Saturday, September 29, 2012

Still Plotting

I collected Aoife from school and we went to the allotment, while Aoife did her homework in the tea room I did some quiet digging as it was a beautiful sunny afternoon. We are having a lovely Autumn at least but it gets chilly about 4.30 pm. I had turned over the ground here last week intending to cover it with  weed suppressant and move the rooted Globe artichokes over here.Now I am thinking I may turn it into a type of herbaceous bed with the G.A and lots of flowers for colour. This bed runs along the pathway between our plot and Angela & Peter's. We don't need a fence between us but a nice useful flower bed would be good.

Some flowers still blooming on the allotment.These are Dianthus ( Sweet Williams) they are tiny but I don't remember any label on them saying miniature?!They have flowered all summer and continue to brighten the bed.

Another aubergine on one of our 3 grafted plants, we have never had any success with these before but they have produced nice sized plants about 4 to 5 ins long, each plant has given us approx 4 so far and as you can see there are still a few to go.
The grafted midi cucumbers are the star of the show as they continue to produce fruit.These are clustered at the very top of a plant, we had 3 in total.They are a nice firm cucumber with a mild taste.

Our 3 pepper plants did not do so well, there was 1 pepper on each of 2 plants the 3rd one did nothing.This looks  lovely but on closer inspection on the other side is a hole where it looks as if something bored into it.The pepper on the other plant had a similar fate, so no home grown peppers for us.

.The tomatoes were a mixed bag but as I have said before it was not a good year to trial tomatoes in Ireland especially in a cold greenhouse. They did produce quite a lot of fruit but were late which is probably why we have such a lot of green tomatoes at this time of year. The Elegance produced evenly sized fruit to a good size and we have had quite a lot of them.They did not all ripen together which is probably a good thing!The vines will have to be cleared soon as frost is very likely with our sunny days and cold nights.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Brussel Sprouts

I could not think of an attention grabbing title for this post so calling a spade a spade this is simply about Brussels Sprouts, love 'em or hate 'em. We grow them every year usually quite successfully but this year growth has been slow and we have 6 plants at varying degrees of growth even though they all went in the same day! Three plants went to seed so were brought home for the hens to enjoy.
   The netting which they were under was too short as they were growing up against it, apart from making the taller ones bend over the white butterflies could still lay their eggs on the leaves. I don't know how late in the season they stop but they are still very visible around our plots.
    The fruit cage is no longer needed so the canes and netting were recycled for the sprouts. I had to put some support canes in place for a few which were bending, topped with empty yogurt bottles to avoid getting our eyes poked if we are in the cage.There are embryo sprouts on the stalks so tidying up the bed and weeding might give them a boost.
  I also put in 6 small plants just visible in the foreground, these were donated by Christy one of our allotment colleagues.Christy grows all of his produce from seed and had these left over a couple of weeks ago, he asked me if I wanted them but they languished in the pot until last Tues when I picked the best 6 as slugs had got to them before me. The ones Christy had set in  his plot two weeks ago are growing and are much bigger than the ones left in the pot, so fingers crossed the winter veg will do better than the summer veg.The newer plants will hopefully provide a succession of sprouts after all they are not just for Christmas!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Random Summer Memories

We grew beetroot which did not do too badly, it is a crop we usually make a token sowing of as I don't eat it and the others are not too keen either! I had pickled it in previous years and did like it but the whole pickling and waiting until it was ready to eat was tiresome. Rosie, one of our allotmeteers with her husband Con grows quite a lot. While talking about it one day she said she cooks it and puts it into vinegar and it can be eaten as wanted.I tried it this year, roasted the beetroot in the oven then peeled,sliced and put it into jars, covering it with red wine vinegar.It can be eaten immediately but I am not sure just how long it would last in the jars, not really a problem as it did not last long enough to worry about it!

My D.Michelle and I set off on a 2 1/2 hour road trip a few weeks ago to visit Ikea near Dublin.We had not been there before and it is the only Ikea store in Ireland.It is a big Swedish company specialising in storage ideas and the prices are amazing.I bought this vase among other things, it was only 2.00e so I could not pass it by.I bought a silk Lily here at home which was twice the price of the vase, I could have probably got one a whole lot cheaper in Ikea if I had thought of what I wanted to use the vase for.The stem of the lily is wound around in circles in the vase so the top of the vase needs to be wide to get it in. Lots of people have unused fish bowls in the attic and it would be a great way to use it.

 I took Grandsons Kevin and Jack to Waterford to the Suir valley railway, just over an hours journey from home. It is a narrow gauge railway which has been restored and visitors can go on a 45 minute journey through the countryside along the banks of the river Suir. Jack's hero is Fireman Sam, he had the helmet and the safety jacket on all day. The Suir valley railway has different characters meeting and greeting on the platform. Jack was not too impressed with Dora the Explorer.

