Sunday, 29 March 2009

BST is here...

Hooray - British Summer Time has arrived and that makes me feel that summer is on the way. It also means that we'll have more time to deal with the fields and getting things done.

A pretty productive weekend and we got the following into the ground (our rows are 15m long):

- 20 asparagus plants (we are really hoping that these succeed as it would be fantastic to have this on the menu)
- One row of potatoes
- 2 rows of broad beans
- 4 rows of early carrots
- 2 rows of parsnips

I used the seed machine to plant the rows of seed and it did make the job easier than normal. Time will tell if it works though... that's the thing with gardening, it always takes so long to find out what works and what doesn't.

We also saw some green shoots all of the field, very small at the moment. Sadly it's not the wheat but some weeds - AAAARRGGHH! I do think that this is going to be one of the biggest challenges on a field this size. Stay tuned for that one...

The best thing to have after a long day digging has got to be a nice chilled glass of white wine - and that's me - I'm off!

Friday, 27 March 2009


Never mind the inclement spring weather - nothing can keep back the growth in our back garden - spinach, salad and shallots all poking through the earth with promise of lots of lovely veg in a few more weeks. Looking tasty - so a good job the chickens can't get at them (they did get all the thinnings mind you).
Meanwhile our kitchen window sill is providing a great spot for all the indoor seedlings - tomatoes, peppers, chillies and cabbages all coming on nicely and a few marigolds in there for companion planting.

Let's hope for some good weather this weekend as we need to plant the rhubarb and asaparagus that arrived this week.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A full house of eggs!

Well I think the hen that was not producing eggs must have been reading the blog yesterday and decided to get in line - today we had a full house of 4 eggs - fantastic!

So for us a pretty big moment in drive to urban semi-self sufficiency.... see above a picture of the note to the milkman cancelling our eggs. Those hens better keep up the production line.

Till later

Monday, 23 March 2009

Things are happening

This weekend decided to tackle some big trees that were blocking out some light from the raised beds, hopefully this will give the seedlings a sunshine boost and help them grow. An added benefit was lots of logs for the fire - mind you, hopefully we won't be needing them until next winter now.

Spinach, salads and radishes all coming up nicely now and glad of some rain at last. There is a definite feeling of spring in the air.

The hens appear to be producing eggs on a regular basis now. The last 3 days have seen 3 eggs a day (must find out which one of the 4 hens is still slacking!!) - if this keeps up over the next few days we'll cancel our order of eggs from the milkman, how exciting!

That's all for now.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Egg production

Well it looks like the start of a regular supply of eggs might be just round the corner. For the last 3 days we have had 1 egg a day and the today - 2 EGGS - wow can you believe it? To make it better one of the eggs was pure white (obvioulsy from the White Leghorn).

Let's just hope that this continues....fingers crossed.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Work begins...

Would you believe that work has finally begun on the field - hooray!

We had a very busy weekend and are now up to date with the planting schedule.

Planting this weekend consisted of:

5 rows of early potatoes
1 row of broad beans
1 Gooseberry bush
1 red currant bush
1 white currant bush
16 raspberry canes
3/4 acre wheat (75kgs wheat seed)

We started off drilling the wheat into the ground with the seed planter, but after 3 hours had only covered a about a tenth of what we needed to do. As this is an experiment we decided to broadcast the wheat seed over the rest of the area by hand. Although this was still a very hard task it meant that we did cover the area. We'll have to wait and see what happens now...

There is no water available on the field so we have rigged up a 115 litre water butt on the trailer which means that we have some water available for use.

Pictures above are:
1. The trailer ready to go.
2. Broadcasting seed by hand
3. Potatoes
4. The berry bushes

Right, off to have well earned glass or two of nice chilled white wine...

Sunday, 8 March 2009

The sheep fields

No work today in the vegetable field as it has not been harrowed yet - apparently just still a bit too wet. Not sure that today's rain will help matters. No doubt it will be done sometime in the coming week, so fingers crossed for next weekends weather. At least it is warming up.

We did have a good walk around the sheep grazing fields today (pictures of both fields above). They should both be getting a dose of topping soil this week to encourage growth. I'm sure the sheep will be very happy about that. Need to start looking at fencing this week.

Right, that's enough - off to make a venison casserole for tea this evening.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

First egg

Hooray - woke this morning to find our first egg from the chickens - how exciting!!

To say thanks to the chickens we extended their chicken run today to double the size. Hopefully they'll be so happy that they produce lots more eggs.

So a very short but very sweet entry.

Friday, 6 March 2009

What a busy few days

Let's just say that things have been rather busy and hectic over the past few days - hence no posting.

What we haven't managed to do is get near our big field and start planting potatoes, broad beans or wheat. Sadly the field has remained to wet for harrowing as it could cause compaction of the soil which would not be of much help. The good news is that things look like they have dried out a bit and the field should be sorted this weekend - fingers crossed as we are starting to get a bit behind the planting schedule there.

So if we haven't been doing anything in the big field then what have we been doing?

Well we've started planting all sorts of seed in the raised beds in the garden; shallots, garlic, radish, lettuce, spinach, red cabbage, peppers & chillis. We've also got some celery seeds and tomato seeds in the propagator inside.

Secondly (AND THIS IS A BIG ONE) we've been investigating and negotiating to take on two fields of 2.5 acres each (so 5 acres in total). Both fields are a few 100 metres from the allotment field. So what would we do with these fields you might ask...............

The answer is sheep! We will be looking to have 6 ewes that should produce some lamb next year (it seems that the planning cycles are pretty long when dealing with veggies and animals - something we're having to get used to). All very exciting indeed, but another huge learning curve! If it all goes to plan we'll take possession of the fields by the end of next week. We'll then have to get the fencing sorted and make sure that it is all ready for the ewes when they arrive.
We are currently looking at the Black Welsh Mountain breed. They look great, are quite hardy and hopefully suitable for beginners. Luckily we have a friend that knows tons about sheep and has offered lots of guidance & help - this really has helped enormously!

Expect to see some pictures arriving some time this weekend.

ps. Chicken are doing very well, but no eggs yet...hopefully soon.

Cheers for now.