Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Quick peep inside the greenhouse

Just like it says

Most of the plants you see down the middle are destined for the allotment plot.
Must sow some runner beans in the next day or two !

Friday, 1 May 2009

The Big Clean !!

Today was the day to do the big clean of the hen house. I clean them out properly once a year I feel the way I keep them there is no real need to do more regularly than this.
Have you ever read about deep litter houses ?? that's how I keep mine I create a deep litter of straw and wood shavings about 9inch deep and leave it. Over the year they scratch it down in to dust spending many happy hours digging scratching and creating dust baths, they just love to dust bathe so much so that everything in the shed ends up covered in a fine layer of dust.

The essential items for the clean are spade, scraper sweeping brush, hand brush, pressure sprayer, Jeyes fluid and a paint stripping gun.

I start by removing all the old litter, bagging this up to go down to the allotment some will be composted but some I have an idea for this year. After everything is scraped and swept I put the paint stripping heat gun over every joint and nook 'n crannie to kill any bugs. Finally I give the whole thing roof floors sides etc a good spray with Jeyes fluid. Leave it to dry then put down a thick layer of straw, no wood shavings at the minute but I'll add some later on.

A few shots of the inside

Showing the perch and supports for the droppings board

Front of the nest box, I've put curtains up for a number of reasons hens prefer somewhere dull and secure, also it seems to lessen the chance of egg eating and vent pecking occurring

Finally showing the droppings board replaced and the ladder in position

Monday, 27 April 2009

Hurray Rain !

Well that sounds daft but I'm glad for a bit of rain, the peas are just poking their heads through and will really appreciate the drink as will everything else that's growing.
Last year I completely forgot to harvest my Jerusalem artichoke patch and now it has invaded a bit more of the plot.

We managed to get some brassicas seedlings in the other day & unlike previous years I've remembered to cover them straight up . The wood pigeons seem to take perverse delight in dining on them 5 minutes after you've locked the gate and realised you forgot to cover them.
Last year I managed to get hold of some debris netting that proved great, no caterpillars or birds.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Peas and Runner beans

I love peas, just wish I could grow them better than the last year or so.

So today we planted 3 rows of peas, and half a row of beetroot to finish the row off.
Mange tout, Sugar snap and good old kelvedon wonder, we covered them with netting so hopefully the woodies will keep off.

Constructed this years runner bean frame today with some help from a few of the children.

Made from roofing lathes salvaged in good old allotment style, double thickness across the top to support the weight of all those beans .. hopefully.

I don't use canes seems a waste of money to me, good old string is the answer, beans happily climb string just as well as up canes.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Squash House

I managed to get some planks off freecycle the other day. So an afternoons work turned this.

Into this

I'm intent on growing butternut squash and getting a crop this year. Hopefully I'll be able to create a warmer microclimate in here to encourage fruiting. I wish I could say it was my idea but I came across an article on how to grow butternut squashes and thought I'd use the idea.

All I need to do now is to create a roof preferably one that self waters when it rains.

New blog!

This blog things catching ! I've decided to do one on our wildlife pond back garden project.
It will probably contain various ramblings about our back garden, the environment etc.

You can find it here

Rich's wildlife spot

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Inside the greenhouse and others things

Nipped down the lottie yesterday and planted my second early potato's. I've planted them at right angles to the 1st earlies as I've had a flash of inspiration ! they will now run down the slope of the plot rather than across, I'm thinking it will make them easier to water, we'll see.

Here's a few picks of my greenhouse and outside.

Tomato's and chilli's
Cucumbers, Squashes and Melons

Brassica seedlings
Various sorts Cauliflower, Cabbage, Red Cabbage, Purple Sprouting Broc.
Today I'm hoping to get in some parsnips in paper pots, then I'll transplant them pots and all when they have germinated.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

There's something very satisfying about ..

Fruit tree planting. My youngest son and I planted a couple of apple trees today. Thoroughly enjoyed doing it, a very satisfying experience. We dug in plenty of well rotted compost to improve the soil.
Nice to think with any luck they will out live me and be there for many years to come. I wonder if the next people will think about the person who planted them ? I know I quite often look at old trees and things and wonder who planted them and what their life was like.

I'm pretty happy with the way the plots looking this year it's two plots side by side. The garlic and Japanese onions in the foreground are coming along nicely next few days they will get a careful hoe and some Blood, Fish and Bone applied.In the bottom far left hand corner I've planted 3 rows of rocket 1st early potato and gave them a generous covering of compost and part rotted leaves.

The raspberries I planted are stirring into life slowly and I've descovered a couple of rhubarb plants alive under the carpet and bark chipping mulch that covers the Blackberry and Tayberry patch and I thought they where dead!

There's a couple of cloches up, they have nothing in them at the minute but I'll be planting parsnips and possibly a catch crop of beetroot there too shortly.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Online Petition against unfair water charges

There's a on-line petition going against the unfair water charges that are being implemented, these charges have the potential to affect everyone who has an allotment, local sports grounds, places of worship, basically I think anywhere that there is recreational land in the UK.

Please have a look at the link and if you agree with what I've put then sign if you can, this is running in conjunction with the water charges topic running on

Link to petition


Saturday, 24 January 2009

Homemade Poultry Feeder

If your strapped for cash or simply don't want to spend a great deal on your poultry feeder here's how I made mine:

This one holds enough pellets for 4 birds for about 3 days feed.

1 old bucket (mine was a poultry manure bucket)
1 12" flower pot
1 off-cut of 2x2 timber cut into a pyramid.
Strong garden wire
1 2" Screw

Take the flower pot and make four holes along the bottom edge about 1 1/2 " x 1"
Drill four small holes in the top rim of the pot.
Drill a small hole in the middle of the bottom of the pot
Next cut the old bucket down to leave a it about 2" deep lip up from the bottom.
Drill a hole in the middle of the bucket bottom.
Drill a pilot hole into the bottom of your pyramid

Now the fiddly bit

Place the flower pot into the middle of the bucket and put the pyramid into the middle of the flower pot.
Now screw the screw up through the bucket, flower pot and into the pyramid. Nice and tight to sandwich it all together.
There your about done. Make a cross of wire through the holes you made in the flower pot rim.
Tie the rope to the middle of the cross hang at the right height.
And thats it .

Easy to give it a quick clean with a damp cloth.

The one in the photo was made about 4 yrs ago.

The hens will soon learn to give it a bash to make the last few pellets flow.If you find the pellets flow to quick an insert of cardboard can be placed inside the flower pot with smaller holes.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Chitting and Things

Well things are starting to move at last, well time is anyway.
The days are getting longer and spring is on it's inevitable way. Hooray !

The hens have started to grace us with eggs again 4 hens and 4 eggs today, so the talking to must have worked.

Made my first sowing of the year a day or two back, 3 small rows of nantes early carrots and a row of mixed salad leaves.All in the bed of the unheated greenhouse.

I've bought in my seed potato's and have started to chit them probably a little early, but stocks sell fast at our allotment shop. So I thought I'd get in quick and have bought the following:

3kg of Rocket 1st earlies.
3kg of Nadine 2nd earlies
9kg of Romano main crop
9kg of Cara main crop

So I've probably got about 240 ish tubers to plant come the spring.

Chitting is optional some say you get better results, others say you don't.
Personally I chit
The best way to do this is keep them in a light, but cool place and they should produce short stocky chits in about 6 or so weeks.

I like to do mine in them blue plastic crates you can get from the green grocers, quite often you can get them for free if you ask nice.

I've also put in 3 rows of Raspberry canes over the winter, not much to see as they look like rows of sticks at the minute, I also got some raspberry roots off a friend of mine on the allotment forums, there in pots waiting for the spring.

Tips for January and February finish the winter digging if you can and tidy up
I may even take my own advice !