My Plot

Plot 46, Burnside Allotments, Cambridge

Sunday, April 24, 2011

More digging!

Yet another baking hot day - got to the plot this afternoon after it was not quite so hot, and started digging bed 4 so that I can put out my brassicas - all of which are growing like mad, particularly the kale. Even so I was very quickly drooping as it was so hot! - stuck with it and eventually it got cooler and I managed to dig about 1/4 of the bed.

In the greenhouse the sweetcorn I sowed has started to come through.
I use loo roll inners alot for sowing into because you can just plant them as they are into the ground, but they are great for those seeds that need a good depth of pot like peas, beans etc. The only thing it I have run out now and I need a load for my climbing and runner beans!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Done digging bed 3!

Another scorching day - but when are we going to get any rain - am having to water everything which is a pain, this early in the season. I finished digging bed 3 at last - Hoorah! and then got on with planting out all the rest of the onions & leeks. The whole bed is nearly full and I have sown some more leek seeds as we like leeks alot so I don't know where I am going to put them - I think I need another plot!
Publish Post
Planted the leeks into holes I had made with my dibber and then watered them in - some of the leeks were spindly so I will see whether they grow into anything worth eating.
The potatoes I planted are starting to come through & will need earthing up soon.
Just before I went home I harvested some salad leaves & radishes, which I ate for my tea with eggs from our hens.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sweet Peas & watering

Another beautifully warm day today - Went to the plot with the aim of finishing off bed 3 but it was so hot I couldn't face it so built the other two arches for the sweet peas to climb up, then put them in their final positions & planted some sweet peas at the bases. Husband & son arrived just at the right time armed with lovely cold beers & also got on with some watering - my son slightly more grumpily than my husband!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Seed sowing fest

Got up ridiculously early today thanks to OH who took someone to the airport at 05.45 and was not at all quiet when he was getting ready. Cleaned kitchen, cleaned fridge out & hung washing out, then hot footed it to recycling centre to pick up another load of council compost. Got halfway through unloading it & the rain came - retreated into the greenhouse & potted on the rest of the tomatoes. Also sowed some more lettuce (Webb's Wonder), leeks (Pandora & Musselburgh), sweetcorn (Sundance), poached egg plant, butternut squash & courgettes (Zuchini, All Green Bush & Romanesco). By the time I had done all this, the greenhouse looked like a seedling factory & the rain had stopped.
So ventured outside and watered the raspberries - these are the ones I dug up from under the shed & they are nearly all sprouting. I am not exactly sure that they are actually raspberries & might be blackberries - time will tell.....
The strawberries have started to flower & I am looking forward to eating some with cream..... Mmmmmm
The Apple tree I recently planted has just started to flower & what a lovely colour!
The last thing I did today was build the bean frame. I have put enough canes in for 10 runner beans & 10 climbing french beans. We all love beans so if I think I need more I can always put a wigwam up for them.
Of course Buddy had to make sure he was in the photo!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pecking order

The hens are settling in & have been laying eggs - not in the nest boxes of course!
These eggs will be te ones that were in progress from being at the battery farm, I have read that ex-battery hens often go off laying when they have been re-homed until they get used to their new surroundings.
The only one that has got a name so far is this one - she's called bossy & spends most of her time charging around chasing the others bossing them about.
There has been the odd squabble but on the whole they have settled down quite quickly. I have made sure the hens lower down the pecking order can get out of the way and as there are 2 food & drink stations, they can also get enough to eat & drink - even bossy can't be in 2 places at once!
This is the house & run. I will move it round the garden every few days or so.
I put a good layer of bedding inside the house & when I checked them this evening, after they had put themselves to bed I thought I had lost 2 as I couldn't see them, so fetched the torch & found all 4 squeezed into one nest box -I know they like to be cosy but that was taking it to the extreme!
I prised 2 out of one box & put them into the other, but I don't know if they will stay there.

I will try to teach them to perch as it means that their bottoms stay clean & they will not poo in the nest boxes so much. They have spent all their lives in packed cages so have never done what normal hens do so this might be a challenge!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Welcome to our home!

Well after a short time thinking about where to get some hens from (my brain does not work well over long periods of time) we decided to rehome some battery hens, so contacted the British Hen Welfare Trust. The whole process was very quick & I was told that the next delivery date had been filled so would probably need to wait about 6 weeks before collecting some hens, but I could be put on the waiting list if I wanted to - The date was a week away so jumped at the chance & only a couple of days later received an e-mail offering me some hens on the earlier date if I wanted them. As I had everything already prepared I decided to go for it & today collected 4 very bedraggled looking hens.
The process was very slick & only took us about 10 minutes from arrival at the collection point to departure.

What a sorry sight!
Once home the hens were put into their house to settle in & after a while I let them into their run three of them managed to work out how to get down the ramp & one decided that it would sit in the entrance watching & refusing to budge - even when it was dark & the other three were wanting to go to bed this one resolutely refused to move, creating a line of hens up the ramp!
I decided to leave them to it & returned later to find the other three inside but this one was still sat in the entrance.... I had to shove it inside so that I could shut the pop hole!
I was very surprised that they put themselves to bed, particularly as they have never been outside before now.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

New additions

My daughter got a new hamster today, and whilst collecting it mentioned that it would be great to have some more chickens.....So I have been scouring the internet & trying to decide whether to get point of lay hens or ex battery hens.
Whilst trying to decide I have been giving the hen house a revamp - Had to repair some bits & the whole thing needed a paint job.
And here it is...the house that Emma Built - all ready for it's new inhabitants.
Please note that I didn't just use blue paint this time!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Planting out

Arrived at the plot after I had taken a trailer load of rubbish to the tip and collected a load of council compost. Spotted Mike who let me borrow his rotorvator to break down the soil in the legume, root & onion beds. I had put a covering of council compost on each & rotorvated this in. Once I had done this I planted out the broad beans I sowed in loo rolls & poundland shallots.
Broad beans
In the greenhouse the radishes have sprouted.
Align Centre
All the onions (Stutgarter Giant).....
And shallots have started to sprout also. I will harden these of over the next few days & then plant them out.
I still have loads to do including more digging (groan!), seed sowing and planting out of seedlings & so it goes on......
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