Onions!

If there’s one thing gardening has taught me, it’s to never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Especially when it comes to the weather. Making the most of an impromptu gap in the rain, today seemed like a good day to get more onions in the ground. The first to be sown were a 30′ row of Barletta, a small white silverskin onion, perfect for pickling. Then a row of Tris di Cipolle – another Italian variety which give, as the name suggests, an assortment of three colours of large onion – red, white and orange. These grew fantastically last year, though weren’t good storers, so will be our eat-as-we-pick onions. Then comes 90′ of the classic Bedfordshire Champion – a great storing onion that will keep us going through the winter and on into next spring. All of these are from seed as we had such good results last year from seed and it seemed a waste to buy sets if seeds work!

Last but by no means least are some Stuttgart onion sets given us by Farmer John next door who had some spare. These apparently are a giant variety so I’m keen to see what happens!

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Well Hello Ladies

After much thought and deliberation, we have decided to move away from the hybrid layer chicken towards a pure breed flock. The reasons are numerous. Firstly, we aren’t in the business of eating our chickens or necking them when their egg production drops, so hybrids tend to produce all in the first few years, then free load for a few years (can’t blame them really I guess). Pure breeds tend to lay less per year, but lay for longer, which suits us well. Secondly, the idea of pure breeds is that should you wish, you could breed your own chicks which will be true to type, or you can breed laying hybrids yourself – basically you are independent of the breeders for your chicken supply to an extent. We decided to go for three Light Sussex, a breed introduced by the Romans to these islands. They are a utility breed, meaning they are good for eggs and/or meat should you choose, and will lay around 240-260 eggs per year. They are large birds, very fluffy, and pleasantly docile. So far, after introducing them, I have seen no animosity from them, and they seem very trusting. If we cross breed them with a Rhode Island Red cockerel we’ll end up with a hybrid layer, called a Gold Star, which will lay around 300 eggs per year – so we could keep next door in hybrid layers should they want 🙂

Meet Daisy, Lavander and Margaret.

Click for Video 1

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More Broadbeans

The last two variety of broad beans went in the ground today; Masterpiece Green Longpod – mainly because they yield well but mostly because the name makes me chuckle, and Scorpio, a late cropping variety so we get a longer season. With 4 rows of broad beans we’ll definitely be selling these on the front this year!

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Leeks & Baby Cauliflowers

Possibly a bit late but there you go, the leeks are sown in a large pot? Once the teeny leeks are the thickness of a pencil, they’ll be planted out in the patch, 6″ apart and 6″ deep in a ready-dibbed hole.

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The cauliflowers are also coming on well – we’ll have enough here for a full 30′ row 🙂

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The Chicken Caravan

Chickens make me laugh. As part of the regime to keep our flock happy, they are shuffled every 2 months between the two orchard quarters. This means splitting the double coop in two, precariously balancing it on the wheelbarrow and moving it, complete with feathery hitch-hikers…

Click for Video

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