Showing posts from February, 2010

Inch by Inch...row by row...

When we took over the second plot last year the area behind the greenhouse was completely overgrown with thistles and teasles and brambles.We cleared it and discovered this old cold frame lurking underneath
We filled the cold frame with compost and grew courgettes and tried a mushroom experiment which came to nothing as we found out that to grow mushrooms from seed temperatures are crucial.

This is the same area today! I went out to the plot at 12 and did not come home until nearly 6.I also had to call in reinforcements from time to time. Kathryn and David came up to break up the cold frame and take the pieces up to the compost heap.Gemma kept me company for most of the afternoon making tea and taking wheelbarrow loads up to the compost heap for me.
I recycled the back part of the cold frame, I dug a trench down inside the wire sinking the timber to hopefully stop weeds etc growing through from the pathway at the back. I kept digging down the length of the bed which is about 20 feet as …

Spring Sunshine

It was a beautiful sunny day today despite the dismal weather forecast, Kevin and myself headed out to the plot in the early afternoon. It was Kevin's first day on the plot this year and he checked out everything, he cleared a lot of debris for me like old sprout and sunflower stems because we had left the seed heads for the birds over winter and they had been picked clean.Kevin took all of them up to the main compost heap which Zwena has had redug exposing the well rotted compost for the plotters.This is Kevin digging out a bed, this year he is old enough to use a full size fork and he was giving it welly literally!
The neat bed in the foreground has red onions (red baron) in it since today. We have not had much luck with red onions in the past as they go to seed, I am hoping putting them in now while we still have this cold frosty snap will help to slow them down a little.Today is what we here in Ireland call a 'pet day' to be enjoyed but aware that it does not mean Summ…

Seed Potatoes

I bought seeds of second earlies yesterday and have put them in the egg box incubators in the plastic greenhouse.These ones are Maris Peers, ideal for wedges,boiling and salad.There were 12 for 2.99e and are rated as high yield.
Wilja another second early, ideal for boiling roasting and chips so that should be all tastes catered for.There were 10 for 2.99 but the two together were only 5.00e.It must be a sign of the huge interest in growing your own that there is such a lot of seed potatoes available and also a lot of different varieties. We have not had these two before so it will be interesting to compare yields and taste.
The first earlies Colleen are chitting nicely and we have had no unwelcome visitors so far but I am keeping ,my fingers crossed!
The cauliflower and cabbage are finally setting their second true leaves, they will be transplanted into 3" pots early next week to grow on and I will plant more seeds to stagger the harvest (hopefully)
The Cos lettuce are growing in th…

....on a cold and frosty morning

I know the rhyme is 'here we go gathering nuts in May' but hopefully we will be finished with frost by then but for the moment we have to contend with it.We are back to a spell of severe weather with freezing temps and frost but not quite as bad as earlier in the year.The upside of the clear frosty weather is sunny bright days not the usual gloomy days we experience here at this time of year.A cheery start to the post is my single crocus is now 3 and the daffs are budding up nicely.
I bought these chives in Lidl for 99c last week,put them into a pot in their own pot, watered them and they are growing, great to have to hand for sandwiches etc and look cheerful on the kitchen windowsill as an added bonus!
I wondered what these green shoots were pushing through and remembered they are my chives from last year and yes that is frost all round
I used my stash of loo rolls to set peas this morning.They are Oregon super pod Mangetout.The funnel was made from the neck of a 3 litre minera…

Wartime Gardener

Cabbage does remarkable work in clearing the complexion,making cheeks pink,lips red and infusing you with vitality. Ministry of Food ad,Sept 1944

If that does not make you go out and grow your own veg nothing will!The history of allotments especially during the war years is the subject of an exhibition open from now until Jan 2011 so anyone making a trip to London should try to visit ,the admission prices are very reasonable and attractive for families to visit.

