Monday, 26 March 2012

Our love of the humble Potato

If I was to name one vegetable that I remember being planted every year as a child growing up in rural Ireland it would have to be the Potato.

Every farmer I knew had a field of spuds growing;  no such thing as first or second earlies or main crop in our house, it was one type of potato and that was it. No such thing as chitting either! the seed potatos that were planted were kept from the previous years crop to use.

It wasnt some small raised bed for the crop either but a half an acre, at least!
My father would have the field ploughed and the drills made using his tractor and plough. Then my mother would have the boxes of seed potatos placed at intervals along the drills.

With a bit of instruction myself and my siblings would follow our parents lead to plant our main veg. Its wasnt easy, I have memories of my back being very sore by the time those boxes were emptied and the day was over.
Its a bit different for our kids......(a few less spuds to plant too!)

 We (sorry the boys) planted our First Earlies the other day, Home Guards.
Now that they are down it is time to make another raised bed, for our main crop, which are still chitting on the bedroom windowsill!

Oh and heres a picture of a very welcome friend in our garden, hopefully one of many.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The hard slog before the nice stuff

If there was one thing I dislike about gardening its weeding ( I have mental scars about weeding as a child that will take years to erase! lol).

I can tell you that digging and making raised beds is much easier than digging out stubborn weeds, whose roots run alot deeper in the soil than the stems above the ground! (Or maybe I have conveniently forgotten how hard it was to do the beds last year!)

If the weather had been kinder to us over the past few months I might have gotten to the weeds earlier but alas Mother Nature had other ideas and left us with a waterlogged garden.

Now the grass has turned to meadow and I have very little motivation to go back out tommorow and do more. I suppose its not that bad, I did get a bit done today so I will have less to do....
This was once the Carrot bed ......

I turned the compost heaps today, some nice compost but still plenty of rotting to do before I can use it in the garden. I even found some Rocket growing in it!

While weeding the beds I found loads of these, great to get rid of some before they hatch or whatever its called with slugs...

But I did come across this wee guy in our polytunnel so maybe slug control wont be soo hard this year.. (they were regular visitors in the tunnel last year)

Have left some polythene in the corner under the potting table in the polytunnel esp for him to hide under so he might stay around for the growing season..

Friday, 2 March 2012

One dog, two boys & alot of Frogspawn

One thing about living in the countryside is the abundance of lanes/sideroads around to go for walks on. We're very lucky to have one such lane within a stones throw of our house, just a pity we have to walk along a main road for a few metres before we get to it. Not exactly child friendly, but at least the lane is fairly car free.

Where I grew up as a child, with the Atlantic ocean on one side and the Ox mountains on the other, we had loads of choice of routes to venture on safely.We even had a small river (to big to call a stream) running at the back of my parents farm. A childs paradise, and I have loads of great memories of myself and my siblings conquering the world and its mother while on these adventures too.

Its a part of my childhood I wish for our boys, and bringing them on walks is my way of giving them some memories of adventure and family fun, albeit with a tag along mother and a Jack Russell.....

It was a lovely spring day yesterday and because it was World Book Day the boys didnt get any homework except to read a book (which they do anyway every night before bed). So by 3.30 we were  'venturing' down the lane.

And this is what we found ...

What I hear you say, (as you strain to see whats in the picture), well heres another one....

Any ideas yet? frogspawn................hundreds if not thousands of the wee dots. I'm afraid I only had my iphone on this walk, was sorry I didnt have my camera for better shots, ah well, next time..

Our lane (as I'm going to call it from now on) has a few streams flowing along it, and theres water, water everywhere. A frogs dream home.

And a swamp...