Germination Station


More pissy weather this week then. Hasn’t exactly been conducive to a lot of work. I haven’t been near the allotment for ages and I fear that Mr Mole has wreaked havoc with my onion sets and potatoes. Oh well, I never was really that bothered about planting in straight lines.

Urgh, the chicken saga continues. Sometimes I wonder whether I’m actually spinning around on some level of Dante’s spiral of Hell and damnation when it comes to grappling with sick hens. Oh of course, I’m being melodramatic. They seem ‘ok’ today – Yoko is in better spirits, having had a really good day on Monday, and then a couple of crap days. I think the breakthrough in sunshine today is helping. She has one or two days of baytril left, then we have to assess. She could be going in for a bit of a risky procedure to try and drain off some of the egg yolk in her abdomen.

wind egg

Pattie laid a tiny ‘wind egg’ (a bit of egg white, aka albumen, no yolk laid in a shell about the size of a large grape) three days ago and hasn’t laid since. Apparently wind eggs (also known as cock eggs, since people once thought cockerels laid them, and fart eggs – can’t answer that one) are fairly common. But the problem is that Pattie hasn’t laid since. I have read that it can be something to do with coming to the end of a ‘strain’ of eggs, and that it may take them a few days to get going again. But Pattie refuses to perch at night. Before Yoko comes in, she makes a beeline for the nest box, intending to settle down for the night. Cue the big bad Yoko who, thanks to her sterile EYP, needs the nestbox, Pattie is pushed out. At the moment Pattie is refusing to perch, which is worrying.

More worrying!

I had the rabbits out and about the other day. The hens were not too pleased, as they spied the rabbits charging about. Yoko assumed a rugby-type stance before pecking Smudge on the head for getting too close (I think Smudge was just coming up to investigate), and when Smudge did an about-turn and charged off, she was met by Maureen and Pattie. Pattie flapped her wings and both she and Maureen jumped on the poor wabbit. Chickens are so vicious sometimes. There’s no way I’d leave them out there unsupervised together. Smudge was fine though, I think she was just having fun running around under the hedges. She and Snoopy were doing lots of investigating.

I also brought them in last night to meet two of my cats. The other two live upstairs, they’ve sort of paired off and have their own private routes in and out of the house. Tortoise and Tom, the downstairs cats, weren’t too sure about bunnies charging around the living room. Tortoise is a moody mare sometimes, and she got in a right huff and grumbled as she waltzed off to the kitchen. I swear she was pouting. Tom is a lovely scallywag, totally in awe of Tortoise, sometimes nothing else in the world matters. He can be a bit dim and scatty, and didn’t seem bothered by the rabbits. Not even when Snoop worked out a route up onto the back of the sofa. Eventually they all settled down together, and by 11pm everyone was crashed out in the living room.


Right. Enough about animals.


It’s going well!

My early Snowball Turnips have come up trumps – they’ve germinated really quickly under the fleece tunnel, so I’ll be pricking them out very shortly. Aubergines are going really well, although a couple withered and died in the seed tray. Peppers popped their heads out of the soil a few days ago, and the tomatoes are going great guns.

My rosemary and lavender cuttings are also establishing themselves, although the rosemary seems to be doing much better. I might try and take larger cuttings of the lavender, and give it another try. i sowed trays of Cosmos too. Last year the flowers lasted right into November, when the bees were still out. They are fantastic for colour, height and most importantly, attracting and providing food for bees. The bees and butterflies could not get enough of them last year. I thoroughly recommend them. Try growing them in seed modules, transplanting to large plots (about 2 or 3 per pot). Wait until they’re fairly well established and quite meaty in the stems, and then plant them out. I did this last year and they were poker straight, strong and lasted for months.

The Tendersnax carrots are doing well in the pots, but my seed scattering skills are not exactly desirable. I sowed most of them in a big cluster in the middle. I think by the time I’ve pricked them all out, I’ll have about 5 carrots per pot. Not exactly a veritable success. I’m still undecided about growing carrots in pots. I don’t think I would recommend it, unless the pot is massive, and unlike me, you are actually able to sow thinly.I suppose you could just harvest tender baby carrots instead. I might try that.

Garlic and super early onions are doing ok too, although the super early onion sets were put in late, so should really be described as fashionably late.

Oh, and I have still neglected to label anything I have sown. I’m too lazy to find a pencil or a waterproof pen. So I am relying on my somewhat currently patchy memory to recall what is what and where.


  1. I had to try multiple times to get tomatoes and peppers to grow but I finally had success with the toms and I can see the peppers about to come out under the surface of the soil which is very exciting.

    We are growing little finger carrots in a long deep container. We got those carrots because they are supposed to do well in a container and we followed the depth directions in “Bountiful Container” to pick our pot so hopefully it works out well.