I visited nipitinthebud today and was fascinated by her post on the ministry of food exhibition and blog.The above is from her blog and there are links to videos etc.
Any available land was dug up and planted even in schools. I saw this pic of school children enthusiastically getting stuck in and became immediately aware of the lack of safety boots,gloves,goggles,hard hats,all of which would be de rigour today if we were to find ourselves in this position!This of course was before Nanny states took over or more to the point we al…

Spring Cleaning/moving/pancakes

This is the plastic greenhouse which I got last year.I moved it to this new position today hopefully now in full sun. The wind could get at it here which is why I am trying to anchor it down all round. Sam stays out of harms way when he sees me in this cleaning/moving mode!
This is the view up the garden, the greenhouse did occupy the space between the shed and the hedge.While it was a great position for the greenhouse as regards safety during storms and wind,(it survived the winter) it was not such a good position for the plants inside as the sunshine was limited and I think this was the downfall of a lot of plants in it last year.The bags scattered around are full of the winter debris for the dump.I emptied old compost from the pots into the flower bed.My soil here is rocky so I keep filling the bed with any compost or soil I can.
Today was a sunny day if cold, there were some falls of snow in parts of north Cork early today! I decided to bring the seedlings out for an airing to the n…

Bed Hopping

Bed hopping or to be really technical crop rotation is causing us some problems this year. The first year on a plot is no trouble just sow whatever where ever takes your fancy, even the second year was easy for us as we extended the plot digging previously overgrown beds.
Last year we had the second plot so were able to move stuff around, again no problems.
This year all of the beds have now had at least one crop so rotating them is now important to offset any danger of infestation of the various bugs and diseases that can attack when the same crops are grown in the same position year after year.
It should be easy enough one would think,lots of books and advice out there,and there begins the problem!I have 5 or 6 organic/gardening books written by knowledgeable gardeners but they often do not agree on what follows what or even what belongs to the same family!It also seems to depend on whether you have enough ground to rotate crops over a 3 or 4 year cycle.
We had potatoes in 2 beds last y…

St Valentine

Valentines Day as everyone knows is celebrated on 14th February.It is a a huge money maker for cash strapped stores in the lean period after Christmas, cards flowers and cuddly toys etc are bought and given all over the world to loved ones or soon to beloved ones hopefully!
The 'saint'has more or less been dropped from the name in the interest of global commercialism but a saint there is and the remains/relics of Saint Valentine are reputed to be in a Church in Dublin Ireland!
It is the Carmelite Church in Whitefriars St in Dublin, St Valentine was martyred for performing catholic marriages in the 3rd century and was buried in Rome.A catholic priest was given permission to bring the remains to his own Church in Dublin in the mid 19th century. It was largely unknown until a shrine was built in the 1950s and since then there has been a steady stream of visitors requesting favours of the heart from the saint.
There is a video in Youtube but it cannot be embedded so to view you will …

Buttons Galore

I finished Callum's
aran jacket last week so today I went to the Cork Button Co. for the buttons. I said I would do a post about the button company some time ago so today I took my camera with me. Years ago aran cardis had leather buttons but I knew these would not be suitable for a child's one which would be washed quite a bit as the dye would eventually run into the wool so I got these lovely imitation look ones for an authentic look.
The button company is an institution even though a lot of Corkonians are not aware of its existence!No cards of buttons here they are all sold from tubes which line the walls.The Button company has moved home a number of times but has always remained in the same area of the city. This is the unimposing modern entrance so come inside to button heaven!
Buttons are grouped in colours and types all around the walls, jewelled and plains and buttons are even dyed especially to order.
Some buttons are even Zworoski crystal. The staff are passionate about…

Pictures tell the Story

Took quite a few photos today as it was sunny, very cold but sunny!I spent a couple of hours on the plot and even though I was digging I needed my jacket and fleece on together.The fields surrounding the allotments were a hive of activity, 2 tractors were ploughing at a great rate. The crows and seagulls were following close behind.
The finished field, this would probably have taken a couple of days of hard physical labour for men and horses in the old days
The second field also ploughed this morning, the seagulls and what seemed like hundreds of swallows darting about the drills
Scarecrow stands guard, behind him the new onion bed which I dug and raked today. I did not plant anything just to give the ground a while to settle and putting my small onions into freezing cold ground probably would not do much good.
The flower bed at the back of the house at home, it was still sunny in the late afternoon so I spent some time pulling out dead frosted leaves and foliage,emptying compost from flo…