February 2008

The rhubarb plants I’d put in last year are starting to grow, aided by a few warm sunny days at the beginning of the month. Sadly the picture on the left (click to enlarge) is more wish than fact since mine aren’t as abundant as this... no harm in dreaming of next spring. They’re in what will be the chicken enclosure so they'll need to be moved to join the 20 rhubarb plants I’ve grown from seed in a fruit patch on the extra allotment... should be overdosing on rhubarb crumble next year.

I managed to fence off the extra plot at the beginning of February. That alone helped me see the potential of the extra land I’ve now got. By the end of the month I’ve almost completed the path running down the centre of the plot as shown below, so it’s a lot easier to get up & down rather than risking life & limb attempting to scale the ploughed ground. In addition to the vineyard that Barry has planned I decided have a fruit area to have strawberries, raspberries etc as well as the rhubarb. Of course more construction required (when will it ever stop?)… I’ll need to build a fruit cage otherwise the birds hereabouts will have the lot.

Bought loads of seed potatoes to plant in the extra plot. I’m not going to get time to properly cultivate the whole area this year, so bunging in spuds will not only give me a crop but should also help break up the soil for use next year. Took the plunge & bought some asparagus as well. I’d been thinking of it for some time, & although I understand once established they’ll happily produce for up to 20 years with little maintenance they’re relatively expensive to buy.

Of course, having bought the potatoes & asparagus (oh, did I mention the 100 onions & 14 fruit bushes?) they’re still all sat in the shed waiting to be planted! Most of my focus has been on Project Cluck, delayed while I’ve waited for the chicken enclosure posts to arrive. Although they’d been ordered 4 weeks before my end of month week off, the aim being to complete the enclosure during my time off, half way through I was still being fobbed off with ‘I’ll pick them up today & you’ll have them tomorrow’. It took a bit of verbal encouragement to ensure I did have the posts the next day.

While waiting I managed to complete the frame for a large wooden bunker to store chicken feed & bedding. So now it’s all systems go to get the chicken enclosure up early March & keep on schedule for my 4 grandchildren to pick a chicken each from the pet & livestock shop over Easter.

Moved the compost bins to new site, since they were also in the chicken enclosure area. Thought of putting the bins on wheels this time since it’s the fourth time I’ve moved them in two years. Took the opportunity to increase the number of bins to four built back to back as shown above, since that’s the most efficient for retaining heat. Repositioned the old shed base to use as a cold frame base… picture of this shown along with the rest of the month’s ‘photos at the foot of this text.

Planted out the broad bean seedlings I’d raised in pots in the shed… though doesn’t appear to be the best way of raising broad beans since the birds (I presume) had pulled them all out within days. Stuck them back in again with the same result so I’ve planted some broad beans straight in a bed. I think they’ll have a stronger root system by the time they bravely pop their heads out & should survive better. Although the lettuce & spinach I’ve been raising over winter have been pretty good, the beetroot look a bit weedy below the ground. At least I’ve had the benefit of eating the leaves.

Finally, on the right are two little sausages (Connor & Paige) inspecting the inside of the chicken house. My daughter Beth appeared one Sunday morning dressed for the catwalk, the only concession to the location being a pair of trainers on her feet rather than the usual fashion footwear that makes her wobble a lot. With Connor in tow she proceeded to take over the shed & plant a whole lot of salad seeds. Chris & Paige arrived a little while later & both grandchildren then proceeded to inspect progress on Project Cluck. After an hour or so they all scooted off, leaving behind a small scarecrow & Connor’s new spade for use on the next visit.

More photo’s below. Please feel free to leave a comment by clicking ‘Comment’ at the bottom of the page.

Thanks for reading my blog.

This month's photos (click to enlarge)
View from back of extra plot, with partially completed path
Still some water in bottom of Barry's vine holes, but having taken some out it's not getting any worse now
Chicken house looking inviting
Compost from my bins, ready for planting of asparagus
Repositioned base of old shed ready for new cold frame
After I'd chopped the tops of some leeks for Beth to take home, Connor & Paige decided to plant them
The plot at the end of the month, with the new path disappearing off into the distance


  1. Ann Oy Ing!!!

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