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, 27 April 2015

First Rhubarb Harvest

The first of the rhubarb harvest this year... there were four more stalks but they were stewed last night and served with yogurt topped with honey granola. My all-time favourite way to eat rhubarb is warm served with ice cream.

I have no idea what variety of rhubarb this is as I acquired the plant years ago. Last year I was given more rhubarb from a friend and not sure what variety it is either. Luckily the four plants seem to be growing at slightly different rates, which is handy. I've always grown rhubarb in the shady area of the garden and it has grown well.

In celebration of my 1st rhubarb of the season, I'm joining Daphne's Dandelions Harvest Monday ...where she's cooking up some fab looking butternut squash!

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

Friday, 24 April 2015

Seed sowing

We've had lots of sun this week and my little seedlings have suffered a bit from the heat and the drop in temperature at night. I'm eagerly awaiting their growth, and trying to ensure they don't dry out or suffer from sun scorch.

I've a good variety of seed sown. I'm aiming to grow veg that looks interesting as well as tastes good. Some varieties I've gone for include:

red/green lettuce Lollo Rossa
purple/green kale Red Russian
red stemmed Rhubarb Chard Vulcan
stripy Courgettte Coucourzelle

Above: Kale and courgette are growing quickly. The next step is to pot them on , with the aim of planting out into the veg area at the end of May (to ensure they don't get hit by frost).

Onion sets Stuttgarter have grown quite quickly. They are now relocated and have been planted outside. Of course I had too many that I could use, so I'll be giving a tray to one of the garden club members - 0ne of the benefits of being involved in a gardening group.

If anyone would like to take a look, my gardening group has set up a FaceBook - click here to visit. 
Happy Gardening!

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

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Tinkering with garden designing

It's been a busy couple of years in the garden. From volunteering weekly with a gardening group, to keeping up with growing my own veg and plants from seed, I've also been designing my first garden, a low maintenance garden... that started with a grassy / weedy area that looked sad and was in need of some TLC (tender loving care).

I've always had some interest in garden design and have done a short design course etc. Recently I took on my first project, starting with drawing out ideas and doing a bit of research on plants, etc. Its been fun and hard work as I've been involved in the digging etc (my back has not liked this).

Here's a little sneak preview of one of the areas that is almost finished, with a before, during and after shot.  More on the garden design project (and its progress) at a later date.

Above: Work in progress - some hard landscaping on a low budget.
Above: The starting point - an area of grass and weeds.

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

Friday, 3 April 2015

Labelling plants

Above: permanent pen has almost faded from last year.
Recently I've been making an effort to label plants, particularly when sowing seed or purchasing a new plant. Despite my efforts, I've discovered that pencil and 'permanent' ink seem to disappear from both wood or plastic plant labels within less than a year (sometimes much sooner). 

I've been looking at alternatives... I'm toying with the idea of purchasing a wood-burning pen kit to see if that would be a good solution.
Above: Permanent ink on a plastic label, (written a few months ago) is starting to fade a bit. Pencil works better on plastic but it too seems to disappear within about a year.
Above: A newly written label in pen on wood. How long will it last?

My gardening group has also had the problem of plant labels 'gone blank' over approx 6 months' time. Unfortunately, this has caused some confusion over what plants are where. We're also looking at low cost, more permanent plant labelling options.

If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to share.

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