Thursday, 28 November 2013

Garden club in November 2013

Novermber is often the last month for our garden club. Winter is nearly here, and we need a break for a while to make new plans for Spring.

It was another rainy day, nothing unusual for November in Ireland, but our garden club was surely on. Our hardy friends and neighbours came to work for Tommy and Anita's garden in Magherabaun.

Somehow it's always men's work to turn compost. Maybe that's what they're interested in more than weeding. Here are the reliable gentlemen gathering up at the compost.

Harrie came to the garden club today with his teleporter, bringing a wonderful present for Tommy and Anita.. top quality organic manure from his farm.

The manure was well mixed with compost later on and looked really good.

Today's work is mainly weeding, which seems to be the most popular work for our garden club. You might get sick of weeding your garden on your own but you'd be amazed how much you can enjoy it when you have good company.

We haven't seen this woman in our blog before. That's because I'm the photo taker and have been writing this blog since. Frank kindly offered to take this photo of me, thanks Frank.

Their garden beds are all highly raised up. It's a great way of having it so that you don't bend your back all the time. Also there's less attraction for slugs to come in. All is good.

Saul's 2 woofers from Italy came along with him to work with us. It must have been some experience for them to be outside, working in the rain for 3 hours...! Well done.

We're almost finished weeding.

The beds would be covered with cardboard until next Spring so that no weed would come up. 

Tommy's shed looks lovely with timber for heating. He's very proud to be able to heat their house with the wood from their own land.

Tommy and Anita's garden is full of smart and unique ideas.

This bed has a timber frame above it with plastic sheet all around. It's like a polytunnel or cloche.

Hand made glass house is a brilliant thing to have.

This timber framed glass house is made with old windows, plastic and corrugated clear roof. If you're a handy person and have a bit of time, you can make your own glass house instead of buying a commercial one.

Even their small tunnel is the most unusual.

The tunnel slides over the two raised beds. I've never seen anything like it before...!

Saul is clipping the beech hedges to make it tidy. He is the right man for the job!

It was nearly 1 o'clock and we couldn't wait to go inside. Anita's homemade leek and potato soup was there to welcome us. 

We had lovely lunch as usual, you really feel gardening and cooking are strongly connected to each other. There's nothing tastier than your own food.

That's it for now and we're going to have a lunch party next December. I might update this blog for one more time then. 
See you soon and thank you all for reading it.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Garden club in October 2013

Hello readers, welcome to Glendree Garden Club Blog.
It's been 6 months since we started this blog and I hope you're all enjoying reading, looking at pictures and getting some ideas for your garden and your community.

The significantly dry weather was still with us in October and it was a perfect day for digging potatoes for Saul and Damhnait.

First of all, they wanted us to collect seed pods which were on the actual potato plants. They're the potato fruit and contain seeds inside. But you shouldn't eat them as they're poisonous.  

There was a lot of seed pods fallen on the ground. To avoid mixing them up with the potatoes we were going to dig, we picked them all first.

It's a pity you can't eat them.. 

We started working very efficiently as diggers, collectors and carriers!

So many potatoes appeared and a lot of them were absolutely huge.

According to Saul, there were 3 different varieties of potatoes, Sarpo Mira, Sarpo Axona and Tibet. They're all blight resistant.

They'll be drying away on the tarpaulin for a while before storing.

3 ladies are taking rye grains off the stalks.

They would never be short for carrots this winter. It's just amazing how tasty home grown carrots are.

We dug all the potatoes and we made the soil nice and flat so that it'd be ready for the planting green manure such as rye, vetch, phacelia etc.

Now we're in the other patch of vegetable garden for weeding.

Saul and Damhnait keep 3 ducks and they were around in the garden with us. When I found a huge slug, I threw it out and the ducks ran over and got it in a second!

In the mean time, a few men were on the other side of the field, turning the compost. It's essential to have good compost for your garden through the year and if you're living in the country side, it shouldn't be difficult to find a supplier.

While we were working outside, the kids were cooking soup in the kitchen for us. Well done to them all, the soup was delicious!

We have only one garden club to go this year now. Hope to see you then.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Garden club in September 2013

September is the month for a new start. Some of us might get a bit tired with the new routine. Whether if that's the reason or not, our garden club started quite late.

It was on in Pat & Erika's, our place and there was no sign of anybody for the first half an hour.
I was beginning to think maybe nobody would make it this morning and then Tommy arrived! He thought he was running late himself so he was surprised he was the first one to appear.

By 11:30, there were 10 adults and a few little ones and we all started working.

We were in one of the 3 fields of ours (we call it the small field) and the bottom part of the field was covered with cut rushes. Pat has been cutting old tough rushes with his scythe late summer and today we gathered them up and made a lot of piles in the field.

Here is a lovely photo of the 3 girls!

Pat is looking at the edge of the field. When we built our house, our digger brought the sub soil into this field to dump it. So the field is in a bad state and very uneven, especially near the bottom.
What can we do about it?

