Hard work doesn’t harm anyone, but I do not want to take any chances.

Every evening i have been up here weeding my beds with care, and locking up my chickies for the night. They have finally learned to take themselves to bed so now i just shut the door before i leave. It does mean i have to stay till dark though so I have started walking RicoDog down here to keep me company. He has made friends with them now. Isn’t he cute? If you ignore the drool…

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The sun is out, the plants are growing, and my Flatcap Friends have left me more goodies!

One day I will grow my own, but this year I will leave it to the pro’s.

Look at all of these that have been left over my nice new “sociable” gates;

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Green Beans i think?!

These all got planted up immediately. Mr Flatcap came to show me how to build a tipi for them. A tipi makes the beans hang down and means they are easier to pick than those hidden in the foliage.

You get a piece of string and two little sticks. Then you tie a string to one of the sticks, and decide how big you want your tipi. Hold the string in the middle of your tipi space and use the stick to draw a perfect circle around it.

Then tie the other stick 1 foot away from the other stick, basically a bendy ruler! Use your stick/string contraption to mark the distance between each pole, and then stick your bamboo poles in. You can make it as big or as small as you want. but these would be great for kids to hide from the sun when they’ve fully grown!

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Tin roofing sheets to give my chickies so shade

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Lettuce leafage for chickies!

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Bedding for chickes!

I think there is a theme to these presents… I am not sure if its me they like or my birds?!

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Some sort of squash? Needs a good feed apparently. Just like me.

So many goodies!

Some courgettes we bought from the garden centre on sale are starting to flower too! I had to cover them with netting as some creature of the night had chewed all the leaves when they were little… it’s not on. One day i will find out who did it and ‘av ‘um.

But the best thing about this visit?! LOOK!!

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Babies!

I have been feeding my tommy plants as instructed by Molly’s Dad on a regular basis and now they have made beautiful little baby tommys! Are they not adorable?

I’m so excited to try them.. not long now

Hoeing: A manual method of severing roots from stems of newly planted vegetables

Now that the chickens are all settled, and the Toms are growing nicely, I thought it was about time to start clearing all of the dead weeds. Look how well they are dying off!

So off I set on my little bike with BonnieDog in tow and a bag of sprouting spuds which i got for 50p. I had hoped to get them in and break up the soil a little more for next year.  When I arrived, what did I find but more presents!

A big potting tray full of sweetcorn was handed to me while I was unlocking, with instructions to plant them in a square. I hadn’t a clue why, but if that’s what the flatcaps say then that is what I shall do! I cleared myself a little square and in they went!

Getting the buzz, I also put in my spuds. I hadn’t got a clue how to do this either, but I had done a bit of noseying at Mr AcrossTheLane and he had all of his in neat little trenches with piles of soil either side. I used a little bit of string in the hope that they would be in beautiful neat rows when they grew. If you ignored the rest of my plot, this bit looked lovely!

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Ignore the rest, this bit is pretty!

 

Later that evening I did a bit of googling on the layout of sweetcorns…
Apparently they are pollinated by the wind, so if you put them in squares it makes sure that all of the little ‘corns’ get pollinated and then turn into yummy edibles. If you plant them in rows, you could end up with some dry shrivelled up cobs with nothing worth eating on!

Every day is a school day!

Completely abandoning my structured “get everything ready before planting” plan, I then invested in some little cauliflowers and broccoli plants. I was far too late to grow these from seed and would try them next year instead.

This year is going to turn out as being a ‘tester’ I think. Try out what I get given or find cheap and see what I like, what works well and what plants are not my friends.

Fingers crossed!!

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So ‘rustic’

This year is going to turn out as being a ‘tester’ I think. Try out what I get given or find cheap and see what I like, what works well and what plants are not my friends.

Fingers crossed!!

 

In a world without walls and fences – who needs Windows and Gates?

My plot gates were naff. Lets be honest.

They didn’t open, and when they eventually did, bits of glass rained down of your from above. They hid me away from the world and they stopped nice flatcaps and ladies from saying hello to me.

I think they reckon I am as antisocial as MrT looks, and he isn’t exactly a bundle of joy and sparkles!

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Large, heavy, stuck, and collapsing gates – not to mention the broken glass panes

So went went on another internet mission, and came up with some replacements.

Off MrT went to fetch them for me. Poor suffering bloke. Since then he has made matters worse by asking me to get married, god knows why. He must be a sucker for punishment.

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God knows why he is so happy!

Here he is with his new acquisitions. Look at that smile…It’s almost as if he KNEW he was going to leave me to put these up by myself. Oh wait…He did.

Little did I know that this wasn’t a simple replacement job. Oh no, it was a whole digging, lifting, trapping fingers job.

Turns out my gate post was rotten. So off I went on another trip to the DIY shop. Its a good job i have a big car isn’t it?

I had the most embarrassing trip to the DIY shop. If you have ever been to the shop in leggings and a tank top, you will know that all of a sudden there are people there to assist you. Well I didn’t know this (being the sheltered little one I am) so I immediately went into Strong Independant Woman mode. As the shop assistants gathered, I tried to pick up a bag of postcrete. As soon as I stood upright, I keeled over backwards. Big explosion of dust and a crunch later and they are all keeling over too, expect for they were doing it in laughter. I could’ve had the world swallow me up right there. So i let them help me. Two new posts and a few back of postcrete later and I was back at my allotment to hide from the world.

A women may be misinformed, mislead, unclear, misguided, and even downright stupid..but she is never ever wrong.

By this point on a Saturday morning, all the flatcaps had finished their shed-fryups and had surfaced to see what That New Girl was up to today. So around they stood while I used all of my embarrassment adrenaline to rip out a fence post. I was like the hulk that day. Nothing could’ve stopped me.

Mr AcrossTheLane tootled over with a funny shaped spade and ‘let me borrow it’. I thanked him and waited until he left before googling it. Turns out it was a post hole spade, and it helped a bunch! I recommend them to anyone who has a big fencing project on, but I do have to say that I don’t think I would’ve used it since.

Suddenly my phone began buzzing, and Mother Dearest on the other side wanted to come and see my new chickens.
“Brilliant”, I thought, “just in time to hold my posts”.
So up rocks my mum and stepdad, oblivious of what lie ahead for them.

A hour later, my posts were in, and were plumb, and were nowhere near matching in height, but who cares. I can be flippant about these things, I was too tired to carry on digging as I had hit rubble.

So we sat and had a little relax and a brew, chilling out with my chickens.

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Strutting her stuff

After Mum had made off with my eggs, I gave up resisting temptation and hung my gates. I did install a bar across the top of the two posts to make sure that the posts didn’t pull inwards while the concrete was still hardening up nicely. I could wait any longer though as I really didn’t want to leave my plot open and accessible all night as we often get kids hopping over to go ferreting through the shed and none of mine are locked yet!

I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else, because it could’ve gone horribly horribly wrong if the posts hadn’t set fully yet, but do what I say and not as I do.

These gates already had different hinges to the old gate, and I had never done these before. It was pretty easy though, I put the bottom hinge on the post, offered a gate up to it and marked where the second hinge sat, and then screwed it in! Simples!

Soon enough, both gates were hung! They weren’t level and they certainly weren’t perfect, but they were our and they were beautiful.

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They are up!

You can just about see Mr AcrossTheLane’s plot there. Look how infuriatingly perfect it is… grumble. One day, eventually, mine will be that pretty.

In the meantime I might settle with just cutting those hedges though…

The Pigeon Tweetment

We had a visitor today!

The Pigeon Man across the lane from us had a race from France today, and unfortunately one was late returning and got locked out! Poor little guy! He tried his best…

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Sleepy Pigeon!

He was absolutely shattered so we gave him some water and gave his dad a call.

I love to watch them go out on a nice sunny day. The ‘wooshing’ noise they make as they fly over your head is wonderful and I am amazed when they all go home at the blow of a whistle. How do they know where to go when I can’t drive anywhere without a SatNav?

In the meantime, we managed to herd him into the new chicken ‘executive suite’ shed (before we built the run!)

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Having a rest

Soon enough, his dad arrived and picked him up and next thing he knew he was back home in the warm and dry to sleep of his big fly from France.

Well done birdie!


A Little Pigeon Poem

Why live with pigeons? There’s danger you know,
Can’t adopt just one, the craving will grow.
There’s no doubt they’re addictive, wherein lies the danger,
While living with lots, you’ll grow poorer (and stranger?).

One pigeon is so funny, and two are no trouble,
The more, the merrier, they’re all so delightful.
The third is a honey, the fourth one’s a breeze,
You can live in a house full, with the greatest of ease.

So how ’bout another — or two if you must?
They’re really quite easy, but oh Lord, the dust.
With pigeons on furniture, and pigeons in bed,
And their toys and things, “It’s no bother,” you’ve said.

