Mid March Garden Update

The sunny days this last week could not be ignored and Johnny and I managed a few days of work outside in the garden.

Wed 11 March– Partly sunny, dry, low wind, high temp around 10°C/50°F  Nice day.

Outside:

-liquid seaweed fertilizer applied to ❤ -shaped herb bed, perennial bed, rhubarb patch, herb and flower corner, tractor tire planters.

-seaweed spread on pumpkin patch

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Making organic seaweed tea fertilizer. It likes to be mixed once or twice a week.

Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of the good, thick, and gooey liquid seaweed before it was spread throughout the garden.  This is about three weeks old.  With warm enough weather, it is possible within 2-3 weeks to break down into liquid fertilizer. If the weather is cold, it takes closer to 2-3 months.

As this is a garden update, I won’t get into the details of making organic liquid seaweed fertilizer.  It’s good stuff and if you can make your own, (seaweed, manure, comfrey, or nettle) it will save you money and is a better choice over store bought packaged options.  Isn’t that what we are hoping to avoid by growing our own anyway?

Thurs 12 March– Sunny, dry, no wind, high temp around 10°C/50°F  Beautiful day.

Tunnel

-rocket sown in 24″ x 18″ tray; as I write this Sunday, they have already germinated

-‘slo’ bolt coriander & sweet basil, each in 8″ pots

-‘santos’ coriander in 14″ x 12″ pot

In 2″ x 2″ cells/24 cells per tray–to be kept in house in hot press for added warmth to germinate:

-3 rows jalapeno peppers 2 seeds/cell; as I write this Sunday, they have already germinated

-3 rows purple tomatillos 3/cell x 1 row, 2/cell  x 2 rows

-2 rows bambino spinach 3/cell

-2 rows bordeaux spinach 3/cell

-1 row yellow tomato ‘yoder’ 2/cell

-1 row elephant dill 3/cell

Thurs 12 March–

Outside:

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‘Mahonia’ planted out– I bought it last week for less than half price in the ‘plant hospital’ section of a garden center.  Pictured on right, lettuce from 24 February sowing is germinating nicely.

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We decided not to move our tunnel, but instead to move the tree that has been growing in it for the past two years.  Thanks to Roz and Phil for that advice.   We do still need to replace our weather beaten plastic, but it will be considerably less work than moving the entire structure.

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The spade handle broke from lifting the tree out of the ground; fortunately we had a spare.  Does this bud help identify our tree?  Below are pictured wild garlic ramsoms, called ‘creamh’ (k-nav) in gaelic.  They are abundant right now and we are eating them with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, no exaggeration.  Their amazing garlicky goodness is addictive.  They can be dried, preserved, eaten fresh-picked or cooked up in zillions of ways.   Useful wherever you would otherwise use other greens or alliums.  They have medicinal uses as well.   The goats milk is really only good for making cheese with if they get grazing in a patch.  And what wonderful cheese it is!  The linked website mentioned above has loads of great ideas.

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‘In early Celtic times annual garlic feasts had to be provided by the lower orders to their clan chiefs and chiefs to their kings.’ —from wildandslow.com

Fri 13 March–Sunny morning turned to overcast, dry, light wind, high temp 8°C/46°F Cold, but dry, nice day.

Tunnel:

In 2″ x 2″ cells/24 cells per tray–

‘Batavia’ lettuce 3 seeds/cell

french leaves lettuce 3/cell

-liquid seaweed applied to potato beds

Outside:

-split and transplanted red hot poker plants–from perennial bed to back yard

-pruned raspberry bushes

-put six evergreens in bed at duck pond; purchased with mahonia, were in 4″ pots

-transplanted 2 ‘saxifraga’ to rockery in second field

-transplanted pink heather to ground aside gate post closest to house

Garden Experiment–Carrots & Fertilizer: Two identical beds (16′ x 4′), using identical early cropping ‘Amsterdam Sweetheart’ seeds.  Bed 1 fertilized with leaf mold and bed 2 fertilized with seaweed.

