This afternoon, we dashed down to the allotment to drop off supplies for the chickens and compost bags for the greenhouse. My husband dumped the food outside the main coop and got busy digging over the beds. Periodically, he threw some weeds into the Omlet for the Little Weed Destroyers. The lack of Trixie caught my attention. I went over to the nest box and opened it up. As soon as she realised the hatch was open, she fluffed up and began to shout at me. Recognising the signs, I shouted to my husband that I thought she was broody. We’ll see how she goes over the next couple of days…
Next I pottered off to the greenhouse. It desperately needed a full clean out. Armed with a brush and a dust pan, I swept out the floor covering myself in dust in the process. Half an hour later, the floor was clear and I made a start on the patio. The patio has been rather neglected over the past year and I am determined to get it up and running. Assuming the price of wood drops, I’m planning on building a pergola between the shed and greenhouse. This will provide shade over the patio which gets unbearably hot in the summer. At home, we have two 100W solar panels waiting to go up on top of the pergola. While the plants grow up the structure, the solar panels will provide simultaneously provide some shade to the patio and power the solar irrigation system I am planning on installing.
A quick break to check on the amazing progress my husband had made and we decided he would feed the chickens while I finished up the greenhouse. An unexpected yell came a few minutes later and I ran down to see what had happened. My husband had gone into the main coop to feed the chickens and Tommy had attacked him. My husband had a bruise on his wrist where Tommy had pecked him really hard. By the time I arrived, Tommy had been caught and my husband had him pinned and was stroking his wattles and comb. This is an excellent way to show the cockerel who is in charge – essentially embarrassing him in front of all his girls. Usually, he won’t attack for a few days after this. We checked my husband’s injury and it looked like he would love to fight another day.
Leaving my husband to deal with the new coop, I finished off the greenhouse quickly. Shortly afterwards, he joined me in the greenhouse to start planting. This is one of the most exciting parts of the allotment year. We had bought eight new seed trays and filled them with compost. I tend to buy lots of seeds in the spring and my husband chose his favourites to plant first. He even had his own tray for three different types of chillies (hot, hotter and surface of the sun!). It was so lovely to stand in the greenhouse together, planting our crops for the season. Between us we planted chillies, cauliflower, broccoli, butternut squash, pumpkins, uchiki kuri squash, sweet peppers, a selection of French beans, broad beans, different kales, garlic, tomatoes and aubergines. In the unlikely event that they all grow then we will have a bumper harvest! There are still a few more seeds that need planting which I will do tomorrow.
As my husband closed up the shed and put the eggs away, I quickly cleared the strawberry bed. It’s a job I always forget to do and there was barely an inch that wasn’t covered in strawberry plants. Despite sounding amazing, they are overcrowded which means less space, less light and more competition for nutrients. Mercilessly, I weeded out handfuls of strawberry plants, keeping just enough to ensure we have a good crop. Tomorrow I might also transfer some of the strawberry plants Geoff let us keep from last year.
So over the next few days, I must make sure that I remember to water the seeds in the greenhouse! Also I need to work out how to build the pergola and the solar irrigation. There is a way of wiring in a timer which, if I could pull it off, would make life even easier!