Harvesting potatoes

This afternoon I went down to the allotment determined to make good use the dry weather to tackle the mass of weeds the plot has turned into. Upon my arrival, I discovered all the usual suspects in the clubhouse. I joined them briefly before heading off to the main coop.

All the girls were there pottering around. Several dashed across to the door of the coop, determined to be the first one to scoff the food I would throw out. They never seem to understand that by blocking the door, the treats arrive slower. I collected two eggs, one from each nest box, before sorting out the feeder.

I spotted a wing nut on the Base of the feeder and transferred it to the top. This meant the feeder now works but without a nut at the base, isn’t secure enough to hang up. I decided to put the feeder on the crate so the girls wouldn’t kick too much dirt into it.

As I walked out of the coop, I spotted two more eggs. These have been laid under the nest box in a small corner. I suspect these are from Georgie, Katie or Hattie. I collected the eggs and had a good nosey in the nest boxes. I found Hattie in the smaller one which is great because it means at least one of them has worked out where to lay.

Next I walked across to say hello to the chicks. I threw in some sunflower seeds, oats and meal worms for them to enjoy. They haven’t made much inroads into their growers pellets or water so I left them as they were.

After chatting briefly to Emily in Geoff’s coop, I pottered across to Cliff to ask if I could borrow his handle for my hoe. He kindly agreed and I made a good start on clearing the bottom half of the plot. It was hard work but it looks all the better for it!

When I got to the onions and beans (or what is left of the beans) I gave up, planning on completing the hoeing tomorrow morning. I stopped for a drink and a sit down for a well deserved break. I love spending time looking out over the site, chickens clucking quietly in the background.

Recognising that if I didn’t move, I might well doze off, I moved onto excavating the patio area. In the past few weeks, the bind weed has gone berserk. It has crawled up over the deck chairs, covered the potato plants and had made advances towards the greenhouse. Clearing the patio took a good hour as I fought to remove as much of the bindweed roots as possible. It was difficult to remove much as the bindweed is growing between the patio slabs.

As I enjoyed the sunshine sitting in one of the deck chairs, I glanced at the potato pots. I realised I had completely forgotten to dig up the potatoes by the shed. Before grabbing a fork, it was time to see how the pot potatoes had done. I had planted three seed potatoes in the smaller pots. Judging from the small size of the potatoes I dug out, it’s too many for the pot size. I rifled through the large pot and was delighted to find lots of medium sized potatoes ready for eating!

Flushed with success, I grabbed my fork and began to dig over the potato rows at the front of the shed. I wouldn’t say nothing was there, but it wasn’t far off. A small handful of potatoes, some half eaten by slugs. In a way, it confirms my instinct to give up growing potatoes was right. But the success of the pot potatoes has led me to the decision to only grow potatoes in pots from now on. Less hassle, easy to look after and a lovely crop of potatoes at the end – what could possibly go wrong?!

Opening up the shed, I remembered with horror that I had forgotten to feed the worms for a couple of weeks. I dashed around, collecting weeds and quickly topped up the worm towers with a fresh layer of greens and shredded paper. I finished it off with dampening it all with a bottle of water. Thankfully there were still lots worms in the towers so I am hopeful that they will survive.

Pausing to ponder what to do next, I remembered I had forgotten to pick up the snack pouches from the kitchen. I had ordered these a few weeks ago as an alternative to using plastic bags to transport produce home. I ran home and picked them up. I spent a while picking raspberries and black currants. I am rather impatiently waiting for the blackberries to ripen as it looks like we will have a glut of them.

So tomorrow is going to be an exciting day – Steve’s bee mentors are coming across to help us with the hives. I will also be finishing off hoeing the top section of the plot and clearing the ground around the broody box.

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