Posts

Which Compost To Buy

which one...?

Buying compost for some, is possibly a little like me trying to figure which washing powder I am supposed to put in the supermarket trolley. 😉 It wasn’t always like that….

I couldn’t believe it when in the garden centre recently the amount of types variations in labells one could buy. It’s seemed extremely confusing to be quite honest.

I remember still, growing my first seeds with my grandfather and my second batch of seeds with my Dad. I would have been no more than 5 years old. This clap trap never existed. Never. It was a hand full of clay in a pot, possibly sieved and that was the end of it.

Golden rule number one: Do not get confused by what’s on the shelf. Gardening has been around for centuries and 150 years ago you couldn’t buy a bag of compost if you tried. Fact.

Before I go any further I must sidetrack, slightly so stay with me here: the pH scale is a range from 1 -14 which tells us how acidic or alkali [in this case] a soil/ compost is. For the moment/ example car battery acid would be on the lower end of the scale and milk would be on the higher end.

In theory, as it stands, almost all composts are peat [as in peat moss from a bog] based. Although the use of peat and amount of may change in the coming future. What one must appreciate is that peat has a low pH and is the basis for the making of almost all composts.

In basic compost terms there are two main types:

  • The first Ericaceous or acid loving – just two of the names it may come under and are pretty much peat mixed with a [slow release] fertiliser and a wetting agent. It comes with a pH of approximately 4.8.

Wetting agents are used because peat, when it dries tends to [kinda] combine, meet and muster itself together in one big clump. This is particularly visible in pots where it almost leaves a gap between itself and the container. When one tries to water and dampen the peat/ compost mass will simply float like a buoy or the water will just run off and down the sides.

  • The second type is compost. In any variation… from potting to multi purpose they are pretty much all the same. They are peat, mixed with a slow release feed and lime [or a substitute of some format] which will reduce the pH acidity.

...

The only thing that differs [generally speaking] from the compost used for potting trees versus that used for eg in growing bedding plants is the particle size in the peat and the duration that the feed will last. ie. trees will prefer a chunkier particle and will remain in the compost longer where bedding plants will only last about three months plus and the compost must be almost sugar granule size.

For those not in the nursey trade attempting to grow prize crops… or to put in context when I am at home growing my salads and herbs I simply grab whatever is available and failing that a handful of clay from the garden. The only honest difference between the ‘muck’ in your garden and the bagged compost will be the consistency at which the plant will grow.

...?

As a by the way John Innes is a range of compost mixes. So if this multi purpose compost has added John Innes…. it’s either the man himself in there or [put in very simple terms…] it’s actually compost with added compost.

Technically you can call it something else. In the specialist nursery sector and prize winning plants one could argue…. But tell me I am wrong…?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Garden Group Guide

Some months ago I popped out a wee blog post to get an idea of who may be interested in [lets call it…] the great outdoors. You see, I was a bit peeved off with [the perception] of some groups.

From what I’m told/ can gather some feel that once one is degree in horticulture-less or without manicured parallel lines of Buxus semprevirens one may be frowned upon. Note: [and please do] This is not to be insulting, in any way. It’s simply what has been portrayed to me and to an extent what I have received myself. But then that is in every walk of life irrespective of gardening? It doesn’t however make it correct. It certainly doesn’t encourage new virility nor an energetic youthfulness [of the mind].

For example, this is how the Photograph Bloggers do it….

You don’t need a big, expensive camera. You can even use your phone and if you check out the photoblogs, you’ll see plenty of superb shots taken in this way. Don’t be intimidated by those with gear you could swap for a car. Remember, a good shot is in the eye, not the camera!

Horticulture was described to me some time ago as a bit like teaching the Irish language or ye olde english poetry in that with the wrong teacher [?] one could be very quickly turned off and potentially for life. I would agree with that. And whilst I have more letters after my name than most some…. 😉 No intelligence should allow one to show ignorance nor assume hierarchy.

...

The funny thing about this group [for this first trip] is some don’t even have gardens. Fact. I’d guess 99% have never had a garden tour. And the maybe more/ a majority have never studied or done a garden related course. And what does that matter?

You see two things will happen here – approximately 20 people will get an insight into one of Ireland’s lesser known parks, from it’s horticulture to it’s history – that they have never been to before.

