Just Another Day At The Plant!

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Hi Guys

Well today started out with taking some of my dahlias which I grew from seed and some of my overwintered geraniums to a couple of neighbours and planted them into their gardens and pots.

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Then it was back to the tunnels to sow some spicy salad leaves, lettuce and spinach as the warm weather had sent some of the spicy salad ‘sky high’ (bolt). I sowed some lollo rossa, romaine, nymans and a mixed lettuce called all sorts, along with some organic rocket, bright and spicy, oriental leaves and mustard.

Spicy Salad and Lettuce can very easily bolt (go to seed) if it gets too hot which can be a problem the cover of a poly tunnel :(

Spicy Salad and Lettuce can very easily bolt (go to seed) if it gets too hot which can be a problem under the cover of a poly tunnel ūüė¶

Rocket can also bolt but the flowers make really nice addition to your salad bowl :)

Rocket can also bolt but the flowers make really nice addition to your salad bowl ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also gave the tomatoes a good pruning by pinching out, side shooting and getting rid of those suckers ūüôā from the indeterminate tomato plants and gave them and all the other veg a good watering and feed.

These are the Tamina tomato plants.  They have leaves that are more like a potato than a tomato.  They are a great plant and give a high yield of medium sized fruits.

These are the Tamina tomato plants. They have leaves that are more like a potato than a tomato. They are a great plant and give a high yield of medium sized fruits.

This is a Black Russian Tomato Plant which produces massive deep purple/black fruits

This is a Black Russian Tomato Plant which produces massive deep purple/black fruits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love my tomato plants but the side shooting/suckering is a long job when you have well over a 100 plants. I use the velcro garden tape which makes tying them up a much easier job.

Love my tomato plants but the side shooting/suckering is a long job when you have well over a 100 plants. I use the velcro garden tape which makes tying them up a much easier job.

 

 

 

I have been working on my video about the chili/pepper plants and hopefully will upload it tomorrow but I have had a few technical issues with my computer which hopefully is now sorted so stay tuned!

Happy Gardening

 

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

Tomato Growing Problems And How To Control Them

P1020256Tomatoes are one of my favourite foods to grow (just in case you didn’t know!) and I really look forward to the taste of my home-grown tomatoes after waiting patiently for months on end and giving them all the care and attention that they need!

Unfortunately if you dont look after your tomato plants, you are going to get all sorts of pests and diseases which could destroy all your hard work. However, there will be times when, despite you giving your tomato plants all the care and attention that they need, the weather and other environmental stresses which are out of your control, can affect the health of your plants.

There are many types of problems that may affect your tomatoes, BUT…….we can, by taking a few precautionary measures avoid them and hopefully make your growing experience of this delicious fruit a great success.

Here are some of the most common tomato problems; I hope that this will help you to diagnose what the culprit is and treat it as early as possible to prevent it from spreading to other plants.

BOTRYTIS (GREY MOULD)

Botrytis or Grey mould (Botrytis cinerea) can be a serious problem when you get it in on your poly tunnel or greenhouse tomato plants.¬†Grey mould thrives under cool, wet conditions (high humidity) and often establishes itself on dead or dying plants, including the leaves, flowers, stems and unfortunately the tomatoes. ¬†It usually attacks unhealthy¬†(stressed) plants but it can also infect perfectly healthy specimens too. ¬†Tomatoes which are grown too close together (overcrowded) ¬†will also be more susceptible – GUILTY ūüė¶

The first symptom of Botrytis is a fuzzy grey mould which can often be missed (as I did this year ūüė¶ ) and if not spotted early ¬†can very quickly spread to other tomato plants as well as a variety of other fruit, veg and flowers, such as strawberries, beans, cucumbers, courgettes, lettuce, ,marigolds, aubergines, blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries and many more – ¬†too many to name. ¬†This grey mould is made up of dry spores that are air-borne. ¬†These spores are dispersed very easily by the wind, garden tools, particularly your pruning shears, scissors etc. ¬†If one part of the plant is infected, ie: if a flower that is infected drops off onto a leaf, then the leaf will become infected. If a fruit that is infected touches another part of the plant, then that will become infected too – ¬†In other words it is very very contagious and once it gets hold it is very hard to control.

Botrytis can survive/overwinter in the soil and plant debris so it is really important to NOT use the same area the following year, this is important for all garden vegetables and is called crop rotation.   It is also important to dispose of all infected debris and fruits carefully and  DO NOT put them into your compost heap.

HOW TO PREVENT THE ONSET OF BOTRYTIS (Before it takes hold!)

