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The Growing Season Has Officially Started

It may well remain a little chilly for some to brave the great outdoors but weather whether some agree or disagree, it seems the growing season has started in Ireland.

The problems that usually arise, garden wise, are best described with hindsight being that of 50:50 vision, in the context that once one sees the plant in its fullest glory one may wish they had planted some of this or that, that could only be there if planted some months previous.

As I look over my own garden, not entirely in all its glory, its clear to see the trees have all started to produce buds. The new growth on the lime trees in particularly amazing to see. Although not as visible, it is quite qevident on that of the Gleditsia too.

This a clear sign that if you wanted to have a ‘I’d love one of them‘ in your space outside, you really would want to make a call on it and have it done sooner rather than later. This timeline also includes trees that need to be moved.

But it’s not just the trees. It’s in the ‘shrub department’ too. Last week at the nurseries the hellebores were just a wee while away from bursting into flower, while the dwarf Photinia was producing some nice new red growth.

My rhubarb still grows were it was first planted in the darkest and dampest parts of the garden. Sidetracking slightly, it is also one of the few that has never been involved in the Peter Donegan relocation programme. In a slightly brighter part, my sorrel, now 3 or 4 seasons old tells me salad may just be on the cards that little bit earlier than expected.

In the beauty spotting category the Jasmine [jasminum nudiflorum] was looking really great and for good reason it remains one of my favourite climbers. On the flip side the hydrangea’s from my friend Philips garden that I planted about 2 seasons ago are just ripe to burst open.

As if I’d nothing else better to do on a Sunday, when I was at Michael Nugent’s garden on Sunday just gone, Michael was proudly showing off all of the bulbs he had planted in his front garden. And when I say all… I mean all of them. Think in tonnage here.

All grown in pots. In anything that could be even mildly considered definitive of the word container and of every type available to mankind in Ireland.

But it’s not just Mick Snr’s garden. Philip has them growing too and not in pots… just willy nilly planted and left to pop back up year after year. The same way I do it.

Rummaging around my shed I found some left over garden bulbs… don’t ask [?] that some how I forgot to plant. I finished dealing with them on Sunday – but from the garden type bulbs to growing your own food, from bulbs, I was also busy planting garlic and onions from sets.

The funny thing is that once the hammamelis goes out of flower the leaves will appear, the lime trees bright new growth will become hidden with it’s large oval leaves. The bulbs will become more prevalent and produce flowers for the kitchen and my onions will produce food. The red growth that spans the motorways of Ireland will turn to green and an entire new range of whats hot and en vogue will appear for us to admire.

The question is will you be braving the elements so that you can have that little bit of glory in your space outside that for very good reason I call the great outdoors ?

note: *all images taken within the last 7 days

Brown & Black Leaves ?

In north Dublin last week I recorded temperatures just over -8 celcius and although the wind chill factor was something a lot greater than that, with the recent weather and the subsequent thaw….what one can see now is [maybe] mildly uncertain regarding what plants have survived the minus temperatures due to the fact that a lot are at present leafless and dormant.

A plants cells are made up essentially of water and in extreme conditions that water in the plant cells expands resulting in the cells bursting. The bit that’s important to you, the plant owner, is that once the plant cell has burst it is dead – and – put very simply beyond resurrection.

The question is how far or how much of the plant is actually dead, if it has just burnt some of the leaves or it has actually made it’s way into the ‘heart’ of the plant. For this there’s really no one definitive answer, but [for example] for my own bay laurel hedge [above] I’ll simply cut out the brown and work my way down the stems until I can only see green. It may well look a bit sparse and patchy after, but it’ll come back for next season. Smaller and younger plants may not have been so fortunate.

My advice is to get out into the garden and have a good rustle through the aftermath and give each plant a good close up inspection. In fear of a frost return you may consider mulching around the base of your plants which will aid them that little bit better – and – they will thank you for it come the new year.

Unsure if one of your plants has survived [?] you can contact me in the following ways…

See the image above…. this is [image below] the exact same hedge plant just 7 days ago.

growing pumpkins from seed

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I hear you… it’s only mid July. No matter. You need them for October – but they have to grow! If you ever want to know when to start growing anything the easiest [cheaters tip!] advice is to check your garden centre once a month – when they’re available by seed – that’s when to start. Easy!

This is from the Johnsons range. I actually thought they’d be difficult to grow? no – easy peezy. really! There’s the packet [left] and the seed just below. I just bought them in my local garden centre.

How? who? what? Take a tray or a small plant pot about the size of a tea cup; fill with clean compost; soak first with water [from the bottom up is better – ie. sit in a basin of water and let in take up the moisture until the compost goes from dry brown to damp black] and then push the seed [it looks like a leprechauns surf board] sideways a little [half an inch] below the height of the compost until you can see it no more.

Jack O lantern [cucurbita pepo] is the more common or the ‘typical’ pumpkin as we know it and the plants will need to be planted about one metre apart outdoors when the roots fill out the tray. As you can see mine [after just two weeks! – click here] have a just little more to go before I allow them into unprotected typical irish weather.

Books and catalogues generally base sowing times on an average/ mean temperatures and as long as I understand what the plant needs to grow then I can work away and pretty much garden away as I please.

The ‘book’ tells me I’m a little late sowing – but the book obviously hasn’t seen the barbados like weather that’s been coming to North Dublin recently!!

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UPDATE:

here are my plants as of 28th of August as promised:

UPDATE: A Real Pumpkin Farm