friends and we even sold a few plants alongside the eggs that we sell at the front gate, enough to buy more seed for next year.

 We have chard and cucumber growing in the shallow bed alongside three strawberry plants which were unable to fit into the strawberry bench planter I made.

My herb garden is looking good. Lots of comfrey and various mints, lovage, lemon balm, hyssop. Some bergamot, rosemary, marshmallow, sage and lots of lavender. I will use them for various teas and for cooking as well as for herbal balms over the summer if I get the time to make some up.
I think there's room to squeeze in a couple more plants here don't you?


Tomatoes in the greenhouse! I probably shouldn't be, but I'm highly optimistic that we'll have RED tomatoes this year. LMB eats tomatoes like other children eat apples or bananas so it'll be nice to be able to encourage her habit with our own homegrown ones rather than having to make jars and jars of green tomato chutney; something I've become quite a dab hand at over the years!

 We have potatoes, broad beans, runner beans and french beans growing in these plots this year. We also have four healthy looking rhubarb plants, albeit only one is last year's, so we don't have much to utilise this year.
The orchard is looking strong too this year, a far cry from the baby plants of last year. I don't think we'll benefit anything from them this year as they're still quite young, but I'm pleased with the developments.

Talking of growth and development, the chicks...of course. The five chicks that hatched seem to be doing well. Mama Chicken is a fantastic teacher and mother to those babies. She's been teaching them to peck and drink and today she was demonstrating dust bathing when I went in. I have to say, it was quite alarming to see the sawdust flying up with quite the ferocity it was, and if I were a 10cm chick I think I'd be pretty scared, however, her audience seemed as fascinated as I was, so that lesson can be ticked off the check list.  
They'll be a week old on Sunday and, if the weather improves over half term, I have got hold of a dog pen that I will set up outside so that they can have a few hours on the grass getting used to life outdoors. 
They'll stay with mama in the broody coop until they're around 6 weeks and then they'll be moved, along with her, to the kindergarten, although, she may well have decided they're ready to live without her by then, so she'll be gradually reintroduced back in with her fellow hens and the fledglings will be moved out to the nursery that I cobbled together this afternoon. 
I have built a small penned off area within the main chicken coop so that they are able to be seen by the other hens, but not touched. I'm hoping that this will make integration easier when the time comes. I have a small adapted cat box that will be used to shut them in at night time, but during the day they'll be able to be outside.
With any luck they'll be able to go in with the rest of the troop by around 14 - 16 weeks I hope, but I will observe how things go.

This is the kindy, built from the leftover run from the main coop that we took off when we decided to build them a huge area of around 30 - 40 sq feet. I've then just put in some posts and attached galvanised wire to it in order to prevent escapees. I'm not making it too high at the moment, however, if the old school girls decide that they want to hop over, then I may have to build it up a little more.

This is my nosey visitor who loves to come and see what I'm up to even if I'm making a massive din with a hammer. She is so docile and I'd recommend these hybrids to anyone starting out. She will just sit on the tree stump beside me and cluck away telling me what to do! I suppose it's giving me a taste of my own medicine!!

 The others try to hide from the camera in the undergrowth.

Finally, you can never have too many pictures of fluffy chicks in the Springtime.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am living vicariously through the gardens of others lately. We are in process of buying a home and I cannot wait to get started on my own!