The second thing that will happen is The War Memorial Park in Island Bridge will have more information available on the web than could ever have been perceived prior to. Which leads me back to paragraph one multiplied by the amount of readers. In which case, my hope is that some readers may go there themselves and maybe you might even hear…

00OOO00h so that’s what Darren was talking about… you see honey what Lutyens was thinking when he designed in those two water features was…. [*reefs out iphone & searches culch.ie] ….I mean what they symbolise is…

Now we’re all talking the great outdoors…? Anyhow… Back to it….. Here’s what I asked previous:

are you interested in the greeny garden outdoors kinda thing but don’t want to fall asleep within the first 7 minutes/ seconds ….? ;)

what if we became the hippest bunch of jimmedy crickets ever to cross the green line ?

All of the great bits of green and horticulture – except in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt [if that’s what you like to wear ;) ]

The response has been amazing. The people wishing to go are simply really nice people. I never thought a green-ee gig, free or otherwise could sell out in less than 3-4 hours.

If you are thinking of coming along to an outing – here are the rules basic principles of logic courtesies that apply. They are of course very simple.

  • If your name is not on the list [left via comment] – you are not going!
  • If you need to drop out – that’s fine but do so as soon as is possible
  • I don’t get paid nor receive any gratuities for this
  • If you don’t make the first quota – put your name down on the waiting list
  • The quota is most likely not decided by me
  • You really do enjoy yourself 🙂

Got a suggestion… thoughts or comments below

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

How Do I Know So Much About Breast Feeding …?

peter donegan

I must have the most varied career I have ever known. Definitely in the context of the great outdoors…. Here’s some of what I did for the year 2009. Anyhow….

Last week I got a phone call asking if I would speak at a conference.

J: Hi Peter its Jenny can you talk…?

P: Yeah sure Jen how are you and the garden and all that…?

J: Yeah good. Listen I put your name forward to speak at a conference. It’s for the….

P: Excellent stuff, thanks Jenny, thats great, really appreciated. What is the Leche League anyway…?

J: Well its a group thats been on the go since….. breast feeding….. and you know…. breasts and feeding and breast feeding…..

Fair enough that’s not what she said…. but it was all I could hear.

I admit I am of the male sex. I was born pre 1980. You know. Boys out room – the girls need to talk sort of genre. I still walk on the outside of the road. I didn’t know my Father had a voicebox until I was 32. Back to it…

P: So you want me to speak to all the Mothers about…..

J: Eh Peter no…

P: I mean I could do a sort of

J: Peter…

P: Well the last time I did a talk I did a…

J: Peter! It’s more for the children …of the mothers like 30 – 40 children about 8-12 years of age…

P: Sure… yeah Jen that’d be great….

I had put it to one side. Not ignoring it. Far from it. More I guess I didn’t realise forgot that a small country [in amount] of women are so far better organised than the U.S. Army.  That is a compliment by the way 😉 On Saturday when I got this email in. I rang Jane after and signed my name down.

Hi Peter,
The La Leche League Conference is on this year on Saturday the 6th and Sunday 7th of March in the Glenroyal Hotel in Maynooth, Co. Kildare.
La Leche League ( la leche means, The milk) is a voluntary organisation founded in 1956 that is dedicated to providing information and encouragement to breastfeeding mothers. We are a worldwide organisation with over 3,000 groups. Ireland currently has over 100 accredited Leaders and 38 active Groups.
The conference is a family affair and while Moms and Dads attend the various sessions on this years exciting programme the children need to be kept entertained too.
This is where you come in.
I have perused your website with much interest (I love the video of pink boat) and your sheer enthusism for gardening, (and life) is wonderful. I love the story of you growing plants under your bed at 5 years old, you certainly knew what you wanted to do from such an early age and now you are living the dream, you are truly blessed.
We would be absolutely delighted if you could come along and do an hour and a half session with the 7 to 12 year olds on Saturday afternoon.
One of the La Leche League Philosophys is “Good nutrition means eating a well balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible”.
It would be so good for the children to hear your story and then learn how to plant up little containers and grow their own fresh, organic herbs at home on a window ledge.
Hopefully there will be more then just “herb seeds” planted on the day, would’t it be brilliant for the “seed of enthusism” for gardening to take root in the children.
See you then
Joan Broe
As always, I am all organised. And some how or another I can see this making the list of all the things I did for the year 2010 😉 Intersting gig…. looking forward to it.

