sunflower beginning to go to seed, with bee
Leeks seed heads
I have been allowing some produce to go to seed for the experiment as much as anything. Off course, before seeds come lovely flowers, and the bees love them. I noticed that they are particularly fond of leek flowers! So the last of the year’s leeks are coming into flower now. I also have sunflowers, which I grow for birdseed. Ladybirds abound on these magnificent blossoms, and indeed on the stems and leaves also. Fennel seeds are lovely in cooking, and it is in flower at the moment – large umbels of yellow, regularly visited by pollinators.
In the space vacated by the onions and the garlic I’ve planted the squashes I had been growing in pots at home. They were well ready to go into the ground. I gave each a good shovel full of a mixture of manure and compost at the bottom of the planting hole. I have been using bottomless bottles stuck upside down in the pot with my tomatoes at home and am experimenting with this watering method for the squashes as well. Only, I ran out of bottles, so for the moment the pot will have to do the job. It ‘s a very handy way to give a good dose of water near the roots without needing to wet the leaves.
I am considering leaving the cap on the bottle, but punching some small holes in it so the water trickles down slower.
Pattipan and Kuri squash
A very productive evening was spent on the the allotment last night. Terry succeeded in taking the front off the old compost heap and some very good compost has been bagged for use later in the season.The green bins have been filled with comfrey and nettles added so it should be good in a few months also.
Unfortunately some of the potatoes suffered from blight so these had to be dug out and the beds cleaned out.
The aubergines had been attacked by greenfly over the weekend – they were sprayed with a mixture of bread soda and washup liquid which appears to be working so they are back in the green house and hopefully will survive.
Compost July 2015
Terry and Joe bagging compost
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!