Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday on the Plot

Sunday was beautiful and mild with bright sunshine, Kathryn and the two girls were on the plot early to begin the big dig, I arrived later and we set about transforming last years potato patch into this years onion beds, alliums follow pops in the rotational scheme of things.
It always amazes me that no matter how many times or how deep you dig you will always find more spuds that were missed and some still come up through the subsequent crop!

1st onion bed

In the foreground are the overwintering onions or what is left of them after the birds. The other beds have green manures and we can leave these beds for another few weeks.The lush green one is Landsberger,it did go in earlier than the other two which are sparse enough

Red Duke of York, a first early in their egg trays to 'chit' it is the method of sprouting the pops before planting to give them a head start. They are covered with the fleece to deter pests and in case of frosts.

The onion beds covered with netting in case the birds think they are worms peeping up!
Troy, good tolerance to bolting of medium flavour
Setton, high yielding ,long storage variety
Snowball, white, mild flavour and stores well


Red Gourmet, sharp strong flavour,
Jermor longue, true french long shallot, rose coloured flesh

Red Onion
Hyred, early cropping, mild flavour

I gave all of the beds a feed of Seaweed enhanced organic manure to give them a Spring boost.
We are still debating garlic maybe we would have better luck with a Spring planting variety than we have had with the Autumn planted ones in previous years.

The girls are bigger and stronger this year and wielded forks and rakes without a bother, Sinead moved wheel barrows of sods etc up to the dung heap in double quick time! They both planted up pots with primulas for a bit of colour on the plot.
There were a few plotters out in the sunshine whipping their plots into shape and it is nice to meet up with old friends again and discuss the new season.
Thank you for your comments on the previous post and one evening this week I will set aside to visit some old friends online.

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Season

I went out to the allotment today for the first time since before Christmas which seems like months ago so much has happened and changed in that time.
Sinead and Aoife came with me and spent some time checking out what had changed around the site since we last saw it.
Zwena has some fantastic plans for the Hydro Farm not just for this season but the coming years, it will be a very exciting place to be!
On 24th March Brown Envelope Seeds are visiting us and advising us on seeds and planting etc and we will also get a discount on the seeds we buy.

They have been selecting over the years for varieties and individual plants that work here as they operate in West Cork. Their seeds are open-pollinated, or open source seeds, which means that you can save your own seed from them.

The farm is certified by The Organic Trust so that the seeds may be used by certified organic growers. There are no chemical treatments carried out on the seeds or the plants they are harvested from. (IRL-O1B3-EU Symbol No. 159).

Brown Envelope Seeds is registered as a seed producer with the Department of Agriculture.

Fionnuala Fallon who writes a gardening article for the Irish Times each Thurs visited us in 2010 to include us in her forthcoming book which is now with the printers and we are looking forward to seeing ourselves in print soon.
Fionnuala contacted me recently to see if we would be interested in trialing grafted plants for Suttons.
Suttons have been developing a grafting technique over the last few years and we are now part of the process trying them out in the various growing situations which allotment holders and small vegetable growers present.
We have chosen 3x tomato varieties, Aubergines, peppers and cucumbers, they also have Chilli plants but we passed on them!
Our plants will arrive as plugs in mid March and then the fun begins!
The benefits of Suttons grafting process promise
Up to 70% more fruit
Earlier fruiting
Longer fruiting
Greater yield
Greater resistance to pests and disease
Better for outdoor growing.

Jobs done today,
A general tidy up of the plot, harvested the last of the sprouts, fixed the fences and began digging the onion bed.
We have a fantastic crop of rhubarb coming up, it was great to see something starting the new season
I cut the autumn fruiting raspberries down to the ground and cut back dead or frosted foliage on the globe artichokes.
I put some seed potatoes in egg boxes in the greenhouse, just a few to test the foolhardiness or otherwise of doing so as the hens are still laying waste to the back garden at home ( there may be pests on the plot also)
They will be getting their comeuppance in a few weeks when they are wired into the end of the garden with a new hen house and extended run and I will reclaim my part of the garden.
Weather permitting on Sunday we are having a family dig in on the plot as some of our more enthusiastic plotters are all dug out and ready to plant already!
I have not been on the computer lately and did not think I would continue with the allotment or the blog as my life had taken such a tangent.I will just confine the blog to gardening in the future as sharing my personal life over the past few weeks would take books to impart or make sense of.I say this here knowing only my regular readers and online friends would read this far!Thank you all for leaving comments while I have been awol
I will have to get back into the habit of taking my camera with me to the plot