Drought? What drought you might be thinking - it doesn’t seem to have stopped raining here in East Anglia although one helpful news report said recently that it would have to rain continuously for about six months before the drought would be officially called off! I have been taking the opportunity to make sure that my raised beds are getting as much water as possible ahead of planting out salad crops at the beginning of May. I mentioned before that I am going to concentrate on the two raised beds near the greenhouse and not cultivate the ones in the main part of the vegetable garden, due to the problems with irrigation so I am drawing up a plan to plant crops close together from seed to see how this works - a new idea for me as I usually grow seeds in the greenhouse and then plant out the seedlings when they look nice and strong! Watch this space to see if this works!
Salad leaves are always a good starter as they germinate quite quickly (some within three weeks) and as long as it warms up a bit and the soil is at a decent temperature then we should have success! On a sadder note this month, I have to report the loss of four of my five ‘girls’ due to a visit from a very nasty Mr Fox. Up to this point the beauties lived in a barn with a locked stable style door and chicken wire fence but this doesn’t seem to have deterred the wily critter. Much to my upset my two black rocks had completely disappeared and the two mid-sussex were left behind - which makes it even worse as the violence seems to be somewhat gratuitous. The only one left is my bluebell who has a useful habit of getting into the rafters - a skill that obviously saved her this time round.
As horrible as it is, I can’t be without my lovely girls as they give me so much pleasure and lovely eggs, so a chicken coop has now been purchased and new girls introduced. The coop is much nearer the house and whilst small, is only used at night as the girls free roam during the day. When it stops raining I will take some pictures so I can show them off. Until then I leave you slightly damp around the edges! See you next month.
-- Jane Dubinski