Sunday, 17 March 2019

From Half A Veg Plot To A Plant Nursery?

Over the last few years I have become more and more interested in the division and cuttings/propagation of perennials and shrubs.  The veg plot is no longer the main focus of my gardening.

Of course we still grow vegetables like early spudatoes, onions, cabbages, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, swedes, lettuces...?  But since the arrival of the polytunnel six years ago and Lidl arriving in Bantry.  We can manage with half a veg plot.  You can't beat leeks for forty nine Cents can you?

Yes I know they could have been sprayed with weedkillers and grown with chemical fertilizers.  Yes our veg have never seen any chemicals and they are fresh when we pick them.  I just feel a bit defeatist when I realise  that the cheap vegetables save a lot of work and the world is not perfect.  Never was never will be. 

I don't think there is anything more quintessentially English than a cottage garden with its patchwork quilt approach to informal planting.  Nature doesn't have a spirit level does it?

So what will I do with all my surplus plants?  I will sell them on carboot sales and perhaps a few shops will sell some for me?  If anybody in Cork or Kerry wants any perennials or shrubs.  Please leave a comment.  Has anybody ever started a plant nursery?  Have you thought of growing things and selling them?

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Potato Planting In Polystyrene Planters In The Polytunnel.

"Peter  Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers."  That's what my blog title sounds like, doesn't it?  Today is March the twelfth.  Traditionally In Ireland, Praeties (potatoes) were planted on St Patrick's Day, the 17th.  This is also the day when the cows went out for the summer grazing.  

However after the warmest February and probably the wettest March we have resorted to plant some in my office, my poly-tunnel.  

Regular readers will know that I have lots of recycling ideas and a great believer that gardening and vegetable gardening in particular should not cost much.

The old estate  gardeners believed in home made compost, and make do and mending and propagation by cuttings and division.

Number one son bought a new welder and it came in a cardboard box which I used in the veg plot and it's polystyrene packaging is now a potato planter in the poly-tunnel.  I just punctured some drainage holes and filled them up with compost from my compost piles.

We bought some seed potatoes (2 bags for 5 Euros) from our favourite German garden (Lidl) centre in Bantry and planted  8 potatoes in the two planters.  Then we covered them up with some more of our homemade compost.  I also planted some red onions in trays.  They will be planted out in a week or three when they start shooting and they won't rot in the cold and wet soil.  I have planted my white onions outside a couple of weeks ago and they are not happy bunnies. 

We will plant the other early potatoes in a couple of weeks and this gives me time to clear the plot of weeds and for it to dry out.  Have you started thinking or even planting in the veg plot? We have got seeds sprouting in the kitchen and they love the warmth of the central heating.  

Monday, 4 March 2019

Altