Sunday, 30 May 2010

Chelsea Flower Show 2010

Arrived back yesterday from the Chelsea Flower Show - I spent the day there on Friday with my Aunt, and travelled back from London yesterday. Very tired today - after two nights of little sleep - the noise of the traffic was unbelievable. Friday was wonderful though - so much inspiration and a perfect sunny warm day for it.

Out of over 100 pictures these are my favourites of the parts of the show that inspired/pleased me most.

Herb planters on Jekka McVicar's stand...

Pennard Plants stand in the marquee

My favourite show garden - L'Occitane Garden...

The Eden Project Garden ..which includes a mini-allotment ....

an orchard .....

greenhouse made from recycled plastic bottles and a rocket stove....
a wild flower meadow ..

a very desirable shelter in the woods with gorgeous cooking pot!

The Happy Hens stand -

and a garden encouraging bee friendly planting ...

You might pick out a theme developing obsession with kitchen gardening/hens and bee keeping!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Healthy hens routine

After a lot of research on the Internet I thought I'd write about the routine I've developed so far to (hopefully!) keep my lovely hens healthy.

1. Every morning after feeding them I clean the droppings out of the hen house. There is a layer of wood shavings in there so they are very easy to collect - into a bucket and onto the compost heap. This means it is clean for them every night - they are not breathing any nasty fumes. If necessary the shavings a topped up a little. Then once a month the whole thing is thoroughly cleaned...

2. Every day they get some greens of some sort. Mostly, at the moment, they get some turves from areas of grass I'm clearing in the garden. This means they get fresh grass to nibble, and bugs/worms to eat.

3. Once a month as I say everything is removed from the hen house. It is thoroughly swept, dusted with Barrier red mite powder, and layers of newspaper on floor topped with shavings.

4. Also at the beginning of the month, for 3 days, they get Vermx pellets in their food, to keep them clear of internal parasites.

5. Finally, and this is what prompted my post, one of them has the sniffles at the moment, and my researches led me to a product called Citricidal (grapefruit seed extract) According to the people at Omlet "Extract of grapefruit seed has been tested and validated by the FDA and Pasteur Institute in France it has been used for many years as a natural anti-viral to cure colds. You simply add one or two drops to a pint of water." So I started this morning - 4 drops to 1 litre to fill each drinker... and we'll see how they get on with that.

Updating to say that the sneezes have now disappeared and all 4 are doing great!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Workfilled wednesday

I'm usually off work on a wednesday afternoon and today it was a good day to be outside and get things done. After a chilly start it turned quite warm, even if the sky did threaten didn't materialise till after dark.

I got all the grass areas at the allotments cut and the grass cuttings piled in the polytunnel to dry to add to the mulch in there. Then I worked my way through all the raised beds, weeding and gently hoeing....I have been trying to resist hoeing as it disturbs the soil and will no doubt encourage another flush of weeds, but the soil had developed a dry crust and I think it was worth it to encourage the rain to penetrate. I hope to mulch with straw soon.

So far I've got Broad Beans, Shallots, Onions and Leeks through. Some peas ...but they are getting eaten and need some protection. Planted out some modular grown Beetroot...and began hardening off Chard, Sunflowers, Ammi, Briza, Pennisetum to plant out soon.

The beauty of having time for this attention to each bed is that you notice things the Californian Poppies, Purple Orach and Calendula that have self sown; and best of all self sown Swiss Chard from the plant I allowed to go to seed last year.

After a cup of tea and some food I headed into the cottage garden and got my new Pear tree planted; constructed a second garden arch and planted a Golden Hops on the first one.

Pear Beth : a taste of things to come