Trying out the new hoe

This morning, after seeing my parents off, I walked down to the allotment armed with my new hoe. In the heat of the last few days the weds have grown out of nowhere and I am determined to keep on top of them this season.

When I arrived, I opened up the shed and checked on the plants inside. Who needs a greenhouse in this weather? None of them had died or looked droopy so I set off to sort the chickens out.

Emily was in her usual place and I am beginning to think she has glued herself to the eggs. She is an amazing broody but I do worry about her not drinking or eating enough. Broody chickens seem to go into a different mindset for those few weeks. Most chicken eggs hatch around 21 days of incubation. That is a long time to sit in a dark box with no one to keep you company!

The other girls were all lined up by the door waiting to be fed, just as if I had never fed them. I threw out their treats and changed their water. Whilst I was doing this, I also topped up Emily’s food and got her some fresh water. Cliff had put one of his chickens in the other broody box on our plot. Clearly she was unhappy about being moved and spent a good hour shouting at the world and everyone in it. Hopefully she will settle down!

Next I ambled across to say hello to Geoff. He can often be found smoking his pipe in the coop with a chicken on his lap. We had a chat before deciding it was time for tea. So we walked up to the clubhouse and set about making tea. Upon the ringing of the tea bell, everyone appeared! Chris kindly offered us a butternut squash plant and Phil dropped by some fennel and sunflower plants for us. I love this time of year as everyone swaps and trades plants. You can accidently end of growing a plethora of plants but in the end, there is only so many tomatoes/rhubarb/beans etc you can eat.

Tea break over, I went off to try out my new hoe. I used Phil’s handle and found it worked perfectly between the onions and garlic bulbs, being small enough to clear the weeds between. It took a while but I got most of the weeds out. Flushed with success, I moved on to hoeing the rest of the plot. It really is so much quicker and easier than with any other tool.

With the plot cleared of weeds, I moved on to plant three short rows of fennel between the apple tree and the new bench. Both the white bulb and the green leaves are edible. The soil needs to be built up around the bulb in a similar way to potatoes. Let’s hope we get a few to try!

I then moved on to planting the sunflower plants. I spent a while trying to decide where to put them. I love the way sunflowers rotate their heads to follow the sun. After much deliberation, I planted 5 sunflowers around the crazy paving so I can enjoy them whenever I take a break.

The weather is supposed to break over the next couple of days. This will provide a top up on the waterbutts as well as saving me watering half the plot!

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