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

Friday, 28 December 2012

December Veg

The vegetable garden for me in December is a little weak... still, a few things are growing. Here's some of the veg I've been harvesting this month.

Left/Below:Leek Musselburgh, sown in April 2012, and planted outside in June. Its been very slow to grow and not really much of a harvest at all.

Below: I'm still pulling and using carrots in December - small but tasty.
Above: Kale 'Nero di Toscana', sown in April and planted outside in June, is still growing and producing.
Above and Below: Carrots and Celery are still growing in the veg box. The celery had very stunted growth this year and didn 't really produce proper stalks.
Above and below: This month I cut celery tops to add to soup - using the leaves like parsley to add flavour.
Suppose a little veg in December is better than no veg at all.

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

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Festive Holiday Wishes

It's almost Christmas... the grocery stores are pack with people buying groceries and the shops are frantic with last minute shoppers. I prefer staying at home and enjoying the decorations, eating goodies, and sipping cups of hot chocolate. 

No gardening for me over Christmas. I've already got my potatoes and carrots stored and ready for using on Christmas day. Other than that, I'll be reading some gardening books and making plans for 2013.

I'd like to wish all fellow bloggers a restful, enjoyable and happy holiday period and New Year. I always enjoy reading about other bloggers experiences, stories, gardening tips, recipes, etc. Hoping that 2013 will be a great year for gardening!

Above: Rudolph ornament, hand made from felt over ten years ago.
Above: A little Christmas stocking decorated with sequins. I always enjoy making things and made this from a kit about twelve years ago.
Above and below: more handmade ornaments. The mouse and candy can is a cute idea. My mom made the gingerbread man below. She has two blogs, Cottage Living and Paintings by Egretta Wells.
The paper chain and paper angel (above) came from a book called "Christmas Decorations to Cut, Fold and Stick" by Fiona Watt. Fun for children and adults!
Above and below: I've been busy baking peanut butter cups (recipe from Nigella's Christmas cookbook), carmel squares, white chocolate covered pretzels sprinkled with crushed candy cane, and sugar cookies (recipe by Betty Crocker) decorated with icing sugar and sprinkles. Yum! I definitely have a sweet tooth!
Best wishes over the holiday period - Merry Christmas!

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

Monday, 17 December 2012

Mid December Blooms

I'm a little behind with Blogger's Bloom day this month, which is on the 15th of every month and hosted by May Dream Gardens blog. There's very little in flower this month, however, there's quite a bit of interest in the garden this time of year with berries, birds and interesting foliage. Below is  a little summary of what's looking good around the garden at the minute. It was a lovely sunny day on Sunday when I took the photos. I'd guess no snow for us this Christmas!?!
Above & Below: Kaffir Lily is planted in several areas of the garden. One of the main clumps bloomed in November and is finished. Plants in other locations are blooming now which add some welcome interest to the garden. 
Above : Kaffir Lily - I dug loads of bulbs from a congested area in the garden a few months back. I threw some clumps in an old plastic container thinking I would plant them later when I found a spot to put them. The container has no drainage, but the bulbs have withstood being soaked in water for months on end and are flowering.
Above: Forest Flame shrub.
Below: primrose with ivy.
Above and Below: Heather is only just beginning to flower.
Above: One or two roses are still making a show in the garden.
Above and Below: Just as interesting as flowers this time of year - pine cones and holly.

Happy Blogger's Bloom Day!
Bloom Day is hosted by May Dream Gardens and bloggers share their blooms from across the globe.

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

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

December Potatoes

Coming up to Christmas it's been a bit hectic and I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like. On my list of things to do is to sit down and have a good read at blogs I follow so I can catch up on news and postings. There's such a great exchange of information and tips amongst the blogging community and I always enjoy reading other blogger's posts.

