Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘strawberries’

I’m back!

In Garden, sustainable living on May 25, 2012 at 9:29 am

Hi folks, I’m back in blogland again after my break. I have’nt been near the computer in 3 weeks. No blog, email, Facebook, Twitter or checking out all the wonderful and inspiring blogs out there. I have to say I enjoyed the break, the world did’nt end and I had no withdrawal symptoms. But hey, I’m back and the weather here in Ireland is fab. Hurrah!!

The Sun has been shining since daybreak. I took these pictures at about 8.30 when I went to open the polytunnel. There’s no going in there later when it gets to 25c. The fields are filled with golden Buttercups right now…beautiful!

So nice to break fast with a few ripe Strawberries already warm from the morning Sun…

and the promise of many more to come.

Everything in the polytunnel is growing at a great rate,  lots of Lettuce for the salads we have everyday. Nasturtiums in flower as are Pot Marigold. Dual purpose plants as they draw in beneficial insects as well as being edible.

The Peach has set lots of fruit…I really must thin them this year. Thinning ensures you get nice big fruits of better quality. Take out any fruits that are touching each other as they will end up squashing and bruising each other. Bob Flowerdew in his Grow your Own, Eat your Own book says ” Peaches over crop as of right, and really must be ruthlessly thinned so that no 2 fruits will touch each other when they’re full size, leave only a sensible number per tree or you will be processing masses of under-ripe squits. Too many exhaust the tree, fail to reach any size or even ripen. Literally decimate them down to the best one in every ten, leave those and they will get huge!” Don’t know if I can be that ruthless…but I’ll try! Bye for now…off to enjoy some sunshine.

 

Advertisements

Weekend musings from a country smallholding.

In Ireland, sustainable living on February 25, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Bella is looking rather rock-chick with her new studded collar, don’t ya think? The blond stripe down her back is natural, I did’nt bleach it!! Hmm, could gel it and give her a mohican!!

Agghhh! Enid tries to eat the camera strap as I’m taking the pics!

The Strawberries have been transplanted into their new bed in the small polytunnel. Dug in lots of manure so hoping for a good Strawberry harvest.

 In the garden the Blackcurrants are already budding. They always do well regardless of weather, they seem to like the heavy soil here . They are mulched with Comfrey a few times during the year.

There was several hours of sunshine today. I spent some time in the garden, it was bliss just listening to the birds singing in the big Sycamore tree that overlooks the garden.

There’s loads of seed heads on the Kale right now. Delicious raw or steamed. This evening we are having them steamed with Basmati rice and Red Lentil Dhal, accompanied by a good helping of Hot Plum Chutney.

 Walking by Lough Allen in the evening, the cloud is rolling in and everything is so quiet and still. Just how I like it! I never understood people who go about with headphones in. It’s like they can’t cope with their own thoughts, always got to have some distraction going on. Not for me!!

Musings from a Smallholding…on a wet Irish Day.

In green living, Ireland on February 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Today is one of those days that typify our wet mild climate. Since morning we have had rain… soft rain… the sort I call mizzle, a cross between heavy mist and drizzle.

The mizzle gives the place a misty, mystical look. It would be a great day for filming a spooky movie. What could be lurking in those trees?

All is quiet at this homestead across the river. The only sound is a dog barking in the distance. Maybe he is spooked by the mizzle!

I really wanted to work outdoors today. The soil is too wet for working on the outdoor beds so I weeded and dug over a bed for Strawberries in the polytunnel. After digging I spread over some of this lovely compost. It is about a year in the making and is a lovely dark loam. Tomorrow I will plant the Strawberries. I have given up on planting Strawberries outdoors as the last 2 wet Summers were a disaster. The day was not cold but the mizzle made coat wearing a necessity.

The mild Spring has ensured lots of fresh green grass and fresh growth on all the shrubs. You can see the new growth on the Bay on the left. I really look forward to the trees coming in leaf again. The Birch near the back door is one of my fave trees, especially when it’s got it’s new fresh leaves. In Russia Birch trees are tapped in the Spring. This is done by drilling a small hole in the tree when the sap is rising. A straw is inserted to direct the flow of liquid into a vessel then the hole is plugged again. The resulting clear liquid is drunk as a Spring tonic. It can also be boiled down to make a sweet syrup. Anone out there ever tried this? We are going to do it this year so I’ll keep you posted!

