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Mammoth Onions

Originally this was supposed to be a part of the garden podcast – episode 23 but I honestly became so intrigued by this one that I decided to make it an entirely seperate post and seperated the audio out of it.

Whilst I purchased The ‘globo’ variety, the varieties that Jane recommends are

  • kelsae
  • ailsa craig
  • unwins exhibition
  • robinsons mammoth

If anyone else is interested in doing this as a sort of online communal together sort of way….. let me know and lets see if we can have a bit of craic together.

Updates on how I and we get on will follow shortly.

Potatoes

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I grew these potatoes some months ago from seed. I think it was about €2.50 for a half litre pot of seed. I simply popped them twice their depth below the surface.

Mine came into flower and passed that point some time ago, but I had potatoes that I had got locally and so I didn’t bother lifting these at all. Until now. I was quite pleased with the crop. I didn’t mound the soil to get more or any of that molarchy. I just planted and left them.

I did run into one problem that was the common potato scab. It’s a scabby patch that appears on the outer skin which disfigures the spud. It’s not a major problem for me or the potato, although if you saw it in a supermarket potato I’d be very surprised. It’s caused by the mycelium producing Streptomyces scabies [the 2nd part of that name alone makes me shiver]. This comes as a result of light soils with a high lime content and also from low moisture levels  usually from a hot summer, which we had spells of this season. I’ll just peel them to be honest and next year I’ll plant a resistant variety.

After that, not much else I can add. It is very much a case of just pop the seed twice its own depth below the surface of the soil and keep well watered.

Of course if you have any questions, simply leave a comment below.

Home Grown Beets

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I grew these beetroots from seed about two months ago and as you can gather from the empty pot I simply cropped them as they were required. They are probably one of the easiest things ever to grow and develop fairly quickly.

I chose to sow them in plug cells first and then pot them on. The ones I grew are the Boltardy variety. That said, I’m not intended on being a commercial beetroot farmer any time soon – my advice, if you can’t find this variety, simply pick up a packet of whatever is available and work away. The boltardy ones however tend not to wish to bolt [the production of flower and therefore seed too soon] as fast and also have a really good flavour.

I never paid much attention to the sowing calender guides on the back of the packets. I also applied the one for the slug one for me rule here. After that, I chose as you see to do mine in pots, mainly so I could put them by the back door of the kitchen.

Not much else to to it…. and of course any questions, just pop a comment in below.

The [Un]usual Planter

Here, you have that. You might be able to do something with it….

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That’s quite a regular statement I hear actually. Surprised ? I wasn’t. It’s not the most unusual object I’ve ever been handed. I like the odd challenge and this one was a doddle.

Yesterday I filled the container with some pebble. More to weight it down. It also looks really good. I also had a few hand fulls of pebble in my workshop, so it suited. It also saves on compost and in this case I didn’t have enough 😉

Helen had given me some spider plant babies a while ago that had come on really well…. and I had a spot inside where I felt it would look really good.

Total cost. €0.00

Personally, I’d be over the moon if someone gave me that as a gift.

The Real Pumpkin Farm…

pumpkin

pumpkins

I had written an article last year on growing pumpkins from seed [check out the comments for ] and it seems many of you are on the hunt for pumpkins…. particularly pumpkin farms.

I did try and I did put the S.O.S out there for you. But there was very little response. If you know of anyone – leave a comment & make them famous 😉 But I did ring Natasha in Sonairte [click here], a place I have visited in Co. Meath [ just past balbriggan] many times. The mother of all gig for kids has to be the pumpkin carving course….. It’s times like this even I wish I had children 😉

Natasha sent me this email:

Pumpkins are such cheerful bumps in the garden aren’t they?  The perfect colour to remind us which season we are in. Growing up in Australia, one of my fav winter dishes was pumpkin soup and you can’t beat roast pumpkin sprinkled with rosemary, thyme and salt.

News just in!! I have been out in the garden just this afternoon, chatting to the gardeners. They tell me that due to the inclement weather this year, our stocks are depleted, and everything has now been harvested! But don’t worry, there are still some left including some big rounded beauties! They are a bit pricier than what you would buy in other shops, not for growing up organic, but because they should keep for several months.

Sonairte’s pumpkins and our other organic produce and plants can be found at the Dublin Food Coop every Saturday, 9.30-4pm. Its an indoor market, Newmarket Square just off the Combe, Dublin 8. Here you will find fantastic organic food products including wines, breads, cheeses, dry goods and good coffee. www.dublinfood.coop. The market has a lovely, friendly atmosphere and you can by lunch and read the papers at your leisure. Alternatively pop into Sonairte itself and visit our ecoshop. We are on the Laytown Road just off Meaths coastline! Only 40 minutes from Dublin, there’s a bus service stopping right outside. Most convenient, especially if you’re carrying a pumpkin! The ecoshop, café and river walk are open 10.30 – 5pm wednesday to sunday

FYI, Sonairte hosts a Pumpkin Carving workshop, for adults and children. Its next Friday 30th Oct, Time: 11 -1pm, Cost: 20€ (1 adult, 1 child,1 pumpkin!).

For anyone who would like to learn more about growing their own veg and fruit, here are the details of other courses.

Thanks Peter for your time. If readers have any organic gardening queries, they can feel free to give us a buzz.

Cheers

Natasha

pumpkin-jack-o-lanten-2

pumpkins...

Other sonairte courses this year:

SOFT FRUIT AND FRUIT TREES IN THE GARDEN

With Kathy Marsh. A complete course on fruit growing for amateurs, covering choosing, planting, pruning and propagating.

Date: November 7th and 8th, 10- 4pm Cost: €120 or €75/ day (incl. lunch)

DRY STONE WALL BUILDING

With Bob Wilson (CELT). Covering basic techniques from foundation to capping. Also corners, steps, stiles, retaining walls and garden features and introduction to the use of lime mortar. Bring strong boots and rainwear .

Date: November 7th and 8th, 10am – 5pm. Cost: €150 (incl. lunch)

GROW IT YOURSELF

Course tutors Kathy Marsh and Geraldine O’Toole. A one day course at an affordable price to get you started on producing tasty, cheap and nutritious organic vegetables in even the smallest garden

Date: Saturday November 14th. Time: 10am – 4pm. Cost: €35.

*Please note that lunch is not provided. Our cafe will be open or you can bring your own and eat it at our garden picnic tables. All our courses can be viewed on our website. For more information and to book: Call 0419827572, e-mail: info@sonairte.org, website: www.sonairte.org

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