A.W.O.L…..for 5 months…..But I Have Returned !

I know….I know….I’ve been off the radar since I got back from last autumn’s sun holiday. To come back to our horrible Irish weather was a bit of a “downer”. I dabbled, tipped around and weeded here and there, but my heart wasn’t in it enough to come and blog about the gloomy weather. So I decided to just read others and keep a low profile. We did get through the winter with some veggies like Leeks,soggy Onions, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots and Perpetual spinach.

The depth of winter was so wet,windy and downright miserable and there were few days that I even ventured down the garden.It was so boggy I could have cut turf/peat….LOL!

Another thing lately was that my laptop crashed and I lost everything including hundreds of photos from way back, maybe 5 years worth of them 😦 But  I know someone, who knows someone, who knows a lot about fixing laptops, hard drives, etc….so I am back up and running with a new hard drive and almost like new laptop. Only thing is I will have to start taking photos of  all my garden as it renews this Spring. Let’s say……a New Year…..a New Beginning .

I am reluctant to start sowing too soon this year after the disastrous late frosts, another few weeks should get us going full speed again.

However…..I did sow some peas on the 8th of January under a mini cloche that Himself erected on a bench in the tunnel, and they are now quite healthy looking plants, fingers crossed

Peas 14-2-2013

I have also sown some more garden peas and sugar snap peas and 2 trays of Onion seeds. This is my first attempt at sowing onions from seed…fingers crossed again.!

The tunnel is all washed down, inside and out, so all beds are ready for their little bed-fellows !

Our 2 “Girls”, Maisy and Daisy made it through the winter and moulting and are looking well and healthy and producing an egg each once more. 

Maisy and Daisy 14thFeb2013

 

Well, that’s basically all for now. I hope to take new, fresh photos as buds begin to flower and the ground dries up and more seeds are sown. Thank you for stopping by and reading my ramblings again.

Cheers for now and Roll On Planting Time,

Catherine.

New Beginnings in the Old Cabbage Patch!

Well….a new project for us.  Something I had avoided for ages, but now they are here,I love em.!

We have adopted two 2 year old “Light Sussex”girls, named Maisy and Daisy.We got a small coop with them, but my daughter who already has 8 hens gave us a present of a bigger coop.

 

It was actually hubby who insisted on getting them, but they are so fascinating to watch. This pic is of them on the lawn area for the first week to get them use to new surroundings. They were cooped up for 4 days to get them orientated. Then last Friday we carried them down to the old cabbage patch which we corralled off to keep them safe and secure.They were so delighted and had a dust bath straight away!

 

One of them, now we know it’s Maisy, has been laying every day since…Our daughter had been giving us eggs for a while, but the excitement of actually taking your own one from the nest is awesome!

 

This morning we decided that they like the old cabbage patch so much, we moved the coop down for them. Just in time too, because it rained today,so they could go in or stay out at will.

 

 

They are such fascinating creatures to watch….Glad I was persuaded to keep them, Thanks Hubby 🙂

Their old cabbage patch has been renamed…The O.K. Corral…LOL!

End of August Harvest and New Winter Planting.

Hello all. Since my last post we have had a spurt of growth with the rain and warmth over the last few weeks. The finer and warmer weather has also boosted my spirits and given me a renewed vigor for continuing to grow and sow. With the news that shop bought vegetables will be much dearer this winter and the impending harsh budget, I have decided to sow and plant winter veggies once again.

I already had a few leeks in earlier and they are nearly ready for harvesting…but have also planted a few more baby ones that were languishing in their old little toilet roll holders…

 

 

and I am really looking forward to making my home made Leek and Potato soup again, even though we lost most of our spuds to blight. But Himself  has planted a few red roosters that had started sprouting in the bag and if we get a frost we will cover them in fleece. They have already peeked above the ground.

A small row of parsnips that I only chanced growing this year in our fairly stony ground to which we added a fork’s depth of sand, has astonished us beyond belief as I thought they would have forked out not far below the ground, but look what we got….

