This morning I walked down to the allotment alone initially just to feed the chickens. The weather was not looking promising and I left my husband busy sorting out the lawn before it started to rain. As I first arrived, I spotted Steve de-miting the White Leghorn chickens from Phil’s plot one at a time with the others waiting in a temporary cage. Mites are can be a real issue, causing the chickens a lot of discomfort and can even weaken their immune system. So regular treatment to prevent mites is key to having a healthy and happy chicken. Phil had the rather unenviable job of taking the de-mited birds from Steve and putting them back into their coop. Eventually, all of the birds were back in the coop, huddled together six grumpy balls of feathers. The cockerel looked particularly sheepish after putting up quite a fight when Steve went to catch him.
Our girls in the main coop were all clamouring to be fed as soon as they spotted me walked down the path. Honestly, from their reaction, you would never believe they get fed every day! I hand fed them some sunflower treats before throwing some around for Molly and Rey who never get a look in. I grabbed another small handful of sunflowers and gave them to the chicks. They are still struggling to integrate which is hard for them but at least they know all the best hiding places!
In the broody coop, Leia was inside with her chicks. I took the opportunity to clean out the water bowl in the run before she appeared to inspect what I was doing. She was followed by all five chicks who are clearly much more confident in being outside now. As they walked around, I sorted out the mess in the nest box. For reasons best known to Leia, she has to throw all the sawdust around the nest box, piling it up over the food and water. When I opened the door today, almost all the bedding was against the door. Using a stick, I spread it back out and excavated both food bowls and the water feeder. Even with the feeder raised on a brick, Leia had managed to bury it. As soon as the new food was out, in they all came! They have grown in size as well as feathering up rapidly. Hopefully they will continue to grow quickly so I don’t have to keep worrying about them escaping from the coop!
Tracy and Brad came to have a look at the bog garden and the new plants. Everyone agreed that it was looking good. The plants seem to still be green and there is no lack of water in the bog garden! Or anywhere else on the plot judging by how much I was sinking into the soil on the path. Despite weeks of walking up and down the path to compact it, it is so water-logged that it is soft. I chatted to Tracy about how the bog plants that had gone in came with labels saying pond plants. I was worried that they may not survive but Tracy said that they were used in boggy conditions next to ponds so she was quite confident they would thrive. I guess we will find out over the next few weeks!
By now, my husband had arrived and we decided to make a start on building the path. We unrolled the weed suppression fabric and laid it out. Inevitably, it was about 7ft short. We folded the fabric to the correct width so it fitted the size of the path with a little overlap on either side. The wind chose at this moment to rise so we had to fold sections over then weigh the fabric down with the boards. Slowly, we worked our way down the length of the path, folding and placing down the boards. Sarah had kindly offered us some hard wearing weed suppressant fabric earlier and we took her up on her generous offer. The final 7ft was the most difficult because the new fabric was heavier and the soil at the back of the plot was oversaturated, with water pooling on the surface. We got there in the end and decided as it was beginning to rain, we would call it a day.
So tomorrow, I will finish putting in the boards along the path. Ideally, the weather will be dry enough that I can start to build the beds with the other boards. In order to limit the flooding, we will need to source a lot of bark to not only fill the path up but also to finish off the fruit section at the back of the plot.