Showing posts from July, 2008

Gone to seed

Zwena, our allotment owner is a great believer in the natural order of things and some plants are allowed to go to seed just for the beauty of them, to add interest to the overall picture. These are some leeks with seed heads in various shades of purple next to some sweet peas.

My Coriander plant went to seed! Not very easy to see in the photo, it is the tall brownish spindly plant in the centre! It just bolted upwards producing lovely white flowers and it is now covered in seed heads which have a wonderful smell. I will save some of the seeds and see what happens.

Liam's Gladioli bunches just coming into bloom! There are a lot of flowers planted around the allotment also which I will photograph and post later.

Potty Blooms

Flowers need not be regimented in flower pots, anything can be recycled and planted up with colourful annuals to brighten up a dark or uninteresting corner. I revamped my bathroom last year and repositioned the loo! I had the bath dumped but on reading scarecrows garden blog recently I realised I could have made a substantial aquatic garden with it grr..... .

The watering can was returned to the store where I worked last year as it was leaking at the joints. It was going to be put in the dumper for disposal when I made a reasonable offer for it! The blue flower pot was broken on one side so now it is turned on that side and the small alpine plant looks as if it is spilling out of it on to the plate.


I usually have a plant or two of lavender growing at home but have never done anything with it, I just leave the flowers on until they die off. I would break off a flower in passing and crush it in my hand to release the perfume. The sight and smell and the sound of bees humming through it is one of those memorable signs of summer so badly needed here this horrible wet year.
Last year I planted 4 plants out in the allotment, this year the plants had grown huge with lots of stems. After cutting off all the stems I realised I did not have any photos of the lavender in bloom so I had to go through nearly all my photos to find one that had them in one corner! I cropped the photo and it actually looks quite 'arty'. As if I posed the blue shovel handle to accentuate the lavender flowers!!

This year the plants had grown fairly big and I thought it was a shame to just leave the flowers to be blown down by the wind or leave them to fade on the plant. Aisling ( the lady still in wait…

Of Potatoes, Blight and Pumpkins

The last of our second early potatoes! We had a very good crop of all sizes and shapes, but at least we did not lose any to blight, which was a worry for a while. Anyone I gave some to and our own verdict was 'Great balls of Flour'!

Ben, one of my grandsons picking out the last one! I had cut back the stalks to stop the blight going down to the tubers. Ben like the others was fascinated to see the potatoes in the ground.

This is our main crop of potatoes towards the middle of July. They have been sprayed with 'bluestone'. The Bordeaux Mixture is a commercial product of this old time spray for potato blight. While the Bordeaux mixture
is convenient there is not much coverage in one box. It only mixes 7litrs for approx 5.95e. The Bluestone can be bought in the farmers co ops. It is bought loose and mixed with washing soda.The ratio is; 10lbs washing soda to 8 lb bluestone to make 44gallons.

I used 2 1/2 lbs washing soda to 2 lbs of bluestone. It made 10 gallons for approx 7.…

Shade Loving plants

Noreen, a friend of mine went to Crete on holidays recently and took this photo! I thought it is an ingenious way of shading the hydrangeas from the heat of the sun. I think it is a terrific holiday snap, I can almost feel the heat!

Random Photos July

One of the overfed fat rabbits at the entrance to the cornfield, we were in the car about 6 ft away and it just stared at us! They seem to have no fear of cars or people coming and going.

Peppers growing in the greenhouse, we seem to have a glut of these but we will just have to wait and see if we get a glut of peppers! The large one in the black pot has a lot of flowers on it.

Not a great crop of tomatoes but they are improving! They are being watered regularly this week and there is a big difference. They have been sprayed for blight and are being fed once a week. I am religously removing side shoots since I discovered what they are, they seem to be the fastest growing part of the plant!
I also pinched off the growing tips as there are enough trusses on each plant now. Notice how I am throwing in the gardener speak there! The courgette in the greenhouse.These 2 seem to be doing OK but we have lost about 4 to what I think is blossom end rot?! They get a discoloured soft patch at the ti…


A couple of years ago I planted a pumpkin in the flower bed at home. I knew nothing about them and had no idea how they actually grew. I thought they would be a novelty for the grandchildren and even had ambitions to have it for Halloween! It grew to about 12ft long, romped through the flower bed and produced ONE tennis ball sized pumpkin! Needless to say I did not go near them again, until this year when I saw some for sale. I succumbed and bought one tiny one at the end of May. This is it 2 weeks later on the 13th June when I potted it on. The intention was to keep it in the pot at home and when we dig out our second early potatoes to move it out to a permanent bed in the allotment where it will have room to grow.

This is the second potting on, there is a kind of silver 'bloom' on the leaves I'm not sure if it is fungal or not but it does not seem to be hindering its growth. There are a few flowers developing on it now.

