Your Garden Calender Starts Now

peter donegan landscapingNational Tree Week has just passed us by and there are approximate twenty native Irish trees for us to maybe have a go at planting.

Big Paddy Irish native trees aside, for the grow your own enthusiasts, as my cooking apples are holding onto the last of their fruits – if you would like some of that for this time next year – very shortly, is the time to get your tree in your ground.

Not, as some may have discovered by planting next summer and then expecting fruit to appear a few months later – that’d be like expecting Fernando Torres to score after ten one game.

Intelligent in respect of our photosynthetic brethren, more than that, I have seen the future and it is filled with flowering plants and green leaves that all start their life cycle shortly after the beginning of January.

For you see when one plants a plant that is in its over-wintering state, one should also appreciate that also in a position of dormancy are the weeds and everything else that will compete with the plant you actually want to grow.

As the days get shorter the loom of a forecasted snow and frost seems to have passed us by with temperatures well into their teens. One colleague of mine noted quite recently:

Where are the soothsayers in the media who promoted idea of a total freeze up in early October? Some say it’s damaged sale of plants !

And quite rightly so I might add. But leaving in every form weather predictions aside and what that actually did achieve – or at least that aside, the point I would make is, whether you like it or not, there is no better time to get the garden grooving again.

You are off your rocker Donegan Pants Gaping. It’s October. Halloween. The clocks are about to go back and it’s getting a little cold outside and there’s you preaching from the pulpit…..

Yeah ? Really ? And as I turn off the Vincent Browne-esque tele-visual programmes. I say

Go to your shed. Dig a great big hole and put the television in the bottom of it.

And continuing on……

In a very different way but a bit like the next door neighbour who borrowed your drill, you ladder and a loaf of bread seven years ago and never gave it back…. weeds are also plants. They just don’t know they we dislike them.

On a serious note, plants compete with each other and this not only includes food and nutrients from your composts and soils – but also the hydrogen dioxide that is one of the five factors required for the growth of any plant. In these coming months however – and maybe it will have a greater effect in the years to come when water metering is of a greater impact – but there is also lessening in transpiration and evaporation rates. Water usage by the plant that is.

Even if there may be water butts in place – it is still  a case of time [not so much the money I grant you] and although I love nothing more than spending even more time in my or your garden – it is time management and that that I could be concentrating elsewhere.

But the garden list of get it done now tasks is not just the trees. It is the herb garden. It is the pretty plants, the scented flowers, the climbers along your back wall. A sidetrack to garden maintenance ?

Hedge cutting. Weeding. Tree pruning. Crown raising. Mulching plants. Fertilising the lawns. Planting hyacinth bulbs or daffodils so that they can provide your kitchen table with pretty flowers for three weeks of February. The list is endless and it all starts now. That all of course before we realise that temperatures are still in their teens and the grass is still growing.

I have a few trees to move myself. I have a lot of trees to plant too. I’ve just planted some hyacinths and whilst my runner beans are still growing – my broad beans are battling the windy elements to make their way to putting food on my table. More than that you say….?

I still have the eating apples to pick [trees. plural] and I’ve just planted a second batch of onions and garlic. This of course before I get to the prettier things that will be coming to my garden shortly. I’ll get to that next week.

Contact Peter Donegan

The Real Green Irish Company, originally published in The Tribesman week Monday 11th October

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