-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Monday, June 27, 2005

indoor jungles, shallots & chickens

We've given up planting tomatoes and peppers at the allotment. The third lot were devastated by we don't know what - some insect, slug, cold, who knows. We have just 3 tomato plants remaining, struggling on out of the 20-plus we planted. Luckily we had a fallback - growing them in pots in the conservatory! It is working well so far, although it has turned the room into a bit of a jungle.
peppers growing in conservatory tomatoes in the conservatory

We've had our first harvest from the allotment and here's the proof! Three plaits of shallots, hanging up to dry. I think they'll be dry in a few days as it's pretty hot in the conservatory, then I'll move them to the pantry. I'm proud of them, I think they look quite authentically rustic (except for the wire coathangers!)


I included this picture in big size because if you look out the window you can see our backyard, and the "C's" house. It' s an Eglu which is specially designed to be fox-proof, easy to clean and well-insulated, although we still fuss - putting up a special umbrella when it is hot and covering with clear plastic when it's raining. We used to move it round the garden but they trashed the grass so now they have their own special garden bed which we fill with bark chips... we replace them every week or two and it gives us lovely garden mulch; plus, the C's love scratching in it.

And in case you're wondering if we're mad to be keeping chickens in central London... if we are, we're not alone! Apparently urban hen-keeping is a bit of a craze in the UK at the moment, although I didn't know the extent of it till I read this article: "Thanks to changing work patterns and the preoccupation of children with computer games and television, the number of homes with pets is decreasing. One animal, however, is quietly and improbably bucking the trend. Hen-keeping courses fill up weeks in advance, sales of poultry books and magazines are up, and the waiting time for the designer must-have coop that is partly responsible for the newly fashionable status of chickens has, at times, reached three months". (Yes, the designer coop they refer to is the Eglu! Although ours wasn't a fashion purchase - we bought it back in the early days because we wanted to learn how to keep hens in preparation for Amherst). Apparently they're in negotiation with a US manufacturer so keep your eyes peeled.

Of course, our darling C's don't spend all their time in their coop. Whenever we can be out there to guard them we let them out for a "walk" and they potter round the garden. That's usually at least for half an hour a day. On weekends it's longer, and when it's hot they often come into the kitchen for a nap. Here they are last weekend on the floor next to our lettuce baskets (which sadly they later demolished).

The C's in the kitchencloseup of C1

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