Monday, August 25, 2014

Between the Showers

There was nothing done on the plot since Friday due to the worsening weather over the weekend.The greenhouse needed watering so I went out this evening. I intended pulling the remainder of the beetroot and the carrots and clearing the bed for the winter.The carrots had been very slow germinating and I thought not a great return from them, until I removed the Enviromesh which has sheltered them all summer.
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.

I weeded the bed ,cleaned it up and recovered it with the enviromesh as there is a second wave of carrot fly due in September I think?
 The carrots are clean and unmarked from carrot fly or slugs so hopefully the remainder will escape too.
The onion bed put to sleep for next season. I covered the bed with old mushroom compost, cardboard and today finished off with Mypex to keep nutrients in and have the bed ready to go next year as soon as the ground warms up.

The seaweed is amazing after all the rain, the two lots which I had put down early in the week had completely dried out and shrunk but I was surprised to see today that it is all back to its original bulk as it seems to have soaked up the rain?!
 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

Getting a Headstart on Next Year!

We have finally dug out the last corner of the plot, its been sitting under plastic sheeting for months to break down the high grass.The plastic was removed and the dead grass could be easily pulled away making it possible for a fellow plotter to come in with a rotavator to break up the ground.
 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.
It is thickly covered with the seaweed which will act as a mulch over winter and is good for potatoes also, the ground will be ready for planting seed potatoes instead of playing catch up as we have been doing all of this season.
I had covered some of it with this large cardboard box but this evening that was removed to cover the cleared onion bed. The onions have been drying over the past weeks and are now plaited to hang in storage.
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

Summer on the Plot

I have been on holidays abroad, enjoying the summer sunshine here at home, spending days on the plot  and while taking some photos did not turn on the computer to upload so, not to bore anyone, collages are the way to go.
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!

The onions drying in the sunshine.Chilli peppers (our first attempt ever at growing these)!Tomatoes reddening on the vines at last, our first red pepper is in there too! I love how colourful the harvest gets as the season unfolds.
The  story of our pumpkins. they were started off in pots at home and repotted as needed, they were  finally planted out on the plot in early June.Clockwise from top left is their progress, it was slow until we got some heavy downpours of rain and then they just took off!
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!

Some edibles I remembered to take photos of! Top left, Ginger, Lemon & Courgette jam. Roasted Beetroot in Red (Ruosso)Balsamic Vinegar. Chocolate & Courgette Cupcakes.
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