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Garden Smallholding Blog

Blogging about growing fruit, vegetables and herbs and keeping chickens and ducks.

Pineberry Progress

Posted by: admin

The Pineberries continue to thrive thanks to the recent warm weather, the plant that originally flowered now has even more flowers, see below;

Flowering Pineberry


Bye Bye Mr Wasp

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Wasps

The wasps have appeared early this year, whilst watering the plants in the greenhouse earlier, I realised there was a wasp in my watering can. I don't know what what type it is, but its size surprised me. Below are a couple of images, one a close-up. I was duty bound to let him drown bearing in mind the devastation they wreaked upon my fruit crops last year. Attempts to find their source have proved fruitless.

drowning wasp in watering can drowning wasp in watering can 2

Pineberries Doing Well

Posted by: admin

You may remember last year, Mum bought a pair of Pineberries and gave me one of them. Pretty soon it produced runners, and knowing that the original plant was expensive, it seemed worth potting as many of these runners as possible. Links to my previous blog posts are below;

The original pineberry has been kept in the greenhouse since shortly after I got it. The greenhouse isn't a requirement, my Mum's pineberry has been kept outside and it doesn't appear to have suffered any, despite the snow we have experienced. I think Pineberries are every bit as resilient as a strawberry plant. My pineberry runners were all potted into standard multipurpose compost whilst still attached to the parent plant, they were well watered in the warm months and have been kept in the greenhouse. Over the winter months, I watered sparingly once or twice a month. I only cut the runners off from the parent plant a couple of weeks ago, and then took the opportunity to repot all of the plants, again, in the same multipurpose compost.

Something that started to become a problem during the middle of last year was aphids and whitefly, my original post about this is below;
I managed to pick the aphids off by hand, but the whitefly needed some chemical assistance in the form of bug clear - see the image below, if you click on it, I have uploaded a hi-res image that will display so that you can read the full instructions.

Simply following the instructions seemed sufficient to kill the whitefly, and the plants looked a lot healthier shortly afterwards.

Earlier this week (Tuesday 03/04/12 to be exact), I watered the plants in the greenhouse and noticed that one of the pineberries was flowering, see below:

Back Again!

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Garden

Hi again to anybody that remembers us, and reads this wondering where we have been. Thanks for coming back, you could say that we have been hibernating. The weather has become bearable for us, so back into the garden we go.

The task of clearing the devastation from the winter months is going to be a long and arduous one. With complete disregard for the correct timing, last weekend we set about cutting back the roses, apple tree, pear tree, and plum tree to manageable sizes. We have completely done away with the two grape vines - these have most been dug out. As a result of all this pruning, we have a huge amount of branches etc that need to be burnt and it is going to take one hell of a long time to do. I hope to be doing this in the next few evenings.

Thanks again for coming back.


Bye Bye Horned Melon Seedlings

Posted by: admin

I had a stab at growing these - previous posts are at the foot of this post, but I think I left it too late in the year to plant them for them to get a foothold.

Despite the fact that I brought them into the conservatory, they grew to approximately a foot tall before turning yellow and fizzling out. I have kept some seeds back and will try to plant them earlier next year. :o(

Attempting to Grow Kiwano Horned Melon Seeds

Kiwano Horned Melon and Lychee Update

Kiwano Horned Melon Seeds Finally Got Going.....

More Kiwano Horned Melon Seedlings Appearing

Slugs Have Eaten Most Of The Kiwano Horned Me...

Lychees Never Happened

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Lychee

A while back, I planted a couple of Lychee seeds at the same time that I planted the Kiwano Horned Melon seeds. Unfortunately, these never took off..... back to the drawing board next year.

I should have done something sooner, to date, I have had five seedlings poking their head above soil in the greenhouse. I thought a couple had failed just as they germinated and then fizzled out and disappeared. The biggest two started to show some signs of being eaten by slugs on Monday 19th September  - I should have done the maths (you will see in subsequent pictures what I mean), see Monday's pic below;

Kiwano Horned Melon Seedlings Being Eaten By Slugs in Kent Greenhouse


And this is how they were this morning, Wednesday 21st September;


Kiwano Horned Melon Seedlings Being Eaten By Slugs in Kent Greenhouse Two Days Later

See below, this is all that remains of the seedling on the left in the first picture in this post:

Kiwano Horned Melon Seedlings Being Eaten By Slugs in Kent Greenhouse Two Days Later

I have now brought them into the conservatory, and hope that they will recover.

The Goji Has Started Flowering

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Goji

After years of inactivity, the Goji has started to flower, click on the Goji tag above to see previous posts:

Flowering Goji In Kent UK in September

Goji starting to flower in UK garden in September

Cutting A Chickens Flight Feathers

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Chickens

As mentioned before, we have a particular chicken that keeps escaping from the enclosure, and has done for some time.

Time to clip some primary flight feathers.

Use a sharp pair of scissors and enlist another pair of hands to help. Carefully hold the chicken, and extend its right wing and cut as shown in the image below:

It is nice and simple to do, just do not cut too short, and cut the first 10 feathers. That's it, you have cut the primary flight feathers. (We applied the same method and  The Errant Chicken stopped escaping immediately.)

If you do cut too short, (within an inch or two from the chickens body) the chicken will bleed through the end of the cut feather. If this happens, pull the feather with a pair of pliers, gripping the feather close to the base.

The Errant Chicken

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Chickens

We have a hen that has not had its flight feathers clipped, and it insists on flying out of the chicken and duck enclosure, and roaming around the garden messing everything up and eating stuff it shouldn't.  This has gone on for the last year or so, and has seen the destruction of the leeks that I grew from seed, and it making regular attempts at getting into our house (I have lost count of the times we have chased the thing out). Only one of the other three hens has had it's flight feathers clipped, and the two that haven't seem to just toe the line. They all stay within the enclosure and don't fly out.

I was tidying the garden and found where the errant chicken has been hiding out:

Hidden chicken nest in the garden

We had to throw the eggs, the first couple I checked were 'floaters'. 

After seeing this, we decided it was time to clip some flight feathers - see Cutting A Chickens Flight Feathers

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