Category: Self-sufficiency

New Girls

Owing to a technical hitch, I’ve not been able to show photos of our new girls – and they are very lovely (Black Rocks).

First day they the "holding" coop...

First day they arrived…in the “holding” coop…

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I’ve only just put my onions in.  Given that the pack suggests planting them any time between September and December, I admit I’m rather behind.  But surely if I’d put them in at the time suggested, the poor things would have simply rotted away by now.  So I comfort myself with the thought that the good gardener has to work by the seasons given, not by the book…

This morning felt like the garden had suddenly woken up after winter – or rather, it had been awake for a while, I’d simply not noticed in the snow and the wind and the rain.  Today was unseasonably mild, and the birds were singing.  It was a day for doing stuff.  So I cleaned out the hens, and dug the last of the parsnips up, and generally tidied the plot a little.

The garlic (planted correctly at the right time!) is growing strongly in its raised bed, but otherwise the garden is a sorry sight at the moment.

Only the hens, chuntering and clucking and getting under my feet as I dig, make the place feel properly alive.  Give it another couple of weeks though, and I bet everything will start looking different.

Apologies for neglecting my blog as I have done the garden over these winter months.  With spring on the horizon, expect to see more posts! 🙂

I’ve only ever attempted sweetcorn once before, and that was a more baby corn variety.  This was my first proper sweet corn harvest.  Like everything else in the garden this year, they suffered from not being in early enough, and not getting enough sun.  They’re not, even now so late on in the year, fully developed, but I had to get them off the plants before they rotted, or were eaten by something other than us!


They’re very attractive plants to grow though – adding a bit of statuesque grandeur to the garden – so I’d definitely consider growing them again.

Butternut Squash was a first for me this year.  Again, despite getting loads of flowers and developing squashes, the weather was too wet and most of them simply rotted.  Nonetheless, what we lacked in quantity, we made up for in quality.


We had them roasted, and they were absolutely delicious.  So will definitely be attempting to grow them again next year.

So, this represents my tomato crop this year (not including those tomatoes which were eaten by something else before I got to them, or the ones which simply rotted on the plant etc etc).

Impressive, huh?!  😦


We have a greenhouse at last (thank you ma-in-law!).  It really seems to complete the productive part of the garden, filling in the gap between the raised beds.



Paper log update

Just in case there were any doubters following my initial enthusiasm about my paper log maker, just thought I’d better show some pictures of the paper logs I’ve made for the log burner.


Having had a clear out of (amongst other things) magazines and paperwork, we’ve no shortage of paper log-making material – so quite satisfying to turn a load of rubbish into a source of free fuel.  Even better than sending it out with the recycling.  😉

While the herb garden has flourished this year with all the rain, and the onions seemed to do ok in spite of the weather, the potato harvest has been a bit disappointing so far.  Each plant has produced fewer potatoes than I’d hoped, many of them have been got at, or have started to rot – or there’s one massive potato and loads of tiny ones.

Nonetheless, our leeks are flourishing, and I did manage to produce a very acceptable leek and potato soup yesterday.


The courgettes are doing well too – but this baby is just ridiculous:

Marrow for dinner forever then……!  😉

Not the usual Mr Potato-Head! 😉


Cut the lavender last night, ready to dry and make into lavender bags and so forth (if I ever get round to it….).  Then today, I lifted the garlic.  They’re a bit on the small side, but look healthy enough (something of a miracle given the prolonged wet weather).  I’ve hung them to dry out a bit on the butcher’s hook in the kitchen.  At least it should keep the vampires away!

The herb garden is really looking fabulous at the moment:


I’ve used some of the herbs in my attempt at homemade fly repellant for the horses (cold tea, vinegar, rosemary, thyme, lemon mint, lavender).  Have no idea if it’ll work or not – if not, the horses will just smell funny!

Oh, and I also lifted the first of the potatoes this evening – these are the ones which simply decided to grow – not the ones I carefully planted!  Despite all the rules about not growing them in the same place twice, they seem to have done quite well.