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Beautiful Cow Competition

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Saturday 10th July saw the North Dublin Dairy show 2010 get under way. The highlight is of course, what can only be described as the beautiful cow competition.

I met with 22 year old farmer Michael Connell Jnr to find out more.

Earlier, I had met Jim Scully, secretary of The Dublin Milk Producers. Listening to him and Michael, I realise dairy farming in this country has a serious message and is in serious trouble.

This day however, was one for congratulations, trophies and rosettes, It was also a day for meeting and greeting young and old who ensure that somehow or udder [ πŸ˜‰ ] milk ends up on our tables.

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Take a look at the just how serious the judging business of prize cows really is. Like Michael said, it can add value. Consider also that one gentleman told me that he had recently paid over €2000 for a 3 week old baby cow. Father Ted you say ? πŸ˜‰

Cows aside, because of the people I met, it really was an amazing day. One that I was honoured to be invited to. Thank you so much to the Dublin Milk Producers and 3 generations of The Connell Family for being such fine hosts. Also to Jim Scully and Michael Jnr for taking the time to talk to me.

View More Images of The North Dublin Dairy Show 2010

october in the garden…

The Sepember in the garden post seemed to go down quite well so… here’s your monthly bit for October. And a little music to read with…

Now that your bedding plants have just about gone to pot and the garden [in some cases] maybe lacking a little inspiration… it’s time to take down those hanging baskets and planters, identify those blank spots in your beds and get the place spruced up. πŸ˜‰ Believe me you’ll thank me for it.
garden-colour-small colourful-plants-small spring bulbs

While you’re there… don’t forget spring bulbs are on sale now. If you want some spring inspiration year after year… this is a ‘right now’ must do. Chose not to do so in advance and what one finds is that the left over bulbs are planted in pretty pots and come January, sold with a big bow wrapped around it… and a price tag to match.

removing a lawnmower blade lawnmower-blades-sharpen lawnmower-blades-sharpen-angle grinder

Next up… the evenings are getting that little bit darker so I’ve decided I’m gonna get started on some early winter chores. I’ve started with the lawnmowers. The problem has been that even when the sun did shine, the grass was still wet and the blades took the odd bit of hammering. I’ve got all the undersides cleaned out and out with the angle grinder to give the blades a bit of a sharpen. Apart from that usual service rules apply, but nothing a good drop of oil can’t solve. If you’re not into that, book it in for its annual service… before everyone else does that is!

muddy-grass weeds weed-control

From a weed control point of view… once again the weather has played absolute havoc. Assuming you have a couple of hours dryness, the grass/ weeds are dry and you use a translocated spray…. whilst teperatures are around the 12-14 degrees celcius, I’d make sureΒ  you get the place tidy[er] for this coming winter a little sooner.

lettuce-plants lettuce greenhouse

The lettuce crops are still trying to bolt into seed. I’m still fighting it… nature will eventually take over. That said I’ve not been as reliable on my sorrell plants and as a result their green leaves will carry me easily through December. Next after that is a good tidy up of the greenhouse. I need to get ready for some spring crops….

garden-furniture sale barbeque wild-berries

If you fancy building your own BBQ check out this post. Other than that… a good clean up of the entire set is necessary and store it away until next year.Yes that’s right wash it… not leave it out to rust like you did last year πŸ™„

Don’t forget your wild berries. Just because they’re not in a plastic container… they’re exactly the same thing. Go pick. Make jam. Bake cakes. Free food season is on. Before the birds get it.

Passing through some garden centres recently, Now is the best time to buy your garden furniture, benches and tables for next year. It is the end of the season and some ranges – If you want to get some kind of garden together for next year and need those few bits. Take my advice – the real bargains are on now

beaujolais-nouveau

and enjoy

For the moment there’s not a whole lot else – but in garden terms always remeber that preparation is everything and forgetting this month may leave you in mild despair for next year.

With all that hard work done… πŸ˜† You’ve a great excuse now with the evenings closing in – go ahead grab yourself a glass of wine, sit back and relax.

As I said last month… if you see something thats not here – just leave a comment – I’ll know the next time ;) I also dropped in a little music from Paulo Nutini, because I find I can read better with music when the article is a little longer. Personally, I dislike the ever copy and pasted 5 pointer one liners that reappear in the usual gardening columns so I’ve tried to make this a little different[ish]. I just hope you enjoyed it.

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An Apple…. A Day… ?

Some of my apples are starting to fall [not too far be-dum πŸ˜‰ ] from the trees. And when that starts happening it literally is apple season.

If you don’t have an apple tree… then maybe now is the time to think about planting one… or some, as they [most] will need a partner for pollination. The beauty about apple trees is that there is literally, all things going according to plan, nothing left to do once planted except to wait for the fruit to grow.

To make life very easy for you…

Apple Day is Sunday 27th September in Sonairte Ecology Centre [a little favourite spot of mine] in Laytown, Co. Meath.

According to Sylvia Thompson of The Irish Times

Visitors can take tours of the fruit orchards, learn about planting an orchard and buy native Irish apple trees. Children can also enter apple peeling competitions, apple quizzes or bob for apples

I popped on over to the Sonairte website however… and personally I’m really looking forward to this one πŸ˜‰

Apple Archery: William Tell, an expert marksman, famously shot an apple off his son’s head – come along and test your own archery skills (no humans involved!)

powdery mildew

powdery-mildew

powdery mildew

I noticed this white almost chalk like residue on my corkscew hazel the other day.

It is powdery mildew.

Caused by a variety of fungiΒ  including Oidium, Uncinula & Sphaerotheca; the powdery chalk like residue sits on and clings to the top of the leaf.

It’s sister downey mildew clings to the underside of the leaf and is damp and fluffy to feel… So as not to confuse the 2, remember: powders could not sit on an underside [as simple as that sounds – to the non horticultural C.S.I. diagnostics team it is very important πŸ˜‰ ].

Back to it…. One must remember that this is a fungal problem. And spores are spread by wind, rain or even plants rubbing together. Powdery mildew likes a dry site and fungi usually grow in areas where it has little chance of being disturbed. So, whilst it can be sprayed/ treated chemically… this will solve the immediate problem but, the chances are the disease will return as the conditions/ environment have not changed. My methodology is to remove all of the diseased material; then wait if possible ’til the off season and move the plant to less enclosed spot.

The reality is, one should also remember that this is not a bacterial disease of the plant so whilst photosynthesis is affected; and therefore fruit/ seed production – the disease is not as such detrimental to the plant.

Chemcal treatment is usually done via the use of a translocated/ systemic insecticide and fungicide mixed as most insects are disease vectors. Make sure [please] you have a seperate applicated sprayer to the one used for herbicide πŸ˜‰ That said, I prefer working with nature where possible and would always first recommend the biological control first.

While I’m here… if you are spraying it can leave a white residue…. don’t confuse the two πŸ™‚

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Harvest Time…

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the next day....

After so much rain… the sun finally came out. And when it did farmers worked literally round the clock to get done what was needed.

Opposite my home Barry was harvesting wheat. I popped across to have a bit of a chat with him….

If you have never seen it before… it is amazing to see a field, literally overnight go from fields of gold to a couple of bales in a field of stubble.

Have a look and see what you think… πŸ˜‰

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