This experiment came about because we wanted to sow two beds with early carrots.  Leaf mold is the recommended soil conditioner for carrots but trees are scarce on the island, therefore so is leaf mold.   We did manage enough to prepare one bed though.  The only other available bed to put a sowing of early carrots down was covered in fresh seaweed back in January.  I asked several seasoned island gardeners their experience with seaweed and carrots (manure is a no-no as it causes carrots to fork) but they each said they had never tried it.  They are now sown, with removable mini-poly tunnel coverings to protect them from the cold and give them a boost when the sun shines.  *1/5 of each bed is sown with parsnips; this after running out of carrot seeds.  I will update in the future.

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Potatoes sown in the polytunnel at the end of December have been up for a few weeks now.  These are the first to peak their heads out; most others are half the size, but looking good and should easily be ready for lifting before cucumbers go in the ground.

Hope spring is in sight wherever you are and that you are, or soon will be, getting some time in the garden too.  Melissa Xx

32 Comments

  1. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Wow – you’ve been busy. Interesting you put your potatoes in as early as December into polytunnel. Last couple of years I’ve put mine in in February (still not showing) – wonder if I should plant earlier? Looking forward to hearing how your carrots do:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do you mean you put the potatoes in your tunnel or outside? Either way, I wouldn’t imagine they would be showing after just a month. Our results vary depending on the winter/early spring weather. We never sow too many.

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        • I think it is the earliest we have put them in the tunnel. We just happened to have the space available and some nice end of year weather plus an ambitious husband. A combination that we hope will add up to some lovely (and extra early) new potatoes. We do the same with our outside sowing.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Melissa,
    The growing seasons seems to be upon you there in Ireland,you all are well on your way to the joy and work of providing this year’s bounty. We are still waiting for the snow to melt, but the greenhouse is a warm and toasty place for some early starts. Seaweed tea, plant super food, for sure! So wonderful that you have access to that green goodness so close to home! We often make both a manure tea and a comfrey tea, we use it to gently feed seedlings and transplants. Loved reading about what you are planting and the daily chores the garden brings. Are there many people on your island that are growing gardens and involved in creating a sustainable homestead? As always,truly enjoying your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have never made manure tea–we use it in other ways, and we don’t grow comfrey (must change that!) Nettles are everywhere though. I’ve read they each have their own unique benefits but have yet to put it all in practice. So hard to do it all isn’t it!?
      There are many doing varying degrees of s. h. Lots, you wouldn’t know what they are growing in their back yard, but then something brings it to your attention, so probably more than I’m aware of. I see more and more getting chickens, a couple new hoop houses going up every year. Some forage, but have no animals, some with animals but don’t grow veg. Seems to be a growing movement here though. If we could get our act together, we could probably sell seedlings, but not this year.
      The snow shouldn’t be long melting for you now, please God! And then it’s like going from first to fourth gear in many ways isn’t it? Enjoy the calm before the busy season is upon you. Take care.

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      • So glad to have found you and be able to ask these questions about Ireland and its movement towards sustainability ( I think you and your husband very well may be leading the way!!). Glad to know that you see signs of people growing gardens and putting up hoops. Do you eat the nettles? Really good fro you , An excellent spring tonic and they dry very well for nettle tea. I think selling seedlings is a grand idea and perhaps this will work for you another year. As I have mentioned, I am willing to share any thought, ideas, things that have worked, things that have not. You are so right, it is difficult to ” do it all” and we shouldn’t get discouraged when certain things take time. I know when my kiddos were young other goals took longer to reach. That’s ok, growing good kids has its merits…..quite obvious that you are devoted to your family, raising your children………the best work of all. Isn’t it fun though to be learning all there is to know ( well, we never know all of it, always something new to learn!) and applying it to living a life of sustainability?
        Also, you hit the nail on the head…soon we really will feel like we’ve gone from first gear to fourth overnight, because of that I don’t mind the days we seem to be stuck in neutral! Best to you , love reading your blog, such good work you are all doing!