 

 

Can you imagine our delight ! It took all our strength to try to gently tease these out of the ground. I will definitely try this again next year 🙂

Despite the frost way back,when I sowed tomato seeds too early and I thought they had died, but I gave them a fighting chance and they pulled through. It was a long haul during the bad summer weather, but I nurtured them with home made brews of nettle and comfrey liquid feeds and a nice few of them did me proud …….especially the beefsteaks,as this was my first year growing these….

 

Another big surprise was that just for fun I sowed and planted a few seeds from last Halloween’s shop bought pumpkin…..I now have 4 plants winding around the garden doing their own thing, BUT….one of them has produced an offspring so far :)…..This was taken on the 28th August, and I think it has even got a bit bigger since then. I am so delighted, even if it never gets any bigger 🙂

 

I have had a good crop of onions which are now drying out nicely and will soon be plaited and hung up to store. Another few rows of perpetual spinach have been sown and some are peeking through  and a few more dwarf french beans and we are all set to eat home grown for another few months. Empty beds in the tunnel have been replenished with horse manure and I have a barrel of seaweed liquid brewing up nicely. 

We have heard that the weather is suppose to warm up next week, typical, because the children start going back to school from tomorrow , always happens in Ireland!

I hope to post again before I go on a bit of a holiday with my daughter and 3 children at the end of September to see my son who happens to live in the south of Spain, where it is warm,dry and sunny still. 🙂

Thanks again for stopping by and reading my little ramblings,

Cheers and Happy Gardening,

Catherine.

Out of the Gloom Came Harvest and Happiness!

Hello There to All my Followers. I wish to apologize to you all who have gone to the trouble of “Liking” or Following my Veggie Blog.I have not been able to find the time lately to let you know how my garden goes. Family circumstances over the last few months have intervened in my blogging ability and time. But I think we are coming to a conclusion in the next week or two. My daughter who had been staying with us temporarily with 2 young girls has found a house ,which should be available to move into soon.  In the meantime, I have a free night to catch up with you all !

This year here in Ireland has been the wettest and coldest as long as I can remember, and that has been a “few” years now…LOL! Everything has been late germinating or devastated with blight, virus or slugs. We might have got a good day here and there, but I think it was just Mother Nature teasing us into believing it actually was summertime!

But with all that doom and gloom, some veggie plants struggled with their meagre life and decided to put up a fight to live…..and lived to tell this tale of fruitfulness ….Here are some of my success pictures…………Kayley got her own little tools and I gave her a patch in the tunnel to plant a row of Perpetual Spinach and 2 Dwarf French Beans,a Basil plant and a sucker Tomato….

 

 

after 2 weeks her french beans are …..Bloomin’ Great 🙂

 

 

A few carrots,beetroots and turnips every day have kept my enthusiasm up and the first tastings before I blanche and freeze have kept my juices flowing……

 

 

 

Last year a gardening friend gave me some yellow cherry toms to taste…..I thought they would be bitter because I was only use to reds……wow, was I surprised…so surprised I managed to think of saving their seeds to try for myself this year.The other reds here are red cherry and garden hanging pearls. Ooops….note to self here…..save some more seeds for next year…:)

 

 

I am also looking ahead hopefully at these tiny Brussels Sprouts in the tunnel, dinner for the 25th Dec….not saying the “dreaded” word though…LOL!

I just knew I couldn’t resist a free packet of seeds from a garden magazine…..I DID try…but being a true gardener I had to….I sowed a few in case some would not germinate…..how silly of me to think that the one plant I really didn’t mind NOT to germinate would actually ALL germinate…..Please all feel free to call and empty my fridge so I can fit more food in..Courgettes (Zuchinni) galore !

 

 

 

 

I really..really hope that from 3 Aubergine plants that I have in a growbag will produce at least one fruit….I know they are difficult to set, but I am trying my best!

 

So despite the slow, bad start and middle and losing all our spuds to blight, there is always a light at the end of the “tunnel” and I hope it’s NOT the oncoming train….LOL!

To Autumn sowings and there is Always Next Year 🙂

Cheers, from a Gardening Addict 😉

 

I’m Back….and Better !

Since my last post I am feeling a bit better. Amongst all the happenings I developed a head cold and chest infection, so I really went down hill and did not do anything worth talking about down the veggie garden. Also a daughter and her two little girls have moved in temporarily while they look for another house to rent. Kayley, aged 4, has been a great help to me. She loves coming down and opening the tunnel doors in the mornings and closing them in the evening. She likes to do a bit of watering and checking plants out too…..

