Monday, February 4, 2013

Rounding Up

Certain things in the garden at the minute are particularly satisfying.  Like the rhubarb after the rain when it crisps up tall  after nearly touching its toes,   tired,  and neglected.  Bottled some up with the last of the Black Doris Plums (thanks for the idea Jen). Gives a good deep red colour and breaks up the stringiness of the rhubarb.

One of the first tasks with the tunnel house was to get some  seedlings on the go. A visit to the garden shop to buy a few winter plants was the reality check to spur me on. Even the packet of seed set me back $7 (fennel) so I'll be cossetting that lot along.
I can't help doing a mental tot-up as I water them and watch them grow:  x number of punnets times $3.89 equals...ka ching.
It's a bit like when you bring out tea and say to the family, 'That would cost $20 in a cafe'. Oh how they must get tired of that one.

This tomato is Galina, a cherry tomato, apparently yellow but that is still to be revealed. The satisfaction for now is to see fruit and flowers and foliage all growing as they should.
I left a lettuce in behind them to flower and coax in the bees as a small handful of tomatoes doesn't seem to promise much pollen to fill the saddle bags let alone nectar.

In the foreground you can squint and  see the blackcurrant cuttings which are throwing out leaves. From memory there are two years between now and a bush and maybe another year for fruit so the sooner I start the better.

Don't know why I haven't done it before; covered the carrot and beetroot seed with some wind cloth.
Two equally important benefits,
  1.  keeping the neighbourhood cats off from using the seed bed as a dirt box,
  2. keeping the moisture in for germination over the uncharacteristic run of hot dry days (The seed has gone in very late but I think I got them in on the last gasp of the season ).
Here's a partial glimpse of the rhubarb forest.

The chickens have fulfilled all our expectations. How often does that happen?
We are moving the run slowly along the terrace. Slowly in every way. It is not exactly a chicken tractor, more of a chicken behemoth that takes a few 'volunteers' to move. 

The chooks are scratching up and manuring the debris. I fork what is left onto the compost heap and will throw all my old seed over the bare ground: oats, old mesclun mix and enough kale seed to feed the South of Scotland if the seed were all germinated and planted out.   They can eat what comes up on their return trip about the middle of winter I'd say. The chooks, not the Scots that is.

I had clipped back the grass around the raspberries last year and cut out some of the canes. It was so overgrown there seemed to be no new growth but  this year they have come up trumps with lots of strong new shoots. It would nice to get fancy and give them some compost next time there is some, why not manure,  and even weed a bit. A fine thing to aspire to.

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  1. The chicken bohemeth is so cool, and how satisfying that it exceeds expectations in terms of functionality. The bottling looks good too- in fact I saw a great recipe in one of the DulcieMayKitchen cookbooks for a strawberry jelly with rhubarb in it, topped with whipped cream and a crumbled flake! Num num num num. I bet your bottled plums/rhubarb would be ace in that.

  2. what a good idea, strawberry and rhubarb go so well together. It is a little known fact that sometimes I sprinkle a strawberry jelly over rhubarb (instead of sugar) before putting on the crumble topping for a crumble.

    Chickens keep you on your toes as a pet keeper. The quality and number of eggs seems to be proportional to the quality of care. There always seems to be an egg down on the tally, or the last egg is laid late in the day, if I haven't provided plenty of fresh greens the day before (and the yolks aren't such a good colour).

  3. Gosh Miri I am so impressed with your gardening prowess. We are thinking of getting a permaculture person in to advise us about our garden design - I'd like the whole property planted out with no grass - just a deck area and play area and the rest a monty-pythonesque shrubbery. Of course, it goes without saying we'll have to get someone in to look after it. Whatever genetic allocation there is for gardening bypassed me completely.

    Mary Anna

  4. Actually that is a good plan, no grass and beautiful trees and shrubs. With a good design and planting it shouldn't take much maintenance especially in someone else's hands.
    Funny thing the gene allocation. I'm getting my sewing machine fixed, not for me, for the boys who have been buying op shop t shirts and re creating them into new items. They are really interested in clothes and fashion but dare I say, with quirky taste.
    As one of L's friends famously said, "that's what I like about you, you just wear what you want and don't care what anyone thinks"