Nettle fertiliser

Been meaning to make nettle fertiliser for some time. With comfrey fertiliser it's one of the simplest but most effective organic fertilisers to make, being rich in nitrogen and really good for tomatoes.

So just had to get some fresh nettles (easy!), chop them up and put in a bin to leave for a month. This is the concoction just made up at the beginning of this week (click to enlarge). After a couple of days there were definite signs of activity... the brew was starting to foam. It does get a bit smelly, so best to store away from access areas.

After four weeks remove what's left of the nettles and you're left with a dark brown liquid. To use dilute one part fertiliser to 9 parts water.

Started and ended the week with grandson Sammy worrying the chickens. He calls it loving them but involves a lot of chasing and Izzy chicken, the most docile, being carried around. He was accompanied by sister Izzy on Sunday, when we had a picnic with Becky. I'd been thinking of building a play house for the grandchildren but have realised it's not necessary... Sammy & Izzy spent a lot of their time in the chicken hut, picture at foot of this posting.

Noticed evidence of a fox trying to get into the chicken pen this week. Thank goodness I followed best advice and buried the wire netting in the ground, otherwise I'd have been faced with trying to buy exact replicas of the current brood to save grandchildren trauma.

Had another brain wave today... one that turned out really well. The groundsmen had cleared an old shed nearby ready for new owners to take over the plot, and there were lots of aluminium strips that once must have been part of a greenhouse. I'd already grabbed a few since they looked like they might be useful. It was while I was coveting (as they say in the bible) my neighbours' small cloches covering their broadbeans that the brainwave washed over me. A bit of hole drilling and a few nuts and bolts later and here's the result. Just need a bit more plastic sheeting from Wilkinsons and I'll have saved myself a fortune. I've got enough strips to make myself about five cloches. What a result!

The robin activity in our back garden is hotting up... she's sitting on eggs! Spent part of this afternoon peering at her through binoculars from the seclusion of our sun lounge (actually the ex-garden greenhouse) whilst she spent an equal amount of time staring out of the nest box at me. A bit worried she seemed to be spending quite a bit of time off the nest, would the eggs not go cold? But apparently the robin routine is to spend forty minute spells on the nest interspersed with a bit of egg turning before she flies off for a feed or break. Takes about a fortnight for the eggs to hatch out, another fortnight for the fledglings to exit the nest, then they continue to get fed by parents for another three weeks, so we're in for a couple of months of interest. To see the plan for the nest I made click here.

Had a couple of visits into St Ives this week as usual, including the best coffee and view in town at The Dolphin Hotel. Noticed just how many nesting birds you can see around town. At The Waits there's a swan sitting on her massive nest in full view, a moorhen nesting at the parish church end of The Waits quay, and another coot coralling her two young (only two left of five) on the short approach to the parish church. At the St Ives bridge (The Dolphin end but on the opposite side) you can see housemartins swooping into holes in the concrete banking, and a coot nesting near the bridge footing.

And best of all... Holt Island nature reserve was open again today for the first time this year. Amazing just how relaxing it is to wander around the boardwalks and sit looking out over the meadow.

You may have noted there's been no mention of squash results for some time. Let's just say the squash cup hasn't been in my possession for some time. If I lose this month that'll be the first half of the year over. A bit up and down on the cups for tennis and pub games as well. Maybe I'll just have to accept the inevitable results of growing old when I'm playing against competitors half my age... or could I persuade them to compete in the tiddlywinks cup?

Evidence of a fox trying to get under the chicken wire.
Gathered an audience while making the nettle fertiliser.
The first strawberry appeared this week.
Two new occupants of the chicken hut.
Sammy 'loving' Izzy chicken.
Sammy battling it out with a chocolate biscuit. Two seconds later it was Sammy 1, chocolate biscuit 0.

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