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Cooley Garlic

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Christmas is a long way away yet, but it was Christmas last year where our Garlic story began.

We had ordered seed garlic online and it a couple of weeks before Christmas last year and it wasn’t until Christmas week that we got the chance to split the bulbs into individual cloves and sow them in their newly prepared beds. We knew we were leaving it late to get them sown but sow them we did. Once they were in the ground we had little to do until the weather picked up and got quite warm and dry in June. We gave them plenty of water during this period to help bring on the bulds and ensure they would be a good size a not dry out. We took up a few sample bulbs in late June to see if they were ready but we decided to give them a couple of extra weeks.

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In early July we picked some more bulbs and made the decision to harvest most of them that appeared to be ready. After two weeks of drying in the shed we trim away the stems,give them a gentle scrub, wash and pack them and then they will be ready to go.

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As we have more garlic that we could ever use, we decide to sell it to friends and family! Going well so far 🙂 If you would like to order garlic from us please send us a message here or on our facebook page 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/fieldtoforkireland

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Looking for some thrill in Carlingford?

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When I moved to Cooley, I promised myself that I won’t take the beautiful surroundings for granted and that we would use the outdoors as much as possible.  So we always try to discover new walks, new picnic places…last weekend we decided to explore a little bit of Carlingford Lough and I have to say we were not disappointed.

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I wasn’t sure how the kids will react to the speed boat trip but I have to say that by the end of it I was convinced that if my daughter becomes the captain of a boat one day, lives will be defnitely at risk….

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We left the harbour and saw Carlingford and its beautiful surroundings, the Cooley and Mourne mountains from the water, all the while their were giggles and laughter from the back of the boat.  We loved the 45 min trip and the girls are asking when they can go again! A BIG thank you to Shane at Louth Advenutres http://www.louthadventures.ie/ who provides such a great, family friendly service!

 

The crop!

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It’s definitely time for the garden update! The summer is finally in the full swing and so is our garden 🙂

We have definitely feel that there is much more work this year as we decided to enlarge the garden slightly.I have to say that it takes some time to adjust to the fact that you have the veg in the garden and that you
don’t need to buy as much weekly! Bur we seem to be doing much better than last year!

The most successful crops so far are;

Lettuce,

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We have been quite good using it this year, loads of fresh salads made. Frnakly we had a bit of help, as my parents came over and used the garden to the fullest – which was fantastic! Overall, we have definitely learnt from last year experience and manage the quantity much better this year.

Radish,

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Crop of radish has been very successful also. Personally I don’t like radish on its own and use it mainly for salads, nice addition and lovely peppery taste.

Asparagus

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Asparagus was a real surprise. As any newbies we didn’t fully know what to expect but we were lucky to enjoy over 2 months of gradual asparagus crop. The most difficult part is to cut them on time before they become
too big and starchy and then stop cutting them in June just as you got used to having it every other day.

We are still waiting for our new bettrot, potatoes, cabbage, spring onions and of course Garlic!

Pallet projects

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Spring is a busy time in the garden, there is so much that needs doing but that doesn’t mean we don’t get some timeto experiment a little outside of the veg patch. In recent weeks we have been busy with some Pallet Projects. I had obtained some old pallets of various colours, red, blue, brown and orange and I was determined to do something with them other than chopping them up for firewood.

I had been tasked with a few projects, a small bookshelf for our bedroom, a bookshelf for the kids room and a garden bench………..to start with. I believe there are now more in the pipeline, one of the downsides of successfully completing the above tasks.

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The first bookshelf for our own bedroom was the hardest, as having never made more than flat pack furniture (which isn’t as easy as it would appear) my confidence in my own carpentry skills was non- existent. After some head scratching and fumbling about as to how the shelf should look and what tools and bits and bobs I would need I got down to business. An orange pallet was chosen, washed and sanded. After it was cut to size I joined the necessary pieces together and gave it a quick coat of wood preserver. And that was it. Not hard really but it took a while to get from in my head to on the wall. With that job out of the way, it was onto the kids bookshelf.

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This was a little more tricky to assemble due to its size and the particular design I came up with but still it was put together in one morning. The process was the same as above, the wood was washed, disinfected and sanded. After I put it together I then painted it. All parts got two coats. In hindsight, if I were making this again I would have painted the wood prior to assembling as this would have been easier. I would have just had to touch it up after it was put together. Anyway it’s up on the wall, serving it’s purpose and kids love it so that is enough for me!

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The garden bench was next.

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This was by far the easiest, even though it was the largest piece of pallet furniture of the three pieces I put together. If I am honest, I actually made it more difficult for myself than I should have. Anyway, long story short, you can use two or three pallets, three being the easier option……..I of course used two.

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Cut two pallets in half and place a half from each pallet on top of each other horizontially to act as the seat. If you use two pallets as I did, then join the other two vertically with a piece of 2 by 4 and then join this to the two horizontal halves. If you choose to use three pallets, the third pallet would be used instead of joining the two halves together vertically for the back support. But this isn’t a big issue. After a very brief poll on Facebook as to what colour the bench should be painted, purple or brown, purple won out. So being democratic as we are at Field to Fork the bench was duly painted purple. I believe I now have a garden table and a wine rack to make………………..

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Asparagus Spears with lemon zest, garlic and double cream.

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Ingredients:
8 Asparagus Spears
Ready rolled puff pastry
Zest of one lemon
Tsp of fresh parsley
1 clove of garlic
100 mls of double cream
50 grams of grated parmesan.
Black pepper.

Get cooking:
1. Boil the asparagus for 5 to 10 mins depending on the thickness. As it is boiling roll out the pastry with the longest edge closest to you and cut into four strips about 3inches thick. Score the pastry about 1 cm from the edge but don’t cut right through.

2. Gently heat the parmesan, finely chopped garlic, double cream and ground black pepper. Place half of this on the centre of each pastry strip and then place 2 spears of asparagus on top. Then place the remainder of the mixture over the spears. Heat in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for about 15-18 mins until golden brown.

3. As this is cooking grate the zest and mix with the finely chopped parsley.

4.  Once the tarts are cooked, sprinkle with the lemon zest and parsley and serve immediately while crisp and hot.

A tart per person with a small salad in a perfect starter or 2 tarts per person for a main.

Garden update and weed struggle!

We have been off the radar recently, holidays…races….new challenges…but that hasn’t meant we haven’t been keeping ourselves busy.  As expected this time of the year there is a lot going on in the garden and veg patch, everywhere you look there is something to be done.

So just a little update on what is growing and some of our current struggles 😉

Updates…

We are very happy with our lettuces…over the last couple of years we found that the cut-and-come-again varieties of lettuces work best for us.  They give a good supply of fresh salad leaves over a number of weeks and fresh plants can be sown every few weeks so you never run out, well until late Autumn that is, when the cold weather returns.

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Our radishes are nearly ready and hopefully will be still there when my mum arrives in couple of weeks, as it is one her favorite salad veggies.

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And finally the asparagus, we had to wait two years before we could look forward to eating it.  And that is what we are doing right now. There are lovely fresh aspargus spears popping up everywhere! What is even better our youngest daughter seems to share our excitement 🙂

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Of course it has not all been plain sailing. Even though we are very happy with our slightly bigger veg patch thanks to some new raised beds we built, this also means that there is much more work… of which weeding is definitely my least favorite…And yes this has to be done even when you have raised beds.

But not to worry, whatever stage you are at hold on to the thought that in a couple of weeks you will be enjoying some lovely fresh salads and veggies.