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october in the garden…

The Sepember in the garden post seemed to go down quite well so… here’s your monthly bit for October. And a little music to read with…

Now that your bedding plants have just about gone to pot and the garden [in some cases] maybe lacking a little inspiration… it’s time to take down those hanging baskets and planters, identify those blank spots in your beds and get the place spruced up. 😉 Believe me you’ll thank me for it.
garden-colour-small colourful-plants-small spring bulbs

While you’re there… don’t forget spring bulbs are on sale now. If you want some spring inspiration year after year… this is a ‘right now’ must do. Chose not to do so in advance and what one finds is that the left over bulbs are planted in pretty pots and come January, sold with a big bow wrapped around it… and a price tag to match.

removing a lawnmower blade lawnmower-blades-sharpen lawnmower-blades-sharpen-angle grinder

Next up… the evenings are getting that little bit darker so I’ve decided I’m gonna get started on some early winter chores. I’ve started with the lawnmowers. The problem has been that even when the sun did shine, the grass was still wet and the blades took the odd bit of hammering. I’ve got all the undersides cleaned out and out with the angle grinder to give the blades a bit of a sharpen. Apart from that usual service rules apply, but nothing a good drop of oil can’t solve. If you’re not into that, book it in for its annual service… before everyone else does that is!

muddy-grass weeds weed-control

From a weed control point of view… once again the weather has played absolute havoc. Assuming you have a couple of hours dryness, the grass/ weeds are dry and you use a translocated spray…. whilst teperatures are around the 12-14 degrees celcius, I’d make sure  you get the place tidy[er] for this coming winter a little sooner.

lettuce-plants lettuce greenhouse

The lettuce crops are still trying to bolt into seed. I’m still fighting it… nature will eventually take over. That said I’ve not been as reliable on my sorrell plants and as a result their green leaves will carry me easily through December. Next after that is a good tidy up of the greenhouse. I need to get ready for some spring crops….

garden-furniture sale barbeque wild-berries

If you fancy building your own BBQ check out this post. Other than that… a good clean up of the entire set is necessary and store it away until next year.Yes that’s right wash it… not leave it out to rust like you did last year 🙄

Don’t forget your wild berries. Just because they’re not in a plastic container… they’re exactly the same thing. Go pick. Make jam. Bake cakes. Free food season is on. Before the birds get it.

Passing through some garden centres recently, Now is the best time to buy your garden furniture, benches and tables for next year. It is the end of the season and some ranges – If you want to get some kind of garden together for next year and need those few bits. Take my advice – the real bargains are on now

beaujolais-nouveau

and enjoy

For the moment there’s not a whole lot else – but in garden terms always remeber that preparation is everything and forgetting this month may leave you in mild despair for next year.

With all that hard work done… 😆 You’ve a great excuse now with the evenings closing in – go ahead grab yourself a glass of wine, sit back and relax.

As I said last month… if you see something thats not here – just leave a comment – I’ll know the next time ;) I also dropped in a little music from Paulo Nutini, because I find I can read better with music when the article is a little longer. Personally, I dislike the ever copy and pasted 5 pointer one liners that reappear in the usual gardening columns so I’ve tried to make this a little different[ish]. I just hope you enjoyed it.

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10 [more] even green-er bits and bobs….

Haven’t done this in a bit…. so here goes my 10…. ish bits and bobs

  • can’t remember who sent me this… sorry. Thanks to popjam anywho…

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  • Back to Ireland….. Bernie [in Cork btw] did a live stream to let me know how he was getting on with his garden….. how to use technology to your advantage? absolutely! now you know what I do in my spare time 😉 And Bernie is a legend!
  • the fingal vintage society does its annual show. All the cars, the barn dance, the car & tractor run and lots of green stuff – great weekend for the family. ********** update: this has been cancelled due to bad weather. 🙁
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the brainiacs guide to strawberries…

elsanta strawberry plants fruitstrawberry plant leavesstrawberry-fruit fragaria

Strawberries – the info that may prove useful in a pub quiz

better know in botanical terms as the Fragaria, commonly known as the strawberry plant. Surprisingly, [or confusing-ly] it is a member of the  Rosaceae or rose family.

