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Growing Lettuce From Seed


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In the good old days of 1980’s Ireland the fashion was to buy part grown lettuce sets in white polystyrene trays. Some chose to sow them from seed, but the idea was to grow your few heads in the vegetable patch… d’ye remember them ? and that’s what Irish children ate for an entire summer. Ah the good old days 😉

Now it seems the fashion and how I like it is not to have to feed on an entire lettuce head and eat it as soon as it’s cropped. One can simply pick and eat a handful of leaves as and when you feel like it. For me they are much tastier and naturally should as they are so much younger and fresher than the outter leaves of a supermarket size lettuce head.

I don’t buy any particular type of brand or seed and generally don’t use a paid for growing medium where I can. There’s not really much else to say for now that I can think of. Any Problems or queries just leave a comment or hit the contact page above.

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. 😀

April In The Garden

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You’d know from the ‘March in the Garden’ post that I had just sown my seeds. Well germinated at this stage, the above photograph shows the results after just after 2 weeks. Growth is starting, slowly but surely and it seems to me we’re going to be on for a cracker of a season!

I’d like to try to try not to write about just growing your own… but when the garden centres now have entire sections dedicated to what I can only describe as a phenomenon, it might just prove a little more difficult than expected. That said, this isn’t your average ‘get out and rake your lawns’ type of a piece, it is was I will be doing this month.

Since last month, mainly due to doing the grow your own course I have now sown or started growing: seed potatoes, onion sets, lettuce, chives, parsley, coriander, spinach, basil, mustard, strawberries… the list is literally endless and in a few weeks I will be giving the stuff away at a rate of knots. The gig here is only to sow in small amounts and little by little. I don’t want to farm the land. And I need to ensure that I continue to enjoy what I have always done…. without it becoming laborious. I have but a wee 6′ x 4′ aged old glasshouse.

To other garden stuff. The weather has been tough and very unpredictable. As I write we had snow yesterday, 30th March. But there are more buds on the trees and some are literally on the verge of bursting.

The daffodils are also in bloom, not all, which is good as it means I’ll have flowers n the window for the first time this year and for a longer duration.

The lawn… don’t get me started. I’ve cut mine once this year. And that’ll be it until that drop of rain stops falling and temperatures start to rise to a consistent 12-14 Celsius. That said, I have been laying rolled lawns this year. Great from a clients and my perspective because there is no watering at all – where normally in ‘good’ weather the high temperatures and lack of water would cause shrinkage and watering would be recommended only at night time.

Outside of that all of the stuff I planted last year is doing great. The rhubarb in particular has just rocketed.

The hens are also back laying again after their winter sabbatical… which is great for baking. Yummy! I’m pretty much getting four eggs a day now. Outside of that there were some other creatures spotted recently around there… A good clean out was given, some bait was put down and the jack russell was let loose… I think this one [above] looks happier 🙂

The only thing I would suggest you do not forget is tree planting season. The leaves are pretty much at bud burst point. And it is around this time that the race is on to get the final bit of the bare root and root balled chores complete. Thinking of buying a tree [?] at its best and best value… do so now.

Did I miss out on anything…. ? Leave a comment and let me know. That’s more than enough to keep you going for the bank holiday weekend 😉 I leave you with this to ponder on….

What d’you think one would do with it….?  🙂

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recycle a garden giveaway #2

as free as the sky light

as free as the sky light

The last time I did a garden giveaway…. this is what happened – click here

This time its a little different…

  • lettuce plants in plug trays about 15
  • cobble stones varying sizes and colours about 170
  • and i might even throw in some fresh eggs
  • oh and i’ve got a draftsmans drawing table as well [not in video]

to contact me…. dm me on twitter – first come [to collect] first served 🙂

ps the best things in life are free

UPDATE:

The free stuff is gone! I got a message on twitter

the-strangest-thing....

the-strangest-thing....

So ‘the lady’ is the wife of a George Foxe. A really cool guy I used be best mates in school with… Hadn’t seen him since I left and I was about 16 … I then met George about 8 years ago in skerries in a pub I very randomly chose to pop into. I haven’t seen him since 😯

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grow your own, cheaper than B & Q

I was on the phone to my good pal Thomas yesterday. Tom was doing some garden chores and wanted advice… he was in B & Q. The conversation turned to the grown your own kits that were on sale being sold there…

They’re how much Tommy?!!

That’s flamin’ mental….

So I’ve taken one example I have done myself. [The last 3 photographs are not from the B& Q kit by the way…. 🙂 ]I called it how to grow [your own] seeds [click here]. It cost me 10 cents…

But let me do a quick break down analysis [versus] what you get for €6.99.

Compost

  • i’ll assume a jam jar is the same size as a can of coke. 330 ml. Lets call it 500ml [mililitres].
  • In a bag of multi-purpose compost there is generally 75 litres [75 l].
  • 1,000 ml = 1 litre therefore 75 l = 75,000 ml.
  • Divide 75,000 by 500 and that’s 150 jam jars. [you still there…. ]
  • At no more than €7.50 a bag of compost [€7.50 divided by 150 jars] thats’s 5 cents for your compost.

Jam Jar or pot

  • one jam jar = free

Seeds

  • i’ll use lettuce for this example. B & Q’s lettuce seeds.
  • [I went here entered lettuce in the search bar and got this by the way]
  • They say there’s 1,000 seeds in a packet and they cost in sterling €2.10. I’ll call it €10.00 just for the sake of easy maths.
  • So 5 seeds should cost…. 5 cents.

This means a homemade ‘grow your own’ kit should cost you 10 cents. [takes a quick look at the photographs price tags again….

That’s serious spondula’s…. my question now is what’s the difference between the two ? gardening as I knew it when I was 5 years old was compost-less. It was a handful of muck, sieved and at the back of it all just good craic…. However you grow your bits and bobs – enjoy 🙂