Seed Sowing & Stone Cracking

My last garden update was March 16th.  Since then St Patrick’s Day has passed and Easter is upon us.  Sadly, it hasn’t been much warmer here, but we’re definitely benefiting from longer days.   It’s a funny time of year in the garden– busy, busy with not much to show for it yet.

Patience is still required to resist sowing corn, peas, and pumpkins. Experience has taught me not to plant them out until the first of June because of the weather.  Sowing them too early leads to extra labour as they grow and need potting up, sometimes multiple times each. And tunnel space occupied by 100 8″ pots that repeatedly need moving out of the way is useless labour.  Often they are taking up space where tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers are anxious to start spreading their roots.  Now that April is upon us, they’ll be sown soon.   All three are great for letting the children do because the seeds are large and easy to handle.  Some of the children have already been helping out…

Nuala likes to plant flowers–no surprise really for a five-year-old tomboy princess.  She worked happily by my side sowing a fish box full of marigolds.  In individual pots, she also seeded sunflowers and nasturtiums.

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After watering, she declared she was finished and went off happily climbing the tree with Adrien.  Seán Proinsias sowed courgettes and cucumbers.  He was not so quick to abandon me, in fact, I had trouble getting him out of the tunnel, not that I’m complaining.  Their help truly cuts my workload and is appreciated.  He went on further to sow morning glories, hollyhocks, echinacea, gaillardia, asters and delphinium.

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Afterwards, he and Adrien helped Johnny out by cracking stones.  These stones were sifted from garden beds then placed in the pathways.  Before placing in the paths, the soil is removed, sifted and moved to garden beds.  It’s hard work, but the payoff is extra soil to top up stone free vegetable beds and paths that drain freely.

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More work with stones as Johnny widened a gap between our first two fields.  Since then, the area has been tidied around the edges of both sides of the walls and black plastic has been laid in preparation for willow to be planted for creating a willow arch.  The next picture is the future home for a wooden bench that will overlook the raised beds. All soil removed, the paper laid to suppress weed growth, and then topped up with stones.  These stones also need to be cracked, then levelled.  Two planters, made of two recycled tires each, will don either side of the bench.  It fills the space nicely.  Seating is an important part of enjoying a garden and that particular patch is ‘one big ol’ stone’ just beneath a thin soil covering; not a very plantable space.  Another raised bed there would detract from the L-O-V-E message we are sending with the other raised beds.

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I took so much more pictures but will leave you with just three.  All the others were soil filled ungerminated seeds or just germinated seeds. Boring after the first couple.  But these three were noteworthy…

First our December sown tunnel spuds. Three weeks ago they were just barely showing.    In our last garden update, I only posted a photo of the two biggest plants.  Johnny liquid seaweed fertilized them and they immediately shot up.  In this photo, they have been hilled up with soil once already.  Very exciting progress.  They need to be out of the ground in time for cucumbers to go in.

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These are a new micro green for us this year.  Sunflower shoots.  We’ll, of course, eat some ourselves but have presold them to one of the restaurants that buys from us.

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And these are the sunflower plants sown by Nuala, germinated after only five days.  That is pretty quick, usually taking closer to double that.  A few sunny afternoons and the polytunnel really heats up. 20150331_163348

It is noon time here and I really need to get going outside.  I will leave you with a picture, one better suited for my last post on fermented eggs, but here it is anyway.  It is a picture of my March monthiversary egg.  Johnny does this each and every month for me ❤

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26 Comments

  1. Hey Melissa, you guys have been very busy! Great to see all the wonderful seeds you are sowing, and wonderful to see the children involved. I guess you could say that you are planting other kinds of seeds with them too 🙂
    Fantastic to hear that you are selling to a local restaurant!!
    Is the 24 on the egg the day of your anniversary? Which month?

