Sunday, 19 July 2015

New shelters

This week we've been improving the shelter in the garden. Another southerly gale came through so we decided to make some extra wind break fences for vulnerable plants. First up were the Jerusalem artichokes, which are getting quite tall. They now have wind break fabric on three sides and potato plants on the fourth.

Jerusalem artichokes - almost a full-surround system
Then we rigged up some protection for our new fruit bushes. The Saskatoon berries, especially, were not coping too well with the wind.
Fruit bush protection
And since the chicks were rapidly outgrowing their nest box, Jim fixed up an old hen house with run with a whole lot of free polycarb. The chicks are delighted with their new accommodation and have been grazing a lot. One of them even seems to have a fondness for ground elder.

The two silver greys
New chick accommodation
Loitering by the door
Looking distinctly cocky
And this was the week of one of the culinary highlights of the year - our first new potatoes. A bit delayed because of the frost damage and the cool weather but no less delicious for all that. Dunluce is a winner.
Dunluce First Earlies
In the veg garden, everything is growing slowly but steadily. A bumper crop of broad beans this year and very good beetroot. The salads are plentiful and the fennel looks like it's going to bulb though one plant bolted - I thought you needed heat for that.

Rocket and Salad Bowl Red 

Parsnips doing well
We also finished preparing the new leek bed and planted 99 leeks. This was more akin to quarrying - a lot of back-breaking labour for Jim. From a soil book in our local library we found out that our soil is glacial till (loam with greywacke stone) and there sure is a lot of stone.

New leek bed
And all the stone removed from it
Meanwhile, I've sown the rest of the new planting area in the middle paddock with turnips, lots of spring cabbage, kohl rabi, carrots and salad leaves.
The new planting area, with comfrey in foreground
Now it's time to tackle the top corner of the garden, before painting the house and running a quasi hotel for the summer. Jim's already started by building a mighty fine stone wall.

The heather slope is doing well and weeding is getting easier

Jim's new wall


  1. I have plump comfrey envy - mine is just shrivelling up and dying. Everything looks so healthy including the new chicks. We're thinking of raising chickens next year (rather than just bringing them on for the table) I'm hoping for a broody hen but if not I'll have to invest in an incubator.How did you keep the chicks warm - did they have a heater to start with?

    1. I guess your comfrey overheard you complaining about it spreading everywhere - no doubt it will come back next year. The chicks have a brooder, which is raised a little every week to acclimatise them gradually. We'll be using that for at least four weeks, if it stays cool we'll keep it running for longer. They spend the night under there. We used a fully automated incubator from Rcomm (otherwise the egg turning is a bit of a nightmare) and it was dead easy to use. I reckon you have to raise about 12 chicks to make your money back so not too bad an investment. The chicks are so cute though that it might be tough to raise them for meat rather than eggs. So far it looks like we only have one cockerel out of the five chicks.

  2. I can't even list all the things I envy but let's mention the foremost: the heather slope - it looks already now gorgeous! I can only imagine the amount of butterflies you are going to have there...