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May In The Garden

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I’m slightly delayed on getting this one out…. but, I’m sure you possibly lazed up the sunshine last weekend and now you want to get the garden grooving.

Since my April In The Garden Post, plant life has gone mental. Thank God. Temperatures are well up… in fact I think I got sunburnt yesterday. The grass was cut twice in the last two weeks and thats only the fourth cut this year. Makes a change considering the amount of gardens I’m working in where plants have literally got blasted by the frost and low temperatures and are now being repalced….

So what will I be doing in my garden this month….

My lettuce is being used and thrown in with some sorrell… My spinach [image 1] is just about ready for cropping. I won’t be cutting an entire head of it… more just selecting a few leaves as required. The turnips on the other hand is a totally different story but you can see from the image above [image 2] that the first seed leaves [now purple] are ready to drop off and the plant is going to get ready to produce me something nice to cook. I grew mine in the old wheelbarrow.

In the garden everything is bumper. The daffodils have gone out of flower and are heading towards die back… I’ll give it another week or two before I run the lawnmower over them. I’m also on the last dregs of the tulips in my garden [image 2] but they were amazing while they lasted. In their place I have the Prunus amanagowa  cherry tree [image 3]  and also my edible cherries [image 1] and they are blooming. Not much to do there except wait for the fruit.But with them come the apple trees and that’s definitely one fruit I am looking forward to.

In other herb news the bay [image 1] is in flower, the fennell despite all the frosts are back with new shoots and the rosemary is also producing some nice blooms. You couldn’t really ask for more. Assuming you followed my bits of advice over the last few months you should be good. But do make sure and give them a cut back if required… grabbing a clump for the cooking usually helps this along.

My chives are something I may divide up, but for the moment they are getting a regular haircut. I’ve not had much luck growing them from seed… but I’m going to put that down to the slugs 🙄 The starwberrries on the other hand are growing well but are a while off producing fruit. That said it may be a bumper crop for my rhubarb this month. Pie anyone ?

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The biggest problem with this rain and warm temperatures though is the weeds. They are still plants, they just don’t know that we don’t like them 😉 In controlling them, I like to strike a balance between the back break and so I weed by hand in between my food crops and tend to spray in between my shrubs and trees. I think thats fair.

I’m going to continue sowing random bits of veg and herbs as the mood takes me – but I need to be careful I don’t end up farming with the amounts that I am growing. That said my neighbours seem to like me that little bit more and I have literally tons of window boxes and planters to get ready this weekend. I am going to be so busy.

Outside I just need to keep things watered… every evening this week I’ve been soaking my seed trays but then it has been raining while I’ve been sleeping [?] and I have an endless supply with my two water butts by my side.

Did I miss out on anything…. ? Leave a comment and let me know. Other than that happy gardening. 😀

what is eating my plant…

not what... but who?

not what... but who?

I was out near The Curragh recently with really nice clients having a coffee… on the way out the door… I spotted Dolly having a go at the newest vegetarian options menu 😆

Humour aside, last year of course my cabbage plants had an absolute savaging by the insect world. Not being the biggest chemical fan in the world that I am… I inspected and it was pretty easy to see why the ‘law of diminishing returns’ had taken an entirely new meaning. Without getting into the entire lengthy discussion of insects and their habits…. for the moment I shall narrow amage of leave down to two types.

The first is by insects… [pauses] pests of plants – whose  mouth eating parts will only alow them to eat in between the veins of the plants leaves… the second type is bird damage who will eat through any part of the leaf including the vein.

operophtera brumata

operophtera brumata

In this case it is plain to see the Winter Moth Caterpillar [operophtera brumata] having an absolute feast.

To control these guys the answers are [excluding chemical warefare] pretty pre-historic. Assuming you do wish to end their life, it is by hand that is constantly recommended by almost all books… ie. they are to be removed by hand. The only other method it seems is to cover the planted area with a horticultural fleece to prevent them getting to the plant.

