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Showing posts from March, 2009

Peas Out

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Today is slightly warmer but a heavy mist of rain which may dry off if the sun comes out. It is what we in Ireland call 'a soft day'. This type of rain is great for the ground as it soaks through instead of running off and the ground is very dry at the moment.
Yesterday I had an hour to spare before collecting the girls from school so as it is in the same area I went out to the plot.I took out the peas, both sowings of them and put them into their bed. This stale bed idea is a good one, I had prepared this bed about 3 weeks ago and when I went to plant, a lot of small weeds were easy to hoe from the surface, there were a few bigger weeds just developing tap roots, easy enough to remove now but if they came up through the peas would be impossible to dig out. There are 28 seedlings planted out and about 6 more in the greenhouse for filling in gaps if needed.

The seeds were planted in loo rolls and newspaper pots and were planted out in them also.I leave the ends open for the roots…

First Harvest of 2009

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I cannot believe I have not had time to be on here for a few days! I must get around to see what everyone has been doing on their blogs. Every morning and a couple of afternoons have been spent on the allotment and I actually forgot to take my camera and when I did I forgot to use it, I had so much to catch up on.Yesterday I did remember, while Ed was putting down the boards for the paths I removed the netting from the Purple sprouting broccoli which had been in place since last August when it was planted out.The ground had become quite compacted over the winter and it was very dry underneath.The mulch of horse manure had smothered all but a few weeds, most of them were at the edges growing up from the path. I had read that loosening up the soil and piling it up around them would help so that is what I did also removing yellowed leaves and generally tidying them up and gave them a good soaking with the hose.

A few of them have little purple hearts developing but I will leave them for a…

Earth Hour

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The title applies to everyone all over the world switching off power if possible at Earth Hour 8.30pm March 28th.Hopefully up to 1 billion people in cities all over the world will participate.To take part does not require any signing up just switch off lights for one hour to reduce your carbon footprint.In Ireland government and heritage buildings are taking part by dimming or switching off lighting.
A great excuse to have a candlelight dinner!
In praising Michelle Obama for making an organic garden in the White House, I was unaware until reading a snippet in a paper that our own First Lady, President Mary McAleese was way ahead of her! The President has not only a vegetable garden in Arus an Uachtaran ( our presidential residence) but also has hens there! I tried to Google it to get some more information but to no avail so if anyone can come up with anything further on it please share!


The first photo is of the peas, about 35 plants waiting to go out to the allotment but the weather has…

Organic First Lady

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Did anyone see the piece on the paper about Michelle Obama planning an organic garden in the White House?! They are planning on digging it out soon and she is encouraging children to become involved as it is through the children the parents will be involved. That is one smart Lady. The full story can be read here
Our Purple Sprouting Broccoli has finally put in an appearance! I though we should be eating it by now but maybe like a lot of things last year it went in late. This little flash of purple is the size of a golf ball and there is another one on a second plant.

Colleen second earlies, sprouting before they took their trip out to the allotment this morning.The weather is supposed to take a turn for the worst tomorrow so I hope to get them in today.

We are down to the wire. Two drill of first earlies, Orla, 4 drills of second earlies Colleen and one drill of first early Home guard seed donated by Zwena. I finished digging out the trench along the wire and burying the fence wire unde…

Works in Progress

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I gained a second Lidl mini greenhouse, son B. has new baby in the house and does not have time to garden so it was passed on to me. I was able to move everything around as space was getting scarce in the first one. Second sowing of peas was moved down from the windowsill and everything else is coming on too. I sowed herbs which are still on the windowsill but all of them have put in an appearance so will be moved out in a few days as it is sunny and warming up a little.

Ed and I put down scaffolding boards which Zwena got for us to make permanent pathways. it is not finished as we need to cut some boards to finish.The weed membrane will be covered with wood chips so soon we will have less muddy paths.

Two rows of Orla first earlies, the fencing has to be finished before the next lot of seed go in. Another first early Colleen is chitting and hopefully will be in, in the next few days.


