Killarney Farmer’s Market

Today was my second Friday at the farmer’s market in Killarney. The market is still in it’s infancy, just 6 weeks old, so people are still only beginning to discover it. The Irish Open Golf was on in Killarney this week and rather than increase business there was a marked decrease, probably due to locals staying away from the town centre due to expectations of heavy traffic. There were alot of tourist admiring the produce but I guess you can’t do a whole lot of cooking in a hotel room! I’ll definitely be persisting with it as Killarney is a big town and there is certainly potential. Number one complaint so far is my cabbages are too big, with my more elderly customers feeling that they would struggle to carry it too far or people feeling that it would go to waste. I’ll be bringing along a few less mature heads in the future to accommodate this minority.

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Indoor Market

I have been selling at a local indoor market every Sunday for the last 5 weeks.  It has been going pretty well so far, I have generally been increasing my sales every week as I build up a customer base. There are two other vegetable stalls who have been selling there for several years but I am still managing to sell 80-90% of what I carry to the market. It is a small market with usually only 7 or 8 stalls every week but I am finding that it is not easy to get into markets as they usually have enough vegetable sellers already, so I am more than happy to have a place there.

I have also started trading at a larger outdoor farmer’s market on Fridays.  It is a new market in only it’s 5 week so people are just beginning to find out about it. I will post some pictures from it next week.

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Onions Start to Swell

Just a quick update on the multiplanted onions, they are starting to swell and are looking very healthy at the moment.

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Overdue Update

I haven’t posted in about 5 weeks so there is much to update on. I just started selling my first produce this week, just lettuce and spring onions at the moment, with new potatoes, cabbage and broccoli coming into maturity in the next few weeks.

The new potatoes are well up and doing well, this picture is looking down a row of Duke of York.

The cabbage (Greyhound) is looking very healthy and should be ready for cutting in two weeks.

The first broccoli (Kabuki F1) seen here to the right of the cabbage is about 2-3 weeks from maturity. There has been a little bit of catterpillar damage so far but nothing major. I’ll start using a caterpillar predator called Bacillus Thurengiensis in the next week or so.

This is a row of mixed salad leaves with a row of butterheads to the left.

Little Gem, a cos lettuce.

Multiplanted spring onions.

The multiplanted blulb onions are also doing well. Weeds tend to congregate close to the base of the onions as this is the trickiest to weed with a hoe, this means tedious hand weeding.

The brussels sprouts (Wellington F1) are also looking extremely healthy. There’s about 160 in this bed for selling around Christmas.

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First Potatoes of the Year

I just harvested my first ultra early potatoes from the poltyunnel. I planted two 30′ rows on January 17th, one row each of Colleen and Orla. These in the picture are Orla. I hadn’t tried this variety before and I can confirm that the flavour is very good, they really melt in you mouth.

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Out in the Field

Over the last two weeks I have continuted to plant a succession of broccoli, cabbage and spring onions. I have also begun planting lettuce.  I am growing a cos lettuce called Little Gem, a butterhead called Cobham Green and a mixed baby leaf selection. The above photo is of my first planting of cabbage on April 1st.

I am planting the lettuce in beds 75cm in width and 50m in length.  The cos lettuce is planted at 9″(between row) by 9″(in row) spacings, the butterhead at 9″ by 12″ and the baby leaf mix at 9″ by 9″ again.

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Polytunnel Potatoes Update

My potatoes in the polytunnel have put on a tremendous amount of growth in the last month, as you can see from the picture below taken on March 23rd. Some of them are even beginning to flower.

I hope to be lifting my first baby potatoes in about two weeks time.

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Planting Broccoli,Cabbage and Onions

I planted out my first batches of broccoli and cabbage on Wednesday.  I have divided the field up into 1000m2 areas, 50m long by 20m wide. There is also a 1.5m path between areas. These areas are again divided up into beds 1.5m wide and 50m long with a 30cm path between each bed. I plant two rows of cabbage to each bed and the same for broccoli. The rows of cabbage are 75cm apart and again the same for broccoli.  Cabbage is planted 45cm apart in row and 60cm apart for broccoli. I mark out the planting spacings using a row marker. Firstly, I mark out the two rows 75cm apart, I then mark out the in row spacings across these two rows.  Planting is then easy as I don’t have to check spacings and whether or not I am planting straight.

I also started planting the multi sown plugs of bulb onions this week.  the onions are planted 30cm apart in rows also 30cm apart with 4 rows per bed.

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Broccoli, Cabbage and Onions Near Planting Time

I have been hardening off broccoli (Kabuki F1), cabbage (Greyhound), onions (Rijnsburger 5 and Kamal F1) and spring onions (Eiffel) in preparation for planting during the week. This simply involves bringing them out of the polytunnel in the morning and placing them outside on pallets for the duration of the day. I put them back into the polytunnel in the evening. I do this a week prior to planting. The weather forecast suggests a possibility of frost early in the week so I will delay planting until Wednesday.

These are some of the Greyhound cabbage plants, they were started on February 23rd. They will have been 5 weeks in the plugs by the time they are planted, their growth was probably checked by the late frosts as they were being grown in an unheated polytunnel. Under better conditions I will be aiming for 4 weeks between sowing and planting out. I’ll post again during the week when I plant them out.

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Super Early Potatoes

I planted two 30′ rows of early potatoes in my polytunnel on January 17th. The late frosts checked their growth but they are all well up now and looking healthy. The varieties I planted were Orla on the left and Colleen on the right. I am expecting them to be ready to harvest around the middle of May. These are just for my own and family consumption. I haven’t grown potatoes in a polytunnel or grown either of these varieties before but they appear to be doing well.

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