Monday, August 25, 2014
The beetroot has been fantastic all year, all from one sowing ,I have been using the thinnings as baby beetroot in Balsamic vinegar but they have now grown tennis ball size, I think they like being under the mesh the same as the carrots.
I had pulled some carrots to thin them out and I didn't think they were doing at all well, did I get a shock?!
I began pulling them but then found that some were in bunches and it would be better to thin them out and leave the others grow on a bit longer.There is a bunch of baby carrots, a bunch of full grown carrots and a bunch of the purple skinned ones and as much more still in the bed.
I thought I may have over done the sand mix in the bed as it seemed to dry out very quickly in the hot weather, it did help to grow straight ( for the most part) well shaped carrots.
Sweetcorn, tomatoes and more Sugar snap peas completed the harvest.
The carrots are clean and unmarked from carrot fly or slugs so hopefully the remainder will escape too.
There was a programme on RTE1 this evening called Gliondar about unusual hobbies and this episode was about growing potatoes!
A competition was underway in Co Kerry called Spud Off to see who would grow the best potato. They were using sea weed as a mulch and digging it in with the seed potato also. I had missed some of it when I turned on the TV so now I must check on the RTE player to see if its on there.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
We then dug it over thoroughly and removed the scutch grass roots and the stones.
I went on a road trip near Kinsale on Mon and brought back 4 bags of seaweed in the boot of the car!
Wellie boots are compulsory for this task. I did'nt want to get seaweed from the harbour area as it is possibly polluted with diesel from boats and various other unmentionables.
The seaweed was not loose at the waters edge so it meant collecting it at low tide, and taking conservation into account. I took a large scissors and cut approx half of each plant leaving the roots still attached to the rocks.The 4 bags only covered about 1/3 of the proposed potato patch for next year so at least 2 more foraging trips are necessary.
The bed has been cleared and covered with old mushroom compost and covered now with the cardboard so that is one more bed ready for next season, we are clearing and readying as we go.
The brassica cage which is in the corner of the above pics. Brussels Sprouts , Kale and cabbage are doing well but the netting has served its time and a few holes have appeared through which the white cabbage butterfly got in so some caterpillar damage is visible on the sprouts and cabbage. We are not pulling the Kale just cutting leaves carefully from each plant and trying to make them last as long as possible.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Various harvests, you will notice courgettes feature in all of them, but getting more colourful as the season progresses!
Beetroot,carrots, courgettes,cucumber, chillis,Kale,lettuce,Mange Tout,onions,sweet peppers,sweetcorn and potatoes, not bad for such a late start on a new plot!
These are Rouges Vif d'Etampes "a large, flat, heavy ribbed pumpkin with bright orange red skin.The fruit can weigh 10kg and stores well, very unusual variety. The kids just want some to hollow out and light candles in for Hallow'een!
The final pic maybe should have gotten its own space but however!
This is Jim Mc Namara of the Organic College in Dromcolliher who featured regularly on my favourite gardening programme Garrai Glas. A down to earth programme which gave the warts and all stories and film of real people gardening , the slugs ate their veg, blight got their spuds and they all got their hands dirty kind of programme.The programme was presented by Sile Nic Chonaonaigh, I had all 4 series recorded on my TV box but then had to get a replacement and lost all of them! They can be viewed on Youtube if anyone is interested.
I was at the Charleville Agricultural Show and bumped into this lovely gentleman and he posed quite happily for his very first selfie, I was not letting him go anyway!
The Organic College website
That is the story of the summer so far as we continue to enjoy sunny days with the odd thunder shower in between
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
This is a patch which was under plastic to kill off the overgrown grass, it has just been roughly dug to loosen the earth and some compost from the Municipal site put down.
Some of the grass is beginning to come through again but hopefully the pumpkin foliage will keep most of it down.
They are stretching out at least 4 to 5 feet now from where they were planted with loads of flowers and small pumpkins along their length.
According to the seed catalogue they are;
Pumpkin Rouge Vif D'Etampes,
a large ,flat, heavy ribbed pumpkin with bright orange-red skin.The fruit can weigh up to 10 kg.A very unusual variety
The length here is approx 4 feet by about 1 inch deep, after the rain it has hardened into a crust and we will see if it deters the slugs from going munch in the night!
It was €5 for the smallest pack which did stretch but if it lasts all season and works then it is value for money.
Major drawback is the smell of sheep, not for using close to the house I would imagine!
The very heavy rain has improved the soil considerably because no amount of watering was wetting it enough in the continued warm dry weather.
Monday, July 14, 2014
The first one is Wormcast, I have not used but intend to use it soon.It is 100% pure wormcast and a natural organic fertiliser.It is also child and pet safe, very important if you are using it around the garden at home.
They are on Facebook (who isn't these days)?! www.facebook.com/gsfertiliser
Their website for more info is www.gsfertiliser.ie
They also have a website with a rather romantic title!
Both of these products are totally organic and as I said made in Cork!
It is a slow release fertiliser, forming a mat when wet which suppresses weeds and the fibres make it 'uncomfortable' for slugs to wander around on it!
It does not kill them so presumably they live to munch somewhere else, it is not new to the market in the UK as some of the recommendations mention using it for 30 years. The only Irish supplier was in attendance at Mallow and was very informative about his product.
I did buy this and as yet have not used it but on Sat on the allotment I noticed a few big black slugs around so it will be put out in the next few days.
Contact for this is Mr David Brennan, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, June 29, 2014
My moan which I may as well get out of the way now is the almost complete lack of vegetables on show or on sale throughout the show!
