Not bicycles, though we love those too, but life cycles in animals and plants, the cycles of the seasons and, of course, recycling both in the home and garden.
I regularly express how I love the seasons that present throughout the year and celebrate all that each one brings and now, as winter bows out to spring’s arrival, we are looking forward to a new season in the garden, with all that lives, breathes and grows there.
As the temperatures increase, albeit temporarily, on a sunny afternoon we can watch the bees venture out of the hive scouting for the first pollen from early flowering flowers. They remind me of the dove that Noah sent out from the ark, flying around to see if it could find a place to land. When the dove came back with a leaf from an olive tree, Noah knew that the flood waters were going down and a new season was beginning. In the same way, as the first bees return to the hive with pollen, their sisters buzz with excitement to explore and forage themselves.
Our last post celebrated a new season of eggs after the winter break and this week we’ve discovered that last year’s chicks that cracked out of little eggs here in the garden have now started to lay their own eggs for us.
We had a visit from a local school this week, the Reception classes from Green Dragon Primary School came to Hen Corner to discover where their food comes from, this was a great opportunity to explain the cycle of composting in the kitchen garden. Dead plants and unwanted food go into the compost bin and, after the worms have worked their magic, out comes new food for the garden, compost, which helps us grow new food for ourselves. The children were fascinated by the little wrigglers and mini beasts that work tirelessly to help break down waste into something so precious.
We were very proud to show off our new compost bins, which we’d spent last weekend installing, as they are made of recycled plastic lumber made by a company called Plaswood. We had previously used compost bins of the same size and style made from wood, but within a few years they had rotted themselves and become at one with the compost. We have also replaced the wooden raised beds over the last couple of years with a similar product and have been really pleased with both the look and practical benefits of using recycled plastic as a long lasting material.
The children were amazed to hear that these boxes were made from old milk bottles and the like and were encouraged to continue recycling their used plastic packaging so that we can use it again in great products like this.
Now that we have the kitchen garden ready for the new growing season, we have planted our broad beans, onions and garlic in the raised beds and have more delicate plants germinating in the conservatory ready to be planted outside in a few months time. We plan to log all of our harvest from the garden, including eggs and honey, into a Harvestometer to discover the value of the food that we’ve produced ourselves throughout the year. We’ll never be completely self sufficient, but find that growing your own really helps us appreciate the larger scale farmers that produce our food up and down the country.
— Green Dragon Primary (@GDPS_TW8) February 2, 2016
If you are interested in producing some of your own food and finding out more about keeping chickens, our Family, Feathers and Fun! course starts on Saturday 27th February and our Urban Hens – Keeping Chickens in London sessions start in May.
If you know of a school that might appreciate our help with their curriculum, both in school or here at Hen Corner, more information can be found here.
We have our Bread: Sweet & Savoury courses over the next week or so and our chicken keeping courses start with Family Feathers and Fun! next month. Our exciting new Spoon Carving (Traditional Skills) course in April has only got 3 spaces left, so if you’ve been thinking about it – do get in quick!
We are really looking forward to the Fox Valentine Vintage & Craft Market in Hanwell on Saturday 13th February, they’ve given us a fab write up and we are planning to take all that is needed to give your loved one the perfect ‘Breakfast in Bed’…
We will be baking five types of bread loaves (Rye, Cranberry & Pecan Sourdough, White, Seeded Malt and a 50/50 blend of wholemeal & white), three types of sweet buns (Almond, Cinnamon & Lateward) and of course our marvellous marmalade! If you are in the area, do come along between 1-5pm, we’d love to see you…
- We have tomatoes, melons, mange tout and basil growing in the propagators
- We’re confirming our session schedule for the Country Living Spring Fair
- We’ve started selling tickets for Easter at Hen Corner
Jobs for this week:
- Transform one of the raised beds into a polytunnel that will warm up for early plantings
- Make lots of lovely chocolate truffle eggs for the Valentine Market
- Keep logging the hen’s eggs into the Harvestometer
Join us on the Journey!