In Gardening, green living, Off the beaten track., sustainable living on October 22, 2011 at 10:47 am
There is so much to see at Seed Savers…do allow a couple of hours if you are going to visit. This pizza oven was made at a workshop which took place there…schoolchildren can cook pizza here when they visit. I love it…the shape reminds me of the monks huts on the islands off the coast of Ireland.
The oven is sheltered by this hexaganol shaped sod roof.
Living sculpture …a metal frame was made then the young trees were tied in to it. When the trees are bigger the frame will be taken away. Things like this set the brain working…oh! maybe I can do one!
The Apple nursery…these trees will be for sale in a couple of years.
On past the tree nursery in a secluded corner is this gorgeous cob house. Did’nt get to see inside as a lucky visitor was staying there. Bet it’s cosy in there! Cob is made with straw and clay from the local area giving this house a low carbon footprint.
No…it’s not real. Makes a good image though against the darkening sky.
Another lovely Willow arch and fedge. A fedge is a living hedge made from Willow. If you want instructions on how to make a fedge check out www.willowarchway.wordpress.com where there is an excellent tutorial on making a fedge.
If you are interested in seed saving do check out ISSA website www.irishseedsavers.ie . You can become a supporter for a small annual fee. As well as knowing you are supporting the excellent work being done here, saving and preserving heritage seeds for the future, you will receive 5 varieties of seeds and 3 varieties of Potatoes each year. A mazagine is also sent out twice a year.
In Cooking, Folklore, Gardening on May 4, 2011 at 11:31 am
Rossa di Trento lettuce.
Lots of salad crops at the moment, the Lettuces seem to have formed heads overnight. We eat salad every day at this time of year, the perfect accompaniment to any meal. With a good dressing and some nice brown bread it makes for a complete meal in itself. This Rossa de Trento is one of my fave looseleaf lettuces. The seed was sourced from Seed Savers in Clare. I am going to try and save seed from this one. Have never had any luck saving Lettuce seed, the weather always seems to turn wet at the crucial time when the seed is almost ready to harvest, seed then gets mould. Will keep on trying. Loose leaf lettuces are great, just keep on picking leaves from them all Summer long. This variety is originally from Italy but it has adapted well to Irish growing conditions. The leaves are redder if grown outdoors.
Fruits have set on the Peach tree in the big polytunnel. Not as many as last year but it did get a severe pruning as it was coming close to the polytunnel roof. There is nothing like the joy of eating a home grown peach. Checking each day to see if they are ripe yet, the scent of them, the anticapation, and then the day comes, yeah, BLISS.
The Stinging Nettle(Urtica dioica), an important plant for creating bio diversity in the garden. It is host to the larvae of many butterflies, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral, Painted Lady and Comma. They can also be used to make liquid fertiliser, on their own or mixed with Comfrey. As they contain formic acid they also help to repel pests. There is an Irish tradition to eat Nettles 3 times in May to cleanse the blood, as the plant is high in vitamins and minerals this old tradition makes sense in the modern age. Nettles can be used to make a tea, not very nice but a teaspoon of honey makes it more palatable. They can also be cooked like Spinach or added to soups, they even make a good beer, have never tried this so I can’t vouch for it.
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.