This is our pumpkin moved out to its allotment bed o…

Salad leaves

I have not posted for a week, obviously the weather in Southern Ireland has improved! We have done quite a bit of work in the allotment but I must remember to take out the camera to take some photos.
One thing I can take a photo of here at home is the window box of salad leaves. I thought big heads of lettuce were a waste last year as they either went to seed out in the allotment or were not used if brought in. So this year I decided to plant seeds in this. I must admit I was a bit puzzled as to how the salad leaves would keep coming but they are! I have been using these and the new ones can be seen coming up around the edge of the pot again. There will not be an endless supply so I will start a new pot today. It is a good idea for anyone who likes salad leaves but may not use a whole head at a time, and the mixed leaves are nice to look at too! A bigger pot with some edible nasturtiums would make a colourfull and usefull window box.

Devon cream tea with an Irish Twist

I made the Gooseberry jam last night, 1Lb berries ( photo on Tues July 8th post) to 1 Lb of sugar, no liquid just a knob of butter. I must say it is the easiest jam I have tried. Those quantities made 1 and a half lbs of jam. I paid 89c in Aldi for 1kg of sugar, any home made jams are selling for around 3e at markets etc so I got a very good return!
Homemade sweet white scones and a dollop of cream to off set the tart taste of the gooseberries. It would also be good on morning toast instead of marmalade.
The scone recipe is roughly, 1lb of cream flour; 4ozs of margerine; 2ozs of castor sugar; 2 eggs beaten in enough milk to bind the dough together, keep back a small amount to brush the tops of the scones before baking.

Dave's advice

While browsing through gardening blogs I came across 'Dave's allotment' (see blog links). He seems to have grown just about everything and has photos of the various stages.I went to his blog archive for June 2007 to see what we could (or should) be doing and came across these nifty paper pots to replace peat pots. I got the girls working on them on one of our frequent rainy days. I planted Broccoli seeds 'Claret' on 29th June.

These are the plants on 9/7/08. They are about a week old now and will be ready to plant out in the allotment by the end of the month for cropping in March/April of next year. We are doing some forward planning! The paper pots have survived being out in torrential rain and the plants can be planted on without disrurbing the roots.

Mini fruit harvest

We went out to the allotment this morning, the rain held off for most of the morning so we got some work done.
We had some fruits to harvest too! There were a few raspberries 1/4 lb (150grms) and some pencil thin sticks of rhubarb. I thought if I pulled them they might thicken up for next year?! I combined the two in a fruit tart, as there was not enough of either to do anything with on their own. I made a sweet pastry base, softened the rhubarb with sugar first and added the raspberries and covered them with a sponge ( 4ozs marge, 4ozs sugar,2 eggs , 6ozs flour). the two tastes complemented each other nicely!
One of our gooseberry bushes had lots of berries nice deep red and ripe. We picked all of these 1lb (500grms). The second bush had 3 berries ! Bigger and pale green, almost white so we pulled these too.Have been looking up UKTV/Food for Gooseberry jam recipe. Got one, it is 1 lb berries plus 1 lb sugar and a knob of butter. Hopefully will get it done tomorrow. Have topped and taile…

Random photos

We tried growing carrots in a barrel last year and they turned out OK.This year we got a second one and said we would try it again. The barrels have stones at the bottom for drainage and haved been filled with manure just to bring up the soil level. The compost is a soil based one ( not supposed to dry out as much as peat based)! This is barrel 1, not too many carrots showing, I think they dried out at the start, I had not been out for a few days so they got no water during one of the few dry spells we got.

This is barrel 2, slightly better. They have improved a lot over the last week so maybe the rain has done some good for them.

The asparagus has lovely fronds blowing in the wind, they may as well enjoy because they wont be around long enough next year! We must bring up some bags of sea weed to mulch them. This is the second year we have left them go to seed and die back so I am looking forward to next years harvest. They are much bigger and stronger this year and all of the plants h…

Reduce, reuse, recycle

I wondered what the plastic bottles were doing on the strawberry patch on the next plot? William told me they were like mini greenhouses for the fruit and also kept the berries clean and off the ground! I had went to the trouble of putting hay under all of mine. These also make weeding easy as all you have to do is lift the bottle and weed underneath it, without disturbing the fruit! I am putting them down on any plant that is still fruiting or in flower. They need some protection from the rain and unseasonal cold weather.

After using the botttom half it is a shame to throw away the top. Then I remembered reading somewhere about making individual funnels to water or feed directly to the roots of a plant. This is the top of the bottle ( minus the cap) in situ in the top of one of my tomato plants. I can now
water and feed the plant directly to the roots without getting any on the foliage.

This is Kevin and Aoife demonstrating the 2 halves of a recycled bottle. we are going to make a few…

Wet& Windy Irish Summer

Well July has arrived with no let up in the bad weather! Some areas of the country have had the wettest June in 50 years, other areas have had the highest rainfall in years. Temperatures are away down which is not helping anything outside to grow.

I have added a layout map of what is growing where on the allotment on the end of the page, as much for our own benefit as anything else. The plot is approx 30 feet long by 20 feet wide, not including paths. There is still another bed to be dug out which will not be used for anything this year. By next year it will all be ready for planting early in the year so we can get a head start hopefully.

The red onions went to seed and white turnips seeds were planted instead on 16th June. They have nearly all germinated by now and little rows of green are visible.

The Swede turnips also went to seed! Some of them grew about 18ins tall with a seed head. I pulled one or two just to investigate and the turnip was just tiny so they got pulled out as well. …