This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Monday, 2 May 2016

Harvesting Rhubarb

The rhubarb is ready for harvesting!

Rhubarb is one of the most reliable plants I've grown over the years. Its an early-cropper, while many other plants are just coming into growth at this time.

I've always grown rhubarb in a slightly shady area of the garden. I generally mulch it once a year and leave it to its own devices. Two of my four plants are growing at different paces - this is luck and perfect for staggering the harvests a bit. I've no idea what variety I have as the plants were given to me by two different people.
What to do with the rhubarb? I saw a recipe in Tesco (grocery store) magazine about a month back, stuck it on the fridge so I wouldn't misplace it, and waited for my rhubarb to grow big enough to harvest.  This weekend I made 'Soured Cream and Rhubarb Tea Cake' - yummy! Above is a picture of the cake on the recipe page - always a bonus when what I make resembles the picutre!  It tastes delicious. Each serving has 23 grams of fat and 477 calories - no wonder it tastes so good! 

Tesco recipes can be found at: https://realfood.tesco.com/

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Harvesting Veg (radish, spring onion, mustard greens)

I've started harvesting! 


There's not a whole lot of harvesting to be done at the minute (to be honest), but it's always a great feeling to be able to sow, grow, and eat something... and that something (currently) has been radishes, spring onion and giant mustard greens. 

The radish were sown in March and harvested in April. Radishes only take about a month or so to grow into something edible. I had a bit of a glut of radishes but I discovered they are delicious in stir fry, and are also good cut in half and added to vegetable soup. Of course, the most common way of eating radishes is sliced and put into salad.

Radish are generally easy to grow. However, I recall, when I first started gardening, having quite  a few unsuccessful attempts at growing them!  

The Spring Onion and Mustard Greens 'Giant Red' were sown last year around August time. They over wintered and are now starting to put on growth and are ready to eat. The giant mustard greens, like their name, taste just like mustard and are great on burgers, sandwiches or in salad to spice up the flavour.

You may notice the net covering the  veg - this is because stray cats seem to think my nicely turned soil is a 'loo' for them, so I have to net any vegetables that I grow. Suppose this is an issue many of us face (naughty cats)!

Happy Gardening!

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Community Gardening

April is the start of the gardening season for me and I've been back up at Antrim Castle Gardens volunteering weekly in the gardens. The grounds are owned by the local Council and the space is wonderful to work in with very beautiful surroundings.

Last year we developed a new Cottage Garden that has been developed for the most part from recycled materials (logs, old castle gate, etc) and from plants that have been donated. This is really its first year and we're looking forward to seeing how it looks this Summer. Its a work in progress, particularly as our budget is very limited.

Poppies grown from seed collected from plants in the garden.

We started sowing seed in March and things are really growing well - won't be long until we will be planting out.
We also have a Heritage Garden that we've been developing over the last couple of years.

We've a core group of 15 volunteers and others who dip in and out. It has been really enjoyable gardening with other enthusiasts, and I'd highly recommended community gardening projects! 

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.