Thursday, 12 July 2012

Garlic, gooseberry sawfly and appreciative chickens

Gardening has been on the back burner of late, what with the weather and my increasing workload, but in between rain showers I grabbed the opportunity to get to the allotment and harvest a few bits and bobs.  The garlic had succumbed to rust and the leaves had yellowed sufficiently to warrant me digging them up.  

This was the first year that I had grown garlic en mass and despite a rather wet and cool season, not always conducive to good growing on clay at the bottom of a slope, the garlic had faired pretty well. The Elephant garlic given too me by a fellow plot holder seems to have faired best, producing the most amazing big bulbs, which I can’t wait to bake and eat with Camembert and sourdough bread.  This particular garlic has been grown at the allotment for many years and as such it's likely to be optimised for the site. ‘German Red’ also appears to have enjoyed the growing season, producing consistently large bulbs that are rather pokey!  I must remember not to eat a large amount of raw, freshly picked garlic in future as large nibble resulted in agonising heartburn and streaming eys.  

The others: ‘Albigensian Wight’, ‘Lautrec Wight’, ‘Picardy Wight’, ‘Solent Wight’, ‘Chesnok Wight’, and a Purple Heritage variety all differed in size and had generally mixed results but I'm putting this down to the weather.

Cleaning the chicken runs was also high on the agenda, after all it was starting to look like the chicken equivalent of a muddy Glastonbury, minus the middle classes, experimental drugs and the rock stars, or is that rap stars nowadays?  Of course, my girls don't go in for that sort of behaviour, preferring to beautify themselves, bitch and lay the most gorgeous eggs.  It’s pretty hard to gauge appreciation from a chicken at the best of times but I’m almost certain they were chuffed with their new deep layer of chip and the goodies hiding therein. 

Food appears to be modus operandi with this bunch and after a quick scout around the Gooseberries I found quite a few tasty morsels for them in the shape of our beautiful friends – the now defunct Gooseberry Sawfly larvae.  As dependable in their arrival as they are for their taste, apparently. Every year these gorgeous little beasts rip through the Gooseberry foliage like there's no tomorrow but they cause little damage if caught early enough.  I just choose to recycle them and make eggs. 

Chick had her (I'm being optimistic) first ever taste of this seasonal delicacy and appeared to enjoy.  She's is now mingling with the big girls, as you can see from the above image, but she still requires some protection from Sophia (step-mum) as lead bully McGee, also pictured above, is not averse to the odd passing peck.  She doesn't appear phased by this, however, and is a very bold little thing.  A few more weeks living in her separate coop and then I’ll consider popping her in with her aunts permanently.

Don't forget that you can still enter to win £50 of gardening vouchers and buy yourself a little something, after all you deserve it!

1 comment:

  1. Well done on harvesting the sawfly larvae! When I grew gooseberries I never managed to find them in time.


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