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 30 September 2013

Veg Update (Potatoes, Lettuces, Greens)

This year I grew two types of potato: Charlotte and Maris Peer. They were planted in April (rather than March because of the colder than usual Spring) and I generally leave them to it until such time I remember to dig them up. The green growth had died down a number of weeks ago; I tend to leave them in the ground awhile, just digging what I need. This year I grew them in containers, a raised veg box and a few directly in the ground. I didn't water them at all during the warm summer spell and and think the yield was ok.
Charlotte and Maris Peer potatoes should last through to December. I made potato soup at the weekend in the slow cook (potatoes, milk, water, cheese, herbs) - just ok. The recipe called for ham and that probably would have given it that extra flavour needed.  
Once again gardening magazines have tempted me with their free seeds, which I find hard to pass by. I've planted these during June, July and August with mixed results. I have never been able to get Pak Choi growing for some reason.
In June I sowed a range of seeds in my pop up greenhouse, and planted them out about  July/August. My plants look too close together, however, I can't bare pulling plants out so I might just leave this lot and see what happens. These plants were popular with the caterpillars over the past month but I think I've picked them all off (on numerous checks).  Plants include:
Coriander Cilantro - quick to flower.
Basil Red Rubin - huffing and not growing.
Kale Curly Scarlet - a few little plants in the middle.
Pea Kelvedon Wonder - huffing and have mildew.
Kale Nero di Toscana - the caterpillars has eaten much of this plant.
Kale Dwarf Green Curled - doing well and taking over much of the bed.
Calendula - for a bit of colour - they're still to flower (far left).
Kohl rabi Purple Vienna - my first success growing from seed!
Cabbage January King - does anyone know if they'll over winter without protection?

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

Sunday 15 September 2013

Mid September Blooms

It's Blogger's Bloom Day and I've mostly pinks in the garden this month. I do like pinks and purples. Up at the community garden at Antrim Castle Salvia Purple Majesty is making a gorgeous display planted alongside Verbena - this is a combination I will have to introduce to my own garden (3rd photo shown below).

Here's a little tour of some of the blooms this month. The colours of summer are still showing in the garden, however, it won't be long until frost and things will change quite a bit. The bottom photo shows more Autumn looking colours with oranges and yellows.

Left: Two Echinacea plants were added to the garden this year.
L to R: Echinacea, Rose, Sedum Autumn Joy, Fushia Tom Thumb.
Above: Verbena planted with Salvia Purple Majesty at the Community Garden.
Above: Phlox, rose and leek flowers.
Below: Phlox.
Above and Below: The star plant for Autumn - Sedum Autumn Joy. I'm hoping to add  new varieties of sedum to the garden as they're such great plants and easy to divide and make new plants. 
L to R: Sunflower*, Nasturtium Tutti Frutti*, Crocosmia, Calendula* with Petunias. (* = grown from seed).

The 15th of each month is Blogger's Bloom Day hosted by May Dreams Gardens. If you'd like to see blooms from around the world click here.

Happy Blogger's Bloom Day!

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

Thursday 12 September 2013

Are your vegetables pretty?

I'm afraid my end of Summer veg aren't very pretty! In fact, they're very blemished with horrible holes. They're caterpillar infested. Growing organically, I've put quite a bit of effort into slug control this year (night safaris, etc) however this seems to be the year of the caterpillar. They're currently my top pest. Caterpillars aren't fussy either - they are eating on almost everything...
Radishes and lettuces have been attacked by little green caterpillars.
Above: Caterpillars have been found on the leaves of the Dwarf Purple Queen Bean.
Below: Turnip leaves were the first to be attacked (some new leaves have grown since).
They've munched on calendula;
They've munched on kale.
They munch on Spring Cabbage.

They're hard to see on curly leaved kale, but they are there.
I inspect the plants but never seem to get them all. 
Perhaps my lesson is - use netting!?!

The worse thing about caterpillars is their poo - which I've chose not to display!
Has anyone else had caterpillar problems this year?

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

Saturday 7 September 2013

California Poppy

A great low maintenance plant - California Poppy. I introduced California Poppy to the garden several years ago through scattering seeds around. I always enjoy the surprise of the plants popping up here and there, never knowing where the new seeds will scatter and take root each year. 

The seed pack I've used is called 'California Poppy Summer Sun Mixed' and the pack shows photos of four different flower colours (orange, yellow, red and pink). Only the orange ones have germinated in the past.

Left: California Poppy (Eschscholzia),with Silverdust. The seed pack says:

- easy to grow 
- sow direct outside
- poppy-like flowers with silky petals
- hardy annual
Self seeded plants. 
Above and Below: This year I bought another pack of  'California Poppy Summer Sun Mixed' seeds and scattered them about in early June. I was surprised to see plants appear with pink flowers. At first I thought I had created a new plant, but then I dug out the seed pack and realised they had come from the seed mix.  They are still a lovely surprise and I hope they will continue to self seed!

I'd definitely recommend scattering these seeds about!

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

Sunday 1 September 2013

Suttgarter Onions from start to finish

Above: Onion sets purchased.
This was my first year growing onion and I'm happy with the results. Every time I grow something new I get a rush of uncertainty at some stage - with the onions the uncertainty came when pulling them up and how to dry and store them. I think I managed and as I didn't grow very many I think I'll have them eaten in a couple of months so the storing isn't too necessary. I really enjoy growing things I haven't grown before. Here's a little record of their start and finish in the garden.

Above: Starting to grow - The onion bulbs in the open growing tray seemed to have better root systems than the ones grown in the individual squares. Photo taken 7 May.
Above: In my new raised beds, I used the  square foot growing idea and onions took up two of my growing areas. They were planted in the bed at the end of May. Photo taken 21 July.
Above: A closer look at the onions in the bed.  Photo taken 29 July.
Above: On reflection I think I pulled the onions a bit too soon, however, the leafy stalks were starting to flop over so  I pulled them up. Photo taken 10 August.
Suttgarter onions pulled and drying. They are about tennis ball size, some smaller. They smell and taste delicious. I think I will definitely grow again next year. I'd like to grow a red onion as well. Any suggestions of an easy to grow red variety let me know!

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