Monday, April 23, 2012

A very small holding...

So back in April 2007 I wrote a post about growing your own, I thought it would be good to repost what I had written just to see how far I have moved on.

'Grow Your Own....

As some of you know by now this year I decided that I wanted to grow some of my own food. Now this has been a bit hit and miss because I only have a landing outside my apartment which only gets sunlight for a few hours a day, not only this everyone who lives on my floor has to walk past my plants to get to there apartments.

I have learnt a few things about growing your own that I thought I would share with you.

1. You have to think small to be big. When your growing food in a space that has little or no room the best way is up and down, go for beans, this plant is happy climbing up a wall. You could even go for potatoes mine are planted in a bit of a big pot but you could plant them in a tall trash can, this also makes it easier to turn the tub around if you only get limited light.

2. Plant flowers that you can eat, you get something to look at as well as something to put on your salad at the end of the day.

3. Plant it and see… the photo above is of my pumpkin, I was eating one the other night that looked really nice, the seeds where just sitting there on the chopping board and I thought what the hell. I planted 4 and one came up, this leads me onto my next point…

4. Plant more than you think you will need, they do die or get damaged by yourself and others, as I said lots of people walk past my plants its only logical that some would be broken. It can be sad when this happens but you will find it easier if there are lots of plants growing.

5. Only plant things that you will eat… you will find starter seeds for everything in your local store, you will get great plans and want to grow everything, I don’t like radishes so please someone tell me why I bought them to grow? I was told they were very easy to grow but as I don’t eat them they are now taking up space that I could grow other things in.

6. Make it look nice… your neighbours will like you more if it looks nice and has nice flowers, and don’t forget they may help themselves to some of your crop, it’s a small price to pay.

7. Ask for help, it may be your idea but trust me it helps if you have someone to help with the watering and they will get as much out of it as you do.

8. Ask people at work if they want some of your extra seeds and in return they can give you some back when the plants produce some later in the year. Seed swapping is fun and its good to see how others get on with the same seeds as you…'

Well that was five years ago and things have changed a lot, I now have a garden and places to plant bigger plants. I can't tell you how much I learned that year looking back. I don't think I had much vegetables I'd grown that year (apart from the eatable flowers) but I learned lots of lessons. 

Well I want to tell you my plans for the next six months but forgive me as I'm excited to tell you about tomorrow first...

I have for the longest time dreamt of 'The Good Life' (a seventies sitcom) but being Vegan there wasn't going to be any pigs or goats in my garden... But I always felt that I wanted the living part in my dream, I'd got my (better off) friends to support animal welfare charities, but this wasn't getting my hands dirty.

So I am getting Chicken's tomorrow, three girls to be precise. I'm getting them from a small holding that is having to get ride of there flock. I would have loved to get rescue Chickens but up here in Scotland that is not a possibility, I could travel to get some but after considering welfare issues the journey would be to long for them from the pick-up to home, so I'm doing the next best thing and getting some that would end up going into the food chain.

I've had to think about a lot of things, firstly about what to do with the eggs that they lay. I spoke to a friend who said to let them go broody (they stop laying then) and to try and keep them as broody as much as I could. After reading lots of blogs and books I feel that this is not the best thing to do as when a bird goes broody they lose feathers have an increase of hormones and tend to become aggressive to others in the flock. They also spend lots more time on the nest, this seems not to be healthy for them as they contract more illnesses when they are not getting the light and air they need from being free range birds.

I have heard that you can feed the eggs back to the chickens, but again this is not healthy and even though it would have solved my problem I have read some quite disturbing tales of chickens becoming cannibals... 

I have really great neighbours who have offered to buy Chicken food and help pay with any medical bills that come about (I have no income and very little left in the bank) So this is a huge help, and in return I will give then any eggs laid. They are also going to look after them when I go away, and a sitter is worth it's weight in gold. 

I will also benefit from this as our neighbours also have an allotment so they have offered to give me some extra vegetables when I need them. Another plus is that they are going to take all of the Chicken poo and bedding and compost it for me.

It has also brought me closer together with my neighbours with me even offering to teach them the joys of Vegan baking, and who knows where that will go. Susanne (the mum) has even said that she will not be eating chicken again starting tomorrow, which will probably reduce the meat consumption in there house too. 

Well I think that's enough for now as I have to go do one or two things before the sun goes down, but trust me I'm sure I will be posting a lot of photo's in the coming days and weeks.

Beardy and I will also be doing some planting on Wednesday so I will give you a update of my gardening plans as well.

I will post a list of where you can adopt chickens in a following post.

Bear x

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