The bamboo frame for the beans which Kathryn has nearly ready, they are growing but need to be hardened…

Mothers Day

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I haven't been online for a couple of days, the days were not just long enough.A lot of time was spent on the allotment but the two days I was there I had forgotten to take the camera so that will be rectified hopefully tomorrow.
Sunday 22nd March ( third Sunday) is Mothers day here in Ireland,and I think in the UK but I am not sure about any other area. Photo is of some of the flowers and cards not to mention chocs and of course Books which I have received from children and grand children for the occasion.They all have families now and get treated by their own offspring for the day.
I do not envy them breakfast in bed when I think of the soggy toast and cold tea I smiled and tried to look impressed by and grateful for over the years when they as young children decided to treat me to breakfast in bed, and waited smiling beatifically until I had finished every morsel! Thanks lads, I know your hearts were in the right place but you know my saying 'what goes around ,comes around…

Bags of Style

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I was reminded tonight that this was a post I meant to do, I was browsing blogs and Calico and Cards had a post on reusable bags.Photo is of Aoife with the recycled feed bag bought on Etsy from Pam on Life on a Southern Farm Its waterproof and hard wearing it is now my allotment bag because if I leave it on the damp ground its contents remain dry. I have also used it for bringing veg home from the shops and it is a conversation piece!

How many of you have heard of Anna Hindmarch? She designs bags which cost thousands of dollars and sell on Ebay for hundreds! This particular bag was designed to make recycling and not using plastic bags fashionable, a quote from the designer in New York Times reads; "To create awareness, you have to create scarcity by producing a limited edition," she said. "I hate the idea of making the enviornment trendy, but you need to make it cool and then it becomes a habit." You can read the story of the bag here
A store here in Cork got in…

The Big Dig Begins

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We have started work on the second plot.It was a beautifull warm and sunny St Patrick's Day so I took myself out to the plot intending to erect the bamboo canes on the bean bed.Grandaughter Gemma was sent up to help me and I was a bit sceptical as Gemma is a very girlie girl.Can this girl can move some sods! I was amazed at the way she attacked the overgrown bed and very soon had cleared it. Top photo is the finished bed.

Action snap of Gemma in digging mode, note the white boots!

Stephen her brother was also dispatched later and as I told him Gemma would be a hard act to follow he set to and cleared another large bed.

While the lads were digging on the new plot I attempted to dig the side of the new potato bed to dislodge some weeds and discovered that wire netting which had originally been along the side fence had over the years fallen down and become entangled with weeds and now was about 2 feet out through the bed.I had to dig a trench and pull the wire free of some roots that lo…

La Feile Padraig

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Happy St Patrick's Day to everyone far and near. It is our national Saints day tomorrow 17th March. It is a Bank Holiday in Ireland with all the schools off. Parades will be held in villages and towns all over the country with the biggest and most spectacular being held in Dublin our capital city.
Our parade here in Cork has American astronaut Dan Tani as our Grand Marshall,his wife is an Irish girl from Kinsale in Co Cork.
It looks like being one of the best days weather wise for years! Sunshine and temps of up to 13% Celsius are being forecast.I remember being at the parade for the Cork
800 in 1988, this was the celebration of the 800th anniversary of our city getting its charter and it snowed ! It is usually windy,wet and/or freezing cold and the little children marching are blue with the cold.
A link here you can check out the myths and legends of St Patrick.If you see a picture of the Saint he usually has a sprig of shamrock in his hand and he is standing on a serpent (snake), d…

Manna from Heaven

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This morning was foggy with a light mist of rain. I took myself down to B&Q to get bamboo canes for the bean bed.They were quite reasonably priced at 5.00e for 10 x 2.5 mtr thick canes. I returned and found all of these had been put through my letterbox! One of my sisters had been and made me a present of all of these organic seeds which are recommended by the one and only Alan Titchmarsh no less.Lots of interesting seeds for planning and reading about.
I bought the rest of the seed onions to finish the onion bed and when I collected the girls from school we went to the allotment and put them down. It was the last bag of seed onions in Ravens Court garden centre, the lady serving me said there had been a big run on them and the seed potatoes this year, everyone is trying their hand at growing their own.

