As usual I haven’t had much time to spend in the garden but today I made an exception. There are loads of butterflies around! Especially under the pear tree, feeding on the juices of all the pears fallen on the grass. I am so happy about the yellow flowers. They used to grow in a flower bed at the back of our house (then it was my grandmothers house). There were also loads of nettles and a helpful relative dug everything up and let the grass grow. I’ve missed them ever since and a year ago I asked an old lady down the road what her flowers were called, since she was the only one with those kind of flowers. Next day she rang my door bell and gave me a whole bag of plants. I planted them back where they used to grow and now they are thriving! My gran also used to have a grand collection of geraniums and I’m trying my best to look after them but apparently the chickens share my love for them….
After having two weeks of snow suddenly sun appears, everything has melted and every time you turn around a new spring flower has popped up! Yesterday I did loads of necessary chores but took some time in the sun just hanging with the chicks. Today started foggy but eventually sun broke through. I said last week we have to buy a proper pancake or crêpe pan instead of our big frying pans, this morning I went down the second hand shop in the harbour and Voila! The perfect cast iron pan. Love it when that happens! I had a coffee because they have the best coffee and it’s also nice to just sit there and look at people. At home I immediately tried out the great find and me and my daughter had pancakes in the sun on the stairs. Then she helped me clear the veg patch, chickens came to help to. They are so social and curious. I’ve spoilt them rotten so every time I go in the basement they come to beg for food. When I planted peppers Lottie actually came inside but left as soon as she didn’t find any food. I promised myself to not go through another summer without a greenhouse, problem is I want a really big one to sit in. Planning the year I realise that it’s not gonna happen without a budget and a holiday so now I’ve decided to build something in the vegetable patch or possibly attached to the henhouse. The veg patch is my worst enemy. There’s ivy and nettles taking over everything. I’m tempted to leave it but it’s such a valuable patch of land, perfect location, enough sun, shade and shielded by the worst wind. Maybe if I put five minutes every day on weeding I’ll be able to keep it in check. Think of all the vegetables we can grow and use for events in the barn/gallery!
The plant and seed exchange day was a success third year in a row. People started showing before opening and I was running like a bouncy ball between the kitchen and the barn answering questions at the same time. Luckily my daughter is now completely capable of running the “fika”(coffee and cakes) sale by herself and the husband was on kitchen duty making sandwiches. We sold plenty of home smoked salmon sourdough bagels along with cakes, meringues and rhubarb pie. Visitors brought lots of plants, some just left them after swapping to what they wanted and some stayed for a while swapping and selling. There is always a small confusion about rules and how the whole thing works. I’ve thought a lot about adding rules but think I’ll just keep doing it like I’ve done it so far. Exhausted after the day I fell asleep at 9pm and spent the day after planting everything that was left behind in my garden. Very happy to see that it covered most of the bare ground, just to see the chickens dig half of it up after a few hours…this means war!
Never too early (or late?) to start planting. A few weeks back I browsed my favourite web seed shop and couldn’t help ordering a bunch of new chillies. Thought I would have to wait until january to plant them but then found a video online where some guy plants chillies now, trims the bushes and by spring the plants look amazing. So yesterday I planted all my new seeds and for the first time also used Perlite. Exciting to see the results!
Chillies are growing strongly. I had loads of chilli plants for the plant-and seed exchange day. Most people were interested in the Czekoslovakian black chili. At the end of the day I turned the red heating lamp off and realised that I’d given everyone the wrong type of chilli…oops! Now there are lots of beautiful purple flowers on my window sill. I replanted most of them today into very big pots. Some of the pictures on the Facebook chilli group are so impressive I hardly dare to share any images but I’m still happy with mine and there are loads of different fruits coming. Seems like the secret is lots of light, nurturing and big pots. When I first started liking chillies I couldn’t make out a habanero from a cayenne but now I’ve started to really notice the flavour and not only the strength. Looking forward to making my own chilli flakes and maybe chilli sauce.
I had one day to prepare but luckily I’ve been through it all before. It’s been raining for about a week and then yesterday broke in to sunshine. I hoped today would be the same but the wind was just excruciating so I had the doors to the barn closed and a lot of heating lamps and radiators for the plants. Note for next year, wait a few weeks… The day did turn out to be great though! Probably around fifty people during the day. Most of them bought plants but there was some really interesting swaps to. Two apple trees, tomato plants and various indoor plants, problem is I ended up with more plants than I had. Looking for something in the basement I found a crate of spuds that had sprouted even more crazy than last year, they made a nice ornament on the wall outside in a basket that the old fishermen used to carry on to the boats.
The kids had a very successful cake sale and helped out a lot. Having a cafe in the barn was nice, giving me and idea about how it’s going to be when the whole big plan comes together some time in future. Of course the hens were very popular and the little chicks are getting more and more tame and curious. All the eggs we’d saved up for the last couple of weeks went with the first three customers!
Spot on 4pm, closing time, it started raining.
My seeds came with the post today! Started out planting all my chillies, three new types and some from last year. My favourite is Hot lemon, it goes very well with fish. Last year I had a seed and plant exchange day, a friend bought and swapped some chilli plants, later in summer her plants were trees! Mine were not higher than a couple of decimetres but this year I have chicken-shit! It will be very interesting to see what it does to the garden.