evaelisabeth: (Garden)
We've been busy over the last few weekends sowing, planting and digging. The polytunnel is now mostly filled with little seedlings including tomatoes, cucumbers, gherkins, peppers and aubergines. Mom has constructed all the trellises needed to support these plants which was a mammoth task just on its own. Our own self sown stuff didn't do so amazingly well, Mom thinks we started them too early but we supplemented what we had with bought seedlings so we are in pretty good shape. The outside beds are mostly planted now too so we are sitting pretty when it comes to the veggie garden. A big success story this year has been the overwintered spinach, it's crunchy green goodness is amazing right now, I made sag paneer with it yesterday and it was just delicious.

The herb garden is maturing nicely everything is settling in and we use it's produce pretty much every day. We had too many pink roses there last year so we've moved two of those and have put in a white (Iceberg) and a red (Alec's Red) rose which seem to be nice and healthy. We've also added another Rose Trellis at the end of the herb garden with a yellow (Queen Margrethe) and a red (Dublin Bay) climbing rose as well as a couple of clematis (President and Lunar Lass). Our herb/rose garden will be nothing if not multi coloured this summer. The miniature daffodils that we put in last autumn were hugely successful we've had blooms in the herb garden since I think the end of February and we look to have another week or so left on the latest ones.

The large bed on the right hand side of the back garden is shaping up as well, I've dug 3 more meters or so and we've fill that in with a selection of roses (the pinks from the herb garden and a couple of others that were in since last year), bulbs, rockrose, valerian, st. john's wort, ornamental quince, grasses, lilacs, anemones, blue lungwort, and various other things. I'll take a picture in the summer which is when it should be filling in properly.

Yesterday, I started digging another herb bed, this one on the other side of the house closer to the veg garden. I was dodging the rain so didn't get it finished but I've cleared about 1/3 - 1/2 of it. I dug up the comfrey that was already in residence, split it and replanted the two largest chunks. We are putting a bean wigwam in the centre (as we don't have any other room for the beans) and other than that it's going to be comfrey, lovage, horseradish and california poppies as well as anything else that we can squeeze in, mostly herbs that are too large for the actual herb garden. If the weather is decent I should be able to finish that next weekend.

The woodland garden is in desperate need of a good clean up but veggies and herbs take precedence to keep your fingers crossed that we get to that soon or the wild strawberries and ground ivy are going to take over.
evaelisabeth: (Default)
Things are going well in the garden, we've been eating steadily out of it for a few weeks now. Yesterday Kate got the first purple sprouting broccoli and Mom and I had the first zucchini. Poor Brian comes home later than the rest of us so he lost out and just got a taste of broccoli and he's allergic to zucchini. The broccoli was steamed and then dressed with a bit of butter and soy sauce,that stuff is addictive. We have four mature broccoli's one of which was earlier than the rest but the other three are now also starting to bloom so I'm looking forward to a harvest that will feed the whole family next week. We have four more plants coming on which will stay in over winter, we'll see how long they produce. The zucchini was stir fried with a some onion, garlic, salt and a bit of olive oil and served with scrambled eggs and toast, it was also delicious a perfect summery kind of dish. Our early white cabbages have been ready to pick for a week or so as well as the first round of carrots so we had a batch of coleslaw to take to lunch. French Breakfast Radishes also make a perfect salad that goes well with a sandwich. Our tomatoes are setting fruit and the aubergines are starting to bloom. Cucumbers are coming on but it's just not hot enough for them to really thrive like they do when the temps are reliably over 20C and it's sunny. Still they are fine in the poly tunnel they will just take a bit longer. We also have four sweet pepper plants which are trundling along.

In other garden news Brian is digging the foundation for the chicken fence, it should theoretically be two feet deep but I don't think that's going to happen we will fill it with rocks to discourage digging foxes and hope for the best. Once that is dug we need to put in the fence posts and chicken wire and purchase the coop. I'm quite put out that after pricing out lumber and such we can't make it ourselves cheaper than we could buy it, that's very very irritating. Perhaps if we had the time to scrounge around for bits and pieces at scrap yards but we just don't so we have our eye on a nice one that will make our hens very happy indeed and has room for expansion if we get more. Bees are still on the agenda for next year, we just don't have the finances to do everything in one go, it's probably best to go one step at a time.

Happy Eva

Jan. 17th, 2011 11:24 am
evaelisabeth: (Default)
Mom and I had a lovely day in the garden yesterday, Kate and Brian were off to ice skate in Dublin but I will let him tell that story.

