Tag Archives: giy

Balanced Care For Brassicas

One of Margaret Maeve’s jobs is to inspect the brassicas for white butterfly eggs and caterpillars. We cover the young seedlings in bionet to protect them from birds and butterflies.

I always look forward to removing the netting when they grow larger and stronger–it’s much more visually pleasing to see their big green leaves stretching out rather than confined under the white tunnels of fabric. Sure, it’s more work to inspect them every other day, but the bionet security blanket means weeks can easily go by without any inspection at all (out of sight, out of mind), definitely not benefiting the plants if there’s a problem that we’re not seeing. So it’s a combination of early protection and later inspection that has worked for us over the years to produce a fine crop of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, turnip and Brussels sprouts.

While gardening isn’t everyone’s idea of fun in nature, I hope you have your own way of connecting with the great outdoors and have plenty of opportunities to indulge yourself in it!

Cheers, Melissa Xx

On Getting Your Hands Dirty: Keeping a Record

Swiss chard 2Time to hug last year’s Swiss chard goodbye and say slán to our edible rainbow. Their replacements won’t be ready to eat for another month but these guys bolted over a month ago and have also outgrown their beds here in the garden. First I picked another couple meals for us and what remains is being enjoyed by the chickens.

Next, we’ll feed the soil they’ve been occupying and plant something new. Perhaps courgette or celery or edible flowers, and we’ll rotate Swiss chard to new locations in the garden.

Crop rotation is important to prevent problems occurring with pests and diseases. Either a commitment to record-keeping or a very good memory is valuable here. I suggest writing it down. Write most garden information down. Isn’t there enough stuff and things taking up space in that head of yours already?!

Fermenting Magic

Anyone who has ever cultured vegetables knows that moment of uncontainable excitement when the first bubbles appear. After three months, one week, and five days of experimenting, at last, I think I’ve done it! It may be premature boasting but I’m confident in those seemingly magical bubbles.

I’ve tossed umpteen grams of veg to the compost and chickens as well as eaten a few less than appealing pounds just to avoid “waste guilt.” Although these earlier attempts used all organic produce, could it be that this last batch was made exclusively with veg from my very own garden?

I would like to believe veg cared for with doting hands from sow to harvest is more conducive to such biological enrichment, and that would be true.  But my failures were more likely due to practice not product as I’d done minimal research and therefore not adhered to proper room temperature and sterilization techniques.  Only time will tell if my confidence in these magical bubbles will be rewarded, but it’s looking good so far…”

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Christmas in July

 

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Impersonating a Christmas tree, our runner bean tee pee puts on a grand display.

 

In the Merry Month of May

 

As the end of May approaches it’s time to share what’s been going on around here.  The weather has been simply amazing, much too wonderful to stay indoors.

Johnny and Adrien made new window boxes, designed to fit perfectly inside the window ledge.  There’s more space for soil which should retain moisture much better.  They dry out quickly, often needing watering twice a day so I’ll also add some recycled plastic bottles for a water drip system to each box.

Another item off the Amazon wish list!  A weather vane is now adorning the roof of our chicken coop.  Nuala and Tadhg worked very well together assembling it for me.

Despite the very young man at the home and garden store telling me tires couldn’t be painted and thinking I was a bit of an eccentric, I purchased six colours of outdoor paint to transform the tire planters and I’ve been chipping away at the 42 tires over the last two days.  The students will be planting out their pumpkins in a few weeks, one plant per tire.  Cornflower, borage, and nasturtium are growing in the soil between the tires and the stone walls.  Sorry, no photo of finished tires, yet!  A work in progress…

We’re collecting pallets that will become a fence around the pumpkin area that will double as vertical flower planters and a much-needed wind block shelter for the plants.

Some lovely things around the flower gardens and farm.  Can you see the slug’s pneumostome/breathing hole?   I loved the photo of Nuala drawing her world, then saw it on the video at the end…life through a child’s eye!

I’ll leave you with a few shots from inside the tunnel.  I swear most of these plants have grown significantly in the three to seven days since the pictures were taken.  The apple tree was potted up since and the lettuce has really shot up in size.

Enjoy the last days of the merry month of May, Melissa Xx

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