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

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Autumn Veg

I'm still harvesting lots from the garden... kale, cherry tomatoes  aubergine/eggplant, beans, courgette/zucchini,  lettuce, herbs. All the potatoes have been dug up or removed from grow bags. There are two items I'm still waiting to harvest - celery and carrots. The celery did much better last year, however, I'm hoping to harvest in October, ready or not.

Left:  Kale Curly Scarlet, Mr Fothergill's seeds. Sown indoor 8 April 2012; planted outside early June 2012. Usually no pests at all bother with this plant, however, this year I've noticed some little green worms eating on it.
Above: Veg for the weekend.
Above and below: This is my first year growing eggplant/aubergine and I've learned that I need to harvest sooner rather than later. Once the plants start turning a lighter purple (as in the above photo) they lose much of their flavour and have started developing seeds so its much better to harvest smaller and tastier! My four plants have done well producing fruits (as shown below).
The fennel have gotten extremely tall this year and lots of flowers. I've not sure how to harvest fennel seed so will have to check the internet.
Above and below: the courgette/zucchini are still going. Some blossom rot of course and some still being nibbled by slugs. Below you can see the prickly bits on the young courgette - I've been caught out a few times when picking - ouch.
Above: carrots in the wheelbarrow have grown slow but I think they're ready to eat. Last year I was pulling October carrots and it will be the same this year.

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

Monday, 24 September 2012

September Sun (and frost)

The weather was lovely over the weekend. However, today has been filled with grey skies and heavy rain. September has been such a mixed month weather-wise. Of course on sunny days I head out into the garden to capture some photos of any insects or butterflies I can find. 

We even had a light frost at the weekend (see last photo). I was a bit surprised. Not a hard frost,  as such, but still a frost.

Left: Cornflower 'Blue Bell' (Hardy Annual), grown from seed sown direct outside.
Above and Below: Sedum Autumn Joy attracts all sorts of insects.
Above: Zinnia 'Giants of California',  grown from seed sown direct outside. 
Above: A bit of a light frost on Saturday morning!
I knew this meant a lovely sunny day!

Happy Fall / Autumn!
Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Courgette Capers

What lovely courgettes (zucchini) I'm getting this September. I've been eating them every way I can think of - vegetable soup, courgette lasagna,  courgette mixed with beans and cherry tomatoes, etc, etc. I think I have about ten courgette plants, some in pots and some in the ground. I spread the plants about the garden in an attempt to find suitable growing conditions, as last year I had an extremely pour harvest, mainly from blossom rot.

LeftCourgette 'All Green Bush'. 

What I've noticed about  'All Green Bush' is that it has prickly  little bits on its skin. Can you see them in the photo? They can be a bit painful. The prickly hairs seem to go away when cooked.

Sliced courgette ready to go into a vegetable lasagna. Yum!
Another good looking courgette. I lifted the leaves to look underneath, and guess what I saw...
a big fat slug, plump from eating a baby courgette.
Above: Walking around the garden I spotted other signs of slugs on my courgettes. Do you see the slimy trail in the above photo?
Below: Looks like slugs have developed a taste for my courgettes.
A few days later the above courgette was fully eaten and I would put more beer traps out but I'm still getting a fair supply of courgette so I suppose the slugs eating a few won't hurt. It looks like big bites have been taken above, but I think its just a slug working its way through over about a week. Below: slug damage to the plant stems as well. 

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

Monday, 17 September 2012

September Veg-Edibles

Better late than never! I've had somewhat sparse harvests over the summer compared to last year, however, September has brought a more regular supply of cherry tomatoes, courgette/ zuchinni, herbs like parsley and basil, and beans (both 'scarlet emperor' and 'dwarf purple queen'). I've even managed a small bowl of peas - hooray! Two apples fell from the tree so they were brought in. 
Below - Maris Peer potatoes freshly dug, less of a yield than I'd hoped for but I'm happy enough with my bucket load.
Above: Carrots growing slowly in an old wheelbarrow.
Below: plenty of salads at the minute.
Above: Eggplant/aubergine still growing and more cherry tomatoes to ripen. I still haven't cooked any of the eggplant yet (this week I must).
Below: Purple 
Curly  Kale has been used in stir fry and soups but looks good as an ornamental plant.
A question for experienced potato growers - 
Are these the culprits that like to burrow into potatoes?  
I discovered several of these quick-crawling wormy like creatures in the ground where I dug up the potatoes. 

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

Friday, 14 September 2012

Mid September Blooms

It's nearing mid-September; the weather is cooler and leaves are beginning to fall. We're  a week away from the official start of Autumn and already there's a noticeable difference with less daylight. However, there's still a fair bit of colour in the garden and the veg is still producing. Here's a little overview of what's in flower.

