Posts

Diverse Gardening

peter donegan

Outside of the window from where I type now there sits a compost heap. I don’t know whether I should call it that as I have never actually taken compost from it. It does its thing, bothers no one and just as it’s getting ready and maybe believes that I might put the wellies on and jump inside, reality kicks in.

I may never actually use my compost heap….

I need to be honest about these things. I know people who like to jump in and turn the decaying material over. If you enjoy that sort of thing, brilliant. But, personally, it’s just not for me. Are either of us wrong ? no. The reality is quite simple, my boundary hedges alone will keep that area of my garden full for the rest of it’s life.

What are my options ?

One could suggest that I get rid of the hedgerow and build a wall or even a fence. And before I even go near that as a topic, the hedgerow looks as [or more] unkempt as the green waste heap.

But In my mind life works really well with a symbiotic sort of relationship. I don’t tidy up the hedge, thus the brambles get to grow as they should and in return I get fruit. Free fruit.

Then again, I’m in competition with the birds for that. But then again I’ve spent ages trying to encourage birds into the surrounding greenery and now they are here…. I guess it’s fair to say we have an understanding in that I and they take as they wish and can. I must admit I really like their singing. It makes me smile. So far so good.

Somewhere along the road someone decided to put a name to this getting on with each other business and [in short] called it biodiversity. For a while I thought someone had set up a new band or dance group, but it turns out they were talking about the birds and the bees. I guess I just didn’t realise I had been doing it for so long.

A pile of logs chucked in the corner…. check.

Bird box…e..s….. yes. check….

I was beginning to wonder if I was at some sort of gardeners pub quiz. It was so easy and much easier than being a grow your own fanatic. No offence an’ all.

From a previous blog post I’d written, the check list suggests you plant a native, in your/ my case Irish, tree. I like to go a stage further with that one and try to plant a native Irish tree every year. If I haven’t got a spot in my garden or simply can’t find one this season, I give one away as a gift, planting included. No excuses – and pretty cost effective I should add. Also the bird boxes are in there which can be easily made at home and painted, another great gift.

Next up, is rain water harvesting. We have been here before. Although recently at a friends house he had very simply made his own from a length of guttering and an old plastic barrel. Miserable so an so I thought for a second. You might say smarter, something I admitted to after, but I bought mine with my bin tags and claimed it back off my year end tax. Either or it’s the thought that counts and great minds think alike.

It’s not until one speaks to someone like young film maker Eoin Delaney [Directing Media] that you realise just what is happening our surroundings. Two days waiting to see if he can capture a fox, on film that is. No sighting. Hares yes. Fox no.

Jane Powers some weeks ago on the SodShow told a similar story with regard to the bees. Bees that are needed for us to have, at the very minimum fruit and vegetables.

Is it all that bad. Is it really, enough for me to give a sh….

No maybe not. At the the very least not in the very rural surrounds where I live. That said in my own garden it took three years for me to find birds nesting. Three years after first planting approximately one hundred and twenty trees. The big flip side is that it’s your garden and not mine and I guess all I can do is say how it works for me and hope you may like a little of what you hear.

The Sodcast – Episode 15

sodshow, garden podcast

The Sodshow Garden Podcast – every Friday – in iTunes, www.sodshow.com all good podcast stores.


Listen to The Sodcast in MP3 – or subscribe/ listen to the podcast in iTunes. Alternatively, subscribe to the blog and listen to them right here. Missed Episode 14 of the garden podcast ?

First Up:

To answer a query that arose mid week….? Yes I do do small gardens. In fact I’m generally extremely content as long as I am in a garden 😉

You can contact me on….

This Week On The Blog:

A long story, but there were no blog posts this week….

Links For The Podcast:

Images For The Podcast:

This Weeks Oddities:

And Finally:

courtesy of Mr McGuinness – Bord Bia ? How many of your videos are on my or any weblog ?

the ultimate guide to chick-hens

big smile...

big smile...

Since I last wrote about ‘The Supremes’, things have really settled down. In the last ‘snappy’ post, the day they arrived, the set-up wasn’t exactly complete.

the complete hen runhomemade chicken hen perchchicken hen feature old tree stump

  • The chicken wire I got wasn’t 6 foot tall [more 3′ approximately] and I only had enough to go once around. I completed the upper level with that green tennis court kind of mesh… [see pics above].
  • I made a little perch for them using the pole off a broken sweeping brush. And I threw in an old lump of a tree stump as a sort of feature. They use both to sit upon.

