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

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Veg Update

September has been warm and the vegetables are still going strong. I'm glad I kept sowing seed, even late in the season, as I've ended up with a good few items for late harvesting.

Left: Lettuces, courgette, parsley etc are growing happily. The pak choi keeps  bolting; I've tried to grow it on a number of occasions and haven't had success so this might be going on my black list of 'don't bother to grow'.

Other veg growing include kale, swede, beetroot, chard, leek and salad crops.

One of the problems this month with courgette has been mildew on the leaves. I've ended cutting most of the leaves off. 
Above: Lots of Turnip Milan Purple Top.
Above: This photo was taken about 10 days ago; the cherry sized tomatoes are now turning red. I'm not a huge fan of tomatoes so most go into cooking / sauces.
Above: This time of year is great for taking woodland walks and picking blackberries - free and tasty!
Above: Dwarf Beans Purple Queen were sown in late June and are producing well. Better late than never!

Lots to keep me busy! Hope you have a great week in the garden!

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

Friday 19 September 2014

September Flowers

September has been very dry. I can't recall any rain this month, not in the last 2 weeks anyway. It's been fairly warm and the late summer flowers are joining forces with the annuals and other plants that are still showing their summer colour. 

The plants in this post are more recent additions to the garden and them seem to be very good value, adding late summer colour.

Left: Rudbeckia Goldsturm I purchased this plant in a plant clearance and it's a great wee plant.

Above: Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun' - this plant seems to get better and better each year. In its 2nd year it has been flowering from early Summer and seems to have lots more to give.
Above: Agapanthus - in its first year, it has had giant white flower heads for a few weeks that are now finishing.

Above: Tall phlox is starting to finish and has brought a nice bright splash of late colour.
Above: Hydrangea 'Magical Moonlight' (a free gift from Spalding Plant Company) has some nice long flower heads and goes from white to cream to pink tinted. Its been flowering most of the summer.
Above and below: Moths and butterflies are really enjoying the Verbena - one of my favourite plants. Its been flowering all summer and is a great plant for a cottage style garden.

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

Monday 15 September 2014

Harvesting Veg

A basket full of a week's harvest.
I'm now harvesting veg from two different places - my own garden and the community garden I volunteer at. Between the two, I don't really  need to buy much veg at the grocery store which is fantastic. 

I enjoy cooking and I'm not a fussy eater so I always take the veg no one else wants (cucumber, kale, leaf beet etc). I generally make up my own recipes and just use whatever I have in the fridge (and garden). I just love all this veg - so very yummy!
Once the veg is washed, I start planning my meals for the week. This week's harvest includes: 2 types of lettuce, tomatoes, beetroot, turnip, swede, leaf beet, kale, carrots, celery, cucumber, and peppers.

This week I'm joining Harvest Monday for the first time at Daphne's Dandelions blog. Not sure if I qualify because some of the veg comes from the community garden, but thought I'd give it a go, and Daphne can keep me right. Happy Harvesting!

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

Friday 12 September 2014

Community Gardening Update

Our 1st season of pears: 4 fruits on this tree.
All is going well at Antrim Castle Gardens and the community growing project involving a group of eager and energetic volunteers (me being one of them!). We're in our 2nd year and we've expanded the areas we maintain and look after. This year we added a heirloom kitchen garden area and another veg growing area. Next year we have plans to develop a cottage garden with a secret path through it that visitors to the public garden can discover and enjoy.
Above: Our new veg growing area had potatoes in it, and now houses swede, leek, kale and lettuces.
Above: The heirloom kitchen garden contains a rang of edibles including herbs and medicinal plants. This is an area in development and its great to learn about new plants.

Above: Of course giant sunflowers are always popular and when working in the gardens its great to hear children exclaim excitement at the sight of the sunflowers.
Above: Some of the flowers in the garden include hydrangea and Salvia Purple Majesty.

Above: The pink snapdragon look striking but require a good lot of deadheading! The greenhouse in the background contains tomatoes, green peppers and cucumber.
Above: Over the weekend the verbena plants were attracting a good supply of butterflies and bees - great to see!

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

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Veg Harvest

My little veg harvest over the weekend will keep me going this  week. (The only veg I bought in my grocery shop was a cabbage marked down to 16 pence / 25 US cents - a bargain I couldn't pass up.)

My harvest includes lettuce for salads and cooking apples to make dessert. I used the turnip, broccoli, courgette, kale, leaf beet, and celery in a big pot of chili. And I made celery, potato and courgette soup. All very yummy if I say so myself.

I didn't grow all this veg. Some of it came from the community growing project at Antrim Castle Gardens where we volunteer as a group. We have had a good supply of veg and herbs over the summer that we share with members and guests to the gardens. Guests do love taking a wee treat home with them (spuds, cucumber, tomatoes and such).

Happy harvesting everyone!

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