Baby sprouts are up! They look like tiny shamrocks at the moment. The peas and the salad onions are also after putting in an appearance, but are so minute I don't think the camer…

More beds

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I spent the morning in the allotment again as it was a lovely mild morning and we have a lot to get going.The onions took a battering over the winter whether from the birds or the weather. I howed between the rows of onions and garlic loosening up the soil a little.I transplanted some of the remaining onions from the end of the bed to fill in the gaps, I moved them with a trowel and taking some surrounding soil so as not to disturb them too much as I am not sure if onions like moving! I dug over the end of the bed and planted some Spring sown onions but I will need about 50 more to complete the sowing. It will be interesting to see if the winter sown ones take off or if the ones sown now catch up on them. Scarecrow watched with interest I hope he remembers to shoo the birds away!!

Before I went out to the plot I removed the bubble wrap from the mini greenhouse and put out the peas, borage and sunflowers to harden off a little. All of the seedlings have come on producing lots of new lea…
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I spent a few hours on the allotment this morning, I had the place to myself until it was nearly time for me to go.In the autumn we dug a trench for the beans to which we added compost over the winter,but I decided today it was in the wrong place! If it was left running across the width of the plot the beans would shade any plants behind them so now I will have 4 smaller beds in this area. The photo above is the new bean bed which I dug over and then dug out a deep trench which to which I added yellowed PBS leaves and any of the compost which I dug up from the previous trench which would have been running at right angles to the end of this bed.I will bring out some compost from the bins at home to fill it up.The whole idea is to provide moisture retention for the beans in the summer and they do not like animal manure.

The edge of the new bean bed in the foreground with the new pea bed at the other end, there is room for two more good sized beds here now.Today I just marked them out and…

Link Within

Just a short post today on the Link Within gadget! I saw this on Catherine's blog Dispatches from the Deise and Lynda's Blog Foodfunfarm. I followed the link and got it on my own blog I was actually seeing posts I had completely forgotten about!
When I changed the background the link within did not change so the writing was unreadable. I went back to the site and emailed them thinking I may never receive a reply or it will be too technical, but no! A couple of hours later I got a lovely email saying they had visited my blog and it was now updated, which it was! I think that is excellent service in this day and age and deserves a mention.

St Patrick's Day

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The photo was taken in Gran canaria on St Patrick's day 2006,
I have changed my layout and header pic as we are coming up to celebrating our national saint's day soon. When we were in Gran Canaria, I have to say it was the best St Patrick's Day I have had! The sun shone from a cloudless sky, there was a parade, I think their first out there and there was singing and dancing in the streets.A group of friends and ourselves met up out there I have lots of photos which I will put up nearer the day.
Post update!! Anyone who logged on last night or this morning saw a different background to my blog. I had to change it because those floating shamrocks were driving me crazy. I changed the header pic to one of the allotment taken in May of last year.

Peas to go

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I had intended to go out to the allotment today and spend some hours out there as my students are now gone and I am not tied to meal times! The day dawned cold and sunny but it is now wet and gale force winds, we even had a hail shower.
I planted my seeds of Karina second early peas instead, they have been soaking overnight in warm water to soften them and hopefully speed up the germination process.I got these from seedaholic and they are also organic. I used recycled loo rolls and newspaper pots This may seem a bit fiddly and time consuming before planting seeds but when it comes to planting out it does not disturb the roots as the pots are planted in to the ground and saves so much time at that point.When I am making the pots I leave the end open so the roots can grow through. There is also the problem of mice eating the seeds when they are planted directly in to the ground, so a bit of time spent at this point can save an awful lot of time and effort later. The kids could make up th…

More seed sowing

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I sowed more seeds today, in this container are a tray of Mussleburg Leeks, we are going to try successional sowing with them this year. They were late going in last year so we are getting in a bit earlier with them now.Some sown in modules so no root disturbance and others sown directly outdoors late in the month.The second tray in here are modules of brussels sprouts,if they all germinate there will be more than enough for our use.I read somewhere about putting tinfoil behind the seed trays to reflect light on to the seedlings so I decided to give it a try it, may stop them getting long and spindly like the earlier sowings.It is just tinfoil wrapped over cardboard and attached to the lid with duct tape.

Peas soaking in warm water for sowing tomorrow, the first seedlings are quite strong now and seem to have survived the move outside, as soon as the weather improves a bit they will be put in to their bed on the allotment.

Red salad onion seeds in their modules again they will be plante…