On the garden front, I thought I'd show my potatoes and how I've been storing them. I've been trying to ration my potatoes to keep them going a bit longer into the Winter. Two years ago I stored potatoes in the garage and when we had the bad snow and low temperatures the potatoes rotted. This year I have them in a cool, dark location indoor in potato bags like the one pictured. I grew Pentland Javelin and Maris Peer potatoes, putting them in around St Patricks Day, and digging the bulk of them up in September.  
Photo above taken 9 Dec - potatoes as they are stored. I think they need a cooler storage location as I don't want them sprouting as they seem to be starting to do.
Photo above taken 15 Sept - potatoes dug from the garden, grown in the ground.
Bag grown potatoes weren't a success this year - too many slugs and snails.
Above - my favourite way to eat potatoes is mashed, but above I've microwaved them slightly then roasted them in the oven for about 20 minutes with chili flakes and olive oil until crispy. Then I poured a little sweet chili sauce over them - yum!
The carrots above were pulled at the end of November. I'm trying to lose a few pounds before Christmas so I decided to eat them raw and I used a little houmous  dip with them as a healthy snack. The carrots tasted so much better than grocery store carrots - so tasty and sweet!

Hope your Christmas and holiday plans and preparations are going well!

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

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

November Carrots

I was harvesting carrots this week on a rather chilly morning. 

This year, in Spring, I found I had to re-sow carrot seed a few times as it didn't germinate well.  With the re-sowings, this meant I wasn't sure how long the carrots had been growing. The indication of being ready (or not) was the top growth. I pulled a few carrots in early Sept but wanted them to grow bigger so I've been waiting. I sowed carrots in a wheelbarrow and  in a raised veg box. I've no huge carrots but am happy with what I've harvested. I've more carrots in the ground and hope they'll keep as I don't want to lift and store them.

Carrot varieties I grow this year: 
'James Scarlet Intermediate' and 
'Early Nantes 2'.

Above: One or two carrots had a bit of pest damage. I'm assuming this is from slugs as I blame slugs/snails for most things in the garden!
Above: Carrots washed.
Below: The range of size and shape.
Carrots grown in an old wheelbarrow seemed to do better last year; germination was more difficult this year and the carrots seemed to grow slowly. Photo above taken in September.

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

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Frosty Mornings

It's been a mild Autumn so far, with our temperature  this month fluctuating but mostly staying in the 40's (fahrenheit). Some frost as well and one morning I went out to capture a few frosty photos. There's something magical about cold, frosty mornings. I'm also looking forward to snow - December always seems like our month for a bit of snow. 

Left: Frost covered fern.
Above & Below: Frost covered geranium (perennial).

I love the frost covered Sedum Autumn Joy. 

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

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Last of the Tomatoes

This is the very last of my tomatoes. The green ones have been left on a warm indoor windowsill to ripen, and should keep me going until the end of the month.

The varieties I grew this year were:

  • Tomato (Red Cherry). 
  • Tomato 'Gardener's Delight'. Both grown from seed in a sun room / glass house from April until November. 

Above & Below: Photos taken 13 October 2012.
Now the plants have been removed and discarded, and the sun room is cleared for the Winter.

Happy Thanksgiving to all in the USA - hope you have a great day!
(less than 5 weeks until Christmas!)

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

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Mid November Blooms

It's almost mid November and there's still some colour in the garden, however, it's definitely reducing. Even with several frosts in October and early November, many plants are still holding on.

Due to the reduced daylight hours (we have light approx 7.45am-4pm) and my work schedule these photos were taken on 11 November.

Left: Kaffir Lily is one of my favourite plants in Oct/Nov, pictured with a late flowering white snapdragon grown from seed.
One or two wild foxglove are still about (looking rather summery in November).
Aubretia (hardy perennial), grown from seed. I think these have self seeded and are making a late show of flowers. The seed pack says they flower April-May; plants don't always do what the seed pack says!
Kaffir Lily
Above and below: holders on - calendula.
Sedum Autumn Joy with Kaffir Lily and bronze carex ornamental grass.
Pieris Forest Flame shrub - those look like flowers forming.
Above: Kaffir Lily (again).
Below: Roses generally keep flowering through November.

 Happy Blogger's Bloom Day!
Blogger's Bloom Day is hosted by May Dream Gardens and bloggers share their blooms from across the globe.

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