Strawberry Fields Forever!

photo 2Hi Guys

Busy day again today and so much to ‘show and tell’ but too tired so I will just show you a few photos of my yummy strawberries which I picked yesterday 🙂

photo 1 (1)

Over 1kg of strawberries picked today :)

Over 1kg of strawberries picked today 🙂

photo 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spent most of today potting on my chili and bell pepper plants which I will give you more information on tomorrow.  Also made a small video on how to do this so stayed tuned 🙂

Good Night Guys and Happy Gardening

Take Care

Eve

 

Advertisements

Poly Tunnels and Multi Tasking!

Well hello there,

Yesterday was another one of those days when, as a woman I had to multitask.  My son is home from university for the summer and along with him came loads of washing – 5 machine loads to be precise!   I am more than happy to do his washing for him as I do miss him when he is away.  This was his 1st year at uni and I think I was more worried than he was 😉  So I was in and out of the utility with the washing and as it looked like it was going to rain I hung the clothes out to dry….in my tunnel, another great reason to use one of these great multi functional tunnels 😉P1000990

 

Along with doing the washing I had to get my seaweed into all the different places that I had for it.  First was to tuck my tomato plants into their seaweed bed, but before that I needed to stake the tomatoes and also start to ‘pinch out’ the side shoots and this is quite a time consuming job when you have 150 tomato plants to do.  Once this job was done, I could lay the seaweed around them and hopefully keep any fungal viruses and those nasty pests like slugs well away from my crops 🙂

After mulching your tomatoes with seaweed, remember to leave a space for walking on clear, otherwise you will be slip sliding all over the place.

After mulching your tomatoes with seaweed, remember to leave a space for walking on clear, otherwise you will be slip sliding all over the place.

Remember to stake your tomatoes and attach carefully with some garden velcro or similar.

When you have your stake in place you will need to attach the tomato plants to them carefully with some garden velcro or similar.

This plant has a really long side shoot.  Remember to take a good look at the plant to work out which is the main stem before pinching out the side shoot!!

This plant has a really long side shoot. Remember to take a good look at the plant to work out which is the main stem (shown here in the picture) before pinching out the side shoot!!

The side shoot should break away quite easily by gently pulling it towards you.

The side shoot should break away quite easily by gently pulling it towards you.

 

P1000993

 

 

Then onto the bins to make up my seaweed fertilizer.  As you will see from the photos I use good old fashioned household bins with lids and get my very handy husband to put taps into the bottom.  Remember to raise the bins up before filling them otherwise you will find it very difficult to get your liquid seaweed out of the tap.

Good old fashioned garden bins make great compost/fertilizer bins. Also remember to raise them up so you can put a container under the bin to collect your liquid

Good old fashioned garden bins make great compost/fertilizer bins. Also remember to raise them up so you can put a container under the bin to collect your liquid

 

Fill your bin with about 2/3 of fresh water then fill up with your seaweed

Fill your bin with about 2/3 of fresh water then fill up with your seaweed

Taps are readily available in any good garden center or DIY.  You can however buy compost bins which have the taps already on but they are pretty pricey!!

Taps are readily available in any good garden center or DIY. You can however buy compost bins which have the taps already on but they are pretty pricey!!

 

Last but not least I put a couple of wheel barrow loads of seaweed into the compost heap. I will put a pile of straw on top of it today or it will end up a slimy mess 🙂

So lets check what we achieved yesterday: Tomatoes staked….check, Tomatoes ‘pinched out’ and tied to their stakes….check, seaweed mulch around tomatoes….check, pot on the peppers……NOT DONE but today is another day 🙂

Even Buddy was bored today and thought that I would never get finished ;)

Even Buddy was bored yesterday and thought that I would never get finished 😉

Thanks for tuning in and happy gardening.

Eve

Seaweed-one of natures free fertilizers

P1000974Hi Guys

Well today turned out to be slightly different from planned which happens quite a lot in my world.  I’m not complaining as life can be more exciting (sometimes) when you do things on a ‘whim’.  Today we woke up to sunshine, although a little cold as we have a northerly wind but decided it was a perfect morning to collect seaweed for the garden. It’s a great FREE  organic fertilizer, mulch and can also be used as pest control.

P1000976

 

Seaweed is so good for the garden soil and plants due to the amazing amount of trace elements (these are the nutrients that plants only need a little of), potassium, magnesium, growth hormones, nutrients, and anti fungal and disease elements.

If you are not lucky enough to live close to the sea and collect seaweed fresh, don’t panic as seaweed can be used in its natural form or as a powder or liquid fertilizer and is available in most good garden centers. It can be used as a foliage spray on both plants and seedlings.  It can help prevent disease (mold and fungus growth), act as a growth simulator, due to the micro nutrients and help set  fruits.  To make your own  seaweed fertilizer you will need to fill a bucket or barrel to 3/4 full with fresh water.  Add as much seaweed as you need to fill it up and leave to soak for at least 6 weeks,  even several months stirring every few days. It is best to keep it somewhere ‘out of the way’ as it will smell pretty bad for a while.  It is ready to use when it no longer ‘stinks’.  It should be diluted before you use it, at least a minimum of 3-4 parts of water to 1 part of  seaweed fertilizer.

P1000980

 

P1000983

 

Seaweed also works as a great mulch and unlike other ground cover mulch at often make a great hiding place for slugs, snails, earwigs and other little pests, the seaweed is both salty and as it dries it crisps up and makes it very uncomfortable for these horrid little critters to crawl on.  It is also great as a weed suppressant and any weeds that do manage to pop up above the seaweed can be easily seen and destroyed.

Seaweed is also great for the compost heap as it helps to condition your compost with trace elements so that when you use it in your garden you are getting the benefit both from the mulch and the compost. I would advise you to mix it with such materials as straw, paper or dried leaves when composting, otherwise it will become very slimy and leave your compost pile smelling rancid.

Seaweed is also great for the garden if you haven’t got time for manure to age, as seaweed can be used straight away and dug into the soil before planting up your fruit and veg.

We collected a couple of trailers full of seaweed today, with the help of one of our dogs Tilly, she not only loves the beach, but loves water:)

P1000979

Tomorrow I will put some seaweed around my tomato plants, put some into a barrel for fertilizer and some onto the compost heap….and maybe get some of the other jobs done that I had initially planned for today 😉

Thanks for tuning in and happy gardening.

Take Care

Eve

 

 

 

 

LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!

Hi Guys I love this time of year, the days are longer, the sun is high enough to stay above the mountain facing us and follows the ridge all the way down into the ocean before it disappears for a few hours. Another busy day in the tunnels today, not sure which way to turn as there is still so much to do but its keeps me out of mischief 😉  First thing this morning I decided to pick some more strawberries from the 125 strawberry plants that I have growing this year….from 12 plants that were grown last year ( I will show you exactly how to do this in another post coming up soon).  So I started to pick my lovely red strawberries but as I went along the bed I began to get more and more disappointed as there were so many ripe fruits that had gone rotten 😦  I knew the reason for this was the fact that the bad ones were lying on the damp soil and should have put straw around them when I first planted them…..I forgot, or should I say, I was too busy doing other stuff.  Anyway I knew if I was going to get a good yield  from my strawberry bed I needed to do something before I lost more yummy fruit, so with the help of my hubby we carefully covered the soil around the strawberries with….yep…straw.  Very fiddly job when there are so many mature plants.  My advise is that you do this job when you first plant them, which is what I should have done!

Great bed of strawberries but having to throw a lot away due to the fruits lying on damp soil.....They need tucking into a nice straw bed!

Great bed of strawberries but having to throw a lot away due to the fruits lying on damp soil…..They need tucking into a nice straw bed!

 P1000934

Nicely tucked into their new straw bed 🙂 P1000934   Once I had that job out of the way I decided that I needed to tidy up a little, especially as I fell over the hose yesterday 😦  I also planted on the courgettes in between the corn and beans (three sisters) and have a baby courgette already.

Courgettes are coming on nicely

Courgettes are coming on nicely

The lettuce has settled down now and is over the transplant shock. Also the flower hanging baskets, of which I have done 15 for both friends and myself are starting to look really good.  I will keep them in the tunnel for a couple of weeks so that when they finally go outside they will be in full bloom. P1000936 Tomorrow will once again be a busy day.  I have to transplant my peppers into larger pots, plant some more potatoes, transplant some more salad seedlings into cell trays and stake my tomato plants….not much really 😉 P1000960P1000956

P1000939

Thanks for tuning and happy gardening.

Take Care

Eve

Lettuce Begin!

 

Hi Guys and welcome back.

Well it’s that time of year where it has been another very busy day in the tunnels.  I managed to do a lot of potting on of the Dalias which I grew again this year, from last years flowers!!  I also dug over a large planter which had previously had winter vegetables in it.  I needed to get it ready for the lettuces to go in which I started about 6 weeks ago in some seed trays.  I almost always start my lettuce in trays and then pot on and eventually find a final growing place for them.  You can of course plant your lettuce seeds straight into the ground which is pretty much the same process as the seed trays….  So how do you grow lettuce?

LETTUCE BEGIN!

Lettuce can be a little difficult to germinate so it’s a good idea to sprinkle a good amount onto the soil so that you have a good chance of getting some seeds to germinate.  Another problem with lettuce not germinating is when the seeds are too old (more than 1 year) or the temperature is too high which happened to me earlier this year when the tunnel temperature reached 95 degrees.

Lettuce seeds are very tiny so it is a good idea to tip a few into your hand and then sprinkle liberally over the soil.  If you are growing in seeds trays or indeed straight into the ground, you will need to cover the seeds with about 1/2 inch of soil or compost, water lightly with a mist spray making sure that the seeds get a good soaking (without drowning them!)

 

Lettuce seeds are very small so its better to pop some into your hand and then sprinkle onto the soil for an even distributio.

Lettuce seeds are very small so its better to pop some into your hand and then sprinkle onto the soil for an even distribution.

Sprinkle liberally to ensure good germination

Sprinkle liberally to ensure good germination

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always use a good quality seed compost to start your seeds and if growing straight into the ground make sure the soil has enough nutrients by adding some fresh compost before sowing.

Your lettuce seedlings should take between 5 and 10 days to germinate, all depending on the climate, temperature and variety of lettuce you are growing.

P1000911

If growing in seed trays, you can ‘prick out’ your seedlings carefully and transplant them into either small module trays, cell trays or small pots.  If however you are growing your seedlings directly into the ground, you will need to ‘thin out’ the seedlings a couple of times during their growing season.  The thinnings can be used as baby leaf salad. Like all seedlings, lettuce seedlings are very delicate and will break very easily if not handled with care.

 

P1000688

The lettuce seedlings are very delicate at this stage so handle with care!

The lettuce seedlings are very delicate at this stage so handle with care!

P1000689

 

Let your seedlings re-establish themselves in their new cell trays etc and then plant out into their final position once the roots have filled their cells.  It will depend on the variety your growing as to how far apart to plant them so always read the packet. Carefully firm the soil around your lettuce seedling  and water well.

These lettuce seedlings are not looking too good but they will soon bounce back after their initial transplant shock!!

These lettuce seedlings are not looking too good but they will soon bounce back after their initial transplant shock!!

 

 

Your lettuce seedlings are ready to go into their final planting position once their roots are well established!

Your lettuce seedlings are ready to go into their final planting position once their roots are well established!

P1010538

 Lettuce does not need too much care but cannot tolerate being too hot or dry so always make sure you water well or you will find it reaching for the stars – bolting (going to seed).  When growing in a poly tunnel try to shade the area your growing your salad leaves in to help stop your leaves bolting.

The biggest enemy to your lettuce is the snail and slugs.  Use organic pellets, lay bait traps (beer) or use some egg shells or other rough gritty barrier around your lettuce.  Aphids can also be a problem so keep an eye out for them and use an organic spray which should be available in any good garden centre. Alternatively you could make your own with neem oil, garlic, washing liquid and water.

When picking lettuce, you can either pick a few leaves off at a time or pull the whole head.  If you decide to take the whole head, remember to cut  just above the ground and watch it grow back again!

When cutting whole heads of lettuce, remember to cut an inch or so above the ground in order for it to regrow!

When cutting whole heads of lettuce, remember to cut an inch or so above the ground in order for it to regrow!

This is a bunch of lettuce that was cut off an inch or so from the ground and as you can see its growing back again!

This is a bunch of lettuce that was cut off an inch or so from the ground and as you can see its growing back again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your anything like myself and don’t  like waste then you will find it hard to throw away lettuce, but unfortunately we can never eat it all.  The best advise is grow little and often.  I usually sow new seeds when the seedlings are ready to transplant – every 2 to 3 weeks.  This way you will always have lettuce for your table and if you have a poly tunnel there is not reason why you can’t have salad leaves all year round.

Lettuce comes in a variety of colour, shape and texture. Why not grow a variety to add great colour and flavour to your salad dishes

Lettuce comes in a variety of colour, shape and texture. Why not grow a variety to add great colour and flavour to your salad dishes

Health Benefits of Lettuce

Not only is your lettuce very low in calories – 100g would be less than 15 calories:)  It is also full of vitamins A, B-complex, C and K, essential minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fibre.  If you want to get the best nutritional value from lettuce then choose Romaine which is excellent, Iceberg lettuce, on the other hand has the lowest nutritional value.  Also the darker the green, the better the lettuce is for your health as it indicates the presence of  folic acid and beta-carotene.

I grow a wide variety of lettuce but also grow other healthy greens such as spinach, rocket, beet leaves, mustard, cress and many others so that my salad is not only really tasty but also very healthy.  I will share growing other salad leaves with you in a later blog.

I love my salads and eat  them most days, its healthy tasty, full of great healthy nutrients and hardly any calories…..so whats stopping you 🙂

One tip though.  If your like me and enjoy all that yummy dressing that go with salad…go easy guys or you will destroy the real flavour of your leaves and pile on the calories 🙂P1010678

 

Please feel free to ask any questions and hopefully I can help you enjoy your gardening as much as I do.

 

Thank you for tuning in and look forward to sharing more interesting gardening tips next time.

Take Care

Eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome Back to Garden Of Eve

eamonns camera 852Well hello there everyone and welcome back to Garden Of Eve.  I know its has been a very long time since I last blogged and I could give you lots and lots of reasons why, but I wont as we would be here all day :).  The important thing is I am back and really excited about sharing my gardening, cooking and preserving experiences with you all. This year I am going to blog about gardening including sowing, growing,harvesting and preserving vegetables and fruit.  Also Im going to show you how to sow and grow flowers and how to save their seeds, saving you loads of money which is always a good thing.  Finally I am going to share lots of my recipes with you, some of which are from the produce and also everyday cooking and baking.

All my blogs will be illustrated as much as possible  because if you are anything like me, its always good to put a picture with the words 🙂 As the followers of my blog are from all around the world I will be covering many areas of  sowing and planting of  veg and flowers.  The timing of this will of course vary depending on where you live. I do hope you that you can take the time to follow my  blog this year as I guarantee you will learn lots of hints and tips on gardening,cooking, preserving and saving money………..So please stay tuned and I will show you all how easy and enjoyable it is to do all of the above!!

Thank you for tuning in.

Eve