2009 A Good Year ….?

I did do a review of the year 2008. But it’s onwards and upward and whilst we head into 2010… here’s a look back on the last 12 months of 2009.

*If I missed or forgot something or someone – just hollar and I will ammend as soon as possible 😉

  • December was kicked off with the Carbon Neutral Revolution and Trim 2025

Whilst I flicked through my diary and realised just how much I actually had done… it should be noted that none of this would make any sense without someone to share the stories, the laughter and equally the tears with. I am forever greatful to the so many great friends and people I have met along this years road. Thank you. 🙂

Did I enjoy it? Every second. Don’t get me wrong… no road is an easy an easy one especially when I work in an industry that is so weather dependant and I am self employed. That is not a complaint…. more an additional reason to appreciate the people who stand tall by my side when time are tougher and there too when we laugh our socks off.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh. Nollaig Shona duit. Slán agus beannacht.

Thank you again, for everything.

*View the statistics for Peter Donegan Landscaping Weblog

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

December In The Garden

And what an end to November and a start to the month it has been…

Firstly to those affected in any way by the adverse weather conditions…. my sincerest best wishes to you all, I hope it sorts itself out as soon as possible. To those who chose to stand up to the Green Party politicos  [especially on RTE’s The frontline yesterday] more concerned with defending the amount of action groups who solve extreme weather conditions by sitting at a round table…. I applaud you. I also think Fionn has a point…

...

...

But thats another days work…. and on to Gardens we go…. well, as best as is feasably possible….

You see gardening is a funny business. It’s not a subject that one can put off. The elements maybe against the preferred conditions – but if [for example] the bulbs aren’t planted in the garden this December… it’s now spring 2011 before you will see them pop up… you follow? If you put it off last month…. you’d better get them wellies on or be a very fancy dancer – one that can dodge rain droplets 😉

Despite the weather, I’ve still been working out there. You heard me 😆 It has to be done.

hedge cutting gardening-dublin landscaping-in-dublin-

first up is hedge cutting – some prefer to do it in the summer…. but if you have something like the forsythia which flowers on bare stems in and then goes into leaf – you’d be mad not to. Some say the best time is…blah blah blah 😉 I say, this when I’m doing my crataegus and my fagus. Its also when I’ve been cutting others escallonia… get the rakes, secateurs and the lopping shears out and go for it.

landscaping-in-dublin cutting back plants gardening-dublin

It is also a time for more select pruning. Maybe in this case the hedgecutters maybe a little too harsh. In this category I would add the removal of suckering growth – see the difference in leaves on the Corkscrew hazel [corylus avellana contorta – first image] ; the pruning back of smaller plants that have been let go a little – in this case the likes of the helichrysum [second image above – and similar in habit to lavender]; and also the pruning by hand saw of branches that have become a little elongated – almost tree like when it should appear as a shrub. Moreso, it is also to do with good garden hygiene.  

...

...

But the biggest gig that most may possibly forget is the fact that it is tree planting season. The season when dormant and mostly native Irish trees get to go in the ground in their over wintering state. If you are looking for some ideas and names of, see this post on Irelands favourite native trees which can be planted now – I said now !!! Don’t forget the straps, buckles and tree stakes.

If you have existing trees – check the straps and buckles aren’t choking the trees – if they are – remove or loosen them.

Regarding your lawn…. you may get a cut in before the Christmas. Once again, the ye olde garden fraternity may suggest this is the wrong time – which is perfectly fine if it is the local croquet club… but if you are my Dad… well, you’ll be picking up the phone and telling asking me when am I getting my butt over to the house to cut that grass.

...

...

After that – the bird feeders still need filling, the shed needs to be painted and I’ll guess you never did the new-ish garden furniture last month ….well don’t say I didn’t tell you 🙄

If you take my advice – sure get it all sorted – then go and buy some instant colour in the form of winter planters, window boxes and hanging baskets. Really brighten the place up…. God knows you deserve it. Now all you need to do is to go and get that Christmas tree 😉

Whatever you do and if you are doing it yourself… stay warm, dry and be careful. If you are getting the gardeners [at least for me anyways…!] in…. put the kettle on and give ’em a nice cuppa and a mince pie. If ever I wondered what a kite must go through…. recently is the closest I’ve ever come to realising it 😆 Oh and in case I forget…. do enjoy 🙂  

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]