In Animals, off grid living, vegetable growing on February 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm
As Spring proceeds the animals sense the change in season, they are full of the joys of it. They are playful with each other and us. Bella loves to head-butt but does’nt realise her own strength so one has to be careful.
Once one goat starts friskin about they all join in. Enid, the hornless one, is usually pretty quiet but even she got caught up in the joy of it all.
The dogs get excited when they see the goats jumping about. They bark and chase after them which adds to the general chaos. Enid has her ears back in this pic. She does this when she’s not sure about something. Lettie just stands there barking away until I shout at her. She just loves barking. Right, that’s enough of that!
Time to do some chores. Vegetables to be harvested for the evening meal. The carrots and parsnips, together with onions, garlic and butternut squash will make a tasty, nourishing soup. The Beetroot will be juiced. There’s still quite a bit of beetroot in the polytunnel. It will have to be pulled soon before it starts to grow again. The parsnips are almost finished. They were all doubles this year, don’t know why. Still a good number of carrots growing in the polytunnel. They too need to be harvested soon. We always grow carrots in the polytunnel as they don’t get the carrot root fly in there.
Walking past the flowerbeds on the way to the house with the produce I notice the little Sedum (sorry, Saxifrage, thanks Alberto,) is ready to burst into flower soon. This has spread to create quite a big patch so it will make a good impact. Spring is here! Hurrah!!
Back in the house the stove is ticking over. Freddie fells the cold more than the other dogs, probably because he’s so small and has a short coat. He likes to sit as close as possible to the heat. Aw! poor little poochie!
In Bees, Gardening on June 6, 2011 at 10:48 am
Californian Poppy among the Carrots. Don’t know how it came there, I did’nt plant it! It is a welcome sight though on this sunless June day. They self seed madly so maybe I will have a swathe of Californian Poppies in the polytunnel next Summer.
Trifolium pratense or Red Clover as it is commonly known is flowering now. An important source of nectar for bees it grows wild along the lane. Like all legumes it is a nitrogen fixer. The flower heads have long been used in herbalism. They are used in herb tea mixtures for chest colds and stomach problems. Externally it is used as a poultice or in bath preparations to treat rashes, ulcers, burns and sores. Some years ago I also read about research using Red Clover in the treatment of cancerous growths.
It seems like the Sweet Williams have been threatening to flower for ages. I think they are waiting for sunshine. Hopefully the wait will not be too long!
In the polytunnel everything is growing rapidly now. Lots of produce to be had, Lettuce, Rocket, Spring Onions, Beetroot and Sugar Snap Peas give variety to our meals. The bed you can see on the right was planted with Parsnips in March, however they did’nt germinate, due to the dry weather we had at that time, I think. Planted more last week so fingers crossed. The Pumpkins are Sunflowers are still in pots in the polytunnel. The weather was never settled enough to plant them out, although I think I will plant out the Sunflowers today as they are becoming potbound. The weather is so odd this year. On Friday last it was 25c, today it about 13c and the forecast for the week is for dull days with temperatures only reaching an average of 13c.
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.