First things first.  The MOST important thing and number one on the list is to make sure that your greenhouse/glasshouse, poly tunnel is kept clean and thoroughly disinfect it every year, moreoften if possible.

As Botrytis is caused by cool, wet conditions and high humidity, you should avoid planting your tomatoes too close together (GUILTY ūüė¶ ). ¬†Remove lower leaves as soon as the plant is large enough. ¬†Avoid watering in the evenings and try not to wet the leaves, especially on cool, wet days where there is very little wind to dry them.

HOW TO MANAGE AN OUTBREAK OF BOTRYTIS

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What was a healthy plum tomato has been infected by Botrytiis and will rot and drop off the plant.

 If you find a plant that is badly infected with botrytis, remove it and destroy it carefully.  If you find a leave, flower or fruit which is infected, then you need to remove it by cutting it away from the main plant with a scissors or pruning shears, making sure that you disinfect your tools in between each plant treatment. I use a mild bleach solution for this.  I also use a damp cloth to hold around the infected piece so as to help stop the spores from dispersing into the air and infecting surrounding plants.

This is a leaf of a healthy tomato plant with the infected Botrytis flower buds lying on top after falling from an infected part of the plant

This is a leaf of a healthy tomato plant with the infected Botrytis flower buds lying on top after falling from an infected part of the plant

This is the infected flower buds after lying on a healthy leaf for a day or two which is now also infected :(

This is the infected flower buds after lying on a healthy leaf for a day or two which is now also infected ūüė¶

This is a tomato and stem that are both very badly infected with the Botrytis (Grey Mould) Unfortunately I didnt see the tomato until it had infected the stem as well as other parts of what was a healthy plant :(

This is a tomato and stem that are both very badly infected with the Botrytis (Grey Mould) Unfortunately I didnt see the tomato until it had infected the stem as well as other parts of what was a healthy plant ūüė¶

ORGANIC SPRAY

I use an organic mix of baking soda, horticultural oil, ( such as neem oil) and water to try and prevent further infection.  Spray all plants  that look like they have or are likely to have been infected by being in close proximity to Botrytis.  I also use it on areas that I have pruned.  The baking soda is known to help prevent diseases.  It also kills existing fungal spores on plant leaves.  The oil is used to help the spray stick to the plants.

This is my 1st year of trying this organic mix so I will let you know how it goes!

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BLOSSOM END ROT

When you see an ugly dark patch on the bottom of your tomato it is usually a sign of Blossom end rot which is caused by a calcium deficiency in the developing fruits. Don’t panic, it really doesn’t mean that all your hard work is for nothing and that with a few minor adjustments, you can hopefully have a great crop of tomatoes.

So what is this Blossom End Rot. ¬†Well it is caused by a lack of calcium in the developing fruits, this causes the cells to collapse in the area where the fruit has the most growth – the Blossom End (named because this is the end where the flower was, just in case you were wondering ūüôā ¬†) and this starts to rot. ¬†Tomatoes need large amounts of calcium for healthy cell growth and when this is not available it can put the plant, especially the fruits under stress as ¬†fruits are the last to receive adequate calcium, hence this is why it is the affected part!

Blossom End Rot :(

Blossom End Rot ūüė¶

CAUSE OF BLOSSOM END ROT

Blossom End Rot is usually caused by the plant being under water stress. ¬†This occurs when the plants soil is allowed to dry out and is then watered. ¬†Even if calcium is present in the soil it will not move through the plant properly unless adequate watering is applied. ¬†Too much or too little water will put the tomato plant under stress and the leaves will receive the water and calcium before the fruit which is where the problem begins ūüė¶ ¬† ¬†Always remember that over watering can be equally as bad as under watering.

Another cause of Blossom End Rot is over-fertilization.  This is due to using the wrong fertilizer where the nitrogen content is too high.  This will stimulate lots of green foliage for your plant, but will take away the important nutrients including calcium which is needed for developing fruits  This is another reason for always using a good organic tomato fertilizer which has the correct amount of nitrogen for growing healthy plants.

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SPLIT TOMATOES

Over watering after the soil has dried out can often cause split fruit

Over watering after the soil has dried out can often cause split fruit

This is something that I get on a regular basis, every year I have some lovely ripe tomatoes that split. ¬†WHY you ask. ¬†Well its usually because of fluctuations in the amount of water they get. ¬†This is harder when you are growing outside as you cannot control the amount of water that nature throws at them, but it does happen under cover as well. ¬†When a tomato gets a ‘glut’ of water in one go, it swells so fast that the outer skin (usually ripe) cracks. ¬†The main reason is that the outer skin becomes more fragile as the fruit begins to ripen.

