Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Fava Beans

Well, I don't often do two posts in one day. But I'll be gone tomorrow, apple picking.

A fava bean is another term for broad bean. Broad beans overwinter well, and give you a nice early spring crop before hot weather comes, which they hate.

My fava beans have finally sprouted and are coming up, they are sturdy little things coming out of those honkin' beans! Broad beans are quite big. They are used for flour, and my cousin puts them in soup. I will probably cook with them in soups and such. I learned my lesson last year, I tried starting them in march, but I soaked them way to long and they rotted, only 2 plants made it and were covered in aphids.

If you haven't ever grown broad beans, please consider growing a dozen or so. Plant them now, for an early spring crop. If you live in a cooler climate, you might be able to get some if you plant them in early spring (just not too early).

We are going apple picking tomorrow, up at 5:45 to leave at 7:30!

So long!

English Vintner

Leeks and Chickens

Leeks. I really enjoy leeks. I was first introduced to them probably 6 of 7 years ago. When my older brother Josiah was really into Redwall and cooking recipes that he found on the internet that were 'Redwall'. That was before Brian Jacques came out with his own recipe book for the Redwall recipes. Before than you could go on the internet and find all sorts of recipes labeled 'Redwall'.

Well, it was a dark night I remember, it was cozy in the house. It was sometime in the Autumn/Winter. We had a guest over, Miss Shelly (Joiner) as we called her. And that night Josiah made some bread and Leek Soup. That was the first I had tasted leeks. I liked the soup, but found it hard to believe that I liked it since the main ingredient, leek, was sorta like an onion.

Since than we have had leeks a few times, but not really more often than once or twice a year. Usually to make a British or Redwall recipe, usually called upon by Josiah.

Leeks are a member of the onion family. John Seymour, author of Self Sufficient Life and how to Live it, and several other books says that if you are only going to grow one member of the onion family, leeks are the thing to grow. It is used as the Welsh national emblem.

Leeks are a bit milder than onions. The stem, or bulb that you eat is tubular, long, usually from 7-12 inches and from 1/2" to 1 1/2" thick.

I do not know of something that bothers leeks, pest or disease. I grew some this year, a small patch, but plan to do more next year, if room allows.

I am selling a few leeks to a friend of mine, along with a couple of peppers and a cucumber. That is partly why I thought to write on the topic.

Chickens. I like chickens. I like eggs. I like chicken manure. All these are good reasons to get chickens, for my part. I am planning at this point to get 8 hens this Spring. Right now I am working on a design. I would like free range chickens, but don't have the space. So, what I will probably be looking at doing is having a moveable chicken coop, with some space around it for the chickens. Than, I would like to see about having the chickens graze on part of my garden beds. What I am thinking about doing is getting 4-5ft high chicken wire, and than posting that around one of my beds and having the chickens range in that one day, and than move it to a different part of the garden. Of course, when everything is full grown, I will have to figure out a few different things. I do have some space opposite the garden, a 'field' on a slope, 50x60ft. With 3ft tall grass. Maybe I could graze them on that too.

I am looking probably getting free range breed hens, so that they are hardy enough. I am going to have plenty of predators though, so the coop will have to be rodent proof. I know for certain that I have possums, coons, and occasionally neighbor dogs. I have snakes, snakes? Hmm.... Also owls, and night birds. During the day I have hawks.

What I will probably have to do is have the chicken coop and a little yard space. And than have another cage, that is 7ft wide, by 12 ft or something. I'm still figuring out stuff. If you have had chickens and have advice, I am glad to hear it.

We are going apple picking tomorrow!

English Vintner