Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Monthly Archive: September 2007

Autumn Sunshine

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
with fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run.

To Autumn – Keats

The leaves are starting to fall and there is a feel of Autumn in the air this morning. I love the Autumn even though it means the end of the growing season for most things. I really must soften the soil around the swedes and give them a water and a feed today. I also have some overwintering brassicas to plant out. The rest of the grim potato harvest is yet to be done. The strawberry runners are still waiting to be potted too. Autumn may be knocking at the door but there are still lots of jobs to do on the plots. Although when I set off to the allotment the sky was overcast and it looked like rain I enjoyed two hours of warm sunshine and managed to tick a couple of the jobs off our list.  After picking a few runner beans I weeded and hoed the swede bed and prepared the bed next to it for the brassicas. I transplanted all but a few of the overwintering greens and then gave the whole lot including the adjacent sprout cage a good watering with soapy water to get rid of the white fly which had already settled on to the new plants. Before leaving I covered the new row with wire cages to keep off the birds.

Sticky Visitors

A late visit and the plots were deserted. I ventured into the sprout cage to tidy up and was greeted by a cloud of whitefly. The plants were covered with sticky mess and had obviously been acting as a maternity suite for the dreaded pest. I plodded through taking off the lower leaves and the ones that were coated with black eggs. When I came out I sprayed the plants with the only thing to hand which was house plant insect spray. I think the usual treatment is soapy solution and I can see why. When I got home I had to dump my clothes in the washing machine and immerse myself in some soapy solution of my own.


Adult Whitefly are small, white, waxy winged insects that fly off the plant as soon as they are disturbed. They tend to stay close together and often congregate at the top of the plant.

Rob and I harvested the last of the sweetcorn and cleared the bed. We also dug up all the Autumn King carrots from plot 18. Although we harvested quite a few tomatoes the plants are looking very sad and I am tempted to compost them all soon.

Poor Violet

Violet was one of our three first chickens and today I noticed she was having problems with one of her legs. She was hopping about on one foot and falling over on to her side. Chickens aren’t too sympathetic when one of their own is sick or infirm. They usually pick on the sick one and so I had to isolate her from the rest of the flock. We hope that rest will put her right. Violet is the one on the right. She is a lavender Araucana and lays beautiful blue eggs. She was born in March 2004 and came to us in August of that year. Update – Violet died on Thursday 27th September 2007. I think she may have suffered from a stroke.

Rob’s Birthday 2007

Today was Rob’s 40th birthday and we had a great day. The boys bought him some new tools, a fork, a spade and a hoe so he was really pleased. We went down to the allotment to test them out. Rob dug up a few more rows of potatoes and the yield was terrible. Most of them were honeycombed and rotten. There are still loads to dig up but I know his heart is not in it as he knows they will be no good. On the positive side we did come home with quite a bit of stuff. A small white cabbage, broad beans, runner beans, Barlotti beans, beetroot, parsnips and tomatoes. I picked quite a few cobs from the sweetcorn, both the larger Tender and Sweet and the baby corn. They both seem ready so I shall harvest the rest soon and put them in the freezer.

Last night was the Wollescote show and we had a nice evening. Rob won a hip flask in the raffle and bought himself a birthday cake in the auction. We bumped into Charmaine and Louis Redding who I have known for some time and who have just taken on plot 1. They seem really keen and have already dug over the plot and tidied it up no end.


Rob took his camera to the allotment and captured a few of the Marigolds on plot 18. The seeds he sowed over there have all done really well so that compensates in a way for the potatoes that we lost. We planted the raspberry plant that Cath and Gra gave us and harvested the damsons on the Merryweather tree at home. Hope to have enough for at least a couple of jars of jam next year though.