Showing posts from May, 2008

From strawberries to Potato blight!

I begged some hay from the livery stables to put under the strawberries to raise them off the ground.There is quite a good crop of them this year.We did not buy any plants, the ones we have were growing all over plot.I moved them up into one bed and cut back any runners to strengthen the plants and to let them concentrate on just growing.They should be naturalised by now to our site. Bought 10 cauliflower plants and 10 Brussels Sprout plants in Atkins on the Carrigrohane rd and a Pumpkin! We attended a meeting last night about allotments and community gardens ( more on this later) and discovered Potato Blight has reared its ugly head already, not on our allotments Thank God. I am told it should not appear until after 15th June but we have been having very humid and warm(ish) weather and the conditions are right for it. We were told to get Bordeaux mixture to spray. I thought Bordeaux only came in the red and white variety! This is mixed with water and sprayed at intervals. I bought a br…
2/ June 2007

1/April 2007What a difference a year Makes!!

3/ May 2008

28th May 2008

A Shed has appeared in the allotment beside us, the lads there have done trojan work on 3 adjacent allotments just this year alone! This is the bed that Kevin did the preliminary work on, I put down swede turnip plants bought in a garden centre. I also set seeds of Beetroot and parsnips.I was not a lover of beetroot for years as I can remember one year when I was quite younggetting fed on the stuff for what seemed like the whole summer! My late aunt Peggie in Tipperary started growing it. To me looking back there must have been acres of it, as it was boiling on the open fire in big pots day after day. We had it hot and cold with every meal and I can remember us children checking each others teeth to see if they were red as our hands and clothes were! I developed an aversion to the look and taste of beetroot for most of my life.As I grew older I did try the beetroot sold in jars as a salad accompaniment but never liked it. So last year we grew some and picked it small and the difference …

Digging for Victory!

Kevin, doing what he does best......digging! We are finally getting towards the end of the allotment and the hard, back breaking work.This year Kevin has his own set of tools , so he is quite independent!This photo was taken on Sunday 18th May.

To the left is our cabbage and some broccoli, protected from the ravages of the rabbits and the cabbage fly under wire and netting! This allotment business is all out war! Last year the rabbits munched their way through stuff as fast as we put it down. They must have thought they were in fast food heaven! This year ,I have been told, a lot of the surrounding land has been set with barley and they have enough to eat down there. We are still taking precautions they are a wily lot those furry rabbits!

May 2008

A picture tells a thousand words!Compare to same time last year, (first post allotments) Fruit bed in foreground, early potatoes (earthed up) in next one.Then onions and Asparagus in next one. 4th bed is main crop potatoes, red onions and garlic. carrots in 2 blue bins to right, and our deck chairs and bits and pieces in other bins.

Lollo Rosso!

This is another photo from last year. This was the very first piece of produce we had from the allotment! Who was more deserving than Kevin to be photographed with it!
Last year we had a great 3 weeks in April, we thought there would be a drought by June it was so hot.Lots of veg. grew apace but the weather changed dramatically and anything that was not protected died a death or did not recover sufficiently .
The lettuce grew huge!! and one of the drawbacks if we can not get out there every day is that some veg just grows to seed!
This year we have not set any lettuce out there, I have set salad leaves in a window box at home .This way I don't have to pull up a whole head at a time. I can just pull off the amount of leaves I need. I will sow seeds in succession for the summer and the plan is to have fresh salad leaves until the end of Sept at least!

Summer 2008 is looking to be a non runner at the moment. Temperatures are down and its windy most days and wet some days. We Irish are v…

Carrots from the barrel!

It was not all work and no play last year. We had some success's, maybe more by accident than design! This is Sinead ( one of Stephen's sisters) and of course Kevin pulling the last of the carrots from the barrel. We had about 3 lots like this from it. Watching the gardening programmes on UK,TV style, the carrot fly seemed to be a very resourceful pest but cannot fly too high!
We filled the barrel with a layer of stones, plenty of manure ,just to bring up the level a bit and 2 bags of Westland multi purpose compost with added John Innes. Seemingly it does not dry out too fast as it is a soil based compost. The carrots grew no problem. The taste was unbelievable compared to the shop bought ones

Clearing and planning

Stephen, taken last April '07. he did the back breaking work on weekends and evenings.Our plot is behind him here, we pulled up the black covering which was only nurturing the dreaded bindweed ! This bed now has raspberries,blueberries, strawberries, a gooseberry and a blackcurrant bush. I also have a few Lavender plants.It is going to remain a permanent fruit bed. This year the raspberry canes have been cut back and some of the new growth as well , because they were starting to take over the ground.The strawberries are covered with plastic tunnels...Thank God as there are lots of blossoms on them and the weather has changed back to cold and wet again. Lots of blossoms on the Blueberries , they had too last year but I think the birds got the fruit before we did! We will be ready for them this year. We have a bumper crop of gooseberries, the bush is covered in them.

Nearly There

This is the most up to date photo I have.As you can see we brought in the heavy guns this year.That is my partner Ed with gardener in chief Kevin in attendance as always.
The bed in the foreground (black triangular bit to the left) was dug for the first time this year in February. We left an old carpet over it for the winter to kill off the grass and weeds...ED is actually standing on it in the photo as it was doing service on that bed then.
There are second early potatoes planted there now. Mike one of the more experienced members on the allotments advised me to dig out the potato beds and line drills with manure before the winter set in, we have an everlasting supply of the stuff as there is a livery stables on the land also. That was another job we did not get around to, so we were out in the cold in february doing it.
The next bed has onions and the asparagus is in the left side of it.
Again Mike said to get in the onions and garlic before the winter and they would settle in and grow…



May be a funny title for a blog, but it will be very boring for me and anyone reading this if it is going to be a day by day account of our doings on the allotment! Anyway it is cold and wet here in Cork on today 21st May!

What better product of our short Irish summer than asparagus ,which has nearly a shorter season! I know it is available all the year round now from the southern hemisphere but I like mine less travelled, with just a short jaunt from plot to pot.
A gardener needs to have patience to sow seeds and wait for them to grow,but for the most part this is done in one season. If it is biennial it takes slightly longer but asparagus is what separates the potterers from the gardeners and really tests the patience! It takes 3, yes 3 long years to harvest your first crop! Last year when we started I went looking for seeds and some information and found both equally hard to come by. I phoned our local radio programme C103 fm which has a gardening slot every Wednesday.The …


How do I start Blogging?!

Well, the idea was to hopefully get in contact with people who are engaged in or even have an interest in organic gardening or allotments. I am fairly new to it so all advice or ideas will be welcome.Allotments are a fairly new concept in Ireland, they have been encouraged in England since the second world war when the people were asked to 'Dig for Victory' and be self sufficient. There is growing concern about the amount of 'foodmiles' our food clocks up before it gets to our tables. Surely food cannot travel thousands of miles and still be edible without a hefty input of preservatives?!

How did I start an Allotment?

Well, both of my parents, now deceased RIP, came from the country. My father came from Johnstown, Co.Kilkenny and my mother came from Gortnahoe, Co.Tipperary, they would both have had farming backgrounds. They moved to Cork city because thats where employment was available back in the 50's. They lived in flats until eventually w…