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Friday, January 21, 2011

Tree pruning before and after

I have been pruning trees in the forest. These ashes grew a lot last year. I hope I am doing it right. They could be hurleys or kitchen tables for my, (as yet unborn) grandchildren. Failing that they should keep them warm. The first picture is before, and the second after.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pet day

A pet day is an uncommonly fine day for the time of year and today was one of them, I took to pottering in the garden and finally took down those bean poles, resulting in a nice ball of string.
I checked out what had survived the winter frosts and was pleased to see the St. Johnswort was none the worse for it.
Neither was the Belville sorrel,
or the chives poking up new shoots,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Garden Planning Workshop

In spite of the wet weather, we had a good day planning gardens at the first of our free gardening workshops. The next one is on Saturday 19th February on Ground preparation and compost making. The first of the four part Seed Saving Course is on Sunday 20th February from 11am to 4pm Introduction to seed saving, selecting and replanting root crops. This costs €30 per day, and must be booked (4 days €100) Click to book.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First Workshop Saturday 15th January 2pm

This will be the first of four free workshops at Brown Envelope Seeds this year. What with Christmas, the weather, tree pruning and a trip to London for a party, it has crept up rather suddenly. What I am planning to do is to provide everyone with a piece of paper and a pencil and and get them to draw a small sketch of their garden or polytunnel. Then on the other side of the paper, (we always use both sides now, don't we) write a list of the vegetables they plan to grow. Then divide the vegetables into groups. It is a good idea to rotate crops (although some seem to like growing in the same place, like tomatoes). I have five groups outdoors and two in the tunnel. I call my outdoor rotation PABLO (potatoes, alliums, (should they be allia?) brassicas, legumes, and others. In the polytunnel I put anything in the tomato family on one side and everything else on the other side, reversing the sides each year. Then put the vegetables into the sketch. Simple, I might even try it myself. There will also be the opportunity to purchase seeds. I hope its a nice day and I am sure it will be encouraging to everyone to see what an untidy mess our gardens are. I haven't even got the bean poles down yet. Click to see details of other workshops and events.

Monday, January 3, 2011

De Colgar Tomatoes

I thought it would be nice to feature some of our new varieties on the blog. De Colgar tomatoes are storage tomatoes, in fact the name means 'to hang up'. We also have a variety called Longkeeper, which does the same thing. However in my opinion De Colgar has a far superior flavour. One of the projects I would like to do this year, but probably won't get around to, is to compare the keeping qualities of some of our old favourites, with these varieties. I think Moneymaker would do well, I have often been picking tomatoes out in the polytunnel until Christmas, and Moneymaker Gardeners Delight seem to hang in there very well. In fact the polytunnel seems to be the best place to store tomatoes unless we get serious frost like we did this year which is not good for tomatoes. They also seem to store best on the vine. Again I want to look at this more closely, but putting them in a drawer doesn't seem to work very well. I usually discover a gooey mess sometime later, a windowsill suits me better, and I am more likely to remember them. (Note to self, I need more windowsills.) Has anybody got any tomato storage tips?
The top picture I found on the internet which shows vines hanging up under a roof, somewhere that I expect doesn't get much frost.
De Colgar produces tall vines easily reaching the top of the polytunnel. The fruit are mediu sized and hard even when ripe with a high dry matter content. They are good sliced with a sweet tomato flavour, not much acid, and make a thick sauce.