On My Oasis – Banana Plants, Beans and Chicken Obsessions

Firstly, I have to say, I am completely obsessed with my new chickens. I’ve hatched chicks under a broody hen before but it’s not quite the same as popping eggs into an incubator and watching the little ones pipping their way out. The effort behind that hatch is immense, and it’s crazy to think these little chicks do it after just three weeks of growing – from embryo to hatch.

Chickens

IMG_5120We have four Polish bantam chicks and a sole survivor Barbu d’anver. I was pretty disappointed, it has to be said, that only six of 18 eggs hatch and that I had to put one down due to a leg deformity. However, in hindsight, it’s a good thing. I’ve decided I’d like to have a little breeding flock of both polish and d’anver bantams. If they’d all hatched and had come from the same breeder, there’d have been problems with inbreeding etc. Now, as it is, I have another 11 eggs on the go; six pure white Polish bantams, and five Lavender/Creole barbu d’anvers. This way, my flock won’t be brothers and sisters. I’m also going to try buying ‘cock collars’. Don’t get too excited – they’re not pornographic you filthy minded readers. 😉 They’re little velcro straps that go round a rooster’s throat and stop him expelling all the air in his airsacks at once – thereby reducing the noise and length of his crow. I won’t lie, they’re are some dangers of using these. BUT, if it falls to cockerels having to definitely be despatched, or trying to use the collars, I’ll opt for the latter.

IMG_5110Nature really is amazing. I candled the eggs today – five days after being put into the incubator. In that time, the lifeless yolk we eat by the billions has already started to develop. Red veins are etching their way around the egg as the tiny embryo starts to form. It’s even more incredible to think that from this, in only two weeks time, an actual chick will emerge!

Meanwhile, I’ve been having a few problems with the battery hens, namely bullying. Cersei (yes, typical isn’t it) was relegated to chicken jail for the past week because she was picking on Arya. The coop has been fairly quiet, though Matilda’s now become top hen and has been throwing her authority around. Cersei went back in today and the attack on Arya began again. It may be that I’ll have to house Arya in the new coop with the bantams. She’s also moulting at the moment, so I’m hoping that as she comes in to lay again, she’ll begin, possibly, to hold her own.

Veggies

There’s been some hits and misses with the veggies. The tomatoes, which I’ve kept in the greenhouse, are doing wonderfully. I’m growing three varieties; moneymaker, oxheart and fenda. All have grown really well and are beginning to flower – fruits soon, I hope. Meanwhile, my squashes are thriving, and the French beans and runner beans popped in a couple of weeks ago are coming up trumps.

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Beans (runner and French) are coming up a treat. We’ve planted in a trough to keep them under control – we really don’t need vast quantities!

However, the broad beans have been an epic failure; largely due to my neglect in squishing greenfly. It’s been SO dry and the aphids have sucked SO much, that the beans have become limpless messes. The peas, too, didn’t get up to much, whilst I didn’t pick enough spinach and it bolted. Gah.

Must. Try. Harder.

Especially if we’re to try and reduce our food shopping with self sufficiency.

Flower Garden

IMG_5121The dry spell has taken it’s toll on the garden, particularly as its newly planted and, therefore, the roots haven’t become established. However, the Mediterranean garden is starting to fill out nicely, and I love the mixture of grass, lavender and verbena. The grass is wonderful in the breeze and I’ve even convinced the husband (who’s dead set against grass as it looks ‘messy’) that, actually, it’s rather wonderful. I love the backdrop of the coal bunker too. I’m still unsure of what to do with it; it’s empty. But I like it for setting plants against, and my sempervivum collection are basking in sun on top so, for now, it’s staying.

Meanwhile, if you remember my post from a while back about the banana….well, here it is now! It’s been potted up once and not even fed – only water. It’s kicking out a leaf a week at the moment and quickly taking over the sun room. Not that I mind; I love the tropical feel. Once I can get those canna’s going, and the climbers have gained some more height up the wall, it’ll be the paradise I want it to be!

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Ensete ventricosum (Abyssinian banana) is growing FAST!

With A LOT of watering, the garden’s growing great guns considering it was only created a few months ago. I’m already looking forward to next year when things start to become more established, but for now, I’m loving the sound of droning bees, the smell of the chocolate cosmos and the vibrancy from the dahlias in the fern bed.

What are you growing in your own oasis?

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Hi,

I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.