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May In The Garden

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I’m slightly delayed on getting this one out…. but, I’m sure you possibly lazed up the sunshine last weekend and now you want to get the garden grooving.

Since my April In The Garden Post, plant life has gone mental. Thank God. Temperatures are well up… in fact I think I got sunburnt yesterday. The grass was cut twice in the last two weeks and thats only the fourth cut this year. Makes a change considering the amount of gardens I’m working in where plants have literally got blasted by the frost and low temperatures and are now being repalced….

So what will I be doing in my garden this month….

My lettuce is being used and thrown in with some sorrell… My spinach [image 1] is just about ready for cropping. I won’t be cutting an entire head of it… more just selecting a few leaves as required. The turnips on the other hand is a totally different story but you can see from the image above [image 2] that the first seed leaves [now purple] are ready to drop off and the plant is going to get ready to produce me something nice to cook. I grew mine in the old wheelbarrow.

In the garden everything is bumper. The daffodils have gone out of flower and are heading towards die back… I’ll give it another week or two before I run the lawnmower over them. I’m also on the last dregs of the tulips in my garden [image 2] but they were amazing while they lasted. In their place I have the Prunus amanagowa  cherry tree [image 3]  and also my edible cherries [image 1] and they are blooming. Not much to do there except wait for the fruit.But with them come the apple trees and that’s definitely one fruit I am looking forward to.

In other herb news the bay [image 1] is in flower, the fennell despite all the frosts are back with new shoots and the rosemary is also producing some nice blooms. You couldn’t really ask for more. Assuming you followed my bits of advice over the last few months you should be good. But do make sure and give them a cut back if required… grabbing a clump for the cooking usually helps this along.

My chives are something I may divide up, but for the moment they are getting a regular haircut. I’ve not had much luck growing them from seed… but I’m going to put that down to the slugs 🙄 The starwberrries on the other hand are growing well but are a while off producing fruit. That said it may be a bumper crop for my rhubarb this month. Pie anyone ?

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The biggest problem with this rain and warm temperatures though is the weeds. They are still plants, they just don’t know that we don’t like them 😉 In controlling them, I like to strike a balance between the back break and so I weed by hand in between my food crops and tend to spray in between my shrubs and trees. I think thats fair.

I’m going to continue sowing random bits of veg and herbs as the mood takes me – but I need to be careful I don’t end up farming with the amounts that I am growing. That said my neighbours seem to like me that little bit more and I have literally tons of window boxes and planters to get ready this weekend. I am going to be so busy.

Outside I just need to keep things watered… every evening this week I’ve been soaking my seed trays but then it has been raining while I’ve been sleeping [?] and I have an endless supply with my two water butts by my side.

Did I miss out on anything…. ? Leave a comment and let me know. Other than that happy gardening. 😀

how to grow seeds…

i had written about a way in which i grow seeds last year – click here. But sometimes, for which I apologise, I forget my head 🙄 so to speak and advance to a next level assuming everyone is on my planet, horticulturally speaking….

I’m gonna do this seed planting piece – easy styleee. This is the groovy way, the Jamie Oliver bish, bash, bosh way of gardening. On a balcony, on a window sill – you have no complaints now. You’ll have to have a ‘grow’after this… [such bad humour] 😆

plastic tray to grow seedsseedssown seeds in tray

the three photographs above are how I grow my ‘easy’ seeds. The two types I picked were mustard and cress. Reason I did it this way [for these seeds] is because they are to be cropped when they reach about 1″ in height for salads. How do you do it?

  • first get your container. ‘Her indoors’ had this plastic one hidden ‘somewhere’.
  • fill with compost a little below the rim and press slightly to even it all out
  • water the compost carefully and gently and let the water settle
  • scatter the seeds on top as evenly as possible and label
  • done 🙂

I also put some wil rocket and lettuce seeds in the jam jars and an old ice bucket I found hidden in the shed. In the bottom of the ice bucket I threw in some old broken tiles – to get rid of them and to aid drainage.

seeds sown in ice bucketseeds sown in jam jarseeds sown from packet

For the larger leafed lettuce and some turnips [the salad bowl type] I grew them in the plug trays – click here. I wanted the plants to be a little stronger and the fact is whilst they are in the glasshouse for the moment they will go into the window boxes in a few weeks time. This can of course be done on your window ledge very easily. Here, the same rules apply.