The best things are, the number of specialist plant nurseries who all bring along their plants, who are immensely knowledgeable and will advise and talk about their plants they are not just employed to stand there all day and sell.
There are a number of free hour long talks by well known gardening experts, who live and grow here in the South and are fully conversant with any problems which may arise.
Friday, June 27, 2014
The Courgette and salad bed is becoming a jungle as the plants jostle for space, the inter planted lettuce has come on as much as the lettuce planted in the polytunnel.
There are 5 courgette plants but so far this yellow one is the only one bearing fruit. This one is Parador F1, recommended as probably the best yellow courgette available, high yielding with a nutty flavour. Its a first for us so not sure how large they will grow or even how large to allow them to grow?
The green courgettes plants are reliable Defender but no fruit or even flowers to report as yet despite the hot weather!
This evening I removed the square of plastic which has been covering this ground for a number of weeks, the skutch grass had died off and I was able to pull it up quite easily but the roots are another matter. I cleared the surface vegetation and covered the ground with bags of Bord na Mona farmyard manure. I dug quite deep holes and added the Celtic Gold soil enricher as they are very hungry plants. It was easier to plant them this large as I could see which direction they were growing in and was able to plant them with the trailing stem going the way I wanted them to grow, the stems are about 4 foot long at the moment!
Lots of pumpkins have been brought home from schools in tiny pots and I wonder how many of them will make it to October? They are sitting on kitchen windowsills drying up in the heat!
Pumpkins are big plants and will need space to grow as they romp through the flowerbeds!
They need watering and repotting as they grow very fast under the right conditions.My rule of thumb is ,when the roots are visible through the end of the pot it is time to repot meaning a larger size pot with fresh compost without disturbing the rootball .These were in large 12 ins pots before planting out today.
It will be an interesting experiment to see how they grow where the skutch grass is bound to come through soon, or will they keep it down if they are strong enough plants?!
Watch this space!
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
The weather has suddenly become glorious, sunny days with temps up in the late teens and forecasting early 20s! It brings its own problems with watering young plants, especially in the polytunnel or greenhouse.
The tomatoes have found their permanent home at last, I think they are smaller than they should be for this time of the season, they are setting blossom and have only one truss to each plant?!
The Pavilion Garden centre in Ballygarvan and added it around the tomato plants and lettuce in the tunnel. I will be expecting a huge improvement immediately!
Lettuce and Spinach takes up the other side of the tunnel, lettuce is being sown every two weeks to keep a supply going over the season. I have planted some outside also to slow down the growth as we don't want all of them maturing together.
A pleasant surprise this evening in the tunnel, strawberries turning red almost overnight!
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
I bought the mix for Bluestone, which is what is in the off the shelf spray Bordeaux mixture which is a recommended organic remedy.
Ravenscourt garden centre supplies the ingredients ( Washing crystals & the blue Copper sulphate) and the mix ratio, it suited me as we only have a small amount of potatoes and of them only the Pink Fir Apple are not Blight resistant. The rain stopped on fri evening and I thought I would go out and spray as the weather had turned humid and misty, ideal blight conditions.
I was stopped in my tracks as soon as I reached the plot as the leaves on the Sarpo Axona were discoloured and seemed to be getting worse as I was looking at them! The worst affected were at the right hand side of the potato patch, a few were affected on the other rows and the Pink Fir Apple seemed relatively unaffected?!
I had dissolved the washing crystals in hot water and allowed to cool at home, I added the bluestone and sprayed the whole plot of potatoes.
We were out early on sat morning and I was amazed to find they did not look any worse than they did the previous night, I thought they would be wiped out!
A couple of others arrived with the same intention of spraying, all plots had some slight damage but none as bad as our Sarpo Axona?I was told by someone who always grows the blight resistant varieties that their foliage may get damaged but they grow new leaves and the tubers remain unaffected!
The rain on fri was absolutely torrential and quite cold for this time of year and may have caused the blackening but then is it blight on the spuds or not?!
The weather has continued changeable and wet but summer is supposed to begin on wed!
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
I topped it up today with 2 bags of Farmyard manure ( bought prepacked).
The Sweetcorn was sown in seed trays then potted on into 3" pots then into 6" pots, if the bed had not been ready in the next few days then they would have been repotted into even larger pots.My rule of thumb for repotting is, if any of the roots are visible through the end of the pot then it is time to move on as it holds back the plant.
Sweetcorn is recommended to be sown in a square formation to aid pollination. Ours are sown in a staggered rectangle which hopefully will work too!There is a fleece barrier around the bed as sweetcorn does not like wind and our new allotment is definitely windy, they got a good soaking with an organic seaweed feed and now we just wait!
The Courgettes are growing slowly, but I don't think we will be having a courgette glut anytime soon !
I removed the cover from the carrot bed temporarily to weed the bed.The beetroot is definitely well up and easy to see to weed but the carrots are almost invisible so far!
I was at Kilmallock mart & market yesterday and found a lady selling herbs and I was delighted to find she had Comfrey so I bought a plant off of her, she assured me it is not the one that takes over the garden!
The weather began beautiful and sunny this morning but a very heavy thunder shower changed that to dull and sporadic showers for the remainder of the day.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
They were planted out yesterday morning and this morning one of the peas was nibbled down despite the fleece and netting around the back of the bed, definitely rabbit damage!
There are 6 courgette plants, 3 green and 3 yellow. We did not have any luck with the yellow ones last year they just died off after producing a few tiny fruits.
We are heading off on our annual visit to Bloom in Phoenix Park in Dublin, it begins tomorrow and runs until Monday.