In Gardening, sustainable living on May 9, 2011 at 9:50 am
The Poached Egg Plant (Limnanthes douglasii) is an easy to grow annual that is useful in any garden. Apart from looking pretty it is a great companion plant, especially useful near Broad Beans as it is an attractant for Hoverflies and Ladybirds who both like to dine on Blackfly, the main pest affecting Broad Beans. You won’t find Broad Beans in our garden as they are about the only vegetable we both dislike but Poached Egg Plant is more than welcome! It is a native of California but succeeds well in the climate here. It self seeds easily and can take over but any unwanted plants pull out easily.
The Bulgarian Lettuce has come on really well, we have been harvesting it for a couple of weeks mow. It is really crisp, like Little Gem, my fave Lettuce, but the heads are much bigger. I would love to save seed from this one.
Don’t know what’s happened here, never saw anything like it! Pulled back the leaves on this plant the other day expecting to see a Cauliflower forming. Nothing except this leaf growing from the centre of the plant which had formed a perfect little cup. It was attached to the centre by a “string” about 6 inches long. Bizarre! The rest of the plants were normal and the seed was organic.
All the Pumpkins and Sunflowers have germinated, these won’t be planted out until June when the weather will be settled again, hopefully, and the plants will be a good size and less attractive to slugs. All the seeds are home saved by ourselves or other local gardeners. Turk’s Turban always does well here, have been growing from our own seeds for about 5 years now so they are acclimatised to the area.
In Gardening, sustainable living on April 18, 2011 at 8:02 am
3 Cauliflowers ready for harvesting.
There has been incredible growth in the last week. We were away from Tuesday to Saturday but it felt more like 2 weeks from the growth spurt that occured. Cauliflower to cook, cauliflower to freeze and more to come.
The Tomatoes are ready for planting out. I’m sure they grew a few inches last week! These will be planted in the small tunnel later in the week. They will be fed with farmyard manure, dug in under each plant at planting time, later when the first trusses have set they will get a weekly feed of a nettle and comfrey liquid fertiliser which we make ourselves. The farmyard manure as well as feeding the plant also helps to retain moisture.
The Potatoes planted in sacks on St. Patrick’s Day have come on well. Today I will top up with more compost to encourage more Potatoes to form on the stems.
Damson in flower.
Yippee, at long last the Damson is flowering. I’m really pleased about this as I grew this tree from a stone of a wild Damson which grows locally. That was about 6 years ago, so, yes, patience does pay off. Much more gratifying than buying a tree from the garden centre ready to go.
Mrs. Perry in bloom!
This little tree I bought 2 years ago, it was just a whip. It is called Mrs Perry and I bought it on a visit to Irish Seed Savers in Clare. It is a self-rooter so I might take some cuttings from it in the Autumn. The fruit is dual-purpose and ripens in September, apples said to be very juicy and the tree is an abundant cropper.
In Gardening, Off the beaten track. on March 24, 2011 at 10:12 am
The first Cauliflower of the season, small but perfectly formed.
The “hungry gap” is the gardener’s name for the period in Spring when there is little or no fresh produce available from the garden. With good planning it is possible to avoid this lull in production. The cauliflower pictured is a variety called Marzatico from Italy. Seeds were sown last August and plants planted around end of September. We plant a lot in August for Winter and Spring crops. Oriental salads, Winter Onion sets, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Kale being the main ones. There is actually a variety of Kale called Hungry Gap which crops in Spring.
Ragged Jack Kale.
The Ragged Jack Kale is now going to seed but this is not the end of its production. The leaves can still be picked and the seed heads can be picked and steamed, they are quite like Purple Sprouting Broccoli. Do pick before flowers appear though. Removing the central shoot encourages the plant to send out lots of side shoots.
Meanwhile seed sowing continues furiously here. Yesterday I sowed a bed of Parsnips, we have just finished the last of the current crop, germination can be slow so they need to go in early. Peas were also sown. The variety is Meteor which I got from Seed Savers in Co. Clare. The don’t grow too tall, about a metre, so support is easier. These modules are great as they are longer than the usual ones and made from stronger plastic. I have them about 10 years and they are still in perfect condition. The extra length means plants can stay in there a little longer. Apparently these modules are using for growing tree seedlings.