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 🙂

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 😉  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

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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

How To Grow Potatoes

Hi Guys

Growing your own potatoes is yet another rewarding easy vegetable to grow and there is nothing better than sitting down to your Sunday roast with your home-grown spuds!!

Potatoes grow over a long period of time so they are another crop that you need to be patient with…….but’ OH BOY’ they are so worth the wait!

Potatoes need a well-drained fertile site which has preferably had some well-rotted manure dug in. (It is not essential but does make a difference).

There are loads of different types of seed potatoes for sale in any good garden centre. The choice of which potato you grow is down to what you want to do with them when they are fully grown: ie mashing, roasting, boiling etc……..so read the labels on the seed potato pack and it will tell you what they are best for.  There are also different potatoes to grow at different times of the year.

First Earlies which are planted around March – April and will be ready around 15 weeks later.

Second Earlies which are planted around the middle of April and ready around 17 weeks later.

Maincrop which are planted from April onwards and will take around 20 weeks to mature.

I am going to be planting my main crop potatoes hopefully today although I normally would have them into the ground by the end of May but if you are growing under cover then it is not too much of a problem as its the frost that we need to watch out for!

Once you have your seed potatoes, we need to ‘chit’ them…..What is that I hear you ask 🙂 This process is done by sitting your seed potatoes in a well lite, frost-free place and allowing those little ‘eyes’ to shoot.  I use cardboard egg trays to sit mine on but any type of box will do.

Chitting potatoes

To ‘Chit’ or not to ‘Chit’…..this is the question. Now I often have thought about the farmers who are growing fields full of potatoes……cant see them ‘chitting’ all those spuds….so Ive tried it both ways.  The potatoes that I have planted without ‘chitting’ take a little longer to come up but other than that I don’t see a lot of difference……So guys its up to you.

The next thing we need to do is to prepare the ground for our potatoes.  If you have prepared it well in advance with well-rotted manure then great…..if you haven’t…….don’t panic, all is not lost as we can just add some fertilizer to the ground as we go.

The general opinion is that the shoots on your ‘chitted’ seed potatoes should be approx 2 inches long…..I don’t think I have ever left mine grow that big before planting…..again never really had any problems.  If the seed  potato you are growing is very large then you can cut it so as it can produce more plants. Each ‘eye’ (shoot)  will grow into a new potato plant so if you have 6 eyes on your potato then you will get 6 plants from that seed potato.  It is up to you if you decide to cut your potato or not but remember the more eyes on a potato or piece if you have cut it the more potatoes you will get but they will be smaller.  If you have only a couple of eyes on your potato then you are going to get larger potatoes.  I have heard of some gardeners rubbing off a couple of the eyes rather than cut the potato…..again its up to you……experiment…..thats the fun of gardening!  ( If you cut your seed potatoes then leave them a couple of days to ‘scab’ over before planting).

The ground should be as fertile as possible in order to get a good crop of potatoes.  If you haven’t added any manure to your ground then you can add some organic chicken manure pellets or any good quality fertilizer which you should be able to buy in any garden centre.  Read the instructions on the packet to work out how much you need to add to your soil.

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Sprinkle organic fertilizer over the ground and rake in before planting

Plant your potatoes about 14-16 inches apart and about 4 inches deep ensuring the eyes are looking upwards!!!

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I use my garden trowel as a guide as to how deep the seed potatoes need to be as its approximately 4 inches in length.

Cover the plants with good quality compost, either a grow bag or your own compost is even better!

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Give the potato bed a good watering and……be patient.  You should see your potato plants within a few weeks depending on time of year and whether you have ‘chitted’ or not!

Once your potato plants appear, wait till they are a few inches high…..then we need to ‘earth up’ in other words cover the potato plants (carefully) with more compost/soil.  Earthing up your potatoes in very important and plays a big part in  growing potatoes.  It protects the growing potatoes from the frost and also prevents the potatoes from going green which  makes the potato  poisonous and inedible.  Earth up your potatoes 2 or three times……..Do this each time the plants reach a few inches tall.

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Within a few weeks your potato plants should be nice and tall and green.  Make sure you water well and soon you will have some delicious spuds to have with your roast dinner, salad or even on their own with a little bit of butter!!

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The length of time from planting to harvest can vary depending on a couple of things….The type of potatoes you are growing, the time of year and even the weather. The general census is that the potatoes will be ready when they flower.  I have just harvested potatoes that I grew in my tunnel which I planted at the end of February and they weren’t in flower…..You can always have a little look by gently brushing away some of the soil with your hand.

Health benefits of potatoes

I think that people often think that potatoes are not good for you and are fattening………How wrong are they!!

Potatoes contain Vitamins C and B-complex, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus, all excellent vitamins and minerals for your skin.

Potatoes are part of the nightshade family of vegetables and have lots of carbohydrates, protein,calcium, niacin and Vitamin C. They are full of fiber and contain lots of Vitamin C which make them another great antioxidant vegetable to help repair cells in the body. Potatoes can relieve inflammation in the intestines and digestive track.

Potatoes help fight heart disease and help to keep blood pressure down.

These are just some of the health benefits of humble spud……….there are many many more so Grow and enjoy!

 

Eve

Such A Busy Time

imageHi Guys, Well its been another very busy day in the tunnels.  I have managed to get lots of lettuce into their final planting position in the new tunnel along with some spring onions.  Also planted some more rocket, mustard, oriental salad and some herbs as its been a few weeks since the last lot of seeds were sown. Also more lettuce seeds so that we have a succession of salad  throughout the summer and hopefully into the winter as we did last year. Its such a busy time of year in the garden and I always wish I had more hours to do all the jobs that need doing…and love doing as I find gardening sooooo therapeutic!!.  Its a tough job here sometimes and wish i had two of me!!….as there is a lot of land which needs a lot of maintenance. I will hopefully get some heather into the rockery tomorrow and maybe do a few hanging baskets…..including those cherry tomatoes!

Heading out to my sons graduation now….can’t believe he has finished school…..oh except for those dreaded exams still to come next week……..I’d much rather do ALL the gardening!!

Eve

How To Grow Tomatoes Part 3

Hi Guys
I have finally managed to plant some (100!) tomatoes into the poly tunnel now that I have new planters….still waiting to change over the old cover though but that’s for another day…..most important thing now is to get the tomatoes in.
As we have had a couple of good days of weather  I have also managed to do a video which will show you a step by step guide on how to plant your toms into their final planting position.  I have had a few technical problems with my upload but hopefully it will be up there on you tube today.
I will be putting a detailed guide here on my blog later on today so you will be able to read all the ‘dos and donts’ of growing tomatoes along with some pics of problems that can happen (even to me!!). This is my way of growing tomatoes and have always had great success….and so will you if you follow my simple instructions.
Must go now and plant up the rest of my toms and maybe get a few basket tomatoes in too!!
Eve