  • fill the container [plug tray with compost
  • water first so as the seeds don’t get dispersed everywhere
  • flick one or two seedling into each plug
  • done!

plug trays for seedscompost in plug traysseeds sown in plug trays

Now all you need to do is make sure they don’t dry out and wait for nature to take it’s course 😆

thomas… thursday garden guest #10

If you would like to know more about Thursday Garden Guest time – click here

For the moment the writer in the finalé of this series is Thomas & Máire of Irish Allotments. It’s quite fitting that through the series of articles we have had the botantist, the plant hobby-ist right down to the one who just like to view a pretty world and smile. *Irish Allotments* summise all of that. But this is Thomas and Máire’s story of *their* garden. Enjoy 🙂

The Garden- What I like about…

beardies

beardies

In March, we brought two new babies into our home, Max and Sparky – tiny one month old Australian Bearded Dragons.

Despite being the length of my thumb, our two little boys (which we found out about two months later!) had big appetites! For the first few months they mostly eat crickets, a lot of them! Actually at some point the shop could not believe how much food our guys were getting through. Anyhow after a while they started eating more veg, a mix of about 3 greens and 1 or 2 fruits or veggies.

We were buying a ridiculous amount of greens to feed the boys the few shredded leaves they were eating, so we decided to try growing our own. We bought whatever took our fancy on realseeds.co.uk and brownenvelopeseeds.com and this ended up being a lot! These are both great sites, each run by a family who only sell what they grow themselves.

We started out with seed trays on the window sills. We made sure to plant lots of greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, pak choi, and cress, herbs like coriander, mint and the boys’ favorite parsley as well as tomatoes, peas, beans and cucumbers.

Pretty quickly we had to move outside to the balcony of our flat. We have 6 grow-bags out there and we got two little plastic hot houses from B and Q.

By May, we no longer had to buy any greens for our boys. As dragons grow, they eat more veggies and less meat (thank goodness!). They are now around a foot long, and we have a great new hobby but the balcony
was just not cutting it so in June we started looking for an allotment.

After an unsuccessful search for information about them in the Cork area, we set up Irishallotments.net, a website to fill that gap. We have met wonderful people in our efforts to expand the website, traveling to
open days and information sessions all over the county. Since then we have tried to get more involved with transition towns, community groups and allotments as our interest for all of them has been growing into a
passion.

Thomas & Maire
IrishAllotments.net

mustard – seed, grow, crop, eat

peter donegan garden advice growing mustard seeds

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I found it really hard to find information of any substance or at all in any books on this plant.

But, if ever you wished to go green really quickly this is the plant for you. I chose white mustard. Instructions say it can be grown on tissue paper! it is that easy. I planted the seeds a different way [no particular reason, partly why there are so many books on gardening I suppose…] then planted outside.

Some say crop the plant just before flowering, the instructions say when its 2″ tall? I say whatever makes you happy. Why? Because, again, the varying schools of thought suggest that the taller the plant the stronger the taste…

Now it is all cropped? Chop it. Eat it. Next time I can grow it to my own specific taste. My tip. Sow a little [about ten seeds] every two weeks and keep the crop turning over.

mustard white seed plant crop peter donegan

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Sowing the seeds

I can only really buy seeds and the paraphernalia required in the same places as you. This week I bought [in woodies: i emailed them this post] mustard, pumpkin, carrott, sprouts, cabbage, brocoli, onion and sweetcorn.

I didn’t buy lettuce seeds because the man said: ‘did you see them there?’ ‘no, I couldn’t find any’ I said. ‘well then they must not be there?’ I said ‘I suppose you’re right…. thanks for being so helpful…’ and then he continued talking to his mate behind the counter. So I asked the girl on the cash register but I forgot [and she reminded me!] that ‘no I don’t do customer services…’

Anyhow; Fill the trays with compost. Pop two odd seeds into each plug cell. Don’t forget to label them! Drop into a sink and allow the water to be drawn up from the bottom. And wait for nature to take its course.

In the meantime we may as well dream……