Thursday October 9th, I was on LmFm’s PPI award winning radio show The Late Lunch with all round happy fellow and nice guy Gerry Kelly. It was unsual for me to be the far side of the mic and morseo that Gerry went all the way back to where, how and just why it all started for me. Interesting – I’m told, all good and a real genuine pleasure.
I’ve had an odd week of sorts [last week] in the garden. Well, it’s a little of the usual or, more of the same but it’s been an odd series of tasks that have taken place I suppose.
The weed pulling enthusiasts versus your and my chemical romance aside, it was a case of trying to dodge the showers, in part to kill of some weeds that were growing in lawns. Sticking with that for the moment, this is a very simple theory as to how that all works. There are two shapes the leaf of any plant can have. Narrow, like a grass leaf – or of a more rounded shape, in short. The molecular make up of the chemicals that kill only that of a more rounded leaf in lawns [ie daisy, buttercup etc.] is that it cannot attach itself to the narrow leaf of the grass plant and therefore only takes effect on the weeds ie. the plants we don’t want in our lawns. Problem solved.
If you are intending on doing a little of that be sure to use a hood for your napsack or calibrated sprayer. Better know as a cowel, it prevents wind drift and droplets of the semi selective [translocated herbicide – one has to be very specific] weed killer from hitting other plants and killing them off. Like hens, chemicals aren’t very fussy about what green leaves they have a go at.
The chemical brothers aside [wondering if I can sneak one more band in before the end of this piece….], hedges were cut. A little reticent of nineteen eighties Ireland to an extent, in my opinion, the symetrical boundary plantations did go out of fashion for a while but, it is nice to see them coming somewhat back into fashion. In part, I always had a little of a soft spot for en mass Grisilinia and the like. There was and is something about them that is just that little friendlier than the timber fence or the coldness of a grey and internally angular brick wall.
That aside I know a lot of the hedging in Ireland took a serious beating these winters just past, so now really is the time to start ‘ripping’ them out and getting the soil ready for some new ones to take place. If you are unsure of what type of hedge plant to use – I highly recommend a walk locally with a camera in hand and as you pass the neighbouring hedge and plant types that take your fancy simply snap away. Do remember that this is the year two thousand and eleven and one can buy plants at any height and size that you pretty much wish to, something that was almost unheard of over thirty years ago.
Looking for something a little fancier and a change from the usual that may potentially be considered garden chores. Then how about making something for yourself with your own hands ? Over on The SodShow, Dublin’s only garden radio show as a by the way [and also available in Galway – you can listen online], is starting a new feature running every Friday for the next ten weeks. There I will chat with resident civil engineer John Farrell about everything that is hard landscaping.
This Friday starts with concrete, the basics and how to mix it. Simple for some, complex for others, the idea is to start at the bottom and work our way through anything that concrete could meet in your garden. From putting in a washing line, building a barbeque all the way to garden walls and beyond. Every Friday live at three pm we will guide you through all of the things you maybe thought of building but never did. Of course you can catch the podcast version of The SodShow in iTunes and/ or live on my garden blog.
With a softer version of hard landscaping in mind, this week saw me build some quite large, robust and yet pleasing to the eye raised planters for growing some of your own vegetables, herbs and soft fruits. With the structures built and rubber lining stitched in place, the next phase is to fill them with soil and then it will be a case of choosing the crops and produce to grow for the coming months.
Some seem to have a notion that the clock stops for this gardener come the return of the nippers going back to school. Not on your Nelly Furtado [that’s three bands – although I couldn’t tell you one or any of her/ his songs of the top of my head].
I like the allium family [onions, leeks, chives and the like] but, I’ll browse the seed catalogues in the coming days and see what takes my fancy. Before I do that, I’m going to build a bench into the new part to this garden. This is a place as versus being thought of as labour intensive, I would like to be renowned and considered for being one of retreat, relaxation and escapism. How many can say that about their garden ?
Plant choices of the more outdoor type aside, it is quite funny when you think that just up the road from me pumpkins, grapes, tomatoes and aubergines are growing quite happily in abundance under glass….. maybe, just maybe I need to add a new structure to my garden.
The directional growth of an organism in response to gravity. Roots display positive geotropism when they grow downwards, while shoots display negative geotropism when they grow upwards. Also called gravitropism
source: The American Heritage® Science Dictionary 2002
It is also defined as:
the response of a plant part to the stimulus of gravity. Plant stems, which grow upwards irrespective of the position in which they are placed, show negative geotropism
source: Collins English Dictionary 2009
So why is the gardener throwing fancy nouns all over the landscaping blog…?
In very simple horticulture and specifically it’s relevance to you – here’s my breakdown of the above definition, for you….
if one should plant a bulbupside down – the roots will always grow south or upwards and the stem will always grow north or downwards. Fact.
In really simple terms, there is no incorrect way to plant a bulb or seed.
So why then do I see this on so many gardening blogs and websites…?
Plant the cloves the right way up! – like any other bulb, if it’s planted incorrectly they will never see the light of day – literally. The base of each clove should be pointing downwards while its peak should face the sun. Fairly obvious, one would assume, but the number of people who ask the question illustrates the need to make the point.
The video below is really terrible… but scroll, to about 30 seconds on the timeline and watch it until the end. It explains it extremely well.
The same theoretically applies to any plant, tree or shrub. This definition should not be confused with phototropism which is a plants stimulus or response to light.