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    • Thanks Dan. The price is right on the seaweed. I have filed away to revisit your dried banana post. We eat sooo many in a week and I get bunches past prime for free. Anyway, after St. Paddy’s Day frenzy over! I will definitely update on carrots.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just love to read your garden adventures, need as much info as poss. on growing carrots and tomatoes without a real tunnel; may try and get some of those cloche things in lidl or aldi , the spade made me smile , so many tools have broken here trying to sort out the jungle , the last one spent last night in the fire to burn out the wood; now to add it again to the handle, happy days Melissa if I ever get this sorted I may hold a party ha ha . Kathy xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carrots don’t need, or want a tunnel. They just need cover protection from the pesky carrot fly. Tomatoes are another story. It is a big risk with high winds and unreliable heat. But, that said, I often put one or two extras outside against a sheltered wall and they produce ok. I bought a mini plastic house at Aldi/Lidl one year but it was just too windy here for it. There are a few possibilities depending on your site and protection from wind. Maybe bush/determinate varieties of tomatoes would suit you better?
      That wasn’t our first broken handle either, but I do think it was the first for that particular one. Like you said, the handle will serve another purpose now 🙂 .
      If you ever have that party, let me know. It would be worth the trip to the mainland. We could get Steph Peppard and her yellow bicycle and Murtagh’s Meadow over too and have a good ole time!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Now that’s motivation to get me outside ha ha , will post when the seaweed adventure has taken place, feel like a kid going to the sea side for an adventure havn’t told my plans to my darling yet, will have to choose the right time have a great time tomorrow and a lovely day today , birthday’s are so wonderful when they are young and they always remember the excitement and will thank you over and over when they are adults for these fun filled days. Blessings Kathy.

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  4. Meredith says:

    When I lived on the farm, 40 acres, we had a 2 acre family garden. We had a share cropper that farmed the rest. I an understand what’s going on. It’s a wonder you get any writing done.

    Like

        • I don’t ever feel that way, obligated or pressured. I enjoy my time here so much. It is this along with my crafting, gardening, cooking and baking, reading, exercising and socializing out of the house, children’s sports and events. There is just so much going on that I find irresistible. Johnny is busy and he only does half of those things. It is definitely by choice we are so busy. Sure, time goes by quickly and before long, we’ll be wondering when did they grow up so fast and there’ll be plenty of time for early to bed then. As long as I get my walks and quiet time, I have a balanced feeling. Just an especially tiring week with making costumes for parade and a birthday party for my youngest. and then the lovely parade of course. That just ended and now it is a bit of down time for us.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! I am impressed! I’d hoped to get outside to clear my garden plot, now that the snow is out of it, but we turned to cold rain on the day and falling temperatures, and now snow is in the forecast again. Below freezing at night. And my tulips had started to poke through the dirt!

    If we do get wet and no wind, however, I may get out there anyway with double gloves, since the wet will keep the allergens out of the air. May have to choose between the flower beds and the vegetable garden, though, as my husband does not do yard work, other than with the gas lawnmower. 😀

    I look forward to seeing the results on the fertilizers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Liz, we had a nice week here and got loads done outside, cold nights here also. I hope your tulips aren’t affected by the freeze and that you got outside to do a bit of work in your plot. Hate to wish my life away, but it will be nice to see warmer day soon. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. We city dwellers have enjoyed reading your Potting Shed stories, events. For a while, after the trek from the asphalt of Chicago streets, we lived in the outbacks of western Minnesota. There I learned that potatoes grew in the ground and had to be dug up. There we bought half a cow. There we planted corn, lettuce, kohlrabi, and carrots. Even had grapes for pie and blackberries. Had apple trees. Here in Florida we had grapefruit trees, orange and key lime. One season we froze 15 gallons of tangelo juice. Now? We walk across the street to Public or drive to Costco or Wal-Mart… We wish you well–and love your scenic backgrounds!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hiya James, Them sound like some great gardening memories you have here. I like that you only owned a half cow, was it the front or the back, or perhaps right side or left 😉 ? Fresh citrus must be heaven. Not even close to warm enough here to grow those wonders, even in the tunnel. Happy Spring to you and the Mrs. 🙂

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  7. Pingback: Seed Sowing & Stone Cracking | The Aran Artisan

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