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Gardening Advice & Tips for Irish Gardeners

The Weekend Gardener (Part 10)

This weekend saw my first harvest of the year and my final transplanting which really means the raised bed garden is now in full swing. The one crop that I have shown the least amount of attention has been my mixed salads seeds, nonetheless they have already rewarded me with my first harvest of fresh and tasty green leaves. The mixed French salads include rocket, endive and lettuce amongst others and are great in salads, sandwiches and with BBQs. These easy to grow salads clearly took little care or effort to grow and now one small seed tray has given me a plentiful yield.

Weekend Gardener

The advantage of many salads is that you don’t have to harvest the entire plant, but instead just remove as much of the plant as you require, leaving the remainder to the plant to recover and put on more green shoots to keep you well supplied in salad leaved for the Summer months. I sowed these salads just after St Patrickss day and so they have taken 7 weeks from seed to harvest. This is not bad, but in warmer Springs, they would be ready earlier. The key now to ensure a continued harvest is to cut them for harvest little and often, also it is important to keep them moist and out of direct sunlight.

Elsewhere, earlier in the week I hardened off my broccoli & squash which allowed me to sow them where they will grow in the raised beds. The weather this weekend was good for one thing; transplanting. Rain and lack of sun offers the best conditions for planting and transplanting as it is the time of least stress on the plants and seedlings. I think I am being a little over ambitious with my beds as I have tried to squeeze in 3 squash plants and 3 broccoli alongside the beetroot and carrots. It will undoubtedly get a bit crowded there by mid-Summer, but I hope to train the squash upwards to save on space.

That wasn’t the end of the transplanting as I had some pea plants that were in need of a home and so, these were added to my raised bed. I made sure the soil is rich enough to maintain this packed amount of plants and by using wigwam frames and the wire mesh netting to support trailing peas, pumpkins & squash I hope there will be room for all to live peacefully together.

Otherwise it was just the regulars keeping me busy; weeding between the rows of carrots continued. Very little weeds were removed. I find myself weeding the carrots every week. The problem here is that the continuous disturbance of the carrots can attract the carrot fly. Ideally I should only weed here every 2 weeks.

My onions have put on great growth, but my garlic is slow. My pumpkins have put on their 4th leaves and my beetroot hasn’t moved yet. So, in general I’ve had a mix of success and failure. But this is the fun and interest of growing your own.

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