On My Oasis – A Turbulent Season

You know, there’s a reason us Brits are renowned for talking about the weather; it’s because it’s so bloody changeable! June was soooooo wet with a few rogue days of sun. This past weekend gave the hope of a summery spell in July and then, today….raaaaaaain again. It’s not good for my mood, my bank balance or my livestock.

The Kitchen Garden

In the vegetable patch there’s been highs and lows. As you’ve noted, my first ever carrots were harvested, as were the last broad beans. The extremely leggy beets seem to have straightened up a little, though you can see their roots are far from the nice little round harvests. Onions are swelling, nasturtiums are flowering, and the latest round of seeds are sprouting. On that; I’ve had some dismal attempts with seedlings this year. My aubergines and peppers didn’t germinate the first two times, my cucumbers got slugged and my beans looked promising…until I planted them out and they too were decimated by snails (this is the problem with continued wet weather because slugs and snails can munch around the clock). I HAVE started all of these again. Though I’m hopeful for a few beans, cucumbers, marrows and gourds later in the season, it may have been too late to try again with the peppers and aubergines; we’ll see.

My cordon fruit trees have also suffered from the turbulent weather, and have put on little growth. And my newly planted chard was decimated when I had an escapee rooster. Bad, BAD rooster (looks at the cooking pot).

Kale is thriving…though cabbage whites are now appearing.

Nasturtiums acting as a great lure for insects. But the leaves and flowers are also edible.

Leggy beets have thrived…but the harvest looks a little sausage shaped!

Bronze fennel allowed to flower.

Ornamentals

It’s also been a mixed bag for the ornamentals. I love when the dahlias start to come out. This year I haven’t even planted all of them out, deciding instead to nestle the plastic pots amongst the borders. Yes, I need to water but I don’t have to worry so much about slug damage. Hemerocallis is about to burst into life, as are the daisies, echinacea and crocosmia. I haven’t had so much luck with some others though. For instance, I wanted to swathe my ugly but much-needed trellis with Spanish flag (Ipomoea lobata). Though the seedlings started off really well, they have NOT liked being planted out. And so, I continue to live with the bare, rickety, horrible fencing. The same could be said for the jasmine which has lacklustre growth. Meanwhile I wondered what awful thing had attacked by beautiful patch of lavenders amongst the grasses…until I saw Bo peeing there. Dog pee, especially bitch pee, is potent stuff. It’ll kill off pretty much anything, especially if its dumped in huge quantities in the same place repeatedly.

The passion flower is the one climber doing well.

I love the intricate flowers.

And even the buds look great against the white

Chocolate cosmos adding some lush appeal

Daisies preparing to flower…

 

The Poultry Yard

Down in the poultry yard I’m happy to say we’ve had an upswing in luck. Tylan put pay to my hens’ respiratory illness and egg count is up – I’m getting 8/9 per day now which is great! I finally have eggs to fulfill demand.

I’ve hemmed and hawed for many months about getting ducks for a number of reasons. A) I love them, b) duck meat and eggs are yummy and c) unlike hens, you can let them out into the garden because they won’t scratch about, they’ll just snap up the slugs and snails. The problem is, we’re running out of space. I really want Muscovy’s, both for nostalgic reasons and the fact they’re pretty much silent. However, when I went to the poultry auction this weekend I realised my childhood memories were askew and they’re bigger than I remember; in fact, they’re like small geese. Also, the ducklings for sale looked less than healthy, so I decided against a purchase….this time.

The number of roosters continues to climb too, and now I’ve got the hand of sexing Pilkies/Polskis (Silkie x Poland) I’ve realised there are more roosters than I believed. AND, I’ve just shoved another load of eggs into the incubator. I’m excited as these will be first ayam cemani’s and barbu d’anvers from my own birds.

A funny little Poland rooster named Skeksis. I think we’re keeping him.

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Cuckoo – a polan hen

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Clumsy – my favourite Poland.

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Onyx is my Ayam Cemani pullet. She’s just started laying and some of her eggs are now in the incubator.

Flame is another rooster we may keep. Typical Polski characteristics with small comb and fluffy hairdo.

Finally, though I didn’t buy any ducks at the auction I did buy a pair of budgies. I know – not strictly smallholding birds. BUT, you could also consider that running a homestead involves creating new revenue streams with livestock. I may not be eating budgies, but I sure can breed them in the future. For now, though, I’ll enjoy Luna and Pluto’s sweet chirping.

Luna and Pluto are the newest additions to the menagerie.


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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.