Instead of the cold blustery gales of wind and rain that makes one not want to get out of pyjamas all day, it’s been more like spring than winter and we’ve been both working and growing in the garden the entire season.
There’s a lot going on in the picture above: raised beds have been added in between the corn and pumpkin plots–rocket, beetroot, lettuce and winter garlic are growing in four of the beds. Stone paths are made after all soil is removed and sifted; soil in beds, stones back into the path. Long, narrow grow boxes are being placed along both sides of the pallet fences to help stabilize them and add grow space. A half pallet retaining wall is being fitted against the corn field. A lot of labour and nearly all Johnny’s doing.
While he takes care of the corn field, etcetera, I’ve been tending to the pumpkin patch. On this day I added twenty-eight extra tires that will be painted when the weather is warm enough. Herbs and edible flowers will grow in some of the tires to allow more space between each pumpkin plant, one solution to last year’s powdery mildew problem. Powdery mildew is common in cucurbits (cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, courgettes, melons) when they grow close together in damp conditions.
Rain showers in the afternoon had us in the tunnel sowing early tomatoes, courgettes, celery, basil, and coriander, all to go into the newly borrowed grow tent. Lettuces germinated in only two days under its warm light so if all goes well, we should have some to sell this April when the island restaurants open.
Potatoes went into the tunnel the last week of December and, though still tender, we’ve begun eating rhubarb and chives. Some flowering bulbs are up with blossoms just forming and some other flowering plants never even went out of bloom.
Although it’s still January, Irish spring begins in just two days on February 1. So while I’d like to say that winter flew by, the truth is, it doesn’t feel like it ever arrived and I’m left wondering what will February, March, and April have to offer. Will it be another out of the ordinary season or will the current conditions continue? Only time will tell and we’re in no hurry to find out.