Posts Tagged ‘January’

PRUNING BLACKCURRANT BUSHES WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM AN ORGANIC EXPERT – THIRD WEEK IN JANUARY 2010

This mild and still weather after the ‘shock and awe’ of the BIG FREEZE really makes me appreciate the occasional foray into the garden. I was recently at an organic gardening talk by local experienced grower Nicky Kyle who asked me to pull a few raffle tickets as part of a fundraiser for disaster relief in Haiti.

I asked Nicky for advice on pruning blackcurrants. I was delighted when Nicky offered to visit my kitchen garden and show me how to wield a secateurs herself. I hope you can see the results of the visit on this video clip to follow for yourself.

THE PLEASURE OF PLANTING ROSES ON A MILD SUNNY SUNDAY – SECOND WEEK IN JANUARY 2010

After the rain, snow and ice, a dry weekend, not to mention a still and sunny Sunday was in relative terms, heaven on Earth. Although growing fruit and vegetables is my main activity in the kitchen garden, the cultivation of roses is very rewarding. For anyone concerned about ‘carbon footprints’, the sad reality about roses is that ALL roses sold in local shops are imported as far as I can see. So if you want an Irish rose for yourself or for some other special person, you will just have to grow it yourself!

Ingrid Bergman rose. Pic. courtesy http://www.rose-gardening-made-easy.com

I confess I had a bed of five Alec’s Red rose bushes but they were neglected over the years. I had wanted red roses but strangely, that variety is more crimson than red. However they had a lovely perfume

and in their hey-day, they served me well. I had even harvested the petals one year and made the most delicious and aromatic rose petal jam. Mind you it took the petals from five bushes to get one pound of jam but what a treat!

To replace rose bushes, it is recommended to not plant new bushes in the same soil. Therfore, my first job was to remove the soil and replenish the bed with compost and humus rich soil, well mixed. The old soil is perfectly good for vegetables however, so nothing is going to waste except the old rose bushes which I have dug up and stacked with the firewood to dry.

I have no shortage of well rotted compost at present which is covered by old carpet so that rain does not leach thegoodness out of it. A couple of barrow loads of fresh soil and compost refilled the new rose bed easily enough. The five new hybrid tea rose bushes are called ‘Ingrid Bergman‘. I am assured this variety is truly a red rose and has a very strong perfume. With the rose bed freshly prepared with loose friable soil, the planting of the five bushes was almost effortless with the help of a trowel.

Having welcomed Richard Corrigan and Duncan Stewart to graze their way through my little garden, it was a pleasure to now welcome such a classy guest as Ingrid Bergman!

RECOVERING FROM NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS WITH SOBER LOOK AT A FEW SEED CATALOGUES – FIRST WEEK IN JANUARY 2010

Having survived without sprain or injury on the ice  while heralding in the New Year, I was relieved to get a chance to sit down and see what seeds I had for the forthcoming planting season. With the ground frozen, the ordering of seeds is the ideal garden related activity for this time of year.

Giant Winter Leek

The gaps in my seed collection are to be filled once I get my orders in the post. The Organic Centre, Rossinver, Co Leitrim supplies most of my seed needs. See their online catalogue here. Giant Winter Leek, Rainbow Chard, Purple Sprouting Early Broccoli, Gold Rush Courgette and Sugar Grape Cherry Tomato are all on order.

Seed potatoes

I still need early (Orla) and second early (Carlingford) seed potatoes as well as a few annual flower seed to attract useful wildlife such as hoverfly and simply to make the garden more attractive to nose and eyes. There is to my mind nothing to beat the heady aroma of Night-Scented Stock on a warm summer evening (remember those!).