So, invite some more pigeons, you can always find room,
And a little more time, for the dust cloth and broom.
There’s hardly a limit, to the pigeons you add,
The thought of a cutback, sure makes you sad.

Each one is so special, so unique and so funny,
Food and care bills grow larger, you spend much more money.
Your folks never visit, few friends come to stay,
Except other bird folks, who live the same way.

Is it worth it you wonder? Are you caught in a trap?
Then your pigeon pals fly over, and into your lap.
Their coos say your special, and you know that you will,
Keep your feathered friends, in spite of the bill.

What kind of apple isn’t an apple? A pineapple.

As you all know by now, my favourite type of gardening is maintenance free gardening.

This means as little weeding as possible, and as many ‘long lasting’ investments as I can find.

This weeks (ok more like fortnight!) project was clearing out the side of my greenhouse, and i had found the perfect thing to put there. An ‘orchard’.

We eat so much fruit, especially in the autumn, and it is one of the things I spend the most money on. So when I saw some fruit trees on sale, I had to grab them.

Looking back, i see now why they were so cheap. You are supposed to plant trees between November and February when they are dormant. You are NOT supposed to plant trees in the height of summer like I did. I really hope they live…

So this is the area i wanted to put them. Its a little raised bed area around the back of my greenhouse. This does mean that it gets pretty hot, but it also gets a lovely breeze blown through from the school field next door, so fingers crossed.

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Between the two greenhouses

Messy right? Well underneath those nettles is a shin height brick wall running right around to the front of that greenhouse.

So I began the long arduous job of clearing all of those nettles and brambles. You see those whiteish flowers right in the middle of the back? That’s rhubarb! Now I’m not a fan of shop bought rhubarb, but I’ll give home grown a go. I dug it up, keeping as much of it together as I could and hoped it would survive when I decided where to put it.

(Spolier alert – It did. And it spread. And now it is everywhere.)

It took me a fortnight of evening digging after work, but I finally managed to get the area clear. Just on a side note, if you get stung by nettles enough times, it doesn’t hurt any more. It just tingles. Not recommended, but I would love to know why this is!

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Getting there…

If you have noticed the sudden appearance of the pallets, they were a ‘present’ from work which will eventually become fencing. I currently have nowhere to put them so there they sit.

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Completely clear!

Finally I was ready for planting, just in time for my cheap trees to arrive. Also managed to pick up some super cheap strawberry plants while I was at it so they will go around the base of my trees this year and get moved next year to where I want them. When i have decided where i want them that is.

I began digging my holes, and i sprinkled a little of the same fungi i used on my tomatoes around the base of the hole to try and encourage the roots. I also drove a stake in for the larger trees at this stage, but ran out so fingers crossed the others live! Plonked the trees in, and covered the holes back over with soil. Firmed this in gently, but I didnt ‘stamp’ them in for fear of breaking what little roots these trees had. I then made my little moat around the root area and gave them a right good soaking when the sun went down.

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Trees!

I have always been told not to water when the sun is high as it can cause burns and shock to your plants. I don’t know how true this is, but it makes me feel like i know what I’m doing so I’ve stuck with that rule.

Next in went the strawberries. While I was doing all of this, Mr AcrossTheLane arrived and scared the life out of me lurking around the greenhouse. Turns out he did shout me several times, but I’m deaf when I’m in my own world. He bought some gorgeous homegrown strawbs with him, some huge! He had a glut and I had a rumbly tummy so it all worked out well. They were very tasty, but it did bring home just how late I was having to plant everything.

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All in!!

If I were a clever woman I would have probably done all of the clearing and long jobs this year and not planted anything at all. But I have always been impatient. Oh well, hindsight and all that!

My biggest recommendation though?
Suncream.

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Ouchy!!!


Time Travel!

I am now writing this is April 2018, having only just discovered the joys of WordPress.

My trees seem to have survived and have little buds on, and my strawberry plants got moved to the greenhouse for storage over winter while I reorganised their home.

I have now covered my trees bed in weedguard to try and kill off the last of the Rhubarb (not working by the way!) and have covered it in chippings.

Look how beautiful it is! Unfortunately they do keep getting attacked by the windows falling out of my greenhouse, but that is a project for another day.

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Low maintenance, and beautiful. I cant wait to site there with a brew under the leaves when they get a bit bigger. And when i have moved those pesky pallets…