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

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Veg Update (leek, celery, onion, fennel, rhubarb)

Today’s radio headline: ‘coldest Spring in 30 years’.  It would feel much warmer if we didn't have such windy conditions. 

The Northern Ireland Met Office has indicated that the mean UK temperature for spring (March, April, May) 2013 will be around 6.1°C (43F), which would make it the 6th coldest spring in national records dating back to 1910 and the coldest since 1979 when the mean temperature was 6.0 °C  (43F). Burrr.

This post links in with the weather, as it includes plants that don't seem to mind the cold weather.

Left: Leeks don't mind a bit of cold; this one was planted last Spring, wasn't eaten, and continues to grow; likely to begin to flower soon.
I was delighted to learn that celery can be treated as a 'cut and come again' crop so I left last year's crop in the ground all Winter and it hasn't minded the cold weather. Here it is starting to green up and grow; looking good.
Onions 'Stuttgarter' were planted into the ground last week and don't seem to mind the cooler Spring weather.
Fennel is getting fluffier by the day. Wondering how I can use some of it - maybe a casserole of some sort?
The rhubarb has been harvested over the last four weeks and still more crumbles to make!
I've planted numerous seeds direct outside and undercover, all of which are slowly making progress. I think I'll try to keep courgette covered as long as possible as they seem to dislike a Spring chill. I'm hoping to get dwarf beans (French and Purple Queen) planted outside in early June. Just hoping we get some nicer weather!

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


  1. The wind certainly isn't helping with the temperatures is it? We have given up on growing celery - it just doesn't respond well to our ministrations at all!

  2. The idea of getting a polytunnel (preferably big enough to cover my whole garden) is looking very attractive now! It would probably benefit from artificial heating too.
    Does the cut-and-come-again Celery produce big thick stalks a second time, or is it just a mass of soft leaf? Actually, even if it is the latter it would be OK as they are pretty tasty and useful in the kitchen anyway.

  3. Here is hoping warmer weather soon arrives there! Your garden still has some luscious looking plants coming up! I will be anxious to see how your celery does...the foliage looks great!

  4. Thank you for the interesting article and pictures. Hopefully be an inspiration for us all. Greetings from blog visits thus of

  5. Wow. You are quite productive. How did you start your celery. I have seen on Pinterest how to start celery from an exiting stalk. By your weather, sometimes I think we are neighbors; however, your planting season seems to be bit earlier than ours. We, too, had a very cold spring. Set records. Today: cold and windy.

    1. Hi Ann, as I grew the celery from seed, I checked my diary entry for the celery and it says:

      Celery, Plant Hart's Seeds, US$2.29. Sown indoor 8 April 2012 / 4 seed per module x 8 planted indoor. Planted out in late June; very slow growth. 2013 update: Plants very poor and small in Summer 2012; left them in ground to over Winter and will see if they grow to harvest Spring / Summer 2013.

      I think I had read on Elaine's blog that she leaves celery in the ground to 'cut and come again', so I'm hoping it will work for me. Will keep you posted.

  6. Thanks for posting garden inspiration in earlier post. I enjoyed reading it TQ :-) I hope warmer temperature will follow soon. But over here we are afraid of the rain as the temperature is always here.

  7. We had a long cold winter/early spring, too. I really hope it warms up for you soon. Your veggies look great! Onions always seem funny to me the way they grow on the surface of the soil. Butterfly caterpillars eat the fennel foliage here. But only the herbal variety, I think.

  8. My celery is still going strong so just cutting what you need and leaving the plant in seems to work. It is pretty darned cold here too only 5 deg. this morning with really cold wind - will there ever be another summer. We can only hope and pray.

  9. So sorry to see that you have problems with wind and cold too. :(
    I love your fluffy fennel. I don't really like how it tastes but I know you can use it in almost everything( with fish, in soup, casserole, in salads) or dry it and use it as dry spice :)

  10. It's cold here too, and we've got wind and rain to add to the mix today. Onions might not mind the cold but they don't like the wet so I hope it stops raining soon, they didn't do very well at all last year.

  11. I love rhubarb crumbles. Jeannine