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 24 is our anniversary, of course the monthiversary date happens the other eleven months of the year.
      That is so nice of you to say, for me to hear….yes, we are sowing seeds of another kind with the children ❤ I have some very fond childhood memories of being in the garden with my parents and siblings.
      We have been selling little bits for a few years now, but it has grown into now preparing well ahead and working closely with the chefs. They have taught us so much.
      Did you get my message on the willow that I put on my basketmaking post?
      I hope you are enjoying the spring and have a nice Easter.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was asking about which month because our anniversary is on the 24th as well. I thought it would be funny if it was on the same month as you and Johnny……but ours is in June.
        I did get your message re: willow ….sorry I didn’t respond.
        Hope you enjoy your Easter weekend too!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I wondered if that might be the case. As there are only twelve in a year, it still seems a cool coincidence 🙂
          Ah, no apologies. Just messages are easy to miss is all.
          Thanks for Easter wishes. We are all going clamming in the morning, egg hunt at local hotel after that, then home for a meal. Fingers crossed the day is as fine as today….on that note, the garden calls. Xx

          Liked by 1 person

  2. stephpep56 says:

    A cacophony of seeds, and lovely to see the children so involved, I think it was Jamie Oliver who said ‘If they grow it the’ll eat it’ I have the peas in but I cover the bed with garden fleece so they germinate faster, I find it great for carrot root fly, I sow the carrots and never take it off, just stick my hand in under and pull some . but I think you are growing on a larger scale than I am in my daughters. A polytunnel is a wonder. I would live in one if I had one:) Happy Easter and anniversary Melissa xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • We never uncover our carrots until late autumn, under bionet we keep them. Carrot fly is a pain in the @$$ and never takes summer holiday. We only grow them in the tunnel in the winter when it’s not a worry. Otherwise they are in their own 16 ft x 4 ft beds undercover. We have made special mini poly houses to cover them as well for early starts.
      Ha, ha! You’d laugh because in the winter our poly tunnel is house to our bikes, but yours, having so much more personality, probably has a room all it’s own in the house 😉 .
      I hope you enjoyed your Easter weekend, I guess, technically speaking, here in Ireland it is Easter Monday so not over yet. 🙂

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  3. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    My, you have been busy. Like you I have nearly run out of spaces for pots (ran out of pots but got some more today) and still lots to plant. At least weather is warming up! Love it too when the kids help!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am finding myself short on the 2×2 24 cell pots, but then I turn around and tomatoes are ready to pot up and lettuce to go in the ground, so, please God, we’ll not have to invest in any more! The weather is amazing isn’t it? I know, why am I not outside…surely you are on these glorious days, today being the best. I may even get in a swim 🙂 Enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Murtagh's Meadow says:

        Yes, weather is beautiful. I hope you got a swim – I put my toes in the Atlantic on Saturday and it was freezing!

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    • Aw, thanks :). It was a great day and now bottom drawer of fridge overflowing with chocolate–that’s life with five children and very generous friends, family, neighbors. Won’t have to buy any until Halloween 😉 I hope you had a great day as well. Xx

      Like

  4. Lovely post and so nice to see children participating in the wonder of growing , great work , love the little stone area created , the seat will be a wonderful place to rest and savour the sights of all those plants.The sun has been such a blessing these last few days really makes it all so joyful . I have some fleece in the shed so think I may try Steph’s idea with some of my veg; the carrots in particular as it was a bit frosty here first thing , warming up now again though. Happy Easter to you and your loved ones Kathy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is nice, the lack of wind make such a difference. The nights have been very nippy, but the sunshine is just stellar, we so deserve it right about now. The fleece will keep your carrots warm, but more important is avoiding the darned carrot fly. It is such a menace once it gets into the carrots, it lays eggs and then just infests the whole lot. The weather is predicted to turn by the coming weekend so let’s get out while it lasts…I already have plans in the kitchen for foul weather. Hope you had a lovely Easter. Chat soon, Melissa

      Like

    • Just got this message Elizabeth! Oh my, well, here’s hoping that you have warmed up enough to get playing in the dirt. Lord knows we have only gotten warmed up this week here in Ireland!

      Like

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