Showing posts from May, 2011

Mutant French Beans!

Terry Walton on his grow your own veg articles in Garden News advised starting seeds in plastic bags in the airing cupboard and keeping a close eye on them.
This is what happens when you take your eye off the ball or beans in this case!
I put the seeds in last week, 4 to 5 days is the max to see germination and they should then be removed and potted up.
Sat or Sun were the optimum days for these poor babies but we had Kevin's Holy Communion on Sat and a family BBQ on Sunday ,I just forgot their existence yesterday and today I revealed a tangled mass of roots when I cut open the bag.
I had to gently prise the roots and leggy shoots apart like untangling knitting wool they were so closely entwined.

I eventually separated 19 seedlings and repotted them carefully, they are standing ? at crazy angles but will hopefully straighten up and turn green instead of the mutant shade of white they are at the moment.
I put them into trays and will water from the bottom keeping fingers crossed the root…

Artichokes to Go

I cut 2 of the Globe artichokes today, the bottom leaves were beginning to open from the heads.
I cooked one for supper tonight.My method of cooking them is fast and simple, fast tasty food in minutes!
I put it into cold salted water ,brought the water to the boil and put the lid on. The water came about half way up the head.Turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Some people use vinaigrette or a sauce, me... a knob of butter (our butter here is salted)I put some on top to melt down through the leaves.
This is not for polite eating in public and needs a finger bowl or lots of tissue.Tear off the leaves one by one, holding the leaf by the tip dip the end (the part nearest the heart)into the butter.Still holding the tip (there is not a polite or easy way to describe it)scrape the flesh with the bottom teeth!
The outside leaves do not have a lot of flesh but as you get nearer the heart the leaves get paler in colour and more fleshy.Then you reach the centre 'choke' which c…

Hands on Hens!

Keeping Hens Course.

Hydro Farm presents a one day course on keeping hens. The course will cover, how to choose a hen, where to buy hens, different breeds, where to keep your hen, feeding, drinking water, bedding, laying boxes, collecting eggs, broody hens, breeding chickens and what to do with your chicken manure.

The course will be run by Zwena McCullough who has kept free range hens for over 30 years.

This is a hands on course where we will look at the free range hens kept here on the farm and their housing.

The course will be on saturday the 25th. June
Time 10am till 5pm. & will include a light lunch.

Cost €50.00 places limited and will be, on a first come first served basis.

Please email to to book your place and get details of payment.

The course will be run on the Hydro Farm, Tower, Blarney, Co. Cork. If the weather is good we will be outside and if it is wet we will have the course inside in our conference centre.

Artichokes & Fried Egg!

Blogger is still causing problems with me signing in to my blog!Going through the dashboard is the only way I can access it as 'sign in' is constantly at the top of the page no matter how many times I sign in!
I can leave comments on some blogs but not on others?!
The globe artichokes took me by surprise at the weekend , they kind of snuck up! I am not complaining just counting the days and watching until I can take one home for lunch!These are off shoots of one which was on the plot when we took it over 4 years ago and had gone wild.
Fried Egg plant.Last year they were small plants in the tyre in the courtyard of the allotments.The children asked me why they were called fried egg plants, I said the colour and they spread out, last year they were very well behaved and stayed within the tyre.
This year I asked them what does an egg do when you crack it into the pan? it spreads out!The plants have escaped from the tyre and despite having been pulled out have grown again through the…

Hitchcock Hens!

Some photos of the hens taken over the past couple of weeks, they have settled in and seem to be intent on taking over!
D.Aisling has christened them the Hitchcock hens.
One of them always hangs around outside long after the other 3 have bedded down for the night. A bit of a rebel at heart. Here she is investigating the high hedge, if she can't fly over it maybe she can go through it?!

No, I am not going to bed its too early and I am not afraid of the dark!

One evening as I was working on the computer I got the eerie feeling I was being watched.I checked the patio door ,no sign of anyone.
Then I turned to the window and here were 2 of my lassies gazing in!They had flown up onto the windowsill and one was looking over at me on the computer.
The other was watching the TV, hoping 'Chicken Run' or 'Over the Hedge' was showing?!

The girls lay 4 eggs most days now, last Sunday was very wet & windy and for some reason only 2 eggs were laid.
On Monday I went to check and found…

Bloom 2011

We are on the countdown for Bloom in the Park ,Ireland's biggest garden show which takes place over 5 days of the June Bank holiday week end from thurs 2nd to mon 6th June.
I have been to the previous 2 with my sister Kathleen who is also an avid gardener,she is the flower child while I am the veggie.Its a great day out for all the family especially as children under 16 go free and there is a dedicated children's Zone to keep them occupied for hours!
Its not just about flowers and veggies, it encompasses all to do with them from growing to cooking and all things in between.
The Bord Bia Food village is new this year ,previously there was a food market and a marquee for cookery demos, these are now all centralised in to a village for easy access.
There will be cookery demos each day by celebrity chefs, we need to get the timetables and plan our itinerary.
The artisan food market is second to none and we can graze our way through it!

Kathleen admiring one of the show gardens last year…

Strawberries to take Home!

Strawberries are slowly beginning to ripen, we have not had much heat or sunshine this last few days mainly a relentless wind which is drying out the soil, maybe I should have left the cloches over them ?!
The slugs are diving in and had just started nibbling on a couple of them, I was amazed to see one of the nibbled berries full of ants!I had heard somebody saying they had ants in their house lately.I watered each plant which will probably get rid of the ants but makes the bed more inviting for the slugs...grrhh!
We have spent quite a lot of time on the plot, mainly tidying and making new beds. The Open Day looms in June!
Inside the greenhouse, while the borders are waiting for the tomato plants to move out I put in lettuce and spinach to make use of the space.Outside the glass the 2 artichokes at the end can be seen and along the side the lavender plants are forging ahead, even to brush against the plants releases the most beautiful smell of lavender even though there are no flowers o…

Strawberries & Pets on the Farm

Gale force winds have battered us for the past few days and show no sign of abating as yet.I have been out to the plots but have forgotten the camera most days.
Photo op for the new pet cage which Zwena has put out in the field next to the plots. The lambs and ducklings are in there now and the hens have a big new area near the tea rooms to make it easier for everyone to see all of the animals,needless to say there are usually lots of volunteers to feed the lambs!
Bottle feeding over and they bury their heads in the bucket of feed regardless of who is looking at them!
In the next pen are the ducks and ducklings, I think the Silkie helped in hatching so has come out with her foster babies.
It has not been all fun and games however! I had planted out the Mange Tout on Thurs, nice strong plants about 5 to 6 ins high. I covered them with branches, netting and used an organic slug blocker but this is what met me on Sat!Some have literally disappeared completely and these little stumps are what…

The Circle of Life

Its been over a week since I blogged, but a lot has happened in that short space of time.
Sinead and Aoife lost their other Nanna on Easter Monday and the week was taken up with the various funeral services. Here in Ireland we bury the deceased within 3 days usually unless family have to get home from abroad to the funeral.The first evening is usually very quiet with the Rosary taking place ,sometimes this is confined to family and very close friends, the second evening is the removal from the funeral home to the Church.
The final service is on the third day with Mass being celebrated in the Church and then the deceased is taken to their final resting place.
Cremation is slowly becoming accepted here but they are still few and far between.
Sinead is due to make her Confirmation next Tues and will miss her Nanna Kathleen on the day.
Gardening and some potting on was done during the week while we had the good weather which came to an abrupt halt on Sat and the south of the country had a delu…