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, 25 September 2011

Veg Update (Broccoli, Carrot, Cabbage, Celery, etc)

One carrot pulled (yes one) - for making soup and one parsnip (under size). Grown in a veg box, pictured below. I only wanted one of each but can't wait to harvest more. Variety: Carrot 'James Scarlet Intermediate', Mr Fothergill's seeds. VarietyParsnip, Carters Tested Seeds.

An interesting looking broccoli - I forgot I'd sown this. Not sure when to harvest? It doesn't look too productive like the seed pack (pictured below). Also some pest damage.

Blackberries are starting to ripen on the thornless blackberry plant.
My prize cabbage; the others are being eaten by pests.Cabbage 'Golden Acre/Primo III', Mr Fothergill's seeds. Sown 3 April 2011 indoor. (Planted outside mid-June; netted). 
Radish are always welcome! Variety: Radish 'Scarlet Globe', Mr Fothergill's seeds.
Some ingredients for cooking at the weekend:

  • Celery.
  • Kale Curly Scarlet.
  • Kale 'Nero di Toscana'.
  • Broccoli '(Autumn) 'Green Calabrese'.
  • Courgette (yellow zucchini) 'Soleil F1'.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Fab Flowers

Summer flowers bring lovely colour throughout summer. I do love flowers - all year long! 

Left: Watercolour painting called 'Hollyhock' by Egretta Wells.

Egretta, our fellow blogger and person who inspired me to start blogging, has just set up a new online gallery of her amazing floral paintings and fine art. Such beauties! If you'd like to have a look, her online gallery is located at:

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Blogger's Bloom Day

It's Bloggers' Bloom Day - 15th of the month. Here's what's on show...
Left: Nicotiana 'Evening Fragance', Carters Tested Seeds. Sown March 2011 indoor. Planted out June. (Quick growing).

L-R: Hollyhock grown from seed last year, flowering this year. I forgot I had sown hollyhock seed so this plant was a surprise.

Malope Excelsior Mixed, Hardy Annual, Carters Tested Seeds. Sown 8 May indoor. Planted out June 2011. (Slowish growing but beautiful flowers)

Tall Phlox and rose.

Morning Glory 'Carnevale di Venezia', Thompson & Morgan seeds. Sown May 2011 indoor. Planted out June 2011. 
 Below: Sedum Autumn Joy.
Above: Verbena, grown from seed.

Antirrhinum (Snapdragon) 'Royal Bride' and 'Intermediate Mixed', Thompson & Morgan Seeds. Sown March 2011. Planted outside May/June 2011.

With Morning Glory growing up the centre tri-pod.

Left and Below:
Amaranthus 'Pony Tails'Thompson & Morgan Seeds. Sown 10 April indoor. Planted outside June/July. (Easy to grow).
Arthur Bell Rose.
Crocosmia - an all time easy & effective plant. Bulbs can be easily divided to make more.
Calendula 'Orange King', Carters Tested Seeds, Sown 18 March 2011 indoor. Planted outside 1st June. (Very easy to grow; edible flowers).
Variety: Sunflower 'Teddy Bear' Suttons seeds. Sown April indoor, planted outside in June in pot.
Sunflower - always a ray of sunshine!

Variety: Sunflower 'Giant Single', Mr Fothergill's seeds, £1.25. Sown 3 April 2011 indoor. Planted outside 1st June 2011.

Happy Blogger's Bloom Day! 
More on Bloom Day:

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Veg past and present (leek, cabbage, squash)

Last year I grew leeks in pots (pictured) and I was already eating them by now. This year I put the leeks into the ground and they are about pencil thin so will be awhile before I'm eating leeks. I like to use leeks in casseroles and stews.
Last year I grew a cabbage in a pot (pictured). The pot was only about 8 or 10 inches across. It grew really well and by mid Sept I was eating it.
This year I netted my cabbages. They seem to be growing slow and are being enjoyed by slugs. How do the organic farmers do it?!?!
I wonder, is it possible my net has let some white butterfly through.

Was watching Gardner's World and Monty showed a squash that looks like my unknown plant growing from home made compost. I think frost may get to the plant before any fruit ripens.

I really don't like spiders and I don't like looking at this photo. However, this little guy set up home from a potted delphinium to my potted self fertilizing apple tree. Is he poisonous? Looks deadly to me!
Rose petals can be used to flavour tea or look pretty frozen in ice cubes. They're nice to decorate dessert plates as well. Would be good on a plate with chocolate brownie!

Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Sunflowers (Giant, Teddy Bear)

Sunflowers are one of my favourite flowers - they're so cheerful. I grew a new variety this year called Teddy Bear - they're so fluffy and cute.
Variety: Sunflower 'Teddy Bear', Suttons seeds. Sown April indoor, planted outside in June in pot.

The seed pack says 'Teddy Bear' grows 16-24 inches, however, I think mine are a bit stunted as perhaps I put too many in the pot.
On a much taller note - the Giant Sunflowers are growing and growing.

VarietySunflower 'Giant Single', Mr Fothergill's seeds.  Sown 3 April 2011 indoor. Planted outside 1st June 2011.
Giant sunflowers - I haven't measured the tallest but it looks to be about 12 feet tall.

Giant sunflower before flowering.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Veg Update (Peppers, Broccoli, Cabbage, Courgette, Celery, Celeriac)

 In the veg garden...

Peppers are being harvested - quite small (approx size of tennis ball). Next year I mustn't pinch the growing tip and plan to use bigger pots.

VarietyPepper 'California Wonder' Thompson & Morgans seeds, £1.50. Sown 20 Feb 2011 indoor.

First time growing broccoli - some of it flowered before I could eat it. Pictured left - three stages of growth.

Variety: I think this is Broccoli Romanesco, Thompson & Morgan seeds. Sown 3 April 2011 indoor. Planted outside June (netted).
Cabbages have been under nets. Some of them have slug damage. This one isn't too bad.

VarietyCabbage 'Golden Acre/Primo III', Mr Fothergill's seeds. Sown 3 April 2011 indoor. Planted outside in June.

The zucchini / courgette has had alot of blossom rot (pictured with dark end - looks like dead leaf / dying flower) - what a shame. Loads of bees and insects in the garden too.

Variety: Courgette (yellow zucchini) 'Soleil F1', Mr Fothergill's seeds, Sown 3 April 2011 indoor. Planted outside in June.

First time growing celery and decided to harvest a few  - not as big as you see in shops but just as tasty. Happy to discover slugs don't seem to like celery - good news!

VarietyCelery, Plant Hart's Seeds. Sown 3 April 2011 indoor. Planted outside in June.
The celeriac are looking strong and healthy. I've never grown before so not sure when they are ready. Slugs don't seem to eat celeriac leaves but have tasted the bulbs.

VarietyCeleriac 'Monarch', Mr Fothergill's seeds. Sown 3 April 2011 indoor. Planted outside in June.
Decided to pull one out of the ground -it's the size of a golf ball. I ate the bulb/root bit any way in stew. Apparently celeriac leaves are edible. So many veggies I'm not sure how to eat or cook!

This looks like a slug nibble in one side of the celeriac. My war on slugs... its a tough fight this year.

Hope your veg is tasty & pest free!