The best….and only way to solve this problem is water regularly¬†and pick fruits that are ripe rather than leave them on the vine, as just one more day can cause the fruit to crack.

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TOMATO BLIGHT

Some of my tomatoes infected by blight a couple of years ago!

Some of my tomatoes infected by blight a couple of years ago!

Tomato blight is another nasty disease that affects tomatoes, along with many other plants and can be disastrous if it gets hold.  Once again, dont panic as there are things we can do to prevent it and also treat it if it does show its ugly head.

Blight is most common in tomatoes and potatoes and is usually caused by very wet weather, cool nights and warm days.  It is a fungus which spreads really fast over the whole plant including the fruits or tubers, thus causing them to decay.  This is a common problem in tomatoes grown outside as you cannot control the amount of water the plant is getting, it does however also affect tomatoes grown under cover, especially when there is long periods of damp, wet conditions enveloping the outside of the poly tunnel.

SYMPTOMS OF BLIGHT

Blight usually starts on the leaves of the plants but can very quickly effect the growing fruits which will quickly turn into a blackish brown hard rough surface.

HOW TO PREVENT BLIGHT FROM DESTROYING YOUR CROP

Leaf of a tomato which has blight

Leaf of a tomato which has blight

Similar to Botrytis, Blight can remain in the soil for a very long period of time.  For this reason I always rotate the crop and never plant my tomatoes in the same place more than once every couple of years.  Always remove any leaves that look suspicious, ie: any that are yellow, have dark brown spots or even a fungus (spores). Remove all fruits and leaves that are infected and also any fallen leaves that may be lying on the soil as these will only prolong and spread the disease further.

Water only at the base of the plant and avoid splashing water which will only spread the spores.  Water in the morning, never in the evening as the wet cool conditions are ideal for blight to grow.

Use Bordeaux mixture which is a copper based spray and is perfectly OK to use if your an organic gardener.  It is used to protect healthy plants but once blight is present it will not cure them.  It is only used as a preventative measure rather than a cure!!

Alternatively you could try a baking soda spray similar to the one I used for Botrytis.

I do hope that this information will help you to recognize the symptoms of some of the nasty problems that can occur. ¬† I have over the years, had all of these problems, sometimes all of them together. ¬†With some diligent hard work I have managed to control them and still get great yields. ¬†This year its Botrytis and it really has taken hold ūüė¶ I do blame myself for overcrowding the tomato tunnel. ¬†I have probably provoked the situation by not being able to open one of the doors for a couple of months. ¬†This has restricted the air flow on top of some really damp wet days and therefore the leaves on the tomato plants remained wet longer than they should have.

Please feel free to ask questions which I hope to answer for you and please watch the video which shows you the Botrytis in a little more detail.

Please don’t forget to subscribe to my you tube channel by clicking on the link below the video.

Happy Gardening

Eve

Buddy And Tilly are hunting again!

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Buddy And Tilly ready to go hunting but their Dad Ralph is just supervising these days as he is retired lol!

Today was another very busy day in the tunnels and as usual I had a couple of helping ‘paws’ ūüėČ Buddy and Tilly are always hunting around as I garden but are never too far away and 9 times out of 10 will come back within a few minutes when called. They sometimes come back together but sometimes I need one to find the other!

Well today my little furry friends went awl….or so I thought. ¬†I called and called and called but they didn’t come back to me. ¬†After about 10 minutes, which was probably only 5, but I was getting a little stressed to say the least and worried that they had gone walkabout on the road.

After another few frantic shouts for BUDDY AND TILLY, Tilly came running to me all excited and out of breath. ¬†‘Where have you been’ I asked, as if she was going to answer (she is a very intelligent dog, by the way!) Then I asked her where was Buddy to which she started to run off down towards my neighbours house, with me running behind.

There I found Buddy, well Buddys backside is all I could see with his head down a hole in my neighbours garden. ¬†Tilly very quickly joined in and I could see they were both on ‘A Mission’. ¬†There was no doubt that there was a rodent of some sort down that hole and they were both very determined to get IT! ¬†Buddy was so determined that he even tried to chew some concrete which was around the hole ūüôā

After another good few minutes of my neighbour and I watching the antics of my furry friends, we decided that they needed a little help to get whatever it was out. ¬†So I pulled them both away from the hole by their collars but they were so strong that they pulled me over to get back to the hole. ¬†My¬†neighbour then decided we should intervene, but how…..boiling water should get IT out we thought. ¬†So off my neighbour went and came back with the kettle of boiling water. ¬†I held back Buddy and Tilly, while he poured so that they would not get scalded and within a couple of seconds out came a…….RAT. ¬†I let go of Tilly and Buddy very quickly and Tilly was in there like a good Jack Russell, one bite of the rat, a quick shake and it was DEAD, GONE, NO MORE! Yey ūüôā

Buddy And Tilly - Great little 'Ratpackers'

Buddy And Tilly – Great little ‘Ratpackers’ (by the way they are NOT eating it- just checking to see if it is really dead!)

Now I just need them to do a little more hunting closer to one of the poly tunnels as I have some little critters eating my tomatoes…..Grrrrrrrrrrrr ūüė¶ ¬† I watered my tomatoes this morning and found lots of my little cherry tomatoes nibbled. ¬†Its really upsetting when they are just ripe and ready for picking and I haven’t managed to get my sign up yet saying ‘ONLY FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION’ ūüėČ Anyway, I did send Tilly into the raised planter, which is normally ‘out of ¬†bounds’ for them but she got a scent and away she went, nose to the ground. ¬†Unfortunately she didn’t manage to hunt anything down so i have had to put the mouse traps out as I think that it is little field mice that are nibbling away at the tomatoes. Ive even put their next favourite snack (after tomatoes) on the traps, peanut butter sandwiches. So lets hope that does the trick.

Evidence that something is nibbling at my tomatoes and its not me!

Evidence that something is nibbling at my tomatoes and its not me!

Tilly sniffing out the enemy!!
Tilly sniffing out the enemy!!

Tilly getting into the undergrowth hunting out those horrid little nibblers!
Tilly getting into the undergrowth hunting out those horrid little nibblers!

WILL KEEP YOU UPDATED ON TILLY’S FINDING ūüôā

Happy Gardening, Eve

Green, Amber…..RED

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Hi Guys and welcome back to my blog. First of all I must apologise for not blogging for so long but we finally had some dry, yes dry and very warm weather here in Southern Ireland which we haven’t seen here for a very long time. ¬†It was such a welcome surprise BUT the watering became a very very long job. ¬†I know some of you will be thinking why am I not using a watering system, well I have used both overhead and ground level irrigation systems in the past in tunnels but as we have re-vamped them I didn’t manage to get them back into place before I started planted so I am watering everything, inside and out of the tunnels with the hose. ¬†Luckily we get our water from the mountain well so no shortage there. I am hoping to get catch up with my blogs over the next few weeks but thought I would share a few photos of my tomatoes which were taken today.

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COUER DE BOUEF (seeds from which I saved from a tomato from the supermarket)

TOMATO BERRY

TOMATO BERRY

SANTA MARIA (Another named by myself after staying in a hotel in Florence and saving the seeds from a tomato that I liked)

SANTA MARIA (Another named by myself after staying in a hotel in Florence and saving the seeds from a tomato that I liked)

I am growing over 20 varieties of tomatoes this year and have approximately 150 tomato plants of which most are doing really well ( as you can see from the pictures).  I have however, had a few problems which I will do  a separate blog on in the coming days to show you in more detail the different tomato problems that can occur and how you can resolve them!!

BARCELONA TOMATO (named by me as I saved the seeds from a tomato bought on holiday in Barcelona)

BARCELONA TOMATO (named by myself as I saved the seeds from a tomato bought on holiday in Barcelona)

TAMINA (masses of medium size tomatoes-very reliable)

TAMINA (masses of medium size tomatoes-very reliable and high yielding tomato)

SCATOLONE (massive meaty plum tomato)

SCATOLONE (massive meaty plum tomato)

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

Its been a ‘dog of a day’

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I JUST LOVE PLAYING WITH THE COWS AND SHEEP!!

Hi Guys

Well it has been ‘A Dog Of A Day’ today. ¬†I decided this morning as the sun WAS SHINING (I take back what I said in my last blog!!) that I would really get ‘stuck in’ to the veggie gardening and get loads done.

Well I started off with pinching out’ and ¬†tying up the tomatoes………which took awhile as there are approx 140 of them!! Then I tied up all of the onions which I have been drying for a couple of weeks now and hung them in the tunnel.

Most days when I am gardening I let one of my dogs Buddy out…..he is only 1 year old and I have been training him off a lead so that he follows me and doesn’t run away…..so whilst I work he wonders around the land hunting…..as terriers do and digging holes where ever he can…..luckily we don’t really have a fancy lawn…just rockeries and lots of meadow land so he can do what he does best…..dig dig and dig. ¬†In order to keep a check on him I call him back every 10 mins or so……BUDDY I call……usually he is back looking for his biscuit within a minute or so……I do spend a lot of my day shouting his name but luckily for us we don’t have lots of neighbours……if we did I would probably have been locked up by now!!

We own 3 Parson Jack Russells……Ralph is the Daddy, Buddy who is 1 and Tilly who is 2 are his ‘off spring’ . Tilly lives with my daughter at college….and when I say at college…..this dog really does go to college and lectures (only in Ireland) ¬†so she is away quite a bit. Ralph is a ‘city slicker’ who used to live in the UK and doesn’t venture out too much….unless he is on a lead……as he would run off down the road looking for a playmate….more his age….he is nearly 10. ¬†Buddy loves to play with Ralph but he is a bit like an ‘off the rails’ teenager and is not getting on too well with his Dad…who is usually sleeping or smoking a pipe lol ūüėČ or watching the box (that would be everything that moves outside of the house).

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CANT I JUST HAVE 5 MINUTES PEACE AND QUIET!!

So today I called Buddy as usual after leaving him wander for probably about 15 minutes…..no Buddy came for a biscuit….so I called him again and again and again. ¬†I then looked into the field next to our land and there was Buddy playing ‘tag’ with the brown cow. ¬†Now this cow and buddy have become very good friends…..Buddy needs a playmate and when Tilly is not home he does get a little bored and wanders more than usual……When he first ventured into the next field and met the brown cow…..he barked and ran round and round the cow……but the cow wasn’t in the least bit interested…..which puzzled Buddy somewhat…..eventually Buddy decided that as the cow would not play with him…..he would just follow the cow and eat grass!!! It is very funny to watch and the cow completely ignores Buddy…….he even lies down and lets Buddy wander around him.

So I called Buddy and he looked over at me…..and turned away…..typical teenager I thought…..then I called him again……this time he looked at me and then ran the other way….towards the sheep…….OMG…..NOT THE SHEEP……this is not a good thing…..as the farmers do not appreciate dogs chasing their sheep and have been known to shoot any dogs that are found in the fields with their sheep. I called and called and called…..in the end I gave up calling and knew I had to go into the field and find him. ¬†I could see the sheep in the distance running for their lives…..and my buddy Buddy running after them (being a white dog doesn’t ¬†help!) ¬†I walked down to the next doors house which is a bit of a walk and climbed over their barbed wire fence into the field…..continuously calling Buddy. ¬†I could see him in a corner of the field near a bush……he was jumping in and out of the bush and I knew by the antics of him that he was playing ‘tag’ with……yes…..a sheep. ¬†I ran over and screamed at him but like any bad teenager he carried on…..the sheep was giving as good as he got. ¬†Eventually I dragged him back to the house…….shouting and roaring at him for being such a bad dog and threw (not literally) into the yard…..with his dad….and told him he was GROUNDED ūüėČ

Not long after this little episode it became very busy on the roads….there was even a traffic jam…….BAAAAAARRRRRRRRRR!

Wheres Buddy......He will get this traffic moving!!

Wheres Buddy……He will get this traffic moving!

I did give in a little later on today and Buddy did behave…….although when I was closing up the tunnels he got a little confused as to which was the way out ūüôā
Im SORRY mum....can I come out now!!

Im SORRY mum….can I come out now!!

I did manage to get a little more gardening done and moved all the peppers and aubergines to the hot house tunnel (the smaller tunnel) which reaches 100 degrees, the larger tunnel is usually a few degrees cooler so I grow all the toms etc in the smaller tunnel.

Training will continue tomorrow ūüôā

Good Night

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

How to side shoot, pinch out, sucker, prune your tomato plants

The most important part of growing Indeterminate (Cordon) Tomato Plants is to control the amount of vines that will grow. Some tomato plants will produce more shoots than are needed and if not controlled will grow like a vine with lots and lots of lush green leaves but very few fruits (tomatoes). In order to make sure the tomato plant grows in a controlled way and you get lots of healthy tomatoes you need to side shoot, pinch out, prune your plant. This video shows you in detail what needs to be done in order to grow a strong healthy plant that has 1 large stem and hopefully lots of tomatoes.

I will be telling you about the problems that can occur with your plants over the next few days………and how most of them can be resolved ¬†by following a few simple steps so please stay tunned.

Thanks for following

Eve