 

 

Dare I say this…..the last 3 days have been warm and sunny…so the humour is on me now. I got myself outside and down and dirty in the soil once more….what a lovely feeling to get my nails black again…LOL! There seems to have been a burst of growth firstly from all the heavy rain and then the heat that followed. The gladioli opened over the weekend….

 

Tomatoes have at last started to ripen, even though some are more bitter yet,needing more heat and sun for a little while longer…

 

The outside Brassica beds look a bit bedraggled from not weeding ,but that is on my agenda for this weekend. I actually found a big, ugly slug today sitting on the side of my little white cauliflower…..I’m sure the neighbours heard me cursing at him as he went on his fast, merry way !

 

The tunnel has been getting a bit “foresty” looking lately, what possessed me to grow 2 courgette/zuchinni plants in there??? I didn’t even want to sow any this year, but you know us gardeners….if the seeds are there…they get sown…!

 

I will not be planting brassicas in the tunnel anymore either. They get too tall and take over. They do well enough outside. Hubby has an idea on how to maybe out wit the slugs next year…..build raised beds on stilts….we DO have enough pallets and more to come next year. 🙂 

My parsley has been allowed to go to seed in the hope of saving my own for next year. I just don’t know when they will be ripe, or do they flower first?

Yesterday and today I planted purple top Milan Turnips in the old hothouse. They had been lingering in their modules for so long I hope they grow. I pulled more of my white and red onions today. The stalks had bent over and some have thick necks, so these will be used up each day and what’s left will be strung up and  stored . I had 3 nice strong looking sweet pepper plants in a growbag down in my “Sheebeen”……but when I went to check today one of them had been almost decapitated and I saw those slimy trails that give away the perpetrators …so disappointing !

 

Three aubergine/eggplants seem to be doing well in a growbag too. There are a few little buds nearly ready to flower and look stronger than last year. Last year the flowers just dropped off before setting fruit. So hopefully I may see a real one this year.

 

 

I did take some new photos today, but they will not load on my computer , I will try again tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by and it is good to be feeling better again and getting outside to get “Down and Dirty”…..LOL!

Happy Gardening and hoping for more of this nice warmth and sun,

Catherine C.

Sometimes…..I Feel So Alone!

I know the weather does not help…I could always use the  S.A.D. Syndrome too…probably most of Irish folk will soon too ! But we…Himself and I..proper grammar here…:)..have been through a few bad weeks of family related problems/issues.! We use to be able for them when we were a small bit younger, but the “aulder” we get the more it affects us!

Himself..as with all men…keeps things locked inside and lets it fester. Why do they do that when we women would love them to talk….cry..or just lean on our shoulders?? Just once would do and then we would know they really have feelings. !

Last year’s pic of Mary in between her 2 brothers..Rest Mary..you will be back in Carrigrohane soon 🙂

 

The garden has not seen me much lately, I remember being outside til at least 10.p.m. in years gone by…now we are inside at 7.p.m…What’s that all about?

I do have to admit that veggies outside do not have to be watered by hose this year, but there was a certain kind of calmness and special dreamyness about the hour spent watering…right?

My Tomatoes are growing and fruiting, but there is also this spotty,furry fungus stuff all over and I try to pick the affected leaves off as much as I can….!

I think we have to seriously think about next years planting assuming the weather is not going to improve much more than this year….Global Warming…how are Ya..!!

This time last year these would be so red…!

Let us just hope and pray we can still plant veggies, cause that is what I do!

Happy Future Gardening to Us All.

A Short Sad Post.

This is slightly off my usual topic of gardening, but I need to do this.

My dear sister-in-law, Mary..or Maimie…. as I knew her as..passed away last Friday.

She lived in Boston,Mass.U.S.A, since she was 17 years old, but came back home on holidays many times.

She had been suffering and she really hoped she would not linger too long. She had said her goodbyes to us last week. Just last year she and her husband Joe had been back here on holidays and loved what I have done to the garden. Where I live here with Mary’s brother is their homeplace, so I am the custodian of the Garden 🙂

Mary saw the peas I grow and took one straight away and even ate the pod….! Their Dad always grew veggies here in the old days, so she would be well use to fresh veggies.

Maimie’s ashes will be coming home to rest with her sister,Rita, in our/their garden where they spent there childhood.

I now call it The Garden of Remembrance.

Under her Dad’s Holly Bush and My Weeping Willow. We will always have the “Girls” with us when we garden now.

Rest Now, Mary. You are with your Mam,Dad, and sister Rita.

What a Lovely Surprise !

I have been a gardener for many years,even before new technology brought the World Wide Web to my armchair. But over the last few years I have learned how to surf, google, and find gardening websites. It has opened a whole new world of  friends to me, especially because we have something in common. It is also nice to swap tips, ideas and advice with like-minded people. But the best of all are the friendships I have made. I believe that gardeners worldwide are the nicest bunch of people ever !

A dear gardening friend on a U.S. Garden Site,who seemed to “click” with me has just sent me the nicest box of fairy figurines for my fairy garden ! I cannot believe her genorosity and kindness to me…

 

 

Thank you so much,Bonnie. Now she will be always in my garden as well as my heart  🙂  I will now have to rearrange my fairy garden,having rushed out yesterday to weed and find what was in there already. Although, because of the special significance of the origin of these little dears, I was thinking of keeping them out back in my rockery where I would see them every evening while sitting and watching the sun set.

Everything in my veggie garden seems to love the weather we are having now, warmth and rain. Plants are shooting up every day and we are eating the fruits and veggies of our labor. Tomato plants are baring little fruits now and I can’t wait for that first taste again..

 

 

These are beefsteaks and I also have red and yellow cherrys,moneymaker,trailing pearl. I saved most of them from last years seeds.

Romanesco broccoli surprised me,I was away at my daughter’s for 2 days and came home to this…Yummy..!

 

 

The courgettes/zuchini are producing little ‘uns at an alarming rate. With 2 plants in the tunnel and 4 more outside,if anyone is coming to Cork in the near future please call for free samples..LOL!

 

They will soon be covering my row of Lettuces and Carrots…..why did I think I would have room for them in the tunnel ? 

 

 

I took out the broad beans and replaced them with some of the outside strawberries. I had netted from birds and pelleted from slugs, but I forgot that ants just LOVE strawberries too. They had eaten some of my biggest ones down to the core 😦 So now they also have collars on them in the hope of a few nice juicy ones without holes !

 

 

My outside cauliflowers and peas seem to be doing very well and not a hole or slug damage in sight…YET..!

 

 

These are my 2 brassica beds between the two tunnels. You can see my “new” compost bin made from old pallets in the background. I have savoy cabbage plants bought from the local garden centre, but I really think most of them look more like kale !

 

 

One last look down to the veggie garden from Nana and Grandad’s  Secret Garden…

 

Thank you for calling to see my garden and veggies, Happy Gardening to All 🙂

What Can I Say ?!?

Well…..what CAN I say ? I am just a procrastinator ! I have been putting off posting, or rather saying I will do it tomorrow. But I have made it here this evening eventually..LOL!

Since last month’s bad weather and then the turn to warm, gardening friendly …..dare I say IT…..? SUN !!  I have been sowing,planting and watching all the beautiful growth in the garden.

What with the warmth and the rain it was ideal conditions for the plants, but the growth was so fast, it took me by surprise and I had to rearrange beds for new arrivals. As plants grew, so did the weeds, so double work followed me everywhere.

We really did think that “Summer” had come at last. It did too…for 1 week…..remember ? 

Anyway, since my last post, if I can remember back that long ago, we have been harvesting and eating some of our veggies that had become dormant over the winter months.

The tunnel broad beans have been supplying us every second day for weeks. I pinched out the tops as I noticed new shoots were starting to grow from the roots. But as there is only so many beans one can eat in a week, they have become large  pods and taste bitter to me now. I have had my fill of broad beans and probably will give them a skip next year.

 

This one strawberry plant in the tunnel, I surrounded with a cut down milk carton and kept the dreaded slugs away and we got a nice few fruits, but a little more bitter than my tall tub of strawberries in our old hothouse.

