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Another Grow Your Own Gardening Course

NEXT CLASS: tomorrow saturday April 17th 9.30am – 3.30pm

***if you are stuck for directions to Ballyboughal and then to my house you can contact me on [vodafone prefix and then add….]6594688

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I did the grow your own gardening course about 2/3 weeks ago now…. It wasn’t until I was out recently at an event and I was beig asked was I doing another as the wife would love to do it…. Then a neighbour popped by…. he’d love to too…. then online I got it…

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So the response from the last/ first class was good. The demand for a second one seems to be there…. that’s also good. It’s now simply a case of can I get the numbers to make a day of it….? That bit is up to you.

Who is the Garden Class for:

  • those who wish to be green but not a full time farmer.
  • those with an apartment balcony or you that simply just wish to grow a bit on a space about that size
  • For those who work 24/7 and watch tv but are willing to do a bit

Whats the day like:

  • real coffee & homemade buns on arrival @ 9.30am – with an intro chat amongst the group
  • then outdoors until around around 12.30
  • homemade lunchin the kitchen until around 1.15
  • back out until about 3pm and finish with a fresh cuppa/some homemade biccies and a chat.
  • to take place in Ballyboughal [it’s near Swords/ North Dublin ;) ]

Other info:

  • Places are limited to a maximum of 10 people.
  • Cost is €60 per person
  • I supply everything you need. You get to to bring it home with you.
  • laughing is encouraged
  • original post on the garden class here

Louise’s post really does summarise it very well

Wanna come along ?

  • Pop your name[s] in the comment box below.
  • email me info[at]doneganlandscaping[dot]com
  • phone me on [vodafone prefix and then] 6594688

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How To Water Seeds

To some how does one water seeds may seems like a silly question…. but to others it is the very simple things that most often are not explained due to assumption… more so on the horticulturists part. Try find any gardening book with how to water in the title….?

But, for years as a nipper I crushed and broke weak seedlings with large droplets from a watering can…. and it being the start of the growing season this dilemma has resurrected itself.

If you are sowing your seeds in trays that have perforations/ drainage holes on the base then we are in luck.

With your compost in the tray, slightly firmed…. place your seeds as preferred and drop the tray into a large container of water. As you can see here I have made really great use of my green bin that I did not want. You can of course use your brown bin if you wish

Capillary action [as it is called] is the process which will ensure the water is drawn up all by itself. You will see the compost turn from a dry brown to a wet dark black. Be careful here not to let the tray sink to the bottom and lose all your seeds… watched pots and kettles may come to mind but patience is the key. As soon as you see water just appear at seed level… you’re good to go. You can repeat his process as long as is necessary and as long as your seeds need to be in the plug tray.

If however your container does not have perforations… this is were it can get tricky.

These [left] are the ones I sowed for indoors. I don’t want drainage holes on them, because, they’ll leak all over the window ledges. And I can’t steep them… so…

The answer is to water the soil very well before putting my seeds on top. If I chose not to the compost bubbles up over the seeds and the seed sinks somewhere within the pile of mush πŸ™‚

Watering of these is then done very gently. I myself like to used to use a Mr Sheen/ windowleen type misting bottle [you can’t go wrong this way] and wet them as necessary. Or I pour from a very small jug of water into my hands, held over the container and let the water trickle through my tightly gripped fingers.

A Gardening Course …?

update 13th March 2010: One space has become available… pop your name down below, email or text me if your interested πŸ™‚

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Over the last weeks I’ve been researching chatting with some friends about gardening and the usual how to bits of outdoor advice.

From those conversations came the suggestion that I should do a crash course of some format in ‘gardening‘.

I did teach horticulture and courses before. But this class request or what one should get at the end of it is to be slightly different as those urging me to do so are not horticulturalists – moreso they have a window ledge/ balcony or only wish to garden in small amounts and stints.

The outcome…? Either a one day course in gardening at my homestead or a 1.5 hour evening course in Dublin City Centre over a 3/4 week period. The majority in this case decided on a one day workshop.

To tailor make this session to the people and their wants I am proposing the following:

  • a one day crash course from 9.30am – 3.30pm
  • The first day/ date is Saturday March 20th
  • cost of materials only to be covered set at €60 per person
  • you take home what you make on the day
  • lunch will be included
  • to take place in Ballyboughal [it’s near Swords/ North Dublin πŸ˜‰ ]
  • numbers will be limited to a maximum 8 people only

What we will achieve on the day:

  • gardening basics
  • how to grow your own from seed
  • growing plants on a budget
  • window ledge balcony gardening
  • looking after your plants
  • planting your planters
  • growing in a confined space
  • not enough hours in the day/ the 10 minute gardener
  • herb and salad kitchen gardening

this email just came in and sums it up nicely….

