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

Saturday 27 August 2011

August in flower - garden tour

Many of the plants grown from seed are now in full flower and hopefully will continue through the end of Sept (maybe even Oct). Here's a little tour...

Variety: Antirrhinum (Snapdragon) 'Intermediate Mixed', Carters Tested Seeds.Sown 18 March 2011 indoor. Planted outside May/June 2011.
Growing up the wigwam: Morning Glory 'Carnevale di Venezia', Thompson & Morgan seeds. Sown 7 May 2011 indoor. Planted outside June 2011.

Above and left: A new hardy annual I decided to grow this year - the flowers are really impressive. I just hope the plants bring lots more flowers before the end of summer!

Variety: Malope Excelsior Mixed, Hardy Annual, Caters Tested Seeds Sown 8 May 2011 indoor. Planted outside June/July 2011.
The rose border. Yellow rose is 'Arthur Bell'.
The Morning Glory has been growing slowly up the winter damaged coryline palm. Not much of a flower display as of yet.

Close up below.

The 'pony tails' on the Amaranthus get longer and longer.

Variety: Amaranthus 'Pony Tails', Thompson & Morgan Seeds, Sown 10 April 2011 indoor. Planted outside June/July 2011.

The California poppy have been blooming for months - great for the flower border!

Thursday 18 August 2011

Veg Update (Hot Pepper, Apple, Tomato, Broccoli, etc )

Very happy with my hot chili peppers and will do a few things different next year (bigger pots)! Have had several good pickings similar to photo shown. I've frozen a good lot of them to use in coming months.

VarietyChillis (hot) - Pepper (Hot) Cayenne, Mr Fothergill's, 60 seeds, £1.89. Sown 20 Feb 2011 indoor. Grown in 3 to 4 inch pots. Kept inside and grown on windowsill.

Self fertilising apple tree. About 11 apples this year - a lifetime record for me! I'm noticing some damage to the skin (pictured) - not sure what this is.
My first time growing tomatoes - has gone well after initial confusion about pinching out shoots. I'll definitely grow again next year. The tomatoes are 'bite size' - suppose that's why they're called 'red cherry'.

VarietyTomato (Red Cherry), Mr Fothergill's, 50 seeds, £1.89. Sown 3 April 2011 indoor. Kept in sun room/glass house throughout.
My broccoli has started to flower - I think that's bad. First time growing broccoli, thought it was doing well. Saw a small broccoli head forming in the middle of the plant but I didn't pick it as thought it should grow bigger; however, a few days later it began flowering.

VarietyBroccoli '(Autumn) 'Green Calabrese', Mr Fothergill's, 250 seeds, £1.49  Sown 8 April 2011 indoor. (Planted outside mid-June; netted).
I've had alot of blossom rot this year - on green and yellow courgette / zucchini. Never experience this before. Getting more growing healthy now - better late than never!

Variety (pictured): Courgette (yellow zucchini) 'Soleil F1', Mr Fothergill's, 10 seeds, £2.39. Sown 3 April 2011 indoor. Planted outside in pots in June 2011.

Photo of veg bed showing celeriac, two types of kale, cabbage.
Harvest - doesn't look like much - I seem to forget to take photos of what I take in from the garden. The supervisor inspects my goods.

Spring onions are growing great!

Hope your veg is growing strong (and not bolting)!

Sunday 14 August 2011

Blogger's Bloom Day

The 15th of every month is Blogger's Bloom Day... here's a snapshot of the colour around the garden.

Left and belowAmaranthus 'Pony Tails', Thompson & Morgan Seeds, 1000 seeds. Sowed 10 April 2011 indoor. Planted outside June 2011.

Above L-R: Pink phlox, Nicotiana (white plants) grown from seed, Crocosmia (orange), Linaria (pink) grown from seed.
 Above: Phlox and Crocosmia. Below: phlox (one of my favourite plants).
Above: Shrub rose.
AboveLupin 'Russell Mix' grown from seed last year - 1st year flowering.
 Above: Day lily after a rain shower.
Sunflower called 'Teddy Bear' - almost in flower.

Happy Blogger's Bloom Day! 
More on Bloom Day:

Saturday 6 August 2011

Name that plant...

Anyone remember the American TV show, "Name That Tune" where they played maybe 5 notes of a song on a piano, and a contestant tried to guess the song?

I often feel like I'm playing, 'name that plant' as I search on the internet to try to identify plants in the garden.
The first three photos are of a herbaceous perennial that flowers throughout summer. I cut it back about this time of year to get a second flush of flowers.  I have no idea what this plant is.
Any ideas what it might be called?

Suggestions gladly appreciated!
The next unknown plant is a shrub I call the 'bubble gum' shrub as it smells very sweet like bubble gum when it blooms during July.
The 'bubble gum' shrub?

It needs a good trim!
The next three photos are an unknown succulent type plant - maybe an alpine as it grows well in a very small crack in between metal slabs.
 It grows happily from a 1/2 inch crack. And the cold winter didn't bother it.
It's flowering at the moment.

Any guesses what this might be called?
Left: The last unknown plant gets white flowers from early summer. It self seeds around the garden. I'm not sure if it's an annual or a perennial. It probably likes poor soil conditions as it doesn't seem too fussy where it grows.

Any suggestions?

Another photo of same plant below.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

How does your Cucumber taste?

The pot / patio grown cucumber are really starting to grow now and the plant is just covered in blooms. I've never grown cucumbers before so wondering a few things....
When does one harvest?


Should I be removing some of the flowers / tiny cucumbers so the others will mature?

This is a really silly question, the seed pack says the plant matures in 55 days - 55 days from what? From when a tiny flower forms? (Novice gardeners heay!)
I was so excited to see the growth in my cucumbers that I reached for the seed pack and it said, "Pick fruit often and for best flavor do not permit them to grow too large." So I thought I'd eat one. It's smaller than a side plate (pictured) - so maybe 3.5 inches long.

Sliced a piece off and stuck it in my mouth - yuck! Tasted like bitter cabbage. Maybe they need to be bigger before harvesting? Or maybe I need to grate it into a big bowl of sour cream and eat as dip?
This is a photo of the plant 8 days prior to photos above. The growth in 8 days is substantial!

Seeds sown on 3 April 2011. This photo was taken 2 May 2011.

Two of the plants didn't survive gales in early June and I decided to grow the surviving plant in the sun room.

Variety: Cucumber Bush Pickle 'Concombre Pepino Cetriolo', Plant Hart's Seeds, US$2.29.