Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday 18th March 2012 - Livestock update

Happy Mothering Sunday

Who would have thought, since my last livestock update, our prehistoric chums, Tom and Bertha are up and around. Hubby went to the garage for something completely unrelated on the 3rd March, and old Tom was scrambling to escape his winter prison cell, and Bertha was awake, although not quite as keen as Tom. They spent a couple of warm days indoors where we could make sure they were okay and eating well, and since then they have been spending their days out in the garden and their nights back indoors in the tortoise house to keep cosy. To say they are catching up with their eating would be an understatement. At the moment, you could wave a wilted lettuce leaf at them and they would snatch is and scoff it in a matter of seconds. They have many monthes worth of meal catching up to do. It is such a relief that they made it safely through their first winter with us. We have never hibernated pets before, but it seems we did okay. Phewie! It is hard to tell if Travis, our non-hibernating Hermans is pleased to have his old playmates back again, but old Tom is thrilled to be back with his woman and hasn't stopped making sexual advances since they awoke from their slumber. Filth!!

The baby bunnies are doing great and will be a month old this coming Tuesday. They are eating us out of house and home so another 2 weeks and they will hopefully leave their mum to start new lives with new families.....hopefully.

The quail are laying, well, one is regularly. We are getting an egg a day at the moment, so fingers crossed, any time now, we will once again be inundated with delicious little eggs to enjoy for brekky.

The frogspawn in the pond is already looking tadpoley and we have birds nesting everywhere in the garden.

I will get busy with the camera this week and take some photos of our zoo so you can see how the critters are all doing.

Sunday 11th March 2012 - weather: bright and breezy

A family day out on the plot, my favourite. We didn't arrive until just before 11am, but were fully loaded with seeds, pea plants, 'man tools' and BBQ supplies.

Husband was in charge of our little rotovator. It had been lost for yonks....he never did like cleaning out the garage properly, so now, after replacing a couple of hoses, he can now till the earth for me saving me hours of work. He started over by the tomato house on plot number 2. I had already hand dug half of this plot on my last visit but he whipped through the other half.

As he played with petrol toys, I planted 5 dahlia tubers that I had bought in a mixed bag from the garden centre for £3.99. They are all pompom types which do make great cut flowers. I do have lots of young dahlia plants at home in trays that I grew from seed so hopefully, once the frosts have finished, I can get them out and have a really big patch of pretty flowers. The old boys would scoff at me growing flowers in an allotment I'm sure, but I am planting them as a hedge all the way along the top end of plot number 2 and I am going to work my way down the side of the allotment. Should look groovy, and rather typical of my eccentric gardening practises.

I then moved over to plot number one with the shed and planted my first row of spuds, Kestrel, a good early potato. I am hoping this will be a better year for spuds as the last 2 have been rubbish and have seen me reduce the number of varieties I grow. We don't have access to mains water so can only save what Mother Nature provides and watering spuds is such a labour intensive job as they really need gallons at a time, not just a splash. I have however bought a small bag of Pink Fur apples, so have those, International Kidney and Anya to get in over the next week or 2.

After a delicious BBQ, expertly tended by the children, I put up some netting by the fruit cage and planted a row of pea plants that I had already started at home. Keen, I know, but they were getting rather long, and I had already pinched them back once (for which the rabbits were grateful). This variety is an Italian type and is one of the tall ones. Once they reach the top of my netting, they will be able to scramble up the fruit cage which I ideal. I also planted a block of maincrop onions, I think they were called Meteor. I don't usually bother with maincrops as white rot is prevellant on our site, but I haven't grown alliums in this area for years, so who knows, I might be lucky.

Husband had by now finished rotovating the top end of plot number 2 so he helped my erect my bean poles for this coming year so I could get some idea of where I was going to sow things. I then sowed a row of beetroot, carrots, turnips and mixed salad leaves.

Finally we headed to the brassica patch at the bottom of plot number 2 where I proceeded to oik out the dandylions and he proceeded to pollute the atmosphere with both noise and 2 stroke fumes. I picked the last of the brussel spouts, the first of the white sprouting brocolli and some spring greens.

Overall, the allotments look great. The onions, garlic and shallots have all put on a lot of growth and hopefully now the days are lengthening, they will spring into action and bulk up. The row of radish I sowed a couple of weeks back are up, but no sign of the mixed salad leaves. The daffs are all starting to bloom and the buds are fattening up on the apple trees. Back at home I have masses of seeds germinating, leeks, lettuce, sweetpeas, cabbages and chards for example and the tomato plants and chillies are growing strong. I still have lots to sow so am keen for the weather to improve so the first batch of plantlets can go out and I can sow the next lot.

Next proper full day visit will be the weekend of the 24/25th March.