Basically: this is for the [wo]man, parent, adult, child who wants to do a bit of green living but not farming. Enough to have summer salads, fresh herbs, maybe even some fruit – at the same time logic enough that you’ll watch footie/ daytime tv and go out rather than hug trees. You’d like a bit of green, you need a place to start but without getting bamboozled – and let it grow from here….

The idea is simple enough and if numbers run over/ demand is great enough/someone approaches me with a suggestion I’ll do a second class/ consider those options then.

If you would like to do this class – or – have any queries or suggestions

  • pop your name down as a comment below
  • email me info[at]doneganlandscaping[dot]com
  • telephone me on [vodafone prefix – and then] 6594688

What do you think …..?

UPDATE:

If numbers fill up for the first group of 8…. assuming there is demand enough – I will do another day course. Put simply I’ll let the names spill over to a second group of 8 and we’ll call it from there. Crawling versus walking and all that clichΓ© stuff πŸ˜‰

Once again – your course/ class made better by your suggestions…. pop them in comment box below πŸ™‚

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How To Stake And Strap A Tree

Following the pictures above…..

  • tree stake at the ready… place the stake [generally] 3 fingers width from the base of the tree and 2 fingers width from the top. Once you have your position correct… push it in slightly.
  • A tree stake pounder [the yellow object in the photographs] is preferable although you can use a sledge hammer. I find the sledge more often splits the stake and its also not very nice for Mary if she is the one holding it and you miss πŸ˜‰
  • Drive your stake in until it’s sturdy, whilst along the way making sure its straight as it goes down.
  • There are many forms of straps and buckles available… but for my garden I generally but a roll of strap and cut to size. Always allow a little extra if you are unsure you can always cut a little bit off the end – you can’t however add a little bit on.
  • Wrap your strap around the tree and add the buckle on. Then pull really tight against the tree…. wrap one side around the stake and then double over the first piece.
  • With the tree now sturdy against the stake and the strap not moving…. get Mary [or someone else πŸ˜‰ ] to lean agains the back of the stake and hammer a nail in. Always leave a little off the nail sticking out so it can be removed if you get it wrong or it needs to be adjusted in time as the tree grows. Be sure not to tie the tree too tight.
  • If you are doing trees in straight lines and you wish for them all to look nice and neat…. take a cane as an optimum measure of height, mark the tree stake and saw off at an angle.
  • A little tidy around the base and go and grab yourself a cuppa πŸ™‚
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Building Your Own Bar-B-Q

bbq hand made

I bought this ‘barbequick‘ bbq last year. Quick? hmmmm… €20. In December. Bargain. Left it in the shed.

my very first barbeque...

When the sun came out I built it. Did it end up looking like the image above…? not on your nelly… πŸ˜‰ But for good reason….

If you do fancy building your own barbeque – here’s how.

Stone type:

  • i tried to get the same brick sizes as per the instructions – but – free bricks are much nicer
  • i wanted a ‘looks like its been there for a while…’ kinda finish – it’s also the greatest excuse if you’re not the best brick layer in the world
  • don’t use concrete blocks unless you are going to plaster the walls

Location:

  • decide where you want it. This is built from stone. Solid stuff. It hasn’t got wheels. So be darned sure it is exactly where you want it.
  • Keep it well away from walls… smoke? black? and more important timber fences… fire?
  • not right beside the patio – smoke/ guests eyes; flames & grannys new hair do

How I built mine:

  • I picked my spot.
  • Took the measurements from the instructions and layed a foundation about 4″ deep – to finish just below ground level. Left it for a few weeks day or three…

Materials:

  • 300 no. brick
  • 2 no. bags cement
  • 1 no. bag of gravel
  • 3 no. bags of sand
  • washing up liquid [substitute for mortisiser – bonds the cement better]
  • some paving slabs for the base – for you to stand on

Tools:

  • spirit level – a good long one
  • a block splitter ‘or’ a good bolster chizel and a mallet
  • a trowel
  • a wheel barrow to mix cement in

Conundrums:

  • I measured the foundation from the instructions but that was based on ‘their’ brick sizes. Mine were smaller & I needed a lot more than they suggested.
  • The clips to support the grill are ‘only’ to suit that size of block. They obviously wouldn’t fit ‘my’ barbeque.
  • I also wanted an extra, adjoining counter to the side for plates and food so I had a bit more to do.

Don’t Forget:

  • To stick a few long screws into the cement while laying to hang your implements on
  • Measure twice and cut once rule

My thoughts:

It will take about 2 days to complete. And there is nothing more rewarding than sitting back with a cup of coffee looking at a wall that you built. Sincerely. Especially if you are a man…. πŸ˜†

If one was to pay to get it built….? In my opinion, it would be cheaper to go and buy one. To approximate the costs briefly; if the bricks costs €1 each; multiplied by 300 bricks – One is already at €300 before it gets built….?

That said, I didn’t want a gas barbeque. I wanted one that I could say in years to come… that ‘I remember building that…’ I also have the ability to barter eggs for materials and so apart from my time – this really didn’t cost me whole lot.