Snowdrops and daffodils about to burst into flower out in the shady front garden. I like to think they see it as the next best thing to woodland! Out front also the rhubarb and comfrey have awoken and the new greenery bodes well for another productive year.
Out in the back garden, the garlic cloves from Fruit Hill Farm near Bantry, planted in November last, are now sprouting forth, in spite of the severe ice and snow.
Got to cut wood for tinder using dried prunings from blackcurrant bushes and apple tree which were in storage over the summer. May not get much time in garden between now and the General Election. Wildlife on the garden may well be pleased to be undisturbed for the next few weeks. Must remember to feed the birds at least.
The growing of Duke of York in car tyres and Carlingford in large 2 foot diameter pots has yielded a reasonable harvest. Both varieties are second-early potatoes. However the tyre grown Duke of York produced larger tubers and a heavier crop overall. It seems the tyres retained moisture better than the pots. The tyres were sitting on the open soil too which helped with moisture coming from below.
Apart from the crop, the emptying of pots and tyres has given me a lovely supply of spare friable soil. I also cleared the mange-tout plants away as that crop was well eaten and enjoyed. This gives me a little clearing amongst the profuse vegetation.
This clearing and the supply of friable soil means it is easy now to pot up the strawberry runners I wrote about last week. I also want to propogate ivy plants as ground cover in my shady front garden. Having retrieved enough empty plant pots, all I need now are ivy cuttings to plant up.
Ivy is growing well on my wild flower garden shed roof. In fact it needs to be cut back. I’m having friends and neighbours around on Saturday evening and need to cut back any overhanging obstacles. The ivy I cut back, instead of going into the compost bin, this time gets a second chance as cuttings.
Minister Sargent presents Ryan Tubridy with some home-grown goodies. Ryan looks bemused at the Dutch Hoe he's holding!
There is satisfaction in getting timing right in a small garden. Gardeners generally appreciate this. I hope Ryan Tubridy appreciates the hamper of fresh veg and fruit I gave him at the end of our short chat on his last radio show before the summer break. I certainly appreciate the publicity the radio show gave to this website. The hits shot up dramatically following the broadcast. The power of radio, even more powerful than comfrey tea! HEALTH WARNING: Comfrey tea is a strong smelling plant feed, good for fruiting tomatoes but not for human consumption. The Irish Times please note!
What a scorcher of a holiday weekend with temperatures in the mid twenties! Thanks to Bord Bia and their key sponsors, Bloom in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, did a great service in encouraging armchair gardeners to have a go at growing some of their own food. I had the honour of opening the Michelle Obama garden or more officially the ‘White House Garden’. This opening took place in the presence of the Acting-Ambassador from the USA, Mr Robert J Faucher. The Acting-Ambassador graciously accepted a bag of fresh radish from my garden in appreciation for the help from the USA Embassy in establishing this iconic garden at Bloom. It is the first time an ‘Obama Garden’ has been replicated outside the USA.
Meanwhile back at the ‘ranch’ in my own garden, the blackfly colonised the growing tips of my broad beans. Solution? A hand held mist sprayer filled with water and a drop of washing-up liquid. Find a jet setting by twisting the nozzle. A strong jet from the sprayer dislodges these black little aphids. Those I miss will hopefully be eaten by ladybirds and hover flies. This has now become an early morning routine along with hoeing and watering.
The tomato, potato and strawberries are flowering as are broad beans. Blackcurrants, raspberries and apples are growing their fruits now also. So I am putting a dollop of comfrey feed in each watering can I fill. The comfrey leaves when cut back are covered with water in a barrel with a tap. This ‘Comfrey Tea’ once diluted is a common organic feed used to help plants when they are coming in to fruit. Don’t mind the smell, it disappears as nature takes up the goodness within a few hours I find.
Now is the time to feed and water growing plants, fruit trees especially. We need to balance the necessity for watering our plants with the need to avoid wasting water, such a precious resource. In the video you’ll see some techniques I use, including making that famous ‘comfrey tea’.