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  • Writer's picturegrowinginharmony

Free the birds!

Our best news of the week is that the bird flu quarantine is over! We've been taking down the netting from the enclosures and leaving the doors open for the birds to roam around the site like they used to and they've been taking full advantage of their newfound freedom albeit in their very different ways!

While the ducks have chosen to feast on the grass, the chickens have decided to escape the rain by hiding in the training cabin!

We also have something new for this week - we love vegetables! We'll be sharing some of our favourite things to grow, why we love them, how you can grow them yourselves and what the nutritional benefits are when you get to enjoy the results of your hard work.

Our star of the week is chard.

We love chard because it's beautiful, versatile, tasty, easy to grow and cook and it's packed full of nutrition. Like many vegetables, chard comes in lots of different varieties and we've planted a few, giving us a colourful selection this year. Chard can be sown any time in the spring or summer. We sow ours in pots and transplant them but you can sow them directly into the soil 2cm deep and with a 40cm distance between rows or pop a few in the flower garden. Water the soil or pots after sowing. As you can see in the pictures they can get really big so you might need to thin out the seedlings once they begin to come through or just pick the leaves while they're still small. The chard will be ready to harvest as soon at the leaves are a suitable size and it works well to take little and often from the plants so that they can keep giving throughout the season.

Once you've harvested your chard you're ready to eat it and like many leafy green vegetables chard is really good for you. It's extremely high in vitamins A and K and it's also high in iron, magnesium and potassium. Chard contains anti oxidants and lots of fibre, don't forget to eat the stem too. We don't see chard in the shops because it doesn't keep or travel well so it's well worth growing in your garden!

We love to throw chard in currys, bolognese, soup, dahl, stews or simply stir fry!

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