somethings fishy...

 Preparing the bed for Sweetcorn...

Homegrown sweetcorn has a sweetness that shames store-bought cobs.  Each kernel has caught the summer sun and delivers it directly without pause, to be picked,  trucked, stored, packed and finally bought.  A pot boiling on the stove before harvesting and a big knob of butter makes for the best first course.  It's memorable, delicious, divine even.  However, long before that happens, I have to plant the corn, and now is the time.

An afternoon fishing left us with some fish frames, so the first thing we did (after ripping up the flowers that were in our sunniest spot) was dug these deep into the soil and covered them over.  Then a little compost and manure to sweeten the plot.   You don't have to have the fish frames, but we don't like to waste anything and they will add great nutrients to the soil.  See my fiance Jonathan's knobbly knees on the right.

Finally because we love sweetcorn and would like it to be ready in stages, we planted 12 organic seedlings and at the same time we planted a whole heap of a heritage variety seeds directly into the gaps.  This will ensure a succession of sweetcorn.  The other major tip with sweetcorn is to plant it in blocks rather than rows, this is because it is wind pollinated and you want the funny straggly flower heads to knock around together in the wind for a successful crop.

New Potatoes

One or two of my new potato plants are starting to die off out of concern we dug a few up - only to discover that, hurray, they are ready.  One little bag perfect for supper with organic butter and some homegrown dill are all ready for our dinner tonight.  I've used little Natural Waxed Paper Bags by "Natural Value" to store them (with their dirt on) in portion sized packs, although this first bunch wont be lasting long.

When the potatoes are all dug up, it'll be time to re-fill this bed with something else.  The potatoes have helped to make a nice friable soil.  The weekends fishing has not only given us a lovely meal, but all the heads, guts bones and skin of the fish are saved to be planted in this bed when the potatoes have been harvested.  I have been growing corn on in old takeaway coffee cups and these are nearly ready to go in.

Hurrah, the easy, tasty, bounty xx

fat chook and skinny chook

fat chook and skinny chook
Our girls are not great layers, they are pretty noisy and if you open the gate to hang the washing they make a crazed dash for the utopia of the vegie garden, weaving like soldiers going over the top. 
Naming has clearly been a problem, initially the idea was to name them after our mothers, Miranda and Marlene, but we couldn't land on which one was which, after a time, they have simply become fat chook and skinny chook.  Between them they harbour the secret of which one lays productively as we only get one egg per day. Perhaps they share this load? 
However they provide us with enough eggs for our two person household (and the occasional half dozen gift box).  The dirtied straw in their hen house makes an excellent addition to our three compost bins and there is something soothing about nature doing its thing in your backyard and even allowing you the odd pat when you hang out the washing.  We have been blessed with a lovely landlord who cut a little hole in our fence to allow the girls access to his compost, we have very happy hens and their happiness is a delight.

If you are thinking about getting chickens check your local council website as the rules vary slightly and they can be a little noisy.  Remember a chicken isn't for Christmas, if  you are going away you will need to make arrangements for them or take them with you - ours are planning on packing for a Summer in the Bay of Islands.  A good book might help smooth out any problems, like wing clipping (we clip the tip of the right wing only as disclosed in George   Orwells Diaries).