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 October 2013

Pumpkin Time

Halloween is upon us, a well liked American holiday growing in popularity in Ireland. For me, its time to clear leaves in the garden, relax by the fire at night, and sip warm drinks such as hot chocolate or mulled wine.

Growing pumpkins has not been an achievement of mine. Instead I visit a pumpkin 'farm' (don't think they're grown locally) and choose one or two to carve for a bit of night time Halloween atmosphere. 

Can't believe its almost November and I've still loads of weeding and tidying to do in the garden. I'm thinking it may be Christmas before I take a break from all the outdoor chores. When do you take time off from the garden and hibernate a bit over the winter? 

Happy Halloween!

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

Sunday 27 October 2013

End of October Flowers

Today marks the end of British Summer Time. It's only a few days until the end of October (no frost yet) and the garden still has a good amount of interest and colour through plants like sedum, grasses, kaffir lily, pieris forest flame, and the red stems of the dogwood shrub.

The wet, damp weather has been good for the weeds and they're multiplying thick and fast. I've still loads of weeding and tidying to do before I retire from general garden work for the Winter. 

Above: Sedum Autumn Joy amongst the Bergenia leaves.
Sedum Autumn Joy is a survivor; here it grows through heather.
Above: The grassy looking Schizostylis Coccinea (Kaffir Lily) are in their flowering prime.
Kitty follows me through the garden and enjoys a scratch against the red stems of the Cornus dogwood shrub.

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

Tuesday 22 October 2013

No Apples for Me

Photo taken  October 2012.
Last year I had a record harvest of 15 organically grown apples from a little pot grown tree (yes, that's my top record.) This year I have a record - 0 apples (yes, zero). But it's my own fault...

We had a cold Spring and a warm, dry Summer. My apple tree is a self fertilizing tree that grows in a large pot. I was very bad and forgot to water it during the summer so I imagine this is why the fruits dried up and didn't develop. I do miss my little harvest of apples. Suppose there's always next year!

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

Friday 18 October 2013

Courgettes and Squash

I'm still harvesting courgette and squash. I thought most of my courgette were finished but I came across this plant with four good sized fruits. I found a recipe for courgette pancakes on the internet - basically just add a shredded courgette, with moisture squeezed out, to your pancake mix and it tastes really nice (especially with a bit of maple syrup!).

LeftCourgette (zucchini F1) - has done well this year.
Squash (Patty Pan White) - the squash plant has grown huge but hasn't produced much squash. Lots of flower blooms but they seem to fall off. Suppose they aren't being pollinated properly.  I'm still hoping for miracles before frost hits!

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

Monday 14 October 2013

Mid October Blooms

It's mid October (already) and there are less flowers blooming but still some colour in the garden with asters, sunflower and other late flowering plants. It's getting colder and the leaves are falling. It's looking much more like Autumn.

No frost yet but soon the annuals will need cleared and there will be some tidying to do before putting some areas of the garden to rest until Spring. I've still some veggies to look after including winter salads, kale, chard, leek and others so I won't be hibernating completely come the colder weather. 

Here's a little snapshot of some of the colour in the garden, my favourite being the Sedum Autumn Joy and the dogwood shrub.

Left: Aster begin to flower.
Above: Giant Sunflower.
Below: Dogwood / Cornus has great colour this time of year and the stems turn bright red and look great throughout Winter.

Above: Sedum Autumn Joy with summer petunia (still blooming).
Below: Squash flowers.
Above: Schizostylis coccinea
Below: the view through the ivy.
Above: Crocosmia.
Blogger's Bloom Day (15th of each month) is 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.

Friday 11 October 2013

Beautiful Kohl Rabi

Kohl Rabi - what a great looking vegetable! They're so pretty I'm not sure I want to harvest and eat them. This is the first time I've grown this plant so I have no idea what to do with it or when to harvest. The seeds were started off in June in a greenhouse and planted outside at the end of July. 

Variety: Kohl Rabi 'Purple Vienna

The name of the plant means 'turnip cabbage' (BBC Good Food website).
I did a quick google search on the internet. Says the bulb can be steamed or stir fried and the leaves can be eaten like cabbage. Suppose I need to try them out soon! 

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

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Carrots and Squash

The weather has been mild and the plants are still thriving. I pulled out most of the carrots over the weekend. I had been picking a few occasionally to serve with mixed veg or stir fry but decided to pull out the lot. In quite a small space and using the square foot growing idea (I used approx 18 inch square planting area for carrots - pictured below left corner) I think I've had a reasonable harvest. In the past the carrots have been longer and bigger so maybe they were a little cramped.

Variety:  Carrot 'Early Nantes 2' 
I've heard other bloggers complain about their squash... the monster plant above is taking over one of my raised veg boxes. I thought it was a courgette, however, I found a label hidden underneath indicating Squash Patty Green Tint. This plant continues to grow like a tropical paradise plant, however, it has produced only three squash (so far) the whole summer. Frost is coming soon so my squash is on the naughty plant list
Above: lots of squash flowers more recently (all the plant did  over the Summer was grow huge). Over the past month, I've been feeding it with tomato feed.
Below: Squash with blossom rot. Hoping to get some squash before the frost!
One squash harvested with carrots, a few beans and a few salad leaves.

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

Friday 4 October 2013

Community Garden Update

Our volunteer group at Antrim Castle Gardens has had a busy Summer. From June we've planted and planted, both annuals and perennials. We didn't think we would ever get the areas planted. As a group, who didn't know each other, we've worked well together and we have some very committed volunteers who keep the areas looking respectable. This is a snapshot of our planting and our first three months in the garden (the first bed we planted was 29 June 2013). Here's a little update on our progress... 
Above and Below: Two of our beds planted with annuals and perennials. We had drawn up a planting scheme/design, however, we had difficulties with our plant order and in the end we had to improvise. Our beds were supposed to look like rays/swirls from the sun in blocks of colour (orange, blues, yellows, etc).
Above and Below: We have had a few gaps in our planting. This is because we were waiting for other plants to arrive which never did so we ended up with gaps waiting to be filled. We all just adore working in the garden (so we no longer see the gaps)!
As we potter about weeding or deadheading at the weekend or evenings, we always hear positive comments from people passing. We often get asked what the tall purple plants are (verbena and salvia purple majesty).
It has been very rewarding being a volunteer in the gardens.
Above: This was the first bed we planted as a group. It was planted on 29 June and the Perilla (tall purple plant) is the second most popular plant in the garden in relation to the public enquiring about the plant name.
Now we move on to our next stage of gardening - growing fruit and vegetables. This month we've built veg boxes for growing veg, and we have planted fruit trees. We will be busy next year! We're hoping to recruit some new volunteers to help maintain all these areas.
We have also decided to designate an area to growing heritage vegetables, which is really exciting. And we're getting a polytunnel.  Wow, are we going to be busy!

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