Monday, July 25, 2011

Grey and Drizzly but...

Oh yeah, I'm counting the days to spring. The chooks however, don't seem to notice the weather. They've been standing about in the rain and then rolling around in the mud. Fluff doesn't look so fluffy lately. It never seems to occur to them that there's a specially made chook shed with a roof for sheltering in. But as I've said before, silkies are not the brightest of creatures.

I'd been warned that silkies were broody chooks but I'm just starting to realise how frustrating that can be. Golden Girl was broody for weeks. She finally got over it and a couple of days later Puff and Beverly decided to play at mum and they've been sharing a box for days now. I even caught that naughty Puff rolling a freshly laid egg from the other nesting box into hers so she can sit on it. I've not been doing anything much to discourage them. Every time I'm out there I remove them and pop them on the grass but a few minutes later they're back cuddling up together in their nest. I know there are strategies to stop this but I think I'll just let things take their course. Unless it drives me completely bonkers. Which it possibly will.

But despite the grey, drizzly weather my spirits were lifted a little on the weekend when I noticed this.
Almond tree in blossom
The almond trees on the nature strip are starting to blossom. That is a sure sign that spring is on its way. Yippee.

So, in anticipation I've been pouring over my Diggers' catalogue wondering just what I'll be planting and where I'll squeeze it. My problem in the past has been that I haven't planted anywhere near enough seeds and so I've ended up with just one or two capsicums for example. Also, I think I planted some things too late so they didn't get enough warmth to ripen (capsicum again). Some of my problem is I think that I need more space than I actually do. I end up with gaps everywhere in my beds and very often I haven't planted enough of what I want. I reckon I'm going to start ignoring those recommendations about planting distances and squish everything in a bit closer. Lots of my seedlings end up getting munched by snails anyway.

Now for a couple of exciting things that I've ordered from Diggers... salty ice plant. This sounds like a herb just right for me - a salad leaf with a salty taste. Has anyone ever grown this and if so how have you used it? I'm also trying out amaranth (for the leaves not the grain). And in an attempt to attract more bees and good insects I'm popping in more flowers that are supposed to be veggie garden companions. We'll see how I go.

Bring on spring. In the meantime, I'm off to organise some indoor seedlings. Hope I'm not too early.


  1. Almond blossom! Fantastic news! Spring really is going to come isn't it? Fluff looks funny doesn't she? Just like a naughty schoolgirl somehow :D
    I'm not game to plant the tomato or capsicum seeds yet, but I'm itching to get into it ... Thanks for a great post! Greenie x

  2. Oh, this would have made a lovely post for Wednesday...I hope you are holding some Winter enthusiam in reserve!

    I do think it is a bit early for seeds though...August is good...and even then if you have somewhere warm to germinate them.

  3. So that's what they mean by the term "Having a bad hair day" then...
    Don't be tempted to plant things out too early, I say!

  4. Ok well I'll take all your advice and hold off on my indoor seeds. Sigh. Hazel I'll try to think of something for Wednesday.

  5. Mark too my 'bad hair day' comment I had ready lol. I know what you mean about the egg rolling between nesting boxes. How do they do that?
    Lovely almond blossom. We don't get them here. cheers Wendy

  6. Its so annoying when they go broody isnt it!!! My Melly is STILL at it! Its been almost a month, sureley she will snap out of it soon?! She has lost a lot of weight too...
    That picture of fluff is great! Silly chickens hanging out in the rain!

  7. I just put my diggers order in too (I saw the Salty ice plant..) Pumpkins, funny -shaped zucchini and cucs. I grew amarath last summer with good success. The seeds take a while to germinate but them grow into 2m high plants, so make sure you plant them where you don;t mnind them shading whetever is underneath/behind them. We liked the leaves as a useful substitute for spinach in the summer. The chooks love them too! Do you have Stephanie Alexander's kitch garden book? there are some nice amarath recipes in there.

  8. DD when I saw her rolling the egg she had a sneaky, guilty look like she knew she was up to no good. That's what I imagined anyway. Yep LBMouse she looks funny. Strangely, they do clean themselves up and she's back to normal today. Phoebe, Golden Girl was broody for a long while too. She's lost a lot of weight but I figure she'll put it back on. Thanks for the advice Funkbunny. I do have Stephanie Alexander's book and that's partly what convinced me to give it a go. I have no idea where I'll plant it though!

  9. Definitely plant seeds/seedlings closer than they say - you will, as you say, lose seedlings to snails and birds. If you are left with a lot you can thin. The thinnings from things like beetroot, spinach etc can go in your salads, carrots - you can harvest half as small carrots and leave those in between to get bigger.

  10. OH hooray! If your blossom is here Spring can't be far off! CAN'T WAIT!!
    I was pouring busily over the diggers catalogue tonight too, circling waaaaay too many things...

  11. I think your right about planting things closer - I usually plant about half to 3/4 of the recommended distance and it usually works out well for me. This is especially with crops where you can harvest some young and in effect thin every second one. Eg Leeks, beetroot, radishes. The other thing I think works well is planting the recommended distance but planting something quick growing in between - ie spring onions between rows of carrots or beetroot between broccoli plants etc.
    I admire your patience in holding off on seed planting - I sowed my tomato seed yesterday - they are now in the laundry - I think the excitement is worth the potential casualties....maybe...


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