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

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Veg Update (Celeriac, Parsnip, Carrot, Pak Choi, Cabbage, Leek)

It's the last day of November and no hard frost yet. We had a hard frost last year around 20th Oct.

I've never grown much veg in the Winter but this year I have a few things still growing...

Celeriac update - I'm still waiting for them to get a decent size. Maybe I need to accept they're only going to be golf ball size. I've used a few celeriac leaves in stews.
Every week I pull carrots from the wheelbarrow.
Carrots (Nantes): seed planted in container (wheelbarrow) on 1st Aug.
Parsnip: seed planted container in May.
This pretty little plant is Pak Choi - planted on 1st Aug in the wheelbarrow with the carrots. I've never grown Pak Choi and not sure what to do with it, but I'm pleasantly surprised slugs haven't devoured it.

Cabbage (Golden Acre/Primo III) - this cabbage has been in the ground growing all Summer. I kind of forgot about it. The seed was started indoor in April and planted outside in June.

Wondering.... will it be bitter, or can I still eat it??
Leek (Musselburgh) - seed planted back in April indoor and transplanted outside in June. The leek are growing slooooww. I've only eaten one so far.

Happy Winter Gardening!

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Container Carrots

My container grown carrots are still doing well and haven't been damaged by the mild frosts. These are growing in an old wheelbarrow.

I'll have to double check the variety (as I forgot to check the label) but they are either James Scarlet or Early Nantes.
Recycled plastic bubble wrap goes over the plants at night to keep them cosy.

You may spot pak choi growing in the wheelbarrow as well. A growing experiment.
I'm delighted to be pulling up carrots in November!

A very Happy Thanksgiving week to 
fellow American bloggers!

Have a lovely day!

Saturday 12 November 2011

Botanic Gardens Autumn Flowers

Belfast Botanic Gardens has a lovely Autumn flower display in their giant glass house. I thought I'd share some of the colourful snaps as our daylight in the UK continues to shorten over Winter. Flowers seem to include chrysanthemum / mums, cyclamen, and ornamental chilli pepper-type plants.

Sunday 6 November 2011

1st Frost

We had our 1st frost today, and since I was posting about sunflowers yesterday I decided to post a frosty edged sunflower (the frost is melting away now). Later today I will be salvaging veg for a big pot of soup.

'Giant Sunflower'

Saturday 5 November 2011

Goodbye Sunflower

It's time to say farewell to the sunflowers.

Most of the Giant Sunflowers (pictured left / photo taken 1st Nov) are on their way out. So sad!

Photo Below: taken 1st Oct.

The Teddy Bear Sunflowers, although the shortest in height of any sunflowers I've  seen, brought some colour to the borders. (Photo taken 1st Oct).

Pictured with Aster.
As of 1st Nov, the Teddy Bear Sunflowers are no more.
I'm not too fussed about growing Teddy Bear again. They were 'ok'.

Giant Sunflowers - photo taken 1st Oct. The Giants were damaged in our late Summer and Autumn gales. Maybe it wasn't the year of the sunflower?!?

Below: At 1st Nov, they're in need of removal. (I put the flower heads on the hedge etc for the birds).

Left: a few (very late) sunflowers - still to flower. They were damaged by pests in early summer (but kept growing)... wondering if they will bloom before the frost gets them.

Sunflowers at their best, Sept 2011.

The red 'Autumn Beauty' Sunflower seeds grew but never flowered - perhaps enjoyed by the slugs and snails!

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Malope - an annual to try?

Malope - what a name for a plant! As there's been no frost (yet), my annuals are still flowering and the Malope are going strong.

This is the first time I've grown Malope and it has its pros and cons...

CON - They seemed to start off growing slow compared to other annuals grown from seed.                                                          

PRO - They give good height, up to 36 inches.
PRO - They make nice bushy plants (once they get going) and look well mixed with roses and most other bedding plants.
PRO - They have lovely flowers, and many flowers.
CON - The flowers seem to droop - I want them to stand at attention!

CON / PRO - It was only in Sept that the plants seemed to be at their best, bushy and full of flowers. (Suppose the weather etc has a part to play).
I ended up with more pink than white flowers. The white are lovely too.

Variety: Malope Excelsior Mixed, Hardy Annual, Carters Tested Seeds, 200 seeds, 79p. Sown 8 May 2011 indoor (high germination). June/July planted outside.

Verdict - I'll grow again next year!