I had a lovely weekend being thoroughly spoilt with presents, meals out, a bit of garden centre shopping and some Skyping with my lovely girls and their partners, I hope every Mum and Mother figure out there enjoyed themselves just as much.
Spring is definitely leaping forward, the Equinox will soon be upon us and the clocks will change, the ground temperature is still a little low though, and after the Sunshine we were promised last week did not materialise, I put off sowing straight into the ground and planted into seed trays instead. The Broad Beans, Courgettes and Leeks were all sown into trays and will stay in the greenhouse until they can be hardened off. I could have planted them into the ground but there are too many things that can work against it, firstly although we have now put up a wind barrier all the way round the veg garden we are still in an exposed area and the temperatures are often 2 or 3 degrees lower than the town. Secondly there are still small animals out there searching for a tasty meal and the bean seeds would be a definite attraction for mice and lastly I can bring the plants on, make sure they get enough water and they will hopefully be strong enough to withstand the weather when they are finally planted out. The one thing that is growing away merrily are the weeds, it will now be a continuous battle to keep them down so that they are not stealing all the nutrients and light that the vegetable plants will need to thrive.
The rhubarb has shot up over the last week and it will very soon be time to pick some and have it fresh with custard :p I started blogging just over a year ago now and one of the stories I remember putting on here was about how I had forgotten how good rhubarb tasted, it is always a pleasure to re discover it every year! Gardeners often have an abundance of the stuff and if you get offered some and have not eaten since you were at school, I would say give it another chance you may be pleasantly surprised, it also makes a great crumble filling, a friend of mine makes his crumble with chocolate and rhubarb, the jury is still out on that one for me, I think I will need another tasting session to decide once and for all!
I am still waiting for the arrival of the chickens that were due for delivery last week! Later on today I will be on the phone asking for a definite delivery day, I know that the chicken industry is working flat out at the minute and the supplier is struggling to keep up with demand but I am hoping I will get a result and that they will be here very soon. On the subject of chickens the recent EU ban on caged hens will mean that the cost of eggs will go up as the producers costs increase with the very welcome change of lifestyle for the hens. This will have a knock on effect to all products made with eggs, all the more reason to buy them from your local free range farm 🙂
One of my current gripes about the retail industry is the charging of higher prices for ‘fashionable food’, Blue eggs do not cost any more to produce in any layer of the process so why charge up to double the price for them. The original egg that the hen comes from costs the same to incubate as any other, the feed is not any different to make the eggshell Blue, that is a process that the hen can manage by herself, the husbandry is exactly the same and it does not cost anymore to collect or transport, so why do they cost more to buy?????? My little Blue egg layer is laying on a daily basis, I hatched her out last year with the intention of mixing in Blue eggs with White and Brown to prove that they are not a ‘designer’ egg and that they should not cost any more than any other egg to buy. The cost of buying laying hens appears to be on the up too, I did do Economics at school and I remember the ‘supply and demand’ cycle but I was aghast to see a local garden centre with hybrid hens for sale at £25 each, knowing the industry I am aware that is approx 150% profit! I know they have overheads as do we all but honestly, you should be paying around £12 – £17 for a hybrid hen and approx £20 – £30 for a Pure Breed depending on its rarity, obviously anything rarer than that will cost you considerably more but that is mostly for enthusiasts and not your average back garden keeper. You are better off spending your money on good Fox protection because no matter how much you paid for your hen it is a quick and easy fast food takeway for him if you dont 😉