growing your own fruit, veggies and herbs getting dirty and generally living the good life

what to do with that old dead tree…

I had seen this somewhere before… anyhow. If you are bored & need a little….

there ye are luv, sure that looks grand now… wha’ ?

….a little perking up, so to speak then this is for you. If the tree is dead, painting it a *wild* colour does 3 things….

  • it saves you the cost & time of cutting it down
  • uses up some of that old paint in the shed
  • most important –  it really does makes people smile

Just make sure and use an outdoor paint for wood…. that’s what trees are made of & and if you don’t like it after you paint it you can always chop it down ….. Go on go wild this weekend… you know you want to 😆

ps: i waited ’til her indoors was gone to do the shopping and put the music up quite loud….. great fun…. while it lasted!!

oooh almost forgot….. eh? this….. click it!!Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Chicken Hen House


I had chickens… Long story all covered very recently. I now have four new ones….I have learned a lot recently. A real case of if I knew then what I know now. In brief snippet format here’s what I know

  • These hens are just over 6 months old.
  • All hens start laying at approximately 7 months
  • The run I have is over 6′ tall.
  • Its very sturdy [and built from old timber]
  • The wire mesh runs to the top and is very well attached
  • Foxes wont go in if there are dogs present
  • The shed faces away so I can collect the eggs/ clean out easily
  • The hens will only sit in the hatches if they are laying
  • They will eat anything… within reason!
  • It will take them 2 weeks to settle in
  • They are very friendly
  • I have called them The Supremes
  • Cocks are very loud – I didn’t take one
  • They will be fed on barley and whatever is leftover
  • My green waste bin should be very empty from now on
  • there’s a lot of money to be wasted on bad ‘eco’ books
  • not one book on sale could tell me what it would be like
  • Eggs are expensive
  • Eggs can be bartered for potatoes
  • Don’t cut the grass for the hens before they arrive – they will mow it for you
  • hens like a little bit of height a pole to perch upon

Regarding what I built for the hens… here’s the facts

  • the area of the run is 5m x 2.3m and just over 2 metres tall
  • the shed I got is a 6′ x 4′
  • the hens ‘boxes’/ rooms [?] are the shed width divided by 4-ish and are 40cm off the ground. Do include a lip so the eggs don’t fall out.
  • the wire mesh is just ordinary chicken wire – as its called
  • I used the green ‘tennis court’ type mesh because it was left over and I had ran out of chicken wire
  • the timber is approx 1.5″ x 2.5″ – it was whatever I had lying around
  • the timbers are 2′ below ground level and compacted in. No concrete was used.

anything else I’ve missed out on? what do you think… ?

Oh and have a happy easter 😆

we had some chickens…

but no eggs would they lay…

I called the two girls cagney and lacey [read the full story here].

The reality was I promised my niece Lilly I’d have two chickens [or hens] for her to see on that particular weekend. Cagney & Lacey got delayed in traffic [by about two weeks] and so I rang a friend of mine Alec and asked him could I have two…

they were never any good for me, but you’re more than welcome to them if you wish…?

…was what I was told. I took them. After about six months [and only 3 eggs] of threatening the two girls with eviction unless they started earning their keep I eventually gave up and rang Alec…

these girls are about as useful as a concrete block for laying Alec, you’d better take them back…

And so after learning, reading and researching – visiting, watching and asking all the questions… I got talking to another friend Paddy. Paddy is also a ‘small feathered friend expert’…

It’s taken a while, but I’ve learned that it is about getting the setup right, to suit you. No-one else I know has had hens… so it’s by experience. I also studied horticulture and I had that [once again] ‘living the good life dream’ bug going on. But Alec & Paddy have been at this for yonks and the lads have loads of our feathered laying friends – lots! and I only want 3 or 4. Remember 4 hens generally means 4 eggs… per day[ish]. And ‘her nibs’ likes baking…

So I’ve cleared the place out. I’ve rang John my civil engineer friend and I’m going to get it right this time… to suit me.

how to grow seeds…

i had written about a way in which i grow seeds last year – click here. But sometimes, for which I apologise, I forget my head 🙄 so to speak and advance to a next level assuming everyone is on my planet, horticulturally speaking….