 

 

 

I dug out the tunnel spuds because their stalks were so tall they were falling into other beds. I did have a “rummage” down below before digging them out to make sure there actually was something there and I was pleasantly surprised….we had a few dinners and with the smallies I made potato salad with my own chives , I love potato salad !

 

I found a place to get recycled pallets!!!!!!

This is my “New” coldframe….I walk past our local lawnmower shop every day now that I don’t have a car ;( and saw loads of pallets just leaning against their wall……In I go on the pretence of asking how much to fix a chainsaw 😉 and by the way Mr.Lawnmower Man…what do you do with all them pallets…..he said they try to find people to take them……EUREEEEKA !!!  I said I would be delighted to take them off your hands……so next delivery day at lawnmower shop, Hey Presto…..big truck outside my door with huge pallets….you all know how big those ride-ons are 🙂

Now I am his best non-paying customer….! He has even given me some of his old skirting boards from his house renovations! New beds…..new fences and soon..new compost bin. I just have to persuade Hubby to get his hammer and nails now!

Ooooh the first taste of those baby carrots….mmmm!

 

 

These I just broadcast in a raised bed in the tunnel and we have been eating these sweet babies most days for ages too, I never get fed up of carrots:)

 

Like peas in a pod….on average I got 8/9 peas in every pod…well peased..LOL!

But they did succumb to greenfly eventually, I guess it was my own fault for setting much to close together. But I have loads in the freezer 😉

On the 25th of May, this was the temp in my tunnel…

 

And that was with both doors open!!!

My young fella, Rossi, also has a bed in the “Sheebeen” and loves his sun spot !

He has his chain leash on to stop him jumping all over my plants while he is chasing flies, not because I am cruel…LOL!

We…Me, Hubby and Rossi had some pleasant evening sunsets in our garden..

Through the “Sheebeen” door….

 

Sitting with a nice glass of white wine spritzer at sunset……Bliss!

I have much more to show, but will stop for now. I will solemnly promise to TRY and post updates more frequently, but I also do not want to bore you all with my auld Irish ramblings 😉

Happy Gardening whatever the weather throws at us. We gardeners WILL survive 🙂

The Weather Outside is Frightful !

What WOULD we talk about if we didn’t have weather….?  Rainy weather, windy weather, hailstone weather….! You might ask me where is Sunny weather…..well I don’t know….I haven’t seen any yet..! Oh yea….I did see ONE on Tuesday ! 

April was such a dismal month I really didn’t want to come here and just blog about doom and gloom…..Oh dear….I have started now, sorry…LOL!

Well since the last post about my frozen tomato plants, things seemed to improve. The toms were snuggled into there fleeces every night and still are actually, I am still taking no chances! The extra heat and TLC seem to have worked. They came back to life slowly but surely. The main stems that got most damage did not revive, but the side shoots or suckers are shooting up. Actually, believe it or not, I was going to experiment with some toms and snip the main stem and let the suckers grow, like a bush variety. So out of some bad happenings comes good !!

 

 

The outside beds of brassica had come to a standstill too with little or no growth. Plants were whipped out with the strong gales,literally. So I was glad I had replacements waiting. The only thing that was growing were the weeds, so on Tuesday.our ONE sunny and warm day , I made a dive for the hoe and rake and perspired (I really sweated) and cleaned the beds, not forgetting to put the netting back also, didn’t want those pigeons undoing all my hard work 🙂

This pic is before the weeding!

 

I had more peas waiting to be sown outside and they were bursting their bottoms to get out of their pots, so I took those peas by the pots and patted them gently into the ground in the hope we get no more bad weather.

Other than that, I do see a surge in growth in the tunnel. Some normal, unharmed tomatoes are bursting out of their cloches, but I still put fleece on at nights. 

 

 

And the Bag of Spuds is ready to take flight……

 

 

We have already tasted some of the fruits..or veggies….of our labour. Radishes……

 

 

and some juicy peas…

 

So even though the weather has not improved as much as we would like, I think the plants have a need to grow despite the setbacks, I look forward to the coming months of more planting and sowing. I am a passionate veggie grower, so I never give up or give in 😉

One last sentiment which I found funny…….

 

 

Happy Gardening to All !

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: