Friday 29 April 2016

Mother Goose and the Toilet Roll Inners

I had a little helper in the polytunnel this morning.  

 Mother Goose the Hyline hen is on her last legs.  I actually think she has had some sort of mild stroke as she went from being perfectly healthy to not seeing and not being able to walk properly in the space of one evening.  Over the past few days she has been slowly getting back the use of her legs and is no longer missing her step and falling over as often as she walks.

Putting a few wriggling little worms in front of her got her instincts going again this morning and apart from perking her up a bit with the relative warmth of the polytunnel and a few high protein snacks, it showed me that her eyesight has also improved greatly.  Unfortunately she has the hunched over stance that most chickens get when they are convinced their time is up.

Oh well she is another hen that has had a brilliant life and if I can spend a little bit of time with her and make her feel better before she goes then so much the better.

I was in the polytunnel with my little companion for a mass seed planting marathon using my favourite method ... planting in toilet roll inners.  Myself,  my Mum and Mary from next door all save them  through the Winter, flattened and banded in big bunches they wait for planting time.

Then they are cut in half ...

... and placed forty to a tray.

Then  filled with sifted compost.

 I use a mix of general purpose and John Innes fine seed compost in a 4/1 ratio for good seed germination and to keep costs down.  Then I sow one or two seeds per tube and water well.

Once the seedlings are strong and well rooted the whole lot, cardboard tube and all is potted on into a small plant pot or later in the year I plant directly into the raised beds either in the polytunnel or out on the hillside.  With lots of watering and rain outside the cardboard inners soon disintegrate and are absorbed into the soil.

It's very cold here at the moment and these pictured courgettes have suffered a little bit as a result, even in the polytunnel.  They are currently back under a plastic cloche to help them warm up and hopefully survive.  They were lusciously green and healthy only a few days ago.

It's proving to be a very strange Spring, the hills opposite were absolutely white with snow and hail first thing this morning, and we have had on and off hail showers and heavy rain all morning, not good for a grower with itchy to get on with things green fingers!!

Sue xx


  1. Here too it has been strange weather. Piling on snow one day. bright sun and melting the next. Sometimes the wind so strong it holds open the shop door, others feel more like mid summer. Hope it settles down soon! Poor chick! I hope she recovers, but often it seems they just give up. Best wishes.

  2. Doh! Why had I never thought about flattening loo rolls to store them?! And they fit better in the tray when they are squares rather than circles!

    1. They square up much better when they've been flattened :-)

  3. I have been using them for my carrots.The seeds are planted in them but not showing signs of life yet but hope they will so I can plant them out at the right time. I will have to get other people to save them for me!

  4. Thats a really good idea abut the toilet rolls will have to try that next year xxx

  5. I use toilet roll tubes too! And yep, we've got snow on our hills too. Brrr!!

  6. Sue, I love your stories of the chickens, not the sad ones so much. I'm terrified of them in real life but love the warmth you exude when you talk about them and their funny little ways. Cheers me up after a long hard week, thank you x

  7. Another one having a "Doh!" moment as I never thought to flatten my tubes like you've done, and have a big sackful which takes up far too much room. I'll remember that tip next time!

  8. Bless you for looking after a poorly hen, it's so sad when they have to leave us but I'll bet she enjoyed those worms.

  9. It's f f f freezing cold here as well. I had to put the heating on today :o(

  10. I've heard that mentioned on the gardening thing on Radio 4 I hear when I'm out running. GLad you had feathered help!

  11. It is cold, everything is really held back this year. Hope all is well with Mother Goose, so sorry to read about Daisy too.

  12. Never thought of flattening the tubes, great idea to save them through the winter.
    Poor little hen!

  13. The weather seems very strange indeed. Spring in parts in the Uk seems to be freezing with snow. Here is Queensland in Australia and in a lot of parts of Oz are having a very warm Autumn. The last couple of days have been cooler but we still reach the mid 20c. Very odd weather . I hope this chicken is ok, glad that you are such a good chicken person who cares well for her chickens .

  14. it's not just over your way that the weather is doing odd things. I live in on the coast of Queensland Australia (A bit more than half way up the east coast of Aus). It's supposed to be autumn. We do have mild changes in the weather but not right now. It's still in the high twenties Celsius with high humidity. I am so longing for the cooler weather. My vege garden is doing OK but its a battle to keep enough water up to it.
    I use the loo roll inners for the plants that don't like their roots being disturbed, like corn, zucchini, melons and cucumbers.
    Hope Miss Chooky has a wonderful time in her last days.

  15. Lovely pic of your hen.
    This weather is horrendous one minute we're in the garden suncream on and planting and the next were back to layers boots and the heating on in the house or car if were out (to dry off from being caught in the rain). It's nearly May its ridiculous! And like you itchy fingers to get outside so very annoying the weather keeps stopping us. So worried I'll lose the things I've grown so far :/

  16. Hope Mother Goose is fine and still has some quality time (hate that term really), to spend with you. She has very 'gentle' looking eyes.
    I'm itching to get going in the garden too but, know that it's best not to get carried away sowing too much stuff and then losing them because I thought they didn't need any protection, it is warming up soon though?


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