Left: Hydrangea shrub.
Above: Sedum Autumn Joy, seen through a Carex bronze coloured grass. These plants need divided and will split in the middle, therefore I've put a stick in to try to provide some support. Below: Canterbury Bells (Hardy Biennial) - I'm still deadheading and it's still producing.
Above: Nigella 'Persian Jewels Mixed' (Love in a mist), (Hardy Annual), pictured with Curly Scarlet Kale. Grown from seed, this is one of the tiniest flowers I've ever seen. To take this photo I am very close up to this flower. Has anyone else had success growing this plant? I hope it survives the Winter and grows bigger, or maybe it will self seed?
Scarlett Emperor bean is nice in flower - and I'm getting a bean harvest!
Above: Nasturtium 'Dwarf Alaska Mixed Colours' - a lovely plant and easy to grow from seed.
Below: Tom Thumb fuschia - dies down in Winter and comes up every Spring.
Above: Phlox.
Below: Crocosmia.
Above: Crocosmia Lucifer (red one) and an orange coloured  crocosmia.
Below: Crocosmia and Sedum are so easy to divide I've ended up with some in most areas of the garden.

Happy Blogger's Bloom Day!
Blogger's Bloom Day is hosted by and bloggers share their blooms from across the globe.

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

Monday, 10 September 2012

Veg Update (Aubergine, Bean, Tomato, etc)

Every year I grow something new from seed, and of course I panic slightly as to when to harvest. (Seed packs assume you know a bit about what you're growing!) Last year I grew tomatoes for the first time and I panicked about pinching out and tying in. This year I'm growing aubergine/eggplant for the first time and I still haven't eaten any as I'm not sure it's ready? A fellow blogger posted on Mark's Veg Plot that they are ready when they are shiny and slightly spongy to touch. I'm still unsure. The one at the bottom of the photo has gone past being shiny (however they're shiny as tiny little plants growing). I suppose I'll just have to pick and eat and hope for the best. That will be my goal this week!

Variety: Aubergine Early Long Purple 3. Sown from seed indoor on 8 April 2012; potted-on 17 June 2012 and grown over the summer in a sun room/glass house.

Above and Below:  The cherry sized tomatoes are ripening and I'm filling a small bowl daily which is just enough for my use in salads. I also enjoy them slightly oven-warmed as an accompaniment to any main dish.
Above and below: Pot grown Bean 'Dwarf Purple Queen'. I'm getting  a good, regular harvest this year - an improvement on last year. I must be getting better at growing veg! (However, I've had little success with Cobra and Scarlet Emperor this year.)
Above and Below: Speaking of Scarlet Emperor Beans - I did a late sowing and planted two plants in my flower border and it looks to have potential. I may get a meal or two out of it! (You can see Fennel in this photo as well; looks nice with the climbing bean.) 
Above: Courgette (yellow zucchini) 'Soleil F1' - It suffered blossom rot last year. This year I've had a few courgettes, however, it's on my list of poor producers. On the plus side, it looks pretty!

The other big producer at the minute is kale. Celery is very slow to grow, not sure I will have success this year; I think I sowed too late. Carrots are soon ready to harvest, after I had to resow several times (didn't seem to germinate early in the year), and I've potatoes to harvest. I've really enjoyed seeing posts of  fellow bloggers' summer harvests - really inspiring indeed ! Happy Harvesting!

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

Friday, 7 September 2012

September Flowers

The beginning of September has definitely started to feel like Autumn with slightly cooler nights and mornings. This is one of my favourite times of year, with summer flowers still producing usually up until the first frost, which I'm betting will be in late October.

Left: One of my younger delphinium plants has decided to have a late flowering. A nice surprise.

Also Zinnia 'Giants of California' are flowering. These were grown from seed started indoor in May.

Left and below: the same photo from different angles to show the right and left sides of the flower border, and path in between.

Feeling like Autumn is near, with phlox and crocosmia.
Above and below: Phlox - I call it tall phlox as I'm not sure of the variety (and it grows quite tall). It was given to me by a friend who has now passed away from cancer. The purple plant above is Curly Scarlet Kale which makes a  great plant for the flower border as well. I'm thinking of planting it throughout all the flower beds next year.
Above: Canterbury Bells (Hardy Biennial), grown from seed, are on their 2nd flush of flowers. The is my first year growing Canterbury Bells and they seem very long lasting. I see more buds coming too. I deadhead regularly and I discovered quickly that the spent flowers are very prickly, almost splintery when removing by hand. (Learned my lesson; now I use scissors.)
Above: Late summer colour, including kale and leek in the border.
Below: Sedum Autumn Joy is beginning to go from green, to pink, to red, to burgundy. A great plant!

Bring on an Indian Summer!

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