We were pruning fools, we got all the soft fruit done, each one gets treated a little differently so we had our smart book on the topic out there with us. We also gave the apple trees their first haircut and they are all looking smart. Our Victoria Plum was a big big mess and got ruthlessly cut back till there is very little left of the poor tree. No plums for us this year but we hope that next year it will come back stronger and happier than it has been in years. We discovered a vertical split in the crab apple and hope very much that it will survive, the poor thing was severely stressed by the building, maybe next week we will do some heavy duty pruning on it but that requires my lovely hubby to get up on a ladder.

We also did all the roses which are all doing well and moved the three that needed to be shifted. In the process we inspected our herb garden and found that pretty much everything we expected to survive did. This year we will hopefully have a more organized and easy time of it. The vast majority of the beds are in so we can plant and sow when the time is right.

Our new 12'x24' polytunnel arrived last week and we are very happy campers, it will make a lot of difference to our garden this year. The next priority is putting three raised beds into it, two narrow ones running down the sides for tomatoes and cucumbers that will be trained up the walls, the third bed will be about 1m wide and run part of the way down the middle. There will be room for a potting bench and a table with a couple of chairs. We looked into getting fresh pressure treated lumber to build them but the cost was almost €300 which is crazy, so we are going to see if we can get another load of the used scaffolding which will be half the price if a tad heavy to work with :-) We are ending up with more room than we were expecting because our plans were for a 3mx6m polytunnel and we ended up with a 12'x24' which turns out quite a bit bigger. Luckily we discovered this before purchasing wood to build the beds.

It was great getting out in the fresh air, the weather cooperated and we discovered that our snowdrops are bursting through the ground, even some tulips think its spring. The Witchhazel is blooming with it's lovely little yellow flowers and we hope very much we don't get any more -10C cold snaps. It was a good day, I'm still buzzing with all that lovely green energy.

Sunflowers

May. 20th, 2010 09:53 am
evaelisabeth: (Default)
I finally squeezed in a 20 minute session of planting a dozen of the sunflowers we grew in little pots. They were seriously pot bound and very happy to go in the ground. First I dug over a piece of earth, sprinkled over some chicken shit (hey that's what Mom calls it) and then forked in some store bought compost. The soil that was put over part of our backyard for the percolation area is very very heavy and needs some help. I also put in some nasturtium seedlings round the bottom to give a bit of ground cover. Here's hoping they thrive, I love sunflowers. I've got another ten or so, not sure where I'll put them.
evaelisabeth: (Default)
Our weekend started off on a bit of a low note, the female 75% of the family were all either incubating or in the midst of a virus so we went to the market in the morning and then abandoned the idea of working in the garden in favor of napping on the couch. That seems to have been a good choice because yesterday we all felt much better. After a bit of a lazy start to the day we all went out and put in some serious work. I dug two new herb beds which nearly broke my back :-) They ended up right next to the house which means very large rocks from the foundation. We used timber from the pallets left over from building to build the surround and here's the result. It's funny how we went through two years of design starting from a very traditional medieval style herb garden through spirals, circles and tear drop shapes, check out what we ended up with.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4054/4612854394_56a1a06fed_o.jpg

Yup a very traditional square bed approach, I'm actually really happy with it. We had designed ourselves into a corner with where we wanted to herb garden to be which in the end was unworkable (who knew percolation areas have water permeable plastic membranes about 5" below soil level). In the center of each is a rose bush surrounded by five or six smaller herbs (in these cases we put in parsley, dill, St. Johns Wort and Burnet) and then around that we planted our onions which were very very happy to be out of the pots.

[livejournal.com profile] paradigmslost spent the day filling the fourth garden bed. Today Mom is going to plant it with the next bunch of things that really really need to be sown. It's actually a blessing in disguise I think that the season is so late cause we are very behind. Next year will be so much easier. Here's a picture of bed number 2 which has fennel and kales as well as an assortment of salads in it.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3350/4612250807_5704efc12f_o.jpg

Next weekend we are planning to put in three more herb beds (eventually we are aiming for twelve of these suckers) cause we have a lot of little plants desperately in need of a permanent home :-) We also need to dig up the top layer of soil where the next two garden beds are going so we can put the frames in and then promptly move all that dirt again into the beds. We should be able to build two beds in one weekend which can then be filled hopefully by mid-June. The last two smaller beds in the veggie garden will go in last, one of them is dedicated to asparagus which can wait in pots without a problem and the other one will be a proper cold frame. With any luck all the beds we are planning on will be done by the end of June, at least that's the plan. We still need to find someone who can put the poly tunnel up again, I'm a bit nervous about how much that's going to cost us but we really need it in order to keep a good succession of salads in the winter and for any hope of a decent cucumber and tomato crop next year.

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