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

 

 

 

 

Summer Is Here…..At Last……Yippee :) Time to plant up those Strawberries!

P1010306
Hi Guys

Well Summer has finally arrived here in Southern Ireland…..not sure how long for but we will enjoy it while it last. Very very busy day yesterday in the tunnels and the garden……..soooo much to do at this time of year and so nice to do the gardening in the sunshine. Well, I planted up my strawberry plants into larger pots.  They were in 3 inch pots and were more than ready to put into their final planting position as they are in flower and lots of strawberries are started to appear. Strawberries are easy enough to grow…..Honest.  They can be grown outside but they do like lots of heat  and sunshine so this year I have planted them in pots in one of my tunnels.  They can be planted straight into the ground, hanging baskets,containers or in growbags………..all of which are fine as long as they are kept well watered. I planted mine into containers this year as we are still working on the tunnel that they are in so they need to be moved around as we work. To plant up your strawberry plants is very simple if you follow these simple steps: Image

First thing you will need to pot on your strawberry plants is your container, basket or growbag.  If your planting into the ground the rules are the same. Strawberries need good, rich, moist compost…….an organic grow bag or your own compost if you have a compost heap!  Fill your pot, container or hanging basket up to about a 3rd from the top allowing room for the strawberry plant and roots which will make up quite a bit if it’s in a reasonable sized pot to start with. Carefully take your plant out of it pot by gently squeezing the bottom of it if necessary.  Arrange your strawberry plants on top of the compost in your container.Image

Strawberries can be planted quite close together so you can put 2 or 3 in your container.  Once the plants are in position you need to fill the pot up with more compost.  It is really really important NOT to cover the top (crown) of the strawberry plant, as this is where the plant grows their new shoots….so fill the pot only to the same level as the plant was in its original pot.

Strawberries will need feeding when they start to flower.  Feed your strawberry plants with a good quality fertilizer such as the tomato food…….I know the label says it for tomatoes but its perfect for all flowering veg and some fruit!!

P1010311

This is the perfect time to go and buy your strawberry plants.  Im going to buy some more today so that I hopefully will have strawberries all summer……thats the plan anyway!!

Health Benefits of Strawberries

Did you know that strawberries  are one of the superfoods, they are packed full of vitamins, fibre and high levels of antioxidants.    Strawberries also help to protect your heart, increase the GOOD cholesterol (HDL) and lower your blood pressure.  They  are sodium free, fat-free and low in calories!  They are classed in the top 20 fruits in the antioxidant category and just one serving….about 8 strawberries will give you more Vitamin C than an orange.

So get planting those juicy, healthy little fruits!!

Also managed to get some more seeds planted:

Beans, Peas, Swede, Cabbage, Corn,Cauliflower and more to do today….busy busy busy!!!

I know some of you will be thinking it’s too late to plant some of these seeds but I will be growing a lot in my tunnel over the winter.

Hope you all have a great day and that the sun shines for you toooooo 🙂