Whatever you do, whatever you choose to grow – remember not to get stressed and enjoy 🙂

grow your own, cheaper than B & Q

I was on the phone to my good pal Thomas yesterday. Tom was doing some garden chores and wanted advice… he was in B & Q. The conversation turned to the grown your own kits that were on sale being sold there…

They’re how much Tommy?!!

That’s flamin’ mental….

So I’ve taken one example I have done myself. [The last 3 photographs are not from the B& Q kit by the way…. 🙂 ]I called it how to grow [your own] seeds [click here]. It cost me 10 cents…

But let me do a quick break down analysis [versus] what you get for €6.99.

Compost

  • i’ll assume a jam jar is the same size as a can of coke. 330 ml. Lets call it 500ml [mililitres].
  • In a bag of multi-purpose compost there is generally 75 litres [75 l].
  • 1,000 ml = 1 litre therefore 75 l = 75,000 ml.
  • Divide 75,000 by 500 and that’s 150 jam jars. [you still there…. ]
  • At no more than €7.50 a bag of compost [€7.50 divided by 150 jars] thats’s 5 cents for your compost.

Jam Jar or pot

  • one jam jar = free

Seeds

  • i’ll use lettuce for this example. B & Q’s lettuce seeds.
  • [I went here entered lettuce in the search bar and got this by the way]
  • They say there’s 1,000 seeds in a packet and they cost in sterling €2.10. I’ll call it €10.00 just for the sake of easy maths.
  • So 5 seeds should cost…. 5 cents.

This means a homemade ‘grow your own’ kit should cost you 10 cents. [takes a quick look at the photographs price tags again….

That’s serious spondula’s…. my question now is what’s the difference between the two ? gardening as I knew it when I was 5 years old was compost-less. It was a handful of muck, sieved and at the back of it all just good craic…. However you grow your bits and bobs – enjoy 🙂

thomas… thursday garden guest #10

If you would like to know more about Thursday Garden Guest time – click here

For the moment the writer in the finalé of this series is Thomas & Máire of Irish Allotments. It’s quite fitting that through the series of articles we have had the botantist, the plant hobby-ist right down to the one who just like to view a pretty world and smile. *Irish Allotments* summise all of that. But this is Thomas and Máire’s story of *their* garden. Enjoy 🙂

The Garden- What I like about…

beardies

beardies

In March, we brought two new babies into our home, Max and Sparky – tiny one month old Australian Bearded Dragons.

Despite being the length of my thumb, our two little boys (which we found out about two months later!) had big appetites! For the first few months they mostly eat crickets, a lot of them! Actually at some point the shop could not believe how much food our guys were getting through. Anyhow after a while they started eating more veg, a mix of about 3 greens and 1 or 2 fruits or veggies.

We were buying a ridiculous amount of greens to feed the boys the few shredded leaves they were eating, so we decided to try growing our own. We bought whatever took our fancy on realseeds.co.uk and brownenvelopeseeds.com and this ended up being a lot! These are both great sites, each run by a family who only sell what they grow themselves.

We started out with seed trays on the window sills. We made sure to plant lots of greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, pak choi, and cress, herbs like coriander, mint and the boys’ favorite parsley as well as tomatoes, peas, beans and cucumbers.

Pretty quickly we had to move outside to the balcony of our flat. We have 6 grow-bags out there and we got two little plastic hot houses from B and Q.

By May, we no longer had to buy any greens for our boys. As dragons grow, they eat more veggies and less meat (thank goodness!). They are now around a foot long, and we have a great new hobby but the balcony
was just not cutting it so in June we started looking for an allotment.

After an unsuccessful search for information about them in the Cork area, we set up Irishallotments.net, a website to fill that gap. We have met wonderful people in our efforts to expand the website, traveling to
open days and information sessions all over the county. Since then we have tried to get more involved with transition towns, community groups and allotments as our interest for all of them has been growing into a
passion.

Thomas & Maire
IrishAllotments.net