Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Monthly Archive: April 2008

Wet but Warmer

Well the seedlings certainly had a good watering in the early hours of today. The rain was very heavy and temperatures as the morning has progressed are getting better.


The incubation continues well and we now have four silkie chicks in with the two pekins. Still nine eggs left though. I am not sure how long to leave them before I give up on them. It is only day 22 today so I will wait for now.

Final count from 16 eggs on day 23 was six live chicks, 2 pekin, 4 silkie, 2 dead in shell and 8 eggs not developed at all

Wibble Wobble

This afternoon we put in some onion sets given to us by Trevor. I planted the Blue Pansies in front of the shed door and one of the Butternut Squash in the nursery bed. At last we have got the cucumber Carmen settled into the lean to which Rob has repaired and made secure.

Great excitement at home as two of the eggs in the incubator have been wobbling and tweeting and one of them has a definite hole. We have spent more time watching the incubator than we have watching TV and most of the time its just like the telly…nothing on but we still watch. Glenn was even up in the middle of the night checking on progress.

Sean, Deb and The Giant Rhubarb

sean and deb

I had a lovely day yesterday as my son Sean and his partner Debbie came to visit. They brought an enormous bunch of Rhubarb from their garden. The leaves were massive. They are veggie growing nutters too so we all went down to the plots to join Rob who was working hard digging over the remaining empty beds. We took a flask of tea and sandwiches for the worker. It was really cold and windy down there. I wish the weather would warm up a bit so we could start planting. On the way back home we popped to see my other son Adam before going back to make Cottage Pie for tea.

Just as we were setting off  yesterday Simon arrived with the laths for the tunnel and we were able to deliver them to the plot and this morning Rob and Glenn have gone down to tie them on to the ribs of the tunnel for the next stage of the tunnel building project. Much sleep has been lost pondering on the best way to make the structure secure.

Positive Progress

Another beautiful sunny day. So much for watching the weather forecast. Robs first job was to dig up the last of the parsnips from last year and a couple of leeks. Next we planted five Calabrese Marathon plants in the old brassica cage. We then scattered some feed around and a good few slug pellets too. The feed is something called Perlka, which was handed to us by the treasurer of the allotment site when we paid this years rent. I had never heard of it but we are told it is a good fertiliser. Apparently it is slow release Nitrogen and Calcium. We shall see.

Perlka – Calcium cyanamide, one of the EU-authorized fertilizers, is an environmentally friendly, multi-purpose fertiliser. Owing to its special composition calcium cyanamide provides plants with nitrogen in an ideal way, as well as supplying the soil with valuable lime. It also reduces weeds and debilitating diseases simultaneously, because it has the additional effect not only of preventing weed germination but also of combating soil-borne diseases, pests and parasites.

tent greenhouseI hoed the onion bed where the onions planted last year are starting to show signs of new growth and we scattered some feed around. Rob reconstructed the tent greenhouse we bought from Lidl and we sowed some Radish French Breakfast and a row of Spring Onions Lisbon. We have secured it a bit better this time so fingers crossed. I tidied up the Cranberry bin as the cardboard lining had rotted away so I replaced it with tiles and glass. Rob set more potatoes in bags and we put them at the back of the small greenhouse to shelter it a little. Over on plot 18 we have sown seeds of Parsnip White Gem, Carrot Autumn King, Turnip Snowball, Beetroot Wodan and Raddish Icicle. I sowed several different carrots in the carrot bin. I broadcast the seed in blocks. They were Rainbow, Chantenay Red Cored, Early Nantes and Eskimo. I have covered the bin over again with polythene until the seeds have germinated. We came home after ticking a few jobs off our list but we still have loads to do this week.

The Tunnel is Go

ribsWell, we were lucky and the weather was good for us to start the tunnel this morning. After a few adjustments to our original plans we have sunk in the base tubes and put up the six plastic tubing arches. So far so good. We came home aching but happy. Its not easy to measure lengths of headstrong plastic tubing when it just wants to coil itself back into the foetal position. The potatoes that we started in the pop up rubbish bags from the pound shop are doing well and we have moved them out of the lean to and on to the plot. I have tidied the lean to and dug it over in readyness for the Carmen Cucumber. The plant is already 2′ high now so I will have to take it soon. I have started another one just in case of a disaster but if the first one gets on ok I may keep the second one in the plastic greenhouse in the garden at home.

Rain, Rain Go Away



We managed to dodge the heavy rain yesterday afternoon and get the peas Fortune and the sweet peas planted. There were forty four pea plants and they just fitted around the inside of the old brassica cage. They will be safe from the pigeons but I am sure they will fall prey to slugs and such. The sweet peas are now planted around a lovely obelisk we bought from Lidl and I have secured it with canes and string. The plants look quite strong but we have protected them with some netting until they get better established.

pea shootsToday I transferred the peas Starlight, that had been germinating in a bowl. I had been swishing them in a little water several times a day then draining them so that they were just damp. They all had lovely healthy looking shoots on them and are now sitting in damp compost for the next stage of their lives.

The weather forecast doesn’t look too good for our plans to build the tunnel next week. Rob has a week of annual leave and we were hoping it would brighten up a bit as we have a long list of jobs that need doing both on the plots and outside at home.

Runner Bean Kelvedon Stringless

runner bean kelvedon stringlessI put twelve seeds of Runner Bean Kelvedon Stringless into a 7″ pot and into a polythene bag to germinate. I have also sown a few more lettuce seeds. Little Gem, Lollo Rosso and Raddichio. The first sowing of peas I put in at home need planting out now so we intend to do that this afternoon, weather permitting. We are putting them around the inside of the old brassica cage. The peas sown direct by Rob have begun to shoot now. The potatoes planted in pots in the lean to are doing well but we shall need to move them outside soon as the space will be needed for the cucumbers and tomatoes. The melons sown at home that have survived are going very leggy and leaning over so the sooner they can go into their permanent bed the better.