The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Growing => Vegetables => Topic started by: Fleecewife on December 06, 2020, 01:12:11 am

Title: Do you think I can move them now?
Post by: Fleecewife on December 06, 2020, 01:12:11 am



With Bird 'flu here again and having to house our birds, the veggies in my polytunnel will be destroyed in the first week of the hens being in there. I still have leeks and various brassicas (purple sprouting broccoli, brukale, Pentland Brig kale, dwarf green curled kale, purple kale - so mostly kale!)  The brassicas are very well grown so I wouldn't normally dream of moving them, but it's the only chance we'll have for some vitamins this winter.  Do you think that if we manage to keep an intact root ball, we can plant them outside, with supporting sticks?  They would have to be protected out there with hurdles to keep the geese off as they will have to come into the veg garden for the duration.  I can't decide if it's worth the big effort of moving them all or will I just end up with dead veggies?
Title: Re: Do you think I can move them now?
Post by: oor wullie on December 06, 2020, 07:30:22 am
Possibly it will work.
I've not done it but I've seen pictures of cabbage plants being selected for seed and moved, in winter, so they are all together for going to seed the following summer.
Title: Re: Do you think I can move them now?
Post by: doganjo on December 06, 2020, 12:08:19 pm
You can't put up a temporary fence round them can you?  Or buy a cheap tent for the hens?  :roflanim:
Title: Re: Do you think I can move them now?
Post by: Fleecewife on December 06, 2020, 12:21:48 pm
You can't put up a temporary fence round them can you?  Or buy a cheap tent for the hens?  :roflanim:

In the first bird 'flu, we tried netting off the brassicas - the hens flew over it to get in.  We covered the top - the hens landed on it, pooped on it and the rats got inside, ate the brassicas and we couldn't get to them. The plus point of the tunnel is the hens can live a near-normal life, as close to their usual free range as usual, with the extra benefit of being able to sunbathe in winter  :hughen:

A cheap tent would be two counties away in the first week - even our garden sheds and permanent hen houses blew away until we learnt to bolt them onto a concrete base  ;D  So really it's a case of the tunnel or nothing, the problem being do we have veggies for the winter or not.

@oor wullie I am really tempted to give it a go, in spite of the frozen soil out there.
Title: Re: Do you think I can move them now?
Post by: macgro7 on December 06, 2020, 06:35:40 pm
Or you could freeze at least some of the veggies?
My chickens are self isolating too  :roflanim:
Title: Re: Do you think I can move them now?
Post by: Fleecewife on December 06, 2020, 11:19:51 pm
Or you could freeze at least some of the veggies?
My chickens are self isolating too  :roflanim:

Unfortunately not - being winter brassicas, they won't be ready to eat until, well - winter! still some growing to do, although some are temptingly nearly there.  They should go on supplying us for a few months yet.  The weather here is foggy, boggy and freezing so not ideal for gardening.  I think our hens are looking forward to a winter spent in the tunnel.
Title: Re: Do you think I can move them now?
Post by: Anke on December 07, 2020, 05:11:56 pm
Well kale/brassicas and leeks are the only veg I grow outside over winter, my polytunnel is empty but the Keder has got spinach and winter salads in...


If you have decided that the only place the hens can go (how old are they - will they come back into lay in the spring or would it be better to cull, at least any older ones) is your polytunnel - then you haven't got anything to loose by trying to relocate the brassicas. Leeks are probably fine, esp if you get a lot of soil with the root ball
Title: Re: Do you think I can move them now?
Post by: Fleecewife on December 08, 2020, 12:19:20 am
Five of the hens are 'mature', one is ancient, and six are youngsters just come into lay.  The ancient one does produce an egg occasionally, the young ones will lay all winter and the middle aged girls should come into lay after the new year again.  We don't eat chicken, especially not our laying hens, so they live on til they drop off their perches.  Anyway, it's as easy to keep 11 as 6.  It worked so well keeping them in the tunnel last time and they emerged in spring in better condition than usual, having had none of the weather stresses of winter.  In a competitipn between hens and purple sprouting broccoli and kale, the hens win  :hughen:


I was intending to try to keep a root ball with each brassica plant so the roots are not too disturbed, and to stake them firmly. I used to grow all brassicas and leeks outside until one year the lot was killed by heavy snow which lay for three weeks, a foot deep and rotted the plants to sludge.  So putting them outside is risky anyway, but seems to be the only way to get a crop.  We'll go for it and report back.
The leeks can go in the freezer as macgro suggests.
It's time to plant autumn garlic, so for that we shall use a small hen pen we have to protect the plants.  It's not big enough for all the brassicas.
We're just waiting for a dryish day to do the move.


Were the housing rule to become permanent then we would have to build a run and not have our hens free range, but I can't see that happening.
Title: Re: Do you think I can move them now?
Post by: doganjo on December 09, 2020, 02:50:11 pm
I would just go for it - better than letting the birds ruin all your hard work raising them.  If they survive fine, it' food for you, if not it's food for the hens.  :excited:
Title: Re: Do you think I can move them now?
Post by: Fleecewife on December 09, 2020, 05:06:41 pm
I would just go for it - better than letting the birds ruin all your hard work raising them.  If they survive fine, it' food for you, if not it's food for the hens.  :excited:

Yes, we'll go for it.  The area for them to go into was cleared today -  :garden: