Monday, March 26, 2012

Gardening in the Sunshine!

We have been enjoying very unseasonal sunshine with temps in the high teens.Gardening on the allotment and at home has been a pleasure due also to the extra hour of daylight in the evenings since we changed to summertime.
The rhubarb has gone mad this year, it is almost forming a hedge across the front of the plot.
I picked some last week and made some very tasty tarts, I have seen new season rhubarb on sale for E 1.50 fro 4 or 5 stalks!
The area netted in the foreground are onions which are coming up well, the netting was to stop the birds from pecking out the tops until they get established

These photos did not upload in sequence!
This is the asparagus bed which got a very overdue face lift and feeding, more below.

I put in 4 drills of Sharpes Express and Red Duke of York, all first earlies.
There are more to go in but these are the traditional St Patrick's day sowing

The reason the asparagus bed got its long overdue TLC, we have asparagus!
Kathryn noticed 3 spears on Sun but they had been nibbled by the rabbits,we had not checked because we were not expecting any to show for another month at least.Kathryn put netting over the bed until we could do a proper job on it.
I gave the whole bed a top dressing of soil and well rotted manure from our 'heap'covering the new spears from the frost as well as the rabbits.The whole bed will be wired in tomorrow.

The back garden flowerbed was reclaimed from the hens.I did not think anything had survived their onslaught but I was very pleasantly surprised to find new growth struggling to come through.
The last daffs left standing!

The Hosta sprouting new green shoots in the midst of destruction.I had tried to dig it out a couple of years ago as it is too close to the Peony rose but I could not get any leverage on it. The hens had scraped away all of the earth almost exposing the root ball so I was able to dig it out and move it to a new location where it is doing very well.

The old fashioned Peony rose which I had given up all hopes of seeing again.
Between the hens and the frost all that was visible was dead brown foliage, but when I scraped away the debris there are lots of new shoots growing!
Peony roses don't like disturbance according to all the experts so if this flowers again after being seriously disturbed by the hens?!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Blarney Parade

Blarney St Patrick's day parade drew a huge crowd to the village, the parade was supported by all the neighbouring parishes and there was a great buzz as the participants took up their stations.We were in position no 36 and there was quite a few behind us.
The sun shone throughout apart from one light shower just before the parade took off.
There were 2 raised beds on the trailer and a pergola, 2 scarecrows were suspended from the top and various garden implements.

All available personnel were out early to prepare the float (trailer)!Julie was busy with the paint brush and Michael was putting the pergola together

In the foreground are the various bits the rest of us were gathering to fill the raised beds etc.

Scotty driving the jeep with some of the allotmenteers behind. The balloons are actually vegetable shaped but it is hard to see them in the photo.

The motley crew behind with garden implements, wheelbarrow etc, Willow the german shepherd is sporting a tricolour ribbon for the day!

Mother's Day was on Sunday here, flowers, wine and chocs were arriving all day, Thank You.
I took the camera into the front garden to take some pics of what is in flower now.
The first tulip with the last of the grape hyacinths in the background

Last of the daffodils

Catkins and buds on the contorted hazel

Callendulla,my late Mother brought me a little slip one day some years ago and it has flowered faithfully since. It usually flowers much later here in the front which gets very little sunshine except early in the morning.

Mahonia is in a corner which the yellow flowers brighten up, the top leaves are always a mottled brown colour for some reason.

Today I made a start on reclaiming the back garden from the hens,a very short video of them checking out their new abode!

Friday, March 16, 2012

La Feile Padraig

Cead Mile failte agus la shona duit amarach fe La le Padraig
A hundred thousand welcomes and may you have a great day tomorrow for St Patrick's day

Monday, March 5, 2012

Planning Ahead

These photos were taken with my phone...why? I forgot the camera yet again!
The early potatoes chitting in the cold greenhouse, they have a fleece covering to protect from frost which we have had since I took these photos.We have sunny days but very cold evenings and nights.
I mentioned chitting in the previous post but on rereading it I realised I should explain 'chitting'. I know when we started on the plot we had heard of chitting but had to look online to find out exactly what to do.
Chitting is a way of starting the potatoes to send up little stalks to give your potatoes a head start in the ground.
If you look closely at the seed potato there will be a grouping of eyes around one end which is called the 'rose' end.Stand the seed potato with this end up, in an egg box which is ideal for the job or any other suitable container.
In a few weeks you will see it sprouting,when sowing around mid March keep the sprouts at this end up as they are the potato stalks not the roots!
St Patrick's day 17th March is traditionally the day we sow our early potatoes in Ireland

The strawberry bed also got a makeover, I had removed the old growth late last year but they still needed a tidy up.I removed any old brown leaves and was surprised to see some flowers coming out, not sure if they are new this year so I left them to be on the safe side.
The bed got a top dressing of sulphate of potash, which is recommended for all fruiting and flowering plants in Springtime.
I had the poly tunnel in the shed and also a mesh one which should have covered the top end of the bed but the mesh one was shredded to bits by over wintering visitors I think!
I bought a new mesh today and went out to cover the whole bed as more frost is forecast
Matron spreads wood ash on her beds which is great if you have it.There is a return to wood burning stoves recently or turf which we burn a lot of here, you have none of the chemicals which coal products have so spreading on your garden is a great way to utilise the ash!

The fruit bed was weeded, dandelions are making a determined effort to colonise the ground!
The Autumn fruiting raspberries were cut back to ground level, this was all done last week and today there is a bunch of new green growth coming through.
I cut back any deadwood on the blueberries which are in deep pots of ericacous compost as they like acid soil.I will scrape out the top layer of soil carefully and renew it.
I also gave the bed a dressing of the potash and spent half an hour with a sledge hammer straightening back the boards around the edge.
I have been very lax this year with the seed sowing, none of them have been even started yet!