Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pumpkins & Pests

The Pumpkin patch after the recent heavy rains. There are 4 plants here and at the moment romping all over 'their' patch.I have usually planted pumpkins where I would have dug up the first early potatoes but this year we didn't have any earlies so seconds and main crop are still in the ground and the pumpkins needed their space out of the pots.
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.
This is the largest at the moment, about tennis ball size, the rest are less than golf ball size. We are now wondering how many to leave on the stalk to mature and will we cut the stalks at a manageable 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

As for the pests, I put down the organic Slug Gone fibre (see previous post)  not on the peas as I said originally but at the end of the Brassica bed where the first 4 Brussels Sprout plants were being nibbled.
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

Green, Irish and Organic

The best thing about garden shows is you can see any new developments and ask questions, these are some I saw while browsing around the Mallow Garden festival.They are also interesting as 2 of them are completely Irish made and even further recommendation is they are based in Cork!
     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

I have mentioned this before and have also used it, its a bit pricey but I have to say an excellent product. it was also available at Mallow at a special show price but it is also in all good garden centres. I was not aware this was manufactured in Cork and is owned by a cooperative of about 30 farming families in West Cork, based in Bantry.It is a probiotic fertiliser and soil improver.
They also have a website with a rather romantic title!
 Both of these products are totally organic and as I said made in Cork!
The third one does not have that distinction but I found it fascinating all the same.Its a product called SlugGone, contains no chemicals and is totally safe for organic gardening,is environmentally friendly and is pet safe.It is actually made from wool as it is a byproduct of the wool textile industry.
 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  slug.gone@hotmail.com
For something completely different, our harvest on Sat. The radishes were gift grub from a fellow plotter, baby beetroot thinnings which were roasted, cooled and pickled in Balsamic vinegar. Spinach, mange tout, the first of the courgettes and some of our Charlotte second earlies. We have had a glut of lettuce of all things as the plants outside caught up with the ones indoors in the polytunnel the weather has been so warm!