Despite the changeable weather we did loads in the garden over the two week Easter school holidays. We had aimed to finish fencing off the no-dig garden area so that we could start putting in the hardier plants and feel safe that the rabbits couldn’t touch them. We also wanted to plant an apple tree, and I wanted to sow the garlic, onions and tomatoes. Being complete gardening novices, we have been relying heavily on our neighbours and friends for their most excellent gardening advice about when to plant things and how to look after them. Any advice is very welcome!!
Fortunately the day we decided to get stuck into the fencing was a dry (but still coldish) day and Mike and the girls managed to finish the second side. While we were doing the fencing the girls planted all the little onion and garlic bulbs, and some tomato seeds in some old trays from maybe last year when we made a small effort to grow some things but alas with a lack of commitment and effort failed miserably.
Not sure whether they were just going to all take off in different directions, we decided to let the chickens outside the back gate for the first time all together. And they were just fine, they kept pretty much within the no-dig garden area and had a ball scratching for worms and slugs and other little bugs that were just in the wrong place at the wrong time! I still can’t get over how hilarious they are to watch just roaming about, clucking to each other, scratching and pecking madly at the ground, and then thinking that every other chicken has found something better and racing over to get a bit. It is just so funny.
We also put in the raspberry bush that we got free from one of the gardening magazines. We’d had it sitting in its bag in the conservatory for a couple of weeks so I think it was relieved to get into the garden. We also had a bizarre looking rhubarb ‘thing’ – to me it just looked like a bit of dirt that had hardened together in a ball – that we planted as well. Our neighbour assured us that this was in fact how rhubarb should look so we just went with it and planted it.
We covered the garlic and onions with a cheap plastic tunnel from the pound shop and put chicken wire around the raspberry as we ran out of time to finish the final side of the fence.
As we were away over the Easter Weekend and as the weather took a turn for the worse, we bought the garlic, tomatoes and onions inside, and covered the raspberry with some plastic to fend off the worst of the cold.
All survived fortunately so this weekend, we planted a Bramley apple tree also from Pound Stretcher, surrounded it with chicken wire to stop the rabbits from wreaking it. I have no idea how long it will take before we will get apples from the tree but I can’t wait!! Not only do we love apple puddings, the chickens love apples too!
We also filled two horizontal grow bags with some no-dig layers (shredded paper, nettle and grass clippings, compost) in preparation to sow them with scented flowers and butterfly/bee attracting flowers. We’ll let them settle for a couple of weeks before we sow the seeds. Plus we’d like the fence finished first to keep out the rabbits.
And lastly, Mike refilled the herb planter, made from an old barrel half, planting a fresh round of herbs for the summer. Providing we can keep the chickens out of it, it should provide all the herbs we need for cooking Rachel Khoo’s gorgeous French inspired recipes… ohhh lala!