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Spring is Sprung

Posted By: 23/02/2011 08:49:00

Well I don't know about you, but the weather here in Dorset has been great over the past week.

No rain, chilly wind and lots of sun has worked wonders on the ground and the soil is now just right to be turned into a seed bed. This weekends jobs will be preparing the allotments for sowing, and indoor sowing of non-hardy seeds. In fact this will be the last quiet week for several months, so I best make the most of it.

The chickens have been wandering around the garden this week. They much prefer to be out scratching and picking up the pests and grubs. They also do a fine job pulling out dead leaves from under bushes and then leave them scattered over the lawn or paths. All I need to do is sweep or rake them up at the end of the day, and put them on the compost heap.

Also this week some of the Chickens have shown signs of going broody. The signs are different for each bird, but the most obvious sign is a chicken laying eggs in a new location. This week one of the Blue Maran's has started to build a nest in the Rosemary bush (I guess Chickens don't understand irony?) and if I was to leave the eggs there she would eventually sit on them. But to keep her safe she's going to have to learn to lay them in the brood hut.

Still no sign of pigs or lambs but I have a couple of positive leads so fingers crossed.

In the garden I have a few jobs to do whilst it is relatively quiet. The apple trees need fruit tree grease putting around their trunks to keep the pests away. As the weather warms up the pests emerge from the soil and climb the trees and wait for the blossom to appear. Fruit tree grease is the best way to catch the little pests and it does no harm to the tree.

In fact while I was writing that last bit , it reminds me that this year as a group of locals have taken on the management of three Cider apple orchards in the local area. The owners of the orchards no longer collect the apples but they are happy for us to manage the orchards and in return we shall give them some of the cider we make from their apples. I'm also trying to convince some of the others in our group to put some sheep on the orchards to help keep the grass down in an organic way. What's more when we have finished pressing the apples in the autumn the pigs will eat some of the apple pulp, the remaining pulp can be composted. Give it a few more years and everything should be in place to provide meat, vegetables, fruit and even an alcoholic beverage, all grown locally and not a single chemical in sight.

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