Organic Colleen Spuds … Delicious!

Vegetable gardening is still new to me. I am learning so much!  But I’m delighted that some things have turned out really well, despite my not doing things perfectly correct.  Take our spuds, for instance.  The early organic variety called Colleens were our first potatoes we planted and we were so excited.  But we had more potatoes than allotted space in that bed.  So we squeezed them in.  Yeah, I know, that was silly.  But we’ve just started eating those Colleens and oh wow! They are delicious! Have you ever dug a spud fresh out of the ground and had it for dinner?  If your answer is “no”, then you haven’t lived.  🙂  And this coming from a girl who really was not a fan of potatoes before moving to Ireland four years ago…

(For our second planting of potatoes we used more space, by the way.)

Our rainbow chard is finally coming along.  We’ve had it a few times for dinner.  I sneaked it into some pesto last week.  Otherwise I just saute it with garlic and olive oil.  I’m still waiting for our peas. They are so pretty, but not quite ready to eat.  I have lettuce in planters on our deck.  I really like that the kids just pop out the back door and pick what they want for their sandwiches.  They also like to raid the strawberry patch, which I am perfectly O.K. with! I’d rather them be eating the fruit than those darn slugs…

My parsley is really doing well. I picked some tonight just to see if it was fragrant.  I wish I had a scratch and sniff app on my blog! It smelled so nice!  I am going to have to find something to cook tomorrow that calls for parsley.  The other greens in the pictures below are my parsnips, and some carrots.  Slowly but surely, vegetables are growing.

Ireland has had a very wet summer, so I’m lucky that the veggies haven’t just floated away!  I hope you’ve had nice summer weather where you live and garden!


It was so easy to dig the potatoes up. One plant has enough potatoes for dinner for our family of five.  I am so hooked!

My two potato beds. The early organic Colleen variety are on the right, and main crop organic variety Sarpo Mira on the left.

The peas are so pretty, but not quite ready to eat. This organic variety is called Karina.

Rainbow chard with garlic & shallots in back of bed.

Organic Rainbow Chard on the chopping block.

The parsnips are doing really well.

We usually eat parsnips with carrots (more carrots than parsnips), both of which I’ve planted. But only one row of carrots have taken while three rows of parsnips are thriving!  There will have to be some creative cooking this fall!

Italian Giant Parsley grown from organic seed. Can you smell it?

From organic seed Buttercrunch lettuce on our deck.

We have a couple of containers of this lettuce on our deck. My father-in-law started them from seed for me and then we put them in these containers. I find that they do better here than in the beds, and it’s easier (for the kids) to quick get some to eat!

These are a few of the uneaten strawberries from our garden. It’s hard to keep them long enough to photograph!

Black Velvet Nasturtium which we grew from seed.

This was my first year growing flowers from seed, so I was happy with the result … flowers!

Black Velvet Nasturtium grown from seed.

You might notice that almost all of the pictures have water droplets in them!  We’ve had so much rain, but thankfully there is usually an hour or two which is dry and sometimes even sunny!  Such is weather in Ireland – it packs everything into each day!

Black Velvet Nasturtium grown from seed. (not sure how this non-black velvet one got in here!)

A summer peak at the garden: Peas, Potatoes, Parsnips, Carrots, Cukes, & Chard!

When the weather is nice in Ireland, the weather is super nice in Ireland!  We were finally free to spend a full day in the garden!  I love working in the garden, everything about it: pulling weeds, gathering rocks, planting, weeding, watering (ok, this doesn’t have to be done so much here), getting rid of slugs, more weeding.  I just love being outside and being a part of a living, growing, and changing garden.    We’ve been “growing our garden” over the past two years.  It is in a continuous state of change and development!  There have been some learning experiences, too.  I have a few plants & trees that aren’t happy where they are and I need to find out what will make them healthy again, possibly just changing their location.

Our raised vegetable beds are starting to look productive.  I think the veggies are slow growing this year.  We could use more heat, for the plants and for me!  My shallots are the happiest! They at least look impressive.  Our potatoes are growing nicely, too.  I’ve taken some pictures of the baby growth of what I have so far.  I like tracking it from a young stage to full bloom.  You should see carrots, garlic, onions, and parsnips.  My other beds have zucchini & pickling cukes in them, but they didn’t get photographed.

Walking away from the raised beds will bring you toward another part of the yard,  what we fondly refer to as the Fruit Orchard.  I was happy to see the start of apples and, for the first time, pears!  Our two year old blueberry bushes are also looking very good, and are full of fruit.   We’ve put a net over the strawberries in the hopes of keeping out the birds. I’m not sure if it is good enough for this job, but time will tell.    We’ve added bits and pieces on to this garden continuously!  I think it is almost at the right size.  Our plans include a  few more changes over the next year, and then it will be “done”!

Although called the Fruit Orchard, we do also have vegetables in this section.   We have Pacific Purple asparagus, but only 4 plants have survived over the past two years.  So we just expanded that section by adding 10 Grolim white asparagus.  I know it’s a long slow process with asparagus, but hopefully it’ll be worth it!  This year my husband planted peas for me.  He used some chicken wire and bamboo sticks for the plants to grow on.  Slugs love pea plants, by the way… I visit the plants every evening to save them from being someone else’s dinner!  We are attempting to grow some watermelon this year.  Ireland doesn’t have the best climate for this fruit, but I guess I have to prove that to myself!

The final set of pictures are just showing my boxwood hedging.  I finally cleaned them up a bit.  They really needed some trimming.  Actually, I just had to take some pictures of the beds that I had spent hours weeding!  My star flower of the moment is my Allium (purple sensation)!  I love it!  I’m afraid that the garden it’s in is not thriving. My hydrangea is only now showing signs of life after some compost shock treatment, and my Japanese Maple has been ruined by being in the line of our (gale force) wind path.  Big sigh, lots more work to do!

I hope you are enjoying steps of progress in your garden, too!


These are pictures of  our back yard, including the raised beds and potato beds. I have to say that the kids have really helped in expanding the stone pathway. It’s a tedious job, but I love how it looks! (and it’s character building, right?)

Here are some pictures of the vegetables growing in the raised beds: shallots, garlic, rainbow chard, onions, carrots, and a very fuzzy picture of parsnips.

Pictures from our fondly called “Fruit Orchard”: starting with apples, pears, blueberries, and strawberries.

Pictures of our Pacific Purple asparagus, and peas.

Picture of trimmed box wood plants (in Rose garden, which will hopefully have roses soon!) Followed by pictures of Allium (purple sensation).