Here’s the possibly boring bit fancy-speak bit and where this article may prove beneficial. They are a genus of 12 species and are by definition stoloniferous* perennials**

*stoloniferous – they produce stolons/ little plants in the form of offshoots
**perennials – complete their life cycle in more than one season

The leaves are 3 palmate*radical with toothed edges and bear white [or pink] flowers. They are mainly grown for their edible fleshy fruit.
*3 palmate – like 3 fingers of a hand shape

The difference between strawberry plants grown just for reproducing more plants [pause if you need to…]  is that the parent plant is prevented from flowering and therefore prevented from pollination. The point in this is that all of the plants energy goes into the production of stronger [new] plants.

strawberry plant leavesstrawberry plant elsanta strawberry-plant producing off shoot

Strawberries – the info thats good to know if you want to grow them

Last season i bought some strawberry plants. I chose the Elsanta variety. No particular reason except for I was reared with this variety and [like a lot of thing Irish] if it’s not broke etc… Apart from that they are good croppers/ yield well, grow very well indoors and out and aren’t really that fussy on the type of soil.

strawberry-plant-elsanta-youngstrawberry-plantsstrawberry-plants-elsanta

I keep mine in the wee little glasshouse [6’x4′] I own and have just 4 plants. I have however seen them growing in hanging baskets, buckets and all sorts of anything that can contain soil 😉 This is the good bit… Buy your wee plant, Bung it in the hole and simply keep it watered. Then wait for the fruit. Per plant expect to pay about €2 each **if** it is not potted. Its a good tip to keep yours in a good drafty spot to stave off pests and diseases.

Whatever about commercial growers who produce for the fruit or the plant – from a domestic point of view… when the plant does sprout the little ‘baby plants [as ‘her indoors’ calls them] just nip them off and pot them up. New plants for next year and a great gift that costs pretty much nothing 😉

strawberry-fruitfragaria strawberry-plant fruitstrawberry-plants-fruiting

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what tree will you plant this week…?

i planted a tree...

i planted a tree...

Today is the start of National Tree week. There are loads of events on – some are free, some will be extremely boring – some will be great for the family.

Either or it is amazing the bargains that always existed in this department.

Trees don’t have to grow huge. They can also be a ‘small tree’. They can fit on your balcony. They’ll cost about €10-15. And that includes the compost and the pot. If you need for a specific place and you are unsure just leave a comment here.

In the picture I have two trees. One died 🙁 but it’s staying where it is. I have plans for that…. 😆 So I planted a fig tree in front of it. I guess I didn’t want the garden to look bare.

Fig Trees
can be grown in a wide range of soil as long as it’s well drained. They are ‘usually trained up against a wall or fence. [This one won’t]. They are self fertile and easy to grow. I chose the Brown Turkey variety. It cost me €12.

fig-tree-brown-turkeyfig-tree-brown-turkey-1fig-tree-brown-turkey-2

cutting down hedges…

is it wrong...?

is it wrong...?

….is wrong!! According to Neil Faulkes… not when it is the right thing to do. Pause. Please read on…

Neil was the brains behind the hlai event that took place at Sonairte Ecology centre Saturday 7th February ’09 – on hedge laying. I went along. I didn’t realise it was a course that was being done. But I paid my €3 in the door and went along to see what it was all about.

I watched Neil as the chainsaws and butchering tools literally hacked lumps out of the boundary hedge and brought them to a mere stump!! Is this correct one may ask? The answer is – yes – when it is right to do so.

What hedgelaying [in short] does is:

  • the hedge is cut to a stump which will regenerate
  • the mature wood just cut is staked down and then interwoven across
  • fresh whips are planted behind the screen where nothing is growing
  • the new/ fresh fence provides protection to the new plants
  • a stronger, better hedgegrow results.
  • a new/ better/ stronger ‘ecosystem’ and hedgerow has been developed
Neil and peter

Neil and peter

So would I go doing this in your back garden… possibly not! But it is great for people to understand this theory because in Ireland for no matter what reason – sometimes – if a tree/ hedge is felled – one is considered a butcher. And whilst butchers do exist – it is in my experience, for the greater good than the amputation [you know what I mean…!] is performed.

If you would like to see the hedge layers work you can pop out to Sonairte in Laytown, Co. Meath or take a browse through the photographs below.

Either or, Sonairte is well worth a visit [i will do another post on it soon] and really good for kids to get a visual understanding of how it [and it does] all work when you are soooo environmentally concious.