Thursday, 22 July 2010

Garden Update

Golden Shallots growing in garden trough

In early April I had visions of having an easy maintenance vegetable garden. Knowing I would be supporting a swollen belly in the summer I knew I couldn't expect to be on my hands and knees weeding and harvesting salads and chinese vegetables like I do most years.

Sugar Snap peas that have germinated
Looks like we'll get a good harvest!

Well, all I can say is that our chickens had other ideas! Just when I thought the warm Easter weather had given the garden a good start, the chickens (well my 2 babies, I have 3 chickens. I call them babies as they were newly acquired last July when they were 17wks old and reaching the stage when they would start laying eggs,) had other plans. As the farmer in Chicken Run said to Mrs Tweedy, "The chickens are revolting!"

The same bed 2 days later - trashed by chickens!

In my veg bed 1, (18 x sweetcorn kernels, and 60 x peas) Stan Laurel and Daffy Duck managed to find their way into the covered veg bed and scratch, eat and trample everything in site! Maybe I could've sprouted some more peas indoors and planted them outside but I was so disheartened (especially as Daffy Duck got stuck in the bed again the following day and finish of any remaining plants they missed the previous day!) I didn't bother!

WANTED! Have you seen this chicken?
Called Stan Laurel as the feathers on top on her head
reminded me of Stan Laurel's hair that stood up on end!

My chinese veg in pots didn't fair much better either! I had choy sum and pak choi growing in pots. I sprinkled crushed eggshell on top of the soil surface in an attempt to deter slugs and snails from getting a free buffet. It didn't work. I was soon left with stumps and no veggies for me!

Partner in Crime!
Daffy Duck as she made some odd clucks that sounded more like quacks!

The squashes and courgettes that I germinate indoors did well. They germinated (not 100% success but sufficient to plant) but I was too lazy to transplant them outside and they were too weak and lanky to survive and needless to say have long since died.

Rooster potatoes in a potato grow sack - makes harvesting easier

The only garden success I have had this year is the one courgette plant that I sowed outside next to the onions in Veg bed 2. Well, there were 4 seeds, only one came up to say "Hello!". Still, I have harvested 2 small courgettes and threw away one brown wrinkled specimen (they wrinkle and don't grow if the female flower fails to get fertilised by the male flower). I haven't even been religiously watering and feeding the courgette plant either - only the occasional long watering! Today, I was overjoyed and rather surprised to see an over-sized courgette snaking it's way along the soil hiding under the canopy of speckled leaves. The leaves of a courgette are large and the underside is a bit prickly too. I find that if my hand brushes past the leave they make your hands smell a bit pongy too! Nasty!

I'm pleased with today's find and am hoping it's the start of many more courgettes! I only wish there were more than 1 courgette plant!

The prized green wonder! It's the size of an aubergine and the small wrinkled ones are fruits that didn't get fertilised so won't grow but will shrivel go brown and eventually rot.

What do you suggest I do with this lovely pale green wonder then?


  1. Wow...your Stan Laurel and Daffy Duck really had a wonderful time in your garden! heehee your poor sweet pea doesn't have a chance...poor you :p But I can see your courgettes are growing well :) Over here , I don't see much in the mart so really have not idea how to prepare them :) I will come here and see what you do with them....looking forward to your sharing then :)

    Take care and have fun resting while waiting for Junior to arrive :)

  2. Hi plumleaf,

    Incidentally my courgette plant also grew unexpectedly well, despite having the lowest maintenence of all. After the 1st one, I thought it would R.I.P. for the rest of summer. Surprisingly few weeks later, another bigger one popped out. I am still rather confused on how it works out. There are yellow flowers but will those flowers eventually grow to become courgettes?

  3. Hi Miss B,
    Glad to hear your courgette plant resurrected itself! Nothing quite like home-grown to make you proud! :0)
    I hoped to have a better vegetable garden this year but only had one courgette plant. I will definately plant more next year. I get impatient waiting for the courgettes to grow especially when I think of lots of family and friends I'd like to treat with my garden produce!
    Yes, the flowers are indeed yellow - but there are TWO types of flower. One has a very minature courgette grwong at the base of the flower (this is the female) the other has a long stem (the male). There are some courgettes that don't require pollination in order to set fruit. Those are the parthenogenic ones. Majority need the transfer of pollen from the male to the female. I have in the past, picked the male flower and used it to 'poke' the female! :0o Just to help things along.
    Now, as the veg beds are netted to keep the chickens out I'm too lazy to bother. Unfertilised courgettes don't grow larger, they shrivel and eventually rot and die.
    Your courgettes looked like whoppers! Like what we call marrows in UK!
    Have a look to see what type of flowers your plant has. Mine has lots of females now at the tip of the plant and at the base (where it coees out of ground) I can see male flowers.

  4. The chicken looks so soft to touch. Also, the courgettes are humongous. They look like the veggies my grandma grow, but I'm not sure. Are the chickens considered your pets? Or are you going to cook them one day?

  5. Arghhhh! Esther! Shhhh! You'll scare teh poor chickens! They are egg-laying ladies. They're specially bred hybred chickens that will lay an egg almost evryday (at least that's the hope!). When we first talked about getting chickens I wasn't sure about giving them names in case we got too attached before they became 'dinner'. When I asked hubbs about names he said "Sure! Barbie-Q, KFC, Tikka!"
    When it came to it, we got 2 to begin with and I called them as their personalities suited. The white chicken was ever so noisy and would "Gok, Gok GOK!!!!" for first few days 'til she settled down, I called her "Bokky" 'cos of that. The other (brown chicken - which passed away last July) was calmer - so that became Korma - like the curry but she never did become curry thankfully! Oh, we still eat chicken though - supermarket bought though!