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 ūüėČ ¬†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 ūüė¶ ¬†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!

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Nicely tucked into their new straw bed ūüôā 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 ūüė¶ ¬†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 ūüėČ P1000960P1000956

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Thanks for tuning and happy gardening.

Take Care

Eve

‘IN THE SUMMER TIME WHEN THE WEATHER IS FINE’……

Hi Guys.

What a fantastic day Ive had in my tunnels today. ¬†This is such a busy and exciting time of year. Still sowing, growing and harvesting so many vegetables. ¬†I cant believe how lucky ive been with my veg this year (not that I’ve had an unlucky year!) but this year I’ve a bumper crop of EVERYTHING, and most of my veg has been trouble free. ¬†The tomatoes and the salad are the only fruit/veg that I have had problems with this year, tomatoes with botrytis and my lettuce and a few cabbages with the white cabbage moth/butterfly. ¬†I have never seen so many caterpillars as I have had this year, maybe its something to do with the warm weather we experienced a few weeks ago.

Anyway I have been getting bumper crops now for a good few weeks which really gives you that real ‘feel good factor’. Today ¬†I ¬†made up some great veggie boxes for some very lucky peeps. ¬†They were all delighted with their goodies ūüôā

!st Crop of Corn On The Cob. 20 ears picked and about the same still not ready!!

!st Crop of Corn On The Cob. 20 ears picked and about the same still not ready!!

My great selection of yummy tomatoes. This is just 1 days picking. I pick every couple of days :)

My great selection of yummy tomatoes. This is just 1 days picking. I pick every couple of days ūüôā

Italian Courgettes from seeds bought in Florence

Italian Courgettes from seeds bought in Florence

A few cucumbers and courgettes picked ready to go into a veggie box

A few cucumbers and courgettes picked ready to go into a veggie box

Wow What a whopper. 16" cucumber :)

Wow What a whopper. 16″ cucumber ūüôā

Left to right: Barcelona Tomato (from saved seeds) Yellow Stuffer tomato and a grapefruit :) - and No I dont grow grapefruits but wanted you to see how big these tommie are!

Left to right: Barcelona Tomato (from saved seeds) Yellow Stuffer tomato and a grapefruit ūüôā – and No I dont grow grapefruits but wanted you to see how big these tommie are!

1st Corn On The Cob Of The Season

1st Corn On The Cob Of The Season

More delicious tomatoes for a veggie box

More delicious tomatoes for a veggie box

Barcelona tomato - weighing in at 400g :)

Barcelona tomato –
weighing in at 400g ūüôā

Along with the harvesting today I managed to sow a few seeds for overwintering vegetables. ¬†I have sown lettuce, radish, pak choi and spinach today. ¬†Also potted on some of the cauliflowers and brussel sprouts into new pots as I have no room in the tunnels yet and don’t want them to get pot bound.

Lots more potting on and sowing to do tomorrow………Oh and lots of weeding ūüė¶

Happy Gardening

Eve

Polytunnel Update June 2013 In The Garden Of Eve

Just a quick update of my polytunnel in the Garden Of Eve. Thank you for watching and please stay tuned and SUBSCRIBE to my video channel on the link at the bottom of the picture so that you dont miss out on lots more useful informative videos on how to ‘Grow Your Own’. Happy Gardening

Why Grow In A Poly Tunnel


P1010654Hi Guys

I have been so busy over the last few weeks with soooooo many different things that are going on in my life, all good I am glad to report….. and boredom is definitely not on the agenda ;). ¬†I have been working in the poly tunnels over the last week or so and ¬†have also managed to do some more gardening outside in my rockeries.

This is one of the bedding flower rockeries on the drive up to our home

This is one of the bedding flower rockeries on the drive up to our home

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Today, I have been looking at what I have growing in my tunnels and also what is growing outside. ¬†Everything in the tunnels is doing so well, looks so healthy and has very little ‘bug’ damage. ¬†Outside however, is a very different story. Between the wind, which is very strong here, the rain, which is very heavy and frequent here and the slugs and snails that seem to have made their home on our land…..everything looks sick or is very slow to grow. ¬†The carrots and potatoes are doing OK but the runner beans and the dwarf beans are all but destroyed from the unseasonable wind and rain.

As I have mentioned in my piece ‘About Me’ I have been gardening for many years and have always grown our vegetables both ¬†outside and also under cover. ¬†When I lived in the UK I grew in a glass house (green house) and a plastic green house, both only about 6ft x 8ft. ¬†I grew tomatoes and cucumbers mainly and the odd bit of lettuce but there was never enough room for me to grow all the veg I would have liked. ¬†Moving to Ireland and having a large enough area to have a poly tunnel was like a dream come true and as soon as we started to build our home I started to look for a poly tunnel. ¬†I researched poly tunnels and looked at lots of different companies and what they had to offer. ¬†My biggest concern/worry was would the tunnel be able to cope with the extremely harsh weather conditions that we get here, as we live in a valley and are only 1 mile from the Atlantic….I will leave the rest to your imagination but it is very difficult to grow most plants unless they are able to cope with the elements.

After educating myself about the structure of a poly tunnel and our needs for a strong tunnel we decided to buy from a company based in the UK called First Tunnels. ¬†They had a fantastic web site which was so easy to ‘get round’ and when I called they were so helpful. ¬†I told them what my needs were, where I lived, ¬†the type of weather we get and they helped me to work out what size tunnel I needed along with what type of cover, crop bars etc.

I found my poly tunnel so good, I bought another, and I would love another (don’t tell my hubby ūüėČ ).

Why do I like growing in a tunnel. There are too many reasons to list but here are some:-

Where we live we can get all four seasons in just one day and when you are growing veg outside it only takes that one day to destroy what was a healthy plant.

In the poly tunnel however, the weather outside can be doing whatever it wants, wind, rain, hail, sleet or snow but inside the tunnel the sun is shining (OK, not literally) but the weather inside the tunnel is so controlled.

I did, however, ¬†a few years ago decide to plough the meadow/field behind the house and grow all those outdoor veg like potatoes, cabbage and runner beans etc. ¬† We cleared the ground, put up fencing and planted and planted and planted, It was a lot of hard labour and even harder to maintain the ground to stop nature from taking over, but, guess what, I lost and nature took over ūüė¶ ¬† I ended up with a very bad back and a very very over grown veg patch. ¬†We did get a few potatoes however, but the cabbages were eaten alive by the caterpillars and the runner beans…….well they ‘ran to ground’ and produced very little. It was hard to believe that there was ever a veg patch there as it had turned, very quickly back into a meadow ūüė¶ ¬†That was the toughest summer I had ever experienced gardening, doing what I love became a ‘nightmare’. ¬†So that was the end of that and gave in to the fact that it is not easy to grow outside in the environment that we had chosen to live in.

The new tunnel planters were half full before we even got the cover on!!

The new tunnel planters were half full before we even got the cover on and tightened!!

The new tunnel now with its cover on in ‘Poly Tunnel Plaza’!!

Growing in poly tunnel is a such a lovely environment to work in…whatever the weather!

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That space in the middle is screaming out for another tunnel…don’t you think ūüėČ

With the poly tunnel however, it was much easier to control the environment that I was growing in. ¬†We could only see one slight problem, that was a we lived at the bottom of a ¬†mountainside so we did have to bring in the soil and build raised beds (needed these days for the ‘ol’ back) which is great because that means that I can control the weeds, snails, slugs and bugs so much easier than if I was growing outside and everything in the tunnel is much cleaner.

We bought our tunnel from First Tunnels ūüôā about 6 years ago and it was not long before I ran out of space. ¬†Initially I used my tunnel to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, chilies and salads but wanted to grow more….loads more!! ¬†We then bought another tunnel about 12 months ago and my lovely hubby built the planters, erected the poles for the tunnel and finally, when the weather was right put on the plastic cover.

We now how vegetables growing all year round, ¬†start seeds in January and continue sowing and planting all year ūüôā

Over the last 12 months we, as a family have had the pleasure of eating freshly grown, chemical free veg everyday out of the 2 tunnels, even on Christmas day I went out, picked brussels, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and salad leaves for our dinner….now I call that a huge success, for growing your own!

Other veg that I have overwintered and had great success with are, Cauliflower, Kale, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Many varieties of cabbage and Lettuce.

Both of my tunnels are full, or will be within the coming weeks with a massive variety of veg including,¬†Tomatoes,¬†Aubergines,¬†Chilies.¬†Basil.¬†Coriander,¬†sweet potatoes,¬†tomatillos,¬†cucumbers,¬†butternut squash,¬†melons,¬†celery,¬†celeriac,¬†lettuce,¬†rocket,¬†mustard,¬†cress,¬†oriental salad leaves,¬†spring onions/scallions),¬†sweetcorn,¬†peas,¬†beans,¬†courgettes/zucchini,¬†parsnips,¬†carrots,¬†radish,¬†the list is endless and that’s not including all the seedlings that I have growing for overwinter veg ūüôā

For me, there is NO comparison between growing outside and growing undercover……poly tunnel gardening is the best, cleanest, easiest and ¬†THE ONLY successful way to garden in such an uncompromising environment.

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There is nothing nicer than eating, fresh, clean, chemical and bug free fruit and vegetables from your poly tunnel!

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Now, hows that for a good but slightly long explanation on, ‘Why Grow In A Poly Tunnel’ ūüôā

Happy Gardening

Eve

Flaming June!!!

Hi Guys

The month of June is often referred to as ‘FLAMING JUNE’….I am quite happy to give it the name ‘flaming’ but not because the sun is shining……..oh no……we had a week of sunshine at the beginning of June and I think that was our summer over :(……since then we have ¬†had more rain than any gardener would know what to do with. ¬†Since moving here to Co Kerry in Ireland I have found out where the expression ‘Bucketing Down’ came from……HERE. ¬†Anyways thats enough complaining about the crazy weather that we seem to be suffering all around the world….I think its Mother Natures way of getting back at us for destroying her beautiful planet. ¬†On a serious note….it is quite frightening what is going on with the weather patterns….Rant finished…Honest!!

Luckily for me I do most of my gardening under cover ūüôā

Well its been another very busy few days in the tunnels. ¬†My apologies for not putting ‘fingers to the buttons’ for a couple of days………..there is definitely not enough hours in the day for me to get everything done in the tunnels at this time of year. ¬†Im not complaining…..it is my passion…..my hobby…….and MY SANITY ūüėČ ¬†I find that all the other everyday ‘chores’ that I have as a mother, wife, housewife, cleaner, dog walker, cook and chief bottle washer are the things that I don’t have time for and wish I could put on hold while I get on with growing my veggies……Don’t get me wrong……I love my family and they come before ANYTHING else….. even the gardening!!

I cleared a few of the raised beds in the big tunnel ready for new crops to go in.

Where the potatoes were growing, I dug over the bed and added lots of organic compost and we…..well my lovely hubby and I put up a trellis for the cucumbers and the squash plants to grow up. ¬†I know it looks big….well it is quite large…..I have recycled one of the fences that I used for my hens pen (that’s a story for another day…hens, that is!!) ¬†It fits perfectly into the raised be and we have tied it to the crop bars so that it stays in place.

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The reason for using a trellis is so that I can use the rest of the raised bed for growing other veggies such as celery, lettuce and rocket which are quite happy to have a little shade which they will get from the cucumbers and squashes as they grow.

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These are just SOME of the cucumbers which I have planted!

The Cherry Tomato hanging baskets are finally hanging up…..I put them into the new larger tunnel as we still haven’t had a chance to change the cover in the old one……and we have tomatoes…..they look like little green peas at the moment but hopefully they will be my little red cherry toms in no time at all.

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The sweetcorn is looking good now along with the courgettes/zucchini and the beans (which have yet to appear). Image

I have nearly cleared the rest of the parsnip bed ready to plant another batch of parsnips and some carrots. ¬†The parsnips (tender and true) are doing extremely well and looks so healthy…..must thin them out soon but I try and wait so that we can use them for dinner!Image

The salad leaves, rocket and mustard are doing really really well…..luckily we love salad and just like tomatoes…….the flavour is amazing and the variety that you can grow yourself you could never buy in the shops!Image

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I have also been very busy doing a couple of videos on how to grow your cucumbers and squashes up a trellis and another on growing corn, courgettes/zucchini and peppers. I will edit these and upload in the next few days along with a blog to explain the videos in more detail.

OK must head back out to the tunnels and get muddy!!

Thanks for following and Happy Gardening

Eve

All In A Days Work With The Three Sisters!

Hi Guys,

What a great productive day i’ve had today……well everyday is productive but today was ‘mental’ busy but I enjoyed every minute….and the sun shone…..yey!!

The day started well…..we had electricity ;)…sad but I really missed it yesterday. ¬†So all my gadgets and gizmos were charged up and ready to ‘role’, including ME!!

I popped over next door to my elderly neighbours first as they love their flowers and had a load of bedding plants that needed to go in………I thought that would be a 20 minute job as most of the flowers go into pots and tubs rather than into the ground…..but not today…..my lovely neighbour decided she would like them to be planted into a corner of her lawn. ¬†Now there is a flower bed there………BUT it was mostly covered in grass and weeds ūüė¶ Oh well, I set to it and once I got going…..with the help of my elderly neighbours, their son in law…..and their 4 year old grand daughter……we cleared the ground…..made a new boundary with some rocks (no problem finding them here as we live at the bottom of the mountainside). ¬†Then we planted up some buzy lizzies and a few other bedding plants…..JOB DONE…..had a lovely cup of tea with them and a homemade scone and headed back to my tunnels.

I then prepared the bed where I had previously grown my onions, added some fresh compost and planted up all my sweet corn plants Lark, Lapwing and some italian sweet corn which I bought in Florence last year. ¬†I then inter planted them with some Courgettes/Zucchini…..Defender, Parthernon and again some Italian squash courgettes which I bought in Florence. ¬†I also popped a few Speedy Beans around the bases of the Sweet Corn.

Why mix all these together I hear you ask…….well Sweet Corn and Courgettes/Zucchini are very hungry nitrogen plants and deplete the soil of this very important nutrient. ¬†On the other hand the beans (or peas) actually do the opposite and put nitrogen back into the soil….so by planting these together hopefully we will have a happy balance of nutrients. ¬†This combination of plants is often referred to as ‘The Three Sisters’, which is an ancient method of gardening. ¬†Sometimes this is done in a mound or hill but I plant all of mine level and it works!

Corn¬†is the oldest sister. She stands tall in the center. Courgette/Zucchini (Squash)¬†is the next sister and she grows over the ground protecting her sisters from weeds and shades the soil from the sun with her leaves, keeping it cool and moist. ¬†The third and final sister is the¬†Bean (or pea) and she¬†climbs up the sweet corn as she reaches for the sun. Beans help keep the soil fertile by converting the sun’s energy into nitrogen filled nodules that grow on its roots. As beans grow they use the stored nitrogen as food…..Lesson Over ūüėČ

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The 3 Sisters………although there are only 2 above ground as baby sister (bean) is still waiting to show!

If you are growing more than one type of sweet corn it is always advisable to leave a few feet between as they are wind pollinated and you might get a strange corn!!  I have planted mine in 3 areas as I have 3 different types.  Also remember that sweet corn MUST be planted in blocks rather than rows to pollinate.  I will do another blog on this subject as there is a little more to pollination than other veg, especially when growing under cover.

Last but not least today, I potted up my peppers of which there were loads. ¬†I am growing sooooooo many different types including Apache Chilli, Super Chilli, Chilli Shake, Lantern Chilli, Californian Wonder and loads more…..tooooo many to name…..some really hot and some not!!

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A few peppers all potted up ready to sit in the smaller tunnel (my hot house) along with the tomatoes!

I have done a quick video so hope to upload in the next couple of days of planting the corn and courgette/zucchini plants along with the beans.

Tomorrow is another busy day so think its time for a well deserved rest.

Good Night

Eve