the veg plot

8

Everything’s growing like mad since the weather warmed up a bit - it’s as if they know they need to make up for such a late spring. I’ve been pretty busy with it all this week: transplanting out the peas and the rest of the cabbages, building new cat-proof fencing around the beds, adding a gravel path and keeping everything watered and happy. I’ve been eating heaps of salad all week, too, as the mixed leaves have really taken off and I’m trying to keep up with it! I’m looking forward to adding a baby beet or two and some courgette to my salads soon…

Speaking of courgettes, two flowers have appeared since yesterday! The strawberries are budding up too, as are the old blackcurrants and raspberries in the garden. It’s great to hear the birds singing their little hearts out and see the trees bursting into leaf, too. I think this might be my favourite time of year.

“Life is thundering blissful towards death

in a stampede of his fumbling green gentleness.”

- Joanna Newsom, Only Skin

5

Summer is just great, isn’t it? Even an Irish summer. The long days, the higher (if not very high!) temperatures, and the odd blissful sunny day. The plants seem to be enjoying it too.

I found two plump pea pods this morning, the first ones to ripen, and had my first experience of fresh-from-the-garden peas. They were incredible! I couldn’t believe how sweet they were. There are masses & masses of skinny developing pods all over the plants, and more flowers coming on all the time. We’re set to be inundated with delicious garden peas over the next month. (I’ve been giving them the odd feed with liquid organic tomato feed which has probably helped.) They’re so easy to grow & they look great while they’re in flower too - definitely something I’ll try to grow every year, wherever I’m living.

The tomatoes are pretty happy, with plenty of little green fruits and yellow flowers on all four plants. The courgette plant produced its first ripe courgette yesterday, & there are more on the way - I can’t believe the size of the plant now! The Tuska Edra lettuces are looking great & I’d say they’ll start to head up soon enough. I’m glad now that I didn’t throw away the little seedlings, in spite of how miserable they looked.

The lemon thyme has recovered from that slug attack & is nearly strong enough to plant out with the other herbs. Life is tenacious. 

I had to pull up the rocket and spinach as they had flowered. I’m not too bothered about trying spinach again but as the rocket grew so quickly I thought I’d give that another go. Barely a week has passed & the little seedlings are poking their heads through the soil already.

We’ve been harvesting the summer cabbage head-by-head as we need it, & Mom’s been making lots of her amazing coleslaw to make the best use of it. (I’ll have to post the recipe - you could just eat a bowl of it with a spoon, it’s that good.) I’ve been dispatching the strawberries as they ripen - they seldom make it as far as the kitchen ;)  The onions I grew from seed are proving delicious as spring onions, and the mixed leaves are still producing plenty for a few salads every week (especially when combined with some of the outer leaves of the Tuska Edra and Red Oak Leaf lettuces). I’ll be eating that first courgette for my lunch with most of the above ;)

It’s great to be getting so much back from the garden already, & with the carrots, beets, tomatoes, blackcurrants, raspberries, peas and apples yet to mature there’s still plenty to look forward to. 

2

We have lift-off! :)

The lettuce and rocket have been the first to germinate. I must have watered the lettuce seeds a little too heavily when I sowed them as they have come up in fairly odd places. I’ll know better for the next batch in three weeks’ time. (These photos are just the lettuce - the rocket is in the glasshouse & I’m feeling a little lazy right now..!)

The raised beds are all set up and ready to go. All I need now is for the soil mix to arrive, which will hopefully be today or tomorrow. Then I can sow the onion sets I impulse-bought in a garden centre last week, and some garlic from Irish Seed Savers (yes, I know, it’s a little late to sow garlic!), and some pea and beetroot seeds directly outdoors if the ones I sowed in trays fail to germinate. And the carrots, of course :)

My fingers are firmly crossed anyway!

I got started on the most tedious part of this project today: weeding. Ah, weeding: so boring, yet so exhausting. Still, if you’re going to spend the day digging countless tiny weeds out of the muck, you can’t ask for a nicer day than the one we had today :)

Also, the raised beds from Quickcrop.ie have arrived! I’ll be waiting ‘til the weekend to put them together - not much point before the plot is ready for them - but I’m really looking forward to it. That sounds a bit lame, I know - I’m just thinking of all the tasty veggies I’ll be growing in them! (On second thoughts - yes, that’s totally lame.)