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Growing

  • How to grow first early potatoes

    First early potatoes are a real treat - that melting, buttery texture; the lovely fresh taste - the surprise of the white potato from the brown earth ......  I could go on - but won't.  Instead lets learn how to grow these early treasures. Potato Timeline Earlies:   Earlies or new potatoes have the quickest maturity time and are ready 15 - 16 weeks after planting. If you have a polytunnel or greenhouse then you can plant them in December or January and have very early potatoes on the table in March and April - depending on the weather.  They have a lower yield
  • Foliar and Liquid Feeding for optimum crop growth

    With foliar feeding, instead of watering a liquid fertilizer into the soil, it is sprayed (in solution) onto the leaves of the vegetable or fruit crop. Research has found that a leaf can be a very efficient organ of absorption. The amounts absorbed may at first seem relatively small, but to offset this, the efficiency is high. So plants are able to absorb essential elements through their leaves as well as their roots. The absorption from the leaves takes place through their stomata and also through their epidermis. Transport is usually faster through the stomata, but
  • Summer solstice and plants

    June 21st is the longest day of the year here in West Cork and the rest of Ireland.  If there are no clouds then we should get about 17 hours of daylight (woohoo!) with the sun rising at about quarter past five and setting just before ten. In terms of daylight, this day is 8 hours, 22 minutes longer than on December Solstice. This is due to the earth's axis and rotation. Instead of being straight up and down, the earth is actually tilted about 23 degrees. So as the earth rotates on its axis, parts of the world are tilted either closer towards the sun or farther away
  • Is it cheaper to grow your own organic vegetables?

    We can all agree that growing your own vegetables has many advantages.  Nothing compares to home-grown for taste; growing your own means that your vegetables are very fresh, full of nutrients and taste delicious.  Then there’s the satisfaction – that sense of achievement that comes with picking your first tomato, or better still, when serve your first salad to a group of admiring friends!  Growing your own opens a whole new world to you and your family.  Children learn where vegetables come from and are generally more enthusiastic about trying them.  It creates
  • Ladybirds in the garden - the benefits they bring and how to identify them

    Ladybirds (or ladybugs if you prefer) tend to be more prominent after a spell of hot weather like we have just had, and we have noticed that we are fortunate enough to have some in our garden. If you are not familiar with Ladybirds larva you may be inclined to think that it is a pest that you should think about getting rid of.  However having ladybirds in your garden is of great benefit to any organic gardener as they help to eliminate destructive pests like aphids, mites and scale insects. How to identify Ladybird Eggs The female ladybird will lay 10-50 eggs on a
  • April Seasonal Table - Asparagus

    Asparagus is such a treat and can mark the beginning of Spring for many. It is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Folic Acid. Asparagus has a long history - legend has it that in ancient Egypt it was so revered that it was offered up to gods during rituals. How to Grow Asparagus Select and prepare your asparagus bed with care – you should expect a 20 year life span so it’s well worth putting the effort in at the beginning! Do not replant an old asparagus bed with new asparagus plants - use fresh ground to avoid build-up of diseases. Prior to planting,
  • Blight Resistant Potatoes

    Of the many pests and disease effecting potato crops, late-blight remains the most destructive by far. Traditionally, blight has been kept at bay by chemical control. Teagasc estimate that around €5 million is spent on fungicides annually to prevent blight in Ireland alone. This is dished out over 15-20 applications per season – a worrying amount. Unfortunately, this historical dependence on fungicides meant that a narrow range of potato varieties with little or no blight resistance could be grown successfully. As a result, not much effort was made to breed
  • Guide to Growing Potatoes for Beginners - 6 Tips for Success

    What could be nicer than digging your own early potatoes out of the home garden? Potatoes are a relatively easy crop to grow, but here are 6 top tips to increase the chance of success. Chit before planting to give the plants a head start when planting. To chit/sprout leave the seed potatoes in trays with their eyes up in a light cool, frost free room. (Read more about chitting potatoes HERE) Fertilize soil well to achieve a good yield and quality. Potatoes need enough Nitrogen to produce good stalks and leaves, Phosphorus for good root growth and Potash for yield,
  • January Seasonable table - Parsnips

    Parsnips are a very reliable winter root vegetable.  They have a distinct nutty flavour and sweetness and are very versatile in the kitchen.  In Roman times they were believed to be an aphrodisiac and they were often used as a source of sugar before cane and beet sugars were available.  Parsnips are a member of the cow parsley family along with carrot, dill, fennel and parsley.  Treat as carrots in your rotation. How to Grow Parsnips Sow parsnips from February to May.  On light soils Tender and True are a very good variety whilst White Gem would be better for
  • Beginners guide to Sowing Seeds

    If you are thinking of starting a garden in January - seeds are a great place to start Getting Started with seeds Order seeds as companies will run out as the season goes on. If you are a beginner then exercise self control – grow what you like and what is relatively undemanding.  Lettuce, cabbage, peas and beans, beetroot, pumpkins and courgettes are all well within anyone’s reach.  Potatoes and onions are also great for a beginner.  Herbs are also a good choice and also decorative so could perhaps go on the patio or in the flower garden.  Keep records –

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