taking stock of garden winter 2018

Beginning of January, and even though the days are still quite dark, there is a change to be noticed and it does the soul good.  The mist and heavy clouded days have left us for the last few days, and though we have still not seen any sunshine, there seems to be more light in the sky.  It is good, I think that one could learn to live without any sunshine, though it is hard to get used to it – it seems to be here to stay!

This morning I went into the garden and took stock of what is happening, and there is lots!  There are the strong rigid and juicy looking leeks, the bright red and colourful chard, the celery and the cropping cabbages.  There are also the many different herbs which are flourishing right now, oregano, thyme, lavender, sage, feverfew, dandelion, mullein, broad leaved parsley, three-cornered wild leeks, young cleavers, and even some young and tender nettles.  It’s a very mild winter here, though we had very much rain during October, November and part of December.  The temperature has not gone much below 10 or 11C and the soil temperature has only just now reached 10C whereas it kept to a steady 12 to 15C before Christmas.

The days for planning my garden for the next season are now, that is always very enjoyable.  This year my plan it to grow many more flowers, wild and cultivated, so that as many as possible insects will have food.   For ourselves I plan to grow some flowering shrubs that will cheer us during winter.  Bright yellow Forsythia comes to mind, but more research is wanted.

What I take away from this winter is that there are certain vegetables that will grow easily and that we eat every day, these would be leeks, kale, chard, and herbs, these I will grow again and more plentiful next winter.

I wish those of us who garden a great season and much fun and happiness in their garden! 🙂



What a beautiful sunny day it was here in West Cork. A great day for the market and for buying some more plants for the winter plot. I have found that reddish salad leaves are less prone to slug attack, and they are hardy too, so got some of these, together with beet leaf and rocket.  Realising that it was high time that I made the cold frames ready to withstand high winds, I purchased twine and screws and made a start at securing the frames, the plastic is to follow.

I also bought some seeds of the round black radish.  I have never grown these black radishes before.  I do remember making hutsepot long time ago in Belgium, but in that stew we would have used round white radishes with a slightly sharp taste. While checking out the black radish I read that they need a well manured soil and should not go short of water (never a problem in Ireland), they are fast growing and should be used while young and tender.  I just checked Pinterest for more uses and recipes of these radishes, and there are many, they can be used raw or cooked.  One recipe talks of a creamy black radish soup with rice cream, sounds good enough to me.  It is a good vegetable to explore as it can be grown here right through the winter, and that is my main interest at the moment with my garden, how to fill it with food for the winter months. It will be another one of my experiments.

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