I know that the hens food can be expensive; [depending on what you buy] AND as a result of that…. I now realise the amount of S*** one can be sold and how the products and prices are figured out is almost beyond me. In some cases, disgraceful to be very honest. It almost makes me a little angry. Bad bandwagon jumping where nurturing and encouragement should be given….

To that…. I’ve seen such varient & useless paraphernalia; most of which I can only describe as ‘dog kennels on stilts’ and all sorts of fancy bags of ‘super dooper hen feed’ and honestly, 99% of it is all crap. FACT. Something I’d hope the likes of Richard Corrigan will point out on his show…. ? Whats worse is a lot of these bandwagon jumping guys are getting in touch with me…. ? A lot of them don’t even have chickens!! Some have even taken the notes from my blog…. hmmmm 😯

It’s a ‘family’ way. It’s a way of living. It has F*** all to do with this word as the media constantly suggests it does [and as does The RTE/ Corrigan show]. Not when a shed costs €360. A good ‘buy right & buy one once’ shed by the way. In my honest experience – anyone who has hens, fowl, chickens…. etc… [and to all of the press out there….] It is cheaper to buy a tray of eggs, for the first few years at least. If you do write anything else – you’ve never lived the good life and know nothing about it.

feed for hens barleyhen water feederhen feeder

  • Back to the nice business… the big bag of barley 40kg costs about €10 in a good old style honest farm supplies shop. This and the kitchen green waste will feed them. They absolutely love potatoes and the peels…. but not so much carrots it seems 🙂 I might change this to a bag of wheat when that runs out.
  • The water container [white kind of upside down bucket – see pics above with a red bottom trim] is only for baby chicks so they don’t fall in. Any bucket that will hold water will do. Even I can be sold ‘stuff’ that is unnecessary…..
  • The steel feeder is necessary if you have a daily job… but keep it inside so as to keep the food dry – otherwise it turns to slop.
  • The four hens cost me €12 each. That will give you a good guide on how much to pay.
hen-eggs-just-layed

...all this for an egg

And after all of that… and just 11 days after arrival…… I got my first egg 🙂

There was a bit more of a hullabulooo in the run today [see pics below]. I stepped in to see the ‘nest’ being prepared. Poor thing didn’t know what was happening…. but all is good. The other guys were faffing around like…. like, well headless chickens I suppose… 😉

I can now walk in and pet them. The dogs have grown accustomed to them. It has however been a learning curve and a journey of sorts; yet,  one I am glad to have taken part in and I do love dearly, still. I always have

Most of my materials came for free… or I had them already. Maybe in a year or 2 it will pay for itself…. but not this year. But then, I am happy. I am 99.9% of the time a very happy chappy and that’s something no amount of money can buy 😆

the other hens want to see whats going onhens perparing to layhen making the nest

Was it worth the money? every penny! Would I recommend it? 110% Whatever you do and however you choose to do it…. have fun, smile and above all enjoy…. I promise you, for the first egg alone, it’s worth it!!

this video is courtesy of my friend Blaithín.

All my weblog articles of hens [so far] are here:

free bird…

bird feeders...

bird feeders...

i have about ten of these bird feeders dotted around the garden. The ones on the right are good for the seed – but the larger birds seem to prefer the nuts… I’ll probably give it about a week and then I’ll put them back up again.

I tend not to put them near the berried plants like the cotoneaster and hollys mainly because nature has a role to play.

little gem..

little gem..

I bought the really cool silver ones [left] from the petsore in swords [i they they were about €10 each] and the lesser plastic ones in Dunnes Stores [i can’t remember how much they cost but their not very strong by the way… so i’ve lost some over time]. The seeds and nuts I bought in Fingal Farm Supplies in Ballyboughal.

Collins book have a gem book, a really simple book for bird identification suited moreso i might suggest to the nature lover rather than the bird enthusiast. Combined  with other really useful bird blogs like Craig Nash’s and you’re flying!

The reason I like doing this is because it’s easy, it’s relaxing and it make my house feel like a home. It really makes the landscape perfect.