This little Primula is flowering in a pot by the back door. It catches my eye every time I pass it by. Purple is one of my fave colours. It is said to distract the mind from everyday concerns.

The wet day gave me a chance to wear my new wellies. I got them in one of the local charity shops. They were brand spanking new so I was happy to pay the 10 euros asked for them. Oh dear! I’ve got the laces dirty already. Oh well! That’s the joy of a wet Irish day!

Sunrise and Summer flowers @ Prospect Cottage.

In Gardening on July 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Did’nt sleep very well last night so I was up early, 5.30, not usual for me. There was a beautiful mist lying in the valley with the early morning tinge of pink from the rising sun. Beautiful. I can see why people say it’s the best part of the day.

More pink, even though it looks red in the pic, from these Poppies which self-seed like mad. I just pull out what I don’t want. The flowers don’t last long if it’s raining, luckily the last few days have been fine. No sun though. Its a strange Summer so far, very little sunshine.

Sweet William’s are doing well in this tractor tyre together with Strawberries. There is an Apple tree in the centre.

Love Sweet Peas especially this colour.

Inula, each flower like a mini sunshine. In front is a pot of Cornflowers. Blue and yellow together like the Roscommon flag.

Double flowered Feverfew, so pretty.

In a pot by the back door is this annual Mallow. Love the vibrant colour.

Car boot bargains.

In Gardening, sustainable living on May 2, 2011 at 11:37 am

We went to the local car boot sale in Carrick-on-Shannon yesterday morning, as we often do. It is on every Sunday morning with a good range of stalls. Lots of bric-a-brac, books, plants and even furniture can be found. I bought 3 plants, Solomon’s Seal, a Polygonum with pink flower and a Lysmachia with a variegated leaf which I had’nt seen previously, all for 10 euros. Bargain! My guess these would be 6.99 each at any garden centre. The sellers were all locals who had propogated these plants themselves so the plants are already acclimatised to the local area, no hothouse specimens from foreign lands. By evening they were planted in the new mulched bed we have just made in the fruit garden. The area was grass, it was first mulched with newspaper and cardboard, then planted and given a good thick mulch with rushes.

Also at the car boot we got this small table, I was looking for a table for this little sitting area and this one was ideal. It is a nice heavy one and at a tenner was a good deal. I like the colour so it does’nt even need painting. The seat in the pic I am proud to say I made myself at a woodwork class about 5 years ago. The Willow plant holder was locally made and Andy did the decking. A completely local production!

In the polytunnel growth is phenomenal at the moment. It seems like overnight that full heads of Lettuce have grown from tiny plants, Spinach planted only a few weeks ago is ready for picking. These Strawberries will soon be giving fruit. The pots were outdoors until now. By bringing them into the heat of the polytunnel they will fruit quicker. Strawberries are also planted in the beds in the polytunnels.

Sycamore tree and other musings from Prospect Cottage.

In Bees, Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on April 20, 2011 at 8:54 am

The Sycamore tree in our back field is almost in full leaf now. In a few weeks time the bees will be delighted when this tree flowers. I remember going into the garden last year and wondering where the hum was coming from. It was the Sycamore choc a bloc with ecstatic bees! Many people regard the Sycamore as a bit of a weed as it’s seed crops up everywhere, however they are easy to pull out and pot on or assign to the compost bin. I love this tree. I love how it’s “arms” spread out to shade part of the garden from the Summer heat. The goats love to sit in it’s shade and play around it when they are feeling frisky.

I was never happy with the shape of this Willow arch since we made it 2 years ago. A few weeks ago we undid it all, pruned it and retied it into a better shape. Much happier with it now!

Flowers on the Strawberries, these are wild ones I found when exploring the old walled garden at Kilronan. Maybe they are an old variety existing there since the heyday of that now sadly disused garden.

The Variagated Lemon Balm is growing strongly again, it is one of my favourite herbal teas. The Swiss physician Paracelsus believed Lemon Balm to be “the elixir of life.” He  believed the herb could completely revive a person, this view was endorsed by the London Dispensary in 1696:” Balm, given every morning, will renew youth, strenghten the brain and relieve languishing nature.”