Plants can sense the Earth’s gravitational field. Geotropism is the term applied to the consequent orientation response of growing plant parts. Roots are positively geotropic, that is, they will bend and grow downwards, towards the center of the Earth. In contrast, shoots are negatively geotropic, that is, they will bend and grow upwards, or away, from the surface.
These geotropisms can be demonstrated easily with seedlings grown entirely in darkness. A seedling with its radicle (or seedling root) and shoot already in the expected orientation can be turned upside down, or placed on its side, while kept in darkness. The root will subsequently bend and grow downwards, and the shoot upwards. Because the plant is still in darkness, phototropism (a growth movement in response to light) can be eliminated as an explanation for these movements.
Several theories about the manner by which plants perceive gravity have been advanced, but none of them is entirely satisfactory. To account for the positive geotropism of roots, some researchers have proposed that under the influence of gravity, starch grains within the cells of the root fall towards the “bottom” of the cell. There they provide signals to the cell membrane, which are translated into growth responses. However, there have been many objections to this idea. It is likely that starch grains are in constant motion in the cytoplasm of living root cells, and only “sink” during the process of fixation of cells for microscopic examination. Roots can still be positively geotropic and lack starch grains in the appropriate cells.
A more promising hypothesis concerns the transport of auxin, a class of plant-growth regulating hormones. Experiments since 1929 have shown that auxin accumulates on the “down” side of both shoots and roots placed in a horizontal position in darkness. This gradient of auxin was believed to promote bending on that side in shoots, and to do the opposite in roots. Confirmation of the auxin gradient hypothesis came in the 1970s. When seeds are germinated in darkness in the presence of morphactin (an antagonist of the hormonal action of auxin), the resulting seedlings are disoriented—both the root and shoot grow in random directions. Auxin gradients are known to affect the expansion of plant cell walls, so these observations all support the idea that the transport of auxin mediates the bending effect that is an essential part of the directional response of growing plants to gravity.
Bit too early you for this you say….? In the garden calender, you have less than 9 weeks to the years end.
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me….
Christmas gift buying can be a tedious affair particularly when buying for…. well, just about anyone. I don’t know about you but, I know as sure as Willy Wonka will be on tv this Christmas, I have never bought myself aftershave, shirts or socks, in the last 10 years. That is by no means a complaint. Far from it. What I’m really looking forward to however is my first ever Christmas knitted wooly jumper…. you know the one with the reindeer on it… the Daddy ‘rocking around the Christmas tree’ ones…. 😉
On that note I have 10 real green garden gifts that will make your life that little bit easier.
For the office or home, for inside or out. One for the entire office or one just for Mary. Culinary or colour or simply pretty and inviting. A living gift that will last that little bit longer and will spice up that Christmas dinner.
A Tree Is For Life – Not Just For Christmas:
Email or call. Your trees or tall shrubs can be fruiting and small and – or native and tall. Planted on your date of choice or simply delivered to your recipients door.
Especially For You:
Maybe you have an existing garden but you’d like something that little bit more unique and one off. You’ve searched the stores and you’ve had no luck there. How about a gardenfeature made just for you ?
In Need of some Sound Advice:
Reckon you may like to do the job yourself but simply don’t know where to start…? Book a day with yours truly to get the best from your garden whilst in your garden. Your very own garden class, a consultation, plant shopping or a garden layout. As you wish…
The Ultimate Garden Design:
Scheduled, time-lines, products and plants. All drawn and planned – all in order, organised and tailor made to suit your budget and space in your great outdoors.
The Seasonal Hair Cut:
The hedge, the trees the lawn. It may not be the Phoenix Park but sometimes the arms of others are better used, letting you get on with the things that matter more.
A Class Apart:
Fancy your very garden class just for you and your group of friends. A day out in your garden or at your place of work, one with your very own group of budding gardeners should be just the ticket. Green by grow your your own or specific to the more amenity side of the garden, maybe you’d like to mix them both… The choice is yours. All materials can be supplied and the time-lines and times to suit yourself. All you have to do is turnip turn up. Simply send me and email or drop me a line.
Everything You Need For The DIY:
If you fancy giving it all a try yourself…. all of the pieces to complete the puzzle hand picked, delivered and wrapped if you wish. All of the garden products you could ever need to complete the tasks at hand or to put that final addition to that great outdoors.
Depending on the person you have in mind, that may not be such a surprise 😉 Pop me an email or pick up the phone. There’s something out there for everyone….
You can as always contact me via the following options.
I grew these potatoes some months ago from seed. I think it was about €2.50 for a half litre pot of seed. I simply popped them twice their depth below the surface.
Mine came into flower and passed that point some time ago, but I had potatoes that I had got locally and so I didn’t bother lifting these at all. Until now. I was quite pleased with the crop. I didn’t mound the soil to get more or any of that molarchy. I just planted and left them.
I did run into one problem that was the common potato scab. It’s a scabby patch that appears on the outer skin which disfigures the spud. It’s not a major problem for me or the potato, although if you saw it in a supermarket potato I’d be very surprised. It’s caused by the mycelium producing Streptomyces scabies [the 2nd part of that name alone makes me shiver]. This comes as a result of light soils with a high lime content and also from low moisture levels usually from a hot summer, which we had spells of this season. I’ll just peel them to be honest and next year I’ll plant a resistant variety.
After that, not much else I can add. It is very much a case of just pop the seed twice its own depth below the surface of the soil and keep well watered.
Of course if you have any questions, simply leave a comment below.
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