Pat and Tommy worked very hard, trying to get the surface of the bank even. It wouldn't be a kind of work you'd want to do by hand, but while you have a lot of help, why not?

Soon enough, Saul came down with a perfect tool for it.

This is the tool called a root axe. It's heavy duty hoe/axe for clearing. Saul told us you could get it at Frui Hill Farm down in Bantry, Co.Cork. Pat ordered straight away after the garden club and it works extremely well for leveling the ground.

We've been in this place for over 5 years and we've never seen this field as tidy as ever so we were very grateful. Thank you all.

The lunch was very satisfying. We really enjoyed big hot feast and chat after the hard work. Some of us play traditional Irish music for fun and some do for a part time living. So we were talking about the latest recordings and favourite Irish singers etc. It's great to be able to share your interest with your friends.

A couple of people stayed on to watch all Ireland senior hurling final between Clare and Cork. All of us were up for Clare as this is where we live but a Clare man Pat was in a different world altogether! The match ended with an amazing equalizer for Clare. Up the Banner! 

We're still having a very mild, dry weather in Ireland. We hope it keeps that way till next month. See you then.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Garden club in July 2013

Harrie & Mona sent us a text message a few days before the Sunday to tell us what tools we could bring for the garden club and I'll tell you the sun cream and a hat were mentioned..!

We had such a wonderful hot summer this year in Ireland for which we've been waiting for years. It has brought us better harvests of everything from the garden.

The good weather continued for our garden club in July.
Harrie & Mona are running a big farm. They do everything in organic and self sufficient ways.

Today's work is mainly weeding their vegetables. There is an awful lot of stuff growing here. And surprisingly, most of it is for themselves to eat.

Onions, beetroot, cabbage and broccoli.. all the crops are looking just amazing.

Broccoli is just about to come out.

These are beetroot, the seeds of which they got from our local seed supplier, Irish Seed Savers in Scarriff. They provide old native seeds and fruit and some members of our garden club are involved with this association.

We've been weeding between all the vegetables until we came to these ones. Guess what they are?

There seems to be loads of it...

They're beet. They keep a few working horses for farming, and Harrie and Mona feed them with these.

I guess this is the patch they didn't use for growing anything this year so that they've sown red crimson clover.

They're lovely to look at and they work brilliantly as green manure.

Weeding in such a enormous garden is a hard job to do for two people and that's where the garden club comes in to give a hand.
After almost 3 hours of working outside with the beautiful sunshine, now we need to be fed well!

We had a lot of salad from the garden, organic cheese and beautiful homemade bread. But the highlight for me was Mona's goats cottage cheese with chives on bread. Mmmmm.....

Gochiso-sama deshita!

We don't usually have a garden club in August. Some of us might be away and there is Feakle Festival on... Let's say August is the month to play...! See you in September.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Garden club in June 2013

It was another wet day for our garden club. This time, it wasn't just drizzle and mist but raining properly..! Sure, we're well used to it, so here we go.

We all gathered in a beautiful part of Glendree, Frank & Grainne's place, for the garden club.
Today's work is mostly weeding and tidying the hedges near their vegetable garden.

The wild foxgloves are blooming in their flower patch. There is no reason why you shouldn't grow wild flowers in your garden such as foxgloves, daisies, wild strawberries, montbretia, heather etc.

We were well prepared for the rain this morning (except me, Frank kindly gave me his spare rain coat. Thanks Frank!) so it didn't bother us too much. Frank and Grainne wanted us to weed in their orchard, so that's where we spent a lot of time working.

We got rid of most of the weeds but Grainne wanted to keep some foxgloves and white clover because bees love them. Now, this is a good way of thinking about your garden. Always think of nature, not just what you want yourself. 

Their apple trees are still young, but there is plenty fruit on them. It's great to have your own apples. You can make so many different delicious things with them.

Fruit trees and bushes don't like having weeds or grass around them. There is a plastic sheet being laid and straw on top. Perfect. 

Hawthorn makes a lovely thick hedge and is great to shelter the garden.

Harrie gives a quick shave with the hedge cutter to tidy it up a bit.

We all know machines do a quick job, but we like using more old fasioned tools like this scythe. Fergus is doing a great job on the grass with it.

They have a lot of fruit trees and fruit bushes along the driveway.

I didn't think you could grow a fig tree outside in Ireland. I wonder do they get any fruit? 

Frank looks very happy among the bushes! 

Everything is delayed this year due to the cool spring we had. Even elder flowers came out quite late, we had this garden club at the very end of June but the elder flowers on this tree were not all fully out yet.

Even though we had rain jackets on, after 3 hours outside we were fairly wet below the rain jackets. So when we went in the house for lunch, some women changed into Grainne's clothes. I'm sorry now that I didn't take photos of them wearing all kinds of colourful skirts and pieces of cloth!