Monday, 15 November 2010

Mulch, oca and cows

I haven't been posting much recently - as there just hasn't been much going on.

We're in the process of meeting the new planning regulations - so have to sort an Environmental Screening Report for the planners and further adapt our reedbed plan to meet new specifications. Once they're in the planners should be able to make their decision.

With the weather turning colder and the days shortening, we haven't been down to site as much lately. However, at the end of last month and early this month I decided to cover some of the vegetable beds for winter.

I had weeded them earlier .. and left the earth bare. Silly move. They just got weedy again. So, this time, partly with the help of a friend, we covered the beds with the weeds (pulled them and laid them on top) and then covered the bed with an old tarpaulin and some cardboard.

This way, the nutrients stay in the soil. It doesn't look pretty - but then again, I'm not there much to see it right now. Next year, if I have any 'bare' patches, I'll try using a green manure over winter instead.

In the foreground of the above picture, I've used some spare weed suppressing membrane to cover a long bed. Rain will get through, but it should warm the soil .. and loosen the grip of the unwanted grasses etc.

I've also covered the other long bed (to the left in the picture below) which is really overgrown (no picture yet - sorry) and I'll be interested to see if it suppresses the weeds and grass at all.

Nature was kind enough to provide me with some oca from the plot this year - guess I left a few tubers in the ground last year. I picked them on our last visit, when the foliage had completely been frosted. The tubers aren't very big - but they are tasty - even raw.

Funny thing with the oca is, I'd planted pink and white tubers in 2009 but only got white ones this year.

I also got a nice surprise crop of mizuna - where I'd weeded the month before, which has been sheltered from the frost by brassica seedlings that have also sprung up.

Back up at my aunts I started off a few salads in late Sept / early October. The most sluggish of these is the rocket, pictured below.

The peppers and tomatoes did really well this year (in the glass roofed barn) and we're only coming to the end of them now.

The red curly kale is still looking .. and tasting .. great. It really brightens up the garden at this time of year .. and looks great with dew drops on the leaves.

I also have some baby leaf salads on the go. These are outside in one of those 4 tier 'plastic' greenhouses.

Here are some that lettuce and orientals that I'm raising in modules. Not sure how fast they'll grow at this time of year, but I'm curious to find out.

I even have a couple of cabbages too...

.. and we've just got through the last of the container potatoes.

Back down in Leitrim we've had a mini disaster. Cows got in and have been over the lawns and the veg beds etc. We'd never got round to putting up a fence before we had to stop building and we hadn't had a problem before. They've made quite a mess really, poaching up the ground, so we'll have to go back down and put up some temporary fencing for security.

In the meantime, we're down to our last two long red sweet peppers .. might have to try stuffing them. They're delicious. Will have to grow more of them next year.


  1. Looks like you are keeping busy. The gardens look good. You will be rewarded with very nice soil next year.

  2. Thanks Michelle.

    Can hardly wait for next year when I can really get growing again.

    I've been amazed how good the soil is already - so full of earthworms. It is a mix of old mushroom compost and clay on the top .. and heavy clay underneath, but I trust that the plants that I grow will continue to improve the soil structure (as will not digging).


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