I’m gonna do this seed planting piece – easy styleee. This is the groovy way, the Jamie Oliver bish, bash, bosh way of gardening. On a balcony, on a window sill – you have no complaints now. You’ll have to have a ‘grow’after this… [such bad humour] 😆

plastic tray to grow seedsseedssown seeds in tray

the three photographs above are how I grow my ‘easy’ seeds. The two types I picked were mustard and cress. Reason I did it this way [for these seeds] is because they are to be cropped when they reach about 1″ in height for salads. How do you do it?

  • first get your container. ‘Her indoors’ had this plastic one hidden ‘somewhere’.
  • fill with compost a little below the rim and press slightly to even it all out
  • water the compost carefully and gently and let the water settle
  • scatter the seeds on top as evenly as possible and label
  • done 🙂

I also put some wil rocket and lettuce seeds in the jam jars and an old ice bucket I found hidden in the shed. In the bottom of the ice bucket I threw in some old broken tiles – to get rid of them and to aid drainage.

seeds sown in ice bucketseeds sown in jam jarseeds sown from packet

For the larger leafed lettuce and some turnips [the salad bowl type] I grew them in the plug trays – click here. I wanted the plants to be a little stronger and the fact is whilst they are in the glasshouse for the moment they will go into the window boxes in a few weeks time. This can of course be done on your window ledge very easily. Here, the same rules apply.

  • fill the container [plug tray with compost
  • water first so as the seeds don’t get dispersed everywhere
  • flick one or two seedling into each plug
  • done!

plug trays for seedscompost in plug traysseeds sown in plug trays

Now all you need to do is make sure they don’t dry out and wait for nature to take it’s course 😆

organic, recycled gardens …?

...unless you own a truck that is

...unless you own a truck that is

Why is there a picture of a man sitting on a truck at the bottom of this post…? The man is my good friend Thomas. You may know him from his most unusual garden guest post here. But you may also know Thomas from the much famed Irish Allotments – something, unknowns to most, he does in his spare time. All told that makes him a pretty good guy. And he is. Genuinely.

Anyhow Thomas and Máire [another story, but, via genuinely the sincerest gesture of genorosity I’ve ever heard – yes niceness still exists 🙂 ] have just moved out of their apartment and into their first house home. Naturally, like all young couples – the extra dollars didn’t exist for their first garden to look like Southfork immediately… and Thomas being an eco-geek like myself wanted it to have a story anyway charachter.

Tommy, would you like a recycled garden… ?

...organic gardens

...organic gardens

To answer the original question… We had taken apart a garden recently and rather than dump the stone to landfill, I called Thomas. Client also agreed and felt it was very much the ‘thing to do’. A truck was hired for one hundred euro.

What had actually accumulated was

  • 45 metres squared paving
  • 2 tonne of decorative gravel
  • 20 metres squared steppings
  • 25 metres squared cobbles
  • and some chicken wire
  • …and a half sheet of trellice
thomas...

thomas...

I thought of some of my friends, years ago, when the starter home and mortgage deposits were being paid back to the sibblings they were borrowed from [funny thing, a story like that would probably make the news today 🙂 ]. A shed, a fence, a something to enhance the eyesore was required and we all chipped in. All of the friends. There were *no* complaints, it was the done thing. Feng Shui’s weren’t on the wish list. Thomas was starting were I started 🙂

As a by the way he lives in Cork and although I will be there whenever he needs help… I will not be responsible for the final outcome of the ‘design’. Note no.2 is that apart from the truck hire of €100 all materials were taken/ given free gratis. More important. There was a massive feel good factor for all parties concerned. Everyone felt good about this story. Thomas has also agreed to write a little story with pictures of the complete garden and its progress on his weblog:)

So from now, if I do a garden and the client decides/ agrees with the decision to do so – I will take the ‘whatever it is’ to my home rather than to landfill [where possible] and write a post on my blog to see if we can find a good home for it.

What do you think?