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Home Grown Beets

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I grew these beetroots from seed about two months ago and as you can gather from the empty pot I simply cropped them as they were required. They are probably one of the easiest things ever to grow and develop fairly quickly.

I chose to sow them in plug cells first and then pot them on. The ones I grew are the Boltardy variety. That said, I’m not intended on being a commercial beetroot farmer any time soon – my advice, if you can’t find this variety, simply pick up a packet of whatever is available and work away. The boltardy ones however tend not to wish to bolt [the production of flower and therefore seed too soon] as fast and also have a really good flavour.

I never paid much attention to the sowing calender guides on the back of the packets. I also applied the one for the slug one for me rule here. After that, I chose as you see to do mine in pots, mainly so I could put them by the back door of the kitchen.

Not much else to to it…. and of course any questions, just pop a comment in below.

Strawberry Plant Babies

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It can really get on my goat when the grow your own and save yourself money marketing brigade continue to thrust their [not so] ideal[s] upon the ordinary Joe punter gardener. Let me put this in context, when a bag of compost costs €6 and the strawberry plants cost €3 and you or I may get less than a punnet of fruit…. That would cost about €3 anyway…. My point ? Logic. Versus that, maybe I’m the muppet and the marketing garden guru’s are the smarty pants ?

The alternative versus that, is when you can get your plants for free and maybe three or four strawberries per plant…. now we’re sucking diesel 😀 and now the grow your own is saving us some money.

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These plants are exactly that. Free. Or at the very least starting to pay for themselves.

What happens is very simple. And in simple terms, little runners are sent out by the mother plant with, what were described to me along time ago as umbilical chords and plants on the end of them 😉

Read this post for further ‘botanical’ information on the Strawberry plant.

There are loads of shoots on my plants at the moment, but I’ve tended to only pick the ones with some roots on the end. The photograph at the top had landed itself in with the turnips and hence the roots, but from then on a closer inspection is required.

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I very simply pinched out the central buds, if there were any and popped them into a wee little pot of compost.

From there they went into the greenhouse and apart from a little throw my eye over them now and again, they should be just fine.

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Short and sweet as it sounds that’s my strawberries looked after for next year.

Let me know how you get on. Any problems just leave a comment below.

Bird Boxes

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The bird box has always been something I’ve queried. I don’t know why. I just feel/ felt that they would always be better off making their own. Is that fair to say….? Either or, I wanted two in the garden just for the craic of it. You know, to see would they come.

These two bird boxes were made some weeks ago from an old timber wine box and given a lick of whatever colour was nearest/ lying around paint.

Fairly simple to make, they are also another variation of if I got these as a gift would I be impressed ? You better believe it. I’ve seen sites selling these for upwards of €30 each.

My Total Costs. €0.00

If you fancy having a go making them yourself… bear in mind, the bird really doesn’t care if you have not been meticulous in your efforts and from your aesthetic perspective, depending on your skills, a lick of paint will hide everything a lot.

The only things I really need to be careful of is that the box itself isn’t south facing. Logic applies here so you don’t cook the birds. Other than that its keep it about 2-3 metres off the ground and although there are site suggestions of when you should put them up…. I’m not going to pay any attention to that. If the winter guys wanna nest in them, it’s there for the taking. If not they’ll be there for the summer fella’s.

The only note I will make is not to tighten the screws too much so you can flip them over and tip out the previous years unwanted nest.

I could give instructions on how these were made, but the photos say it all pretty much.

More birds to help me eat my raspberries next year 😀

note: Highly recommendthe birdwatch Ireland fact sheet

The [Un]usual Planter

Here, you have that. You might be able to do something with it….

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That’s quite a regular statement I hear actually. Surprised ? I wasn’t. It’s not the most unusual object I’ve ever been handed. I like the odd challenge and this one was a doddle.

Yesterday I filled the container with some pebble. More to weight it down. It also looks really good. I also had a few hand fulls of pebble in my workshop, so it suited. It also saves on compost and in this case I didn’t have enough 😉

Helen had given me some spider plant babies a while ago that had come on really well…. and I had a spot inside where I felt it would look really good.

Total cost. €0.00

Personally, I’d be over the moon if someone gave me that as a gift.

Hanging The Hanging Baskets Alternate

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There’s an odd little spot in my garden, right beside my washing line area and at the back of my shed/ chicken house. I felt it needed something a little…. to brighten the place up.

Hanging baskets seemed like a good idea, but then they may pose problems with wet compost and such dripping on the clothes.

That aside, you may remember I hung some hanging basket brackets recently. The brackets themselves can cost up to €20 each. There were three of them and by the time you buy the raw plugs, screws and drill the holes it can take a few more shillings to complete the task. That of course before you buy the baskets.

I got these from my next door neighbour who bought some newer ones. The uprights are 2 old tree stakes and a little bit of old timber going across the top. The screw hooks may have cost [say] 20 cent each. After that I gave it a lick of some old blue paint I had in the shed. Total cost 60 cents.

I then planted some herbs in them that I had grown myself. At least if they are going to interfere with the clothes it’ll only be by scent.

Great for small gardens and particularly if you are stuck for a little space.

If you have all the materials/ tools you need this wee job may take about an hour.