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Showing posts from April, 2011

April 2011 - farm update

Earlier this year we hatched two batches of chicks.  From the first batch we got one pullet and two cockerels, all White Leghorns.  From the the second batch we got five cockerels and three pullets, one each was Rhode Is Red and the rest White Leghorns.  They have been living outside for a while now, one batch in each cage.  Its nearly time now for the pullets to join the full grown hens in the big cages.  Its never a good idea to put one hen into a cage with other hens that she doesn't know, particularly when the majority are larger, as she'll get picked on, so we decided to rearrange the babies now so they can get to know each other early on and join the big girls as a group of four - safety in numbers!  So we now have a pen of pullets and a pen of cockerels.

We are only getting 3-4 eggs a day from all 12 of the big hens.  This is because the weather has got colder and the days have got shorter.  Most of them are now moulting (loosing feathers and regrowing some nice warm fe…

Making Easiyo yoghurt

Yoghurt is very good for your digestion (more here), but the supermarket products are expensive and high in sugar.  They often add all sorts of artificial flavours, colours and thickeners, which are completely unnecessary.  I make my own yoghurt using an Easiyo kit.  This is still kind of cheating and I should really just use local milk or milk powder (as the Easiyo packets come all the way from New Zealand) and yoghurt culture, but this is so easy (foolproof!), I've been too lazy to change so far!


Here's what to do:

1. Put about 1.2 L of water in the jug to boil.

2. Half fill the plastic container with cold water and add the Easiyo packet.  I use natural, as its milk powder and bacteria only, no additives!


3. Stir in some honey, about 3 'fork-fulls' will do!  And stir it all up.  Then top up the container with cold water.



4. Pour the boiling water into the insulated container and put the yoghurt container inside.  Screw on the lid and leave for about 8-12 hours.




5. Ta…

How much to plant??

When we first started gardening, it was hard to know how much and how often to plant and we often ended up with big gluts of certain veges and then nothing at all to eat from the garden. We were also reluctant to not use seedlings that sprouted, even though we didn’t really have room for them. Once we had about 20 tomato plants squashed into a 1m square area of the garden. They were too close together, none of the plants fruited and they all got some kind of wilt and died! Now I have learnt to leave room between the plants and eat/compost/give away any that don’t fit. Since then we’ve got better at knowing how many of each plant we need to feed us and how much we can fit in the garden at a time. The amount you need to plant depends on your appetite, your garden area and your water availability, here's what we've found works for us.Tomatoes: As I’ve mentioned before, I love my cherry tomato plant, I think you need at least one of these all the time to keep up a supply.  …

Summer harvest, Winter planting

This weekend I harvested the last of the tomatoes and pulled out the plants.  I still have heaps of beans and squash, so I've left them in the ground for now, but its time to start thinking about winter.  The main crops for winter here are broccoli (too humid in summer, too many bugs!), silver beet and peas.




I've cheated and bought some pea seedlings from the market.  I made a rough structure for them to climb up using chicken wire and some tomato stakes, I tried to find a sunny spot for them, as they don't do well in the shade.  I'm letting them get a bit bigger before I plant them or the slugs will eat them!

I'm going to plant some broccoli seeds as I saved heaps of seeds from last season.  And I'll plant some more silver beet, as we only have two large plants at the moment.  I was excited to see broccoli on the front of Organic Gardener magazine when it came in the mail today, with some nice tips (the one I noted was to check the soil pH is around 6 and us…