Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Remembering Mother

For all the gifts you’ve given me
For all I am and strive to be
For every hour of every day
In all I think, or do, or say
For all I know, for all you’ve done
Forever more, I thank you Mom


Today would have been my Mother’s birthday and it has made me think that perhaps the reason I like to grow things is down in part to her. She made good use of the garden around our little prefab by growing potatoes at the back aswell as rhubarb and gooseberries. At the front she grew carnations and pinks. She would make up a dozen with a spray of gyp and sell them for a shilling a bunch. My bedroom window overlooked a narrow flower bed and every year Mom would sow a packet of virginia stock in there. I can still remember their lovely perfume on warm summer evenings. The little verse is part of a poem written by my sister Cath.

Today I have sowed some of the new seed, four cucumber, four melon and two courgette. They are in 3″ pots and covered in cling film. We have been given the go ahead by Jim, the chairman, to put the greenhouse on the plot so Sunday looks like being a busy day.

Kev and Angie Come To Visit

Ken and Ange got the guided tour from Rob and went away with a leek and a cabbage plus some eggs we brought from home. We had a load of wood chip delivered so we cleared the paths round the black currant bed and put some down there. Still some work to do but it looks tidier. We also brought some home to put on to the side garden. We put the last of the peas in around the brassica cage and gave everything a good watering. It is supposed to rain every day this week and everyone at the plots will breathe a sigh of relief if it does. I put the last few sweet pea plants around the tepee to fill in the gaps as we had lost a few of the original ones. The sweet corn is now planted in an 8×8 bed and the baby corn has been planted in the salad cage. I did a bit of work in the lean to, potting on and watering mostly. The lettuce plants are hearting up well now and we have eaten quite a few of the raddish. I shall have to sow more seeds. I think I shall put them in the lean to again as they grew so well there.

A Call For Freedom?

We had a scary hour or so last night when I went out to put the ducks to bed and Puddles was missing. After thoroughly searching the garden and the house we extended the search to outside the perimeter of the garden fence. We had given up hope of ever finding him and Rob and Glenn were knocking on doors in the neighbouring streets. Adam and Glenn even drove down to the local canal and lake and came back empty handed. Adam had not long left in his car when suddenly he returned with a stranger in the passenger seat holding a very scared duck. Adam had spotted the chap carrying the duck and knocking on doors to find the owner. Just at that moment Rob and Glenn arrived home looking defeated and were overjoyed to see the wanderer returned safely home. Adam gave the puzzled stranger a lift home and we shall pay him a visit this morning with a present of a few eggs. Panic over.

duck duck2

This morning was warm and we went early to the plots. After watering all the seed beds I sowed a row of Nasturtiiums along the outside of the salad bed.

nasturtiumlobelia crystal palacecosmos

Next I sowed a bed of Lobelia Crystal Palace along the one edge of the flower bed. The seed was like fine dust and the instructions were to just place it on top of damp soil. It should be through in two weeks as should the Giant Cosmos I sowed at one end of the nursery bed after Rob had made it into a raised bed with some white blocks.

The sweet peas are now outside around a fine teepee Rob built from some Hawthorne poles. We built a protective wall around them with some orange plastic netting until they get established.

runner beansrunner bean white ladyrunner bean scarlet emporor

Back at home I have put the runner beans in 3″ pots to start them off before they go to the plot. About fifteen each of White Lady, Kelvedon Stringless and Scarlet Emporor.

Libbie’s Birthday – Two Today

Rob has gone down to the allotment to plant the Winston seed potatoes we bought from Mick Market as we realised that they were first earlies. Winston are large tubers with moist, creamy flesh of excellent flavour. Unusually for an early variety this one is ideal for baking. Its shape and appearance make this a natural first choice with many exhibitors.

Libbie at Donkey SanctuaryLibbie

It is a chilly morning but bright and dry. I have stayed at home to do a few jobs here and to make myself respectable to go over Adam and Kirstie’s this afternoon for Libbie’s birthday tea. Glenn was supposed to be going to Manchester today but it has been cancelled so he will be able to come with us.

At last it looks as though Jemima has decided to sit on her eggs. She has four eggs in there and the other five are still under Frosty who is now installed in a separate hutch round the side of the house.

June 2006 – Jemima

First baby duck hatched 6th JuneWe have been fortunate enough to get an allotment on Bob’s Coppice site in Quarry Bank. This was our first choice after visiting a few locally so we feel very lucky. We have been down to see it and can’t wait to get started. We are to take over from the present plot holder, Trevor, gradually as he still has produce growing. It should be completely ours by April 2007. We have been allowed to sow a few seeds where there is space and we have made a start with beetroot, lettuce, radish and spring onions. We have also transferred some potatoes and tomatoes that we had started at home. 6th June was the date that our two white call ducks hatched at home.