Once Fireman Sam appeared Jack was starstruck, he followed him everywhere just gazing up at him.

We repeated the trip a couple of weeks later to take Grandson Scott to meet Peppa Pig who he loves on TV. Not too sure he circled around for a while!

The other kids were shaking hands and after a while Scott walked up and did likewise and stood in for a photo with Peppa!Scott was diagnosed as being on the Autistic spectrum but is a lovable and happy little boy who makes us laugh and amazed as he is a bit of a numbers genius and we recently discovered he can read quite a lot of words at just 4 years old!   Scott can make up jigsaws in minutes without looking at the picture on the cover.  
That was just some of our summer even though the sunny days were few and far between.The removal of word verification and using comment approval is working well so far.Thank you all for your suggestions and advice.              

Monday, September 17, 2012

Word Verification Stress!

IfBefore I start on stress, a rainbow appeared over the allotment today as we were leaving so I will take a deep breath and think beautiful thoughts!I had noticed when I tried to leave comments on some blogs over the past week or so word verification kept telling me I was putting in the wrong letters! Yesterday I spent hours visiting all of the blogs on my sidebar which had been  updated in the past month and tried to leave a comment.Any of them with word verification would not allow me, I tried each 3 times, a slow process after writing a comment.If anyone reading this and whose blog is on my sidebar has not had a comment from me then your blog will not allow me to do so.I have now removed word verification from my own blog to make things easier, I will see how much spam I get!

!This hatbox was delivered to me on Friday, I was mystified when I saw it arriving wondering had I been on Ebay in my sleep ordering frivolities! It was my beautifully wrapped order from Mr Middleton garden shop. I had ordered over wintering onions and mixed daffodils some time ago, they had obviously come into stock and been dispatched to me

The onions were put into a bed which Stephen had got ready for me on Sat and sealed under netting to keep the birds off.One side of the netting is black so does not show up in the photo.They are a Japanese onion, Senshyu. They were 3.99e per pound, I was not sure how much would be in a pound so ordered 2lbs! There are 120 onions in this bed and there are still some onions left in the first bag. I think Stephen will be preparing a second bed.Our over wintering onions last year were the best onions of the season as the later ones began to get neck rot from the continued wet weather.Monday was a Moon planting day for onions, I only use it sporadicallybut after the dismal summer I am going to take all the help I can get!

Christmas Carrots in a barrel in the greenhouse

The new strawberry bed, we got this ready some weeks back and transferred new runners for next year.They have taken root and are growing well, looking at the photo I realise I did not do one job which I had made a mental note of while out there. Some of the plants are producing runners and I want to keep these cut to allow the plants to grow strong before winter.

I thinned the swede turnips, another job long overdue, the thinnings are big enough to use.Some small heads of Broccoli they will hardly make side shoots this late in the season but we will leave them to their own devices.Tomatoes are still cropping but reddening very slowly.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Random Summer

A very random selection of summer photos as it was a very random kind of summer! Weather was unpredictable and harvesting even more so.I lost my blogging MOO somewhere along the line due to Blogger and problems with that, I think I will be looking at other means of publishing the blog.The latest which I have encountered over the past few days is I cannot leave comments on other blogs as the comment moderation does not work.I type in the word verification over and over again but blogger keeps saying it is wrong!

Anyway we had gooseberries which Kathryn made into jam and I tried compote!

Our little plant pot holder was happy amid the summer flowers

Grand daughter Gemma shone on her debs night, she went for the vintage look which was so elegant!

My lovely Aunt Maisie celebrated her 83rd birthday, she is the last remaining one of my Mother's family of 8

We had sweetcorn, not as plentiful as previous years but 2 cobs on each of 8 plants was not too bad

Salad crops did OK even though the lettuce spent its time growing under cloches event through July and August.The onions had to be lifted early as the necks were getting soft due to the continuous wet weather.They were dried in the greenhouse and are now bagged in recycled fruit netting

Again some salad crops with berries and peas.The birds did leave some for us!

Some crops went to seed  as in this globe artichoke which is a thing of beauty in the allotment. We are redoing the artichokes bed as they are getting too big for the bed near the greenhouse now.I have some off shoots growing which will be moved to a new permanent bed soon.

Our plot appeared in print! Fionnuala Fallon who writes the Urban Farmer column in the Irish Times each Thurs visited us nearly 2 years ago.The book is called From the Ground Up and has stories of different veg growers who have grown their own  in various places around Ireland often against the odds on wet or boggy land.its not a how to and when gardening book but has lots of great ideas and encouragement to try growing your own no matter what you have even if it is a balcony as in the chapter 8 Square metres.
Hopefully when I click publish Blogger will do so!