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 24 April 2016

Harvesting Veg (radish, spring onion, mustard greens)

I've started harvesting! 

There's not a whole lot of harvesting to be done at the minute (to be honest), but it's always a great feeling to be able to sow, grow, and eat something... and that something (currently) has been radishes, spring onion and giant mustard greens. 

The radish were sown in March and harvested in April. Radishes only take about a month or so to grow into something edible. I had a bit of a glut of radishes but I discovered they are delicious in stir fry, and are also good cut in half and added to vegetable soup. Of course, the most common way of eating radishes is sliced and put into salad.

Radish are generally easy to grow. However, I recall, when I first started gardening, having quite  a few unsuccessful attempts at growing them!  

The Spring Onion and Mustard Greens 'Giant Red' were sown last year around August time. They over wintered and are now starting to put on growth and are ready to eat. The giant mustard greens, like their name, taste just like mustard and are great on burgers, sandwiches or in salad to spice up the flavour.

You may notice the net covering the  veg - this is because stray cats seem to think my nicely turned soil is a 'loo' for them, so I have to net any vegetables that I grow. Suppose this is an issue many of us face (naughty cats)!

Happy Gardening!

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

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Community Gardening

April is the start of the gardening season for me and I've been back up at Antrim Castle Gardens volunteering weekly in the gardens. The grounds are owned by the local Council and the space is wonderful to work in with very beautiful surroundings.

Last year we developed a new Cottage Garden that has been developed for the most part from recycled materials (logs, old castle gate, etc) and from plants that have been donated. This is really its first year and we're looking forward to seeing how it looks this Summer. Its a work in progress, particularly as our budget is very limited.

Poppies grown from seed collected from plants in the garden.

We started sowing seed in March and things are really growing well - won't be long until we will be planting out.
We also have a Heritage Garden that we've been developing over the last couple of years.

We've a core group of 15 volunteers and others who dip in and out. It has been really enjoyable gardening with other enthusiasts, and I'd highly recommended community gardening projects! 

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

Saturday 9 April 2016

Sunshine and hail stones

This morning I was volunteering at Antrim Castle Gardens in the community gardens and the weather was gorgeous and sunny. I harvested radishes (which are tasty in stir fry), and prepared a new veg planting area where I'll plant climbing beans, a selection of courgette (zucchini) / squash, and a range of veg, grown from seed.

Heading home, I thought, 'happy days, I'll get out into the garden.' Suddenly the skies turned grey and a shower of hail stones came down. Typical of this time of year in Northern Ireland.  You can see the hail stones in the photo above, in my low maintenance garden area.

Once again, there goes my plans for a day of gardening. Oh well, I'll do a bit of indoor garden planning!

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

Sunday 3 April 2016

Rainy day project for the garden

The weather hasn't been great for gardening...

St Patrick's was cold (so no potatoes were put in).
Easter was cold and wet so not much done outside.
This weekend was rainy (and cold), so again no seeds sown.

I feel a bit behind schedule but I have the rest of the month to sow seeds!   So this weekend, I decided to work on mosaic butterflies for the garden. I took a night class last year and I had started various mosaic projects - one of which was four butterflies cut out of copper. I finished three of them in class and had one more to do - today's project!
A copper piece completely covered with mosaic tiles and grouted. Of course, once the grout dries it has to be cleaned up!

On the left, a finished piece. On the right the copper shape. I like both pieces and think the copper is nice on its own. However, I can't wait to hang the bright, mosaic tile butterfly pieces in the garden over the coming months.

An enjoyable rainy day project!

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