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i want that one…

Christmas trees! I love this time of year… I just love it! While you’re at the turkey stuff the begrudgers, the doom and gloomers and anybody else who’s a pain in the tuschie, take out the mistletoe and have a mince pie. It is the season to be jolly – and don’t you forget it 🙂

With whole place decked in holly, last week I and ‘her indoors’ [as Arthur Daly would say], went to pick out our Christmas tree. There is, possibly unknowns to some a Christmas tree farm in Rolestown North Dublin [just outside Swords and after Kettles Hotel just on the left]. It’s brilliant. While I was there, the Moms flocked in with their children, wellies and woolies on and went with Mick to select the specimen they wanted.

€30 any tree, netted and the butt drilled or trimmed to suit your stand. If you’re nice he’ll even give you a lolly pop! If you have never seen a tree farm or never selected your own live tree it is a great experience .

Have a really Happy Christmas, have a great new year and enjoy!

vegetable growing [easy style]…

pumpkin flowers

pumpkin flowers

i tried the ‘going green’ with the veggie grow gig, the herbs and all the other green stuff. It takes time. I needed something to impress the in or out-laws and fast! I’m Peter Pumpkin eater… the walls of the house and my car are supposed to be green… I’ll be ready for them all next year?!!

The reality is some things are easier to grow than others. So I’ve devised my own list of what actually can be categorised as ‘no brainer’. To this I mean: plant it – lose interest – no uber special treatment – it survives!

I’m not saying you’ll have finest fruit in Ireland, what I am saying is if you don’t have time everyday or even every weekend to be in the potting shed – then here’s my suggestion on what won’t die overnight… [you get my drift!]

The easy green category has to start with fruit – the herbs- then veg… and yes, I know I should be stating ‘biblicly how to precisely’ – but lets be honest… if you’ve tried that and got no thanks at all….? then here’s the how to impress the in-laws list! I wont give too long a list – but if you want to give it a bash – here’s where you pretty much can’t go wrong. If it does – dont worry [I’m here] just try again.

from seed..

from seed..

herb/ kitchen cooking

  • parsley
  • thyme
  • lavander
  • oregano
  • bay laurel
  • chives
cherry trees

cherry trees

fruit- tree style

  • apple tree cookers and eating
  • pear
  • plum
  • cherry
  • olive
  • logan/black/ berries and currants
rhubarb stools

rhubarb stools

veggie-ish style

  • rhubarb [top of the list]
  • pumpkins
  • carrots
  • corn on the cob
  • turnip/ swede
  • onions

one for the kiddies

  • mustard
  • basil
  • watercress
free apples...

free apples...

what’s eating my plants

I couldn’t believe it when I looked outside and saw, literally every cabbage plant, stripped. What is left over,  probably hasn’t got long left.

This little git is the catterpillar and will eventually become a butterfly – as I’m sure you already know. But how, domestically and non chemically do I deal with the little insect.

The only solution is to pick them off and cover with a horticultural fleece to prevent them returning to their f-l-avoured leaf. I’d better get started on my 100 plants, while I have some left!

Apart from the obvious signs one will know if it is catterpillar [in this case] because they cannot eat the large veins of the plant as its mouth parts are not big enough. That said if the catterpillars are not there be careful, not to confuse the damage with what could be that of birds… you’ll know this because the bites [holes] are not interveinal [though the veins] as their mouth parts can eat through any part of the leaf.

mustard – seed, grow, crop, eat

peter donegan garden advice growing mustard seeds

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I found it really hard to find information of any substance or at all in any books on this plant.

But, if ever you wished to go green really quickly this is the plant for you. I chose white mustard. Instructions say it can be grown on tissue paper! it is that easy. I planted the seeds a different way [no particular reason, partly why there are so many books on gardening I suppose…] then planted outside.

Some say crop the plant just before flowering, the instructions say when its 2″ tall? I say whatever makes you happy. Why? Because, again, the varying schools of thought suggest that the taller the plant the stronger the taste…

Now it is all cropped? Chop it. Eat it. Next time I can grow it to my own specific taste. My tip. Sow a little [about ten seeds] every two weeks and keep the crop turning over.

mustard white seed plant crop peter donegan

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free!! allium sativum

Also known as Garlic, these cloves [fresh] from China I bought in Superquinn!! Carbon footprint my tusche. The builders have destroyed my crop so I needed a fresh batch to grow from. I was surprised to discover their origin but these will be planted & not used for cooking.

To grow: Split the cloves. Plant 2″ down & 4″ apart. Plant now and lift at the end of summer when the leaves die off [as you would with most bulbs]. Let them dry and/ or replant. Free garlic!

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