The Year of the Marigold – Companion Planting at Ballybeg Greens

This year, 2018, has been declared ‘Year of the Marigold’ and there are events going on around the globe to highlight the variety and beauty of the marigold family.

 

Here at Ballybeg Greens, we grow two different types of marigold and for two different purposes. The first type of marigold is Mexican Marigold which is used as a microgreen. This particular microgreen has a sweet orange taste to its shoot, making it an ideal garnish for desserts.

 

The second type of marigold is the standard bedding style marigold which can be seen in many gardens across Ireland. This marigold is grown at Ballybeg Greens for companion planting. Companion planting is when a secondary plant is planted next to a main crop to deter pests. The concept is used mainly in organic growing. It isn’t as effective as conventional methods using sprays etc. but is a more sustainable method of pest control which minimises the effects on the eco-system. Companion planting is just one of the preventive methods we use in our integrated pest management system here at Ballybeg Greens.

 

 

 

 

 

Head Grower, Jack Cashman

Follow all of Jack’s work on
Facebook at @BallybegGreens1 and Twitter @Ballybeg_Greens

Rhubarb rhubarb….

Our rhubarb ready for harvesting

 

 

This week at Ballybeg Greens we will be harvesting rhubarb. Rhubarb is well known in most kitchens as a tart and pie filling. It can be harvested from late March or early April till about June.

Rhubarb grows from a crown which is planted in to the ground or raised bed. It benefits from a layer of compost mulch or farmyard manure applied to the crop. Ideally this is added before winter but can be applied at any time.

 

Raised beds of rhubarb at Ballybeg Greens

 

When harvesting, sticks should be twisted off rather than cut. Always leave four stalks with leaves as so the plant can generate energy from the light. Before the cold weather comes, try insulating the rhubarb with straw. This will protect the crowns from snow and frost.

 

 

Head Grower, Jack Cashman

Follow all of Jack’s work on
Facebook at @BallybegGreens1 and Twitter @Ballybeg_Greens

Helter Celtuce!

Celtuce growing in our polytunnels

 

 

Here at Ballybeg Greens we have Celtuce growing as part of our salad mix. Celtuce is also known as asparagus lettuce, stem lettuce, celery lettuce or Chinese lettuce and in China it is primarily grown for its stem. The stem is said to have an asparagus/celery taste but it can also be used for its leaves.

 

The same celtuce as above, one week later

 

 

It is a very easy salad crop to grow. In February, we started planting seed into trays on to a heated bench. We used modular trays where the seed is planted directly into the tray using a standard mix of seedling compost. The compost is soaked once the seed is sown and then is left on the heated bench. Germination begins shortly afterwards and you should see its cotyledon leaves or seedling leaves emerge in 6-8 days.

 

As mentioned, we use its leaves as part of the salad mix. This is because we pick the leaves when they are young and fresh. We pick the outside leaves, leaving those in the middle as so it can still produce energy from the light. You can harvest leaves throughout the season. Keep the bed weed free, water regularly and you could harvest the stem in 90 days.

Head Grower, Jack Cashman

Follow all of Jack’s work on
Facebook at @BallybegGreens1 and Twitter @Ballybeg_Greens

Thyme, the wintry herb.

Thyme AKA T. vulgaris is a species of flowering plant in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to southern Europe from the western Mediterranean to southern Italy. It is a bushy, woody-based evergreen subshrub with small, highly aromatic, grey-green leaves.

It is useful in the garden as a groundcover, where it can be short-lived, but is easily propagated from cuttings.

Culinary uses for the herb are vast and varied when compounded with mint, bay, or marjoram it can be used to cook almost any dishes.

It was the Ancient Greeks who discovered the attraction of Thyme to bees and other pollinators. As honey plants, they aid in producing a honey that apparently sensational.

It is indispensable in bouquets garnis for making stock, particularly chicken and lamb stocks.

Here is some further information on growing herbs in Winter.

Ballybeg Herbs

Did you know we produce a wide variety of herbs?

There are over 15 different types of herbs in the garden in Ballybeg Greens.

In the next few weeks, we shall showcase some of the wonderful fresh produce we have growing in the garden and how you can available of this throughout the winter months.

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First, we shall look at Lemon Verbena 

This lovely shrub has leaves that release their refreshing fragrance each time they’re touched, making this herb a good choice for planting near outdoor living areas or paths, where you can enjoy its lemony scent.

Ideas for Dishes:

  1. Lemon Verbena Pesto – try it instead of using Basil? Sounds delicious and will create a ray of sunshine on those dark wintry evenings.
  2. Herbal Tea – try it instead of using Mint? Add a slice of lemon to it and you will keep those pesky germs at bay.
  3. Gin & Tonic – infuse some leaves into a shaker with the G&T, the lemon works wonders with the Gin.

If you wish to purchase this or any other produce, please contact us on 051 350 100.
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