A new month and a new to do list from the giy guys in Waterford. See the full newsletter for July in this link: GIY Newsletter July 2015
- Any ground that has finished cropping must be quickly cleared away to take more vegetables – this is the essence of a productive veggie patch.
- Write down your successes and failures – make a note of when things were sowed, transplanted, harvested etc. These records will be invaluable for next year. GIYers have great plans but poor memories!
- Use your produce – eat it, freeze it, process it, exchange it, give it away. Do not let it rot in the ground or end up on the compost heap.
- Continue to water and feed plants and practice good weed control.
- Continue to pinch out side shoots on your tomato plants and remove the lower leaves.
- Earth up brassicas such as Brussels sprouts – these plants will grow tall and require a good deal of support.
- Prune raspberries and gooseberries when they have finished fruiting and apply a mulch.
- Cut down legume plants that have finished cropping and compost them. Leave the roots in the soil as they fix nitrogen in the soil.
- Keep an eye on the blight forecast and spray potatoes if required.
Continue successional sowings and use quick maturing varieties for autumn use –
Lettuce, Rocket, Salad, Swiss chard, Onions, Radish, Turnips, Peas, French Beans (dwarf), Carrots (Amsterdam forcing is a good variety for late summer sowing).
Sow for winter use (yes you read that correctly – it’s time to start thinking about growing things that will crop in winter) –
Spring Cabbage, Hungry Gap Kale, Parsley, Perpetual Spinach, Chicory, Coriander
The above tips came from the July 2015 newsletter from GIY International. A membership is €35 per year, you get the GIY magazine each quarter (with a packet of organic seeds), and regular newsletters by e-mail. What is there not to like about this great Irish movement? Read the rest of this entry »
Next year I’m going to pick them sooner! They were tasty, but a bit fibrous. I wilted them in the steamer and they then went in a lemon risotto – perfect! This idea came from an gardening book I found in the library: Grow for Flavour by James Wong. Not only does he provide interesting scientific research-based tips for growing fruit and vegetables, also lots of ideas for different things to grow and using vegetable parts other recipes don’t reach.
Broadbean tip and lemon risotto
The low temperatures and dry wind of the last month had delayed progress for some of the vegetables on the allotment. Beans and peas were held up or got stressed, spinach bolted nearly straightaway. Some of the potato leaves look a bit anaemic, where others are fine and healthy. Hope to be able to report soon on which varieties they are!
Luckily there are crops for every kind of weather, so there is plenty of good news too.
I just harvested the last of my giant radishes. They’re the size of large parsnips and I had only sown them in April! I finally came across a recipe for a kind of coleslaw with grated radish, carrot and cut up gherkins that suits people who like to grow radishes but are not too fond of eating them.
The broad beans are ripening and I read somewhere that you should cut the tops once fruit has set. This prevents blackfly and the article said they (the tops, not the blackfly) are very tasty. Have to eat my bolted pakchoi first, but those bean tops are next on the menu.
This ground is great for onions and there are lots of good-sized ones standing 3/4 above ground, enjoying the good drying. I planted my sets a bit too deep, so they’re not showing above ground yet. However, I pulled one up tonight out of curiosity and it’s huge – hurray!
We always have herbs here at RTE – Rosemary, thyme, sage, bayleaf, mint. The lavender is in full bloom and I picked a nice little bunch tonight to hang upside down in a corner. The bees love those flowers too.
There are fruits on the tomatoes in the greenhouse and a fine crop of blackcurrants ripening under the netting that Joe put up. Come on Summer!
Despite the cold weather, we can cross off at least one item on the to-do-list: Joe has been busy with the saw, hammer and screwdriver and has made a very solid cage with netting found in a skip for the gooseberries, which got a haircut before going under the covers.
The blackcurrants will be next!
We have been developing a wildflower patch in one corner of the site. It would be impossible to dig, clean and plant this ground as it has been under weeds and heavy grass for a number of years. There are thistles and mares tails in abundance also. So we strimmed it back in March and I have been raking and inspecting it to see what is naturally there: Stitchwort, buttercups, various grasses, red and white clover, cuckoo flower, trefoil, silver leaf to name but a few! I will keep on raking and inspecting.
The weather last week has been cold and growth has been slow. New plants ready to go out are still held up in the greenhouse or on the windowsill. Hopefully it will start to warm up now, especially at night. Plenty to do – as you can see from the suggested to-do list for June published by our friends at GIY International in their GIY International June News 2015 (Click for link)
To do List June
- Watering and weeding duties step up a notch – the tunnel/greenhouse in particular will require a good deal of water from now on. Watch the weather and water outside as required. Water in the morning if possible.
- Add a good dressing of mulch around plants to reduce moisture loss and keep down weeds.
- Continue to earth-up potato plants to prevent the spuds becoming green.
- It’s time to get really seriously vigilant with your tomato plants – mulch, water and continue to remove side shoots that appear in the leaf axils. Train the plants carefully on strings or strong canes.
- If gooseberry and red current bushes are very leafy, start summer pruning by shortening back the new growth.
- Tie up beans and peas to stop them falling over – mature pea plants become like a
- canopy and could take off in the wind, bound for next door’s garden.
- Stake everything that grows tall – raspberries, peas, beans, tomatoes etc.
- Net soft fruit against birds – it’s worth the effort. They will eat your entire crop practically overnight if you let them.
- Thin beetroot in rows to single plants – for large roots space about 10 cm apart – for mini-beets space at 3 cm. Eat the leaves in salads – but sparingly.
“We bought a small petrol lawnmower with our GIY/AIB grant monies and this has been a great addition to the allotment meaning the whole space feels a lot tidier and more manageable. Its quite a nice job mowing the grass as you can see the improvement in the appearance of the plot so quickly. We also bought a picnic bench which is another great addition to the plot. Recently I have had to spend a lot of time weeding my onion and garlic bed. It is planted with organic onion sets and garlic bulbs produced in west Cork and sold by an Irish online company called Quickcrop. The bed is a new one put in last year and unfortunately the grass around the edges is very invasive, so it is a constant battle to keep it down. Next year I am going to invest in, what looks to be a great Irish product, called a Grow Grid, which is a large semi permeable mat of weed control fabric with planting holes punched for the plants, which will hopefully reduce the weeding work massively. My new potatoes (Orlas) are coming on well and some of my main crop are also coming up (Setanta and Sarpo Mira). I will have to earth them up over the next few weeks. I also have some space left in my beds for brassicas or maybe squashes.”