3rd week in July

 The bed of  first earlies are now eaten and so I recently cut the Holms on the second earlies. I used a very rough mulch on these once the were establised and here I,m removing some mulch to reveal some of the potatoes. Won,t be lifting any of these just yet so i,m just gonna cover them again for another few days untill they are needed.

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The bed with the first earlies is now cleared so I transplanted a few Brassicas from pots. To do this I scraped back the surface layer of dry mulch material, Using a trowel to make  a hole, added some compost, watered well , planted the watered  plant and returned the mulch. In one section of this bed I had piled some rough compost a few weeks ago. I removed the top layers of this to find the lower levels were much more broken down and the soil was firm moist and full of life.

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This bed of onions was planted in March and is now nearly ready for harvest. These are the storage onions that when dried should keep over the winter.

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There are still lots of autumn planted onions and garlic to get through I have found drying these in the little greenhouses works well on the racks with good ventilation. It’s about all they are good for if you can manage to keep them from blowing away.

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Picked the first of the cucumbers recently

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The celery in the tunnel is ready for eating.

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Think I will be lucky to get one small cob per sweetcorn plant in the small tunnel. They simply don,t have the height or full sun they need to flourish. By contrast the cobs in the work tunnel are monsters.

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Apart from the challenges of shading that the garden offers, the beautiful bindweed is something that should be monitored. I say monitored because it has and will have its place in an urban garden.  In so far as is possible I cut this at the base and leave it to rot in possition. Since the neighbour had his trees topped the additional light has seen the plant scaling the trees and it  will soon seed. I think one of the greatest challenges in urban gardening is dealing with boundaries. Plants along hedge boudaries in the city are typically fast growing dense non native and are sometimes  poorly maintained. We tend to have access to one side only, so while I pull of cut or whatever my neighbour might spray. Growing vegetables in close proximity to others whose methods may vary is fine but I do wonder about the effect this might have on the food. Luckily the air quality around here seems ok as my neighbours sycamore has tarspot a good air quality indicator. I think some of what are termed  ‘weeds’  are the most beautiful of plants and all the more beautiful for their ability to outsmart our efforts to supress them. 

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This is Zoe Devlins new book ‘The Wildflowers of Ireland’  with colour photos. It’s a lovely fit in the pocket field guide. What comes accross in this book and on the website http://www.wildflowersof ireland.net is a love for plants. I,m very much enjoying looking about with this one in the bag. 

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The other book I,ve been looking at this week is ‘Biological control in Plant Protection’. Fascinating stuff but what’s very encouraging in IPM/ICM is how many of the techniques employed by Organic growers and gardeners like beetle banks for example and the encouragement of diversity are the best and cheapest way to create a balance within a system. This balance is afterall what is needed whereby pest and predator are both present. The future of farming is in deepening our understanding of the dramas playing out between plants and animals under our noses.

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A nice plantain by the pond ( think balance when ‘weeding’)

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This lily flowered today

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Poppies just coming into flower.

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A little flower arranging

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The pumpkin heading out the back door of the tunnel.

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Broccoli Spears. If you cut the main head this encourages more spears

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I,m thinking the garden is now at its peak for this season.

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The menu is quite good at the minute but we are eagerly antisipating the first of the tomatoes at home, it wont be long now. I suppose the ripening of the tomato and those first mouth watering bites is one of those great moments in the gardening year. But for the lack of an olive tree we can pretend we are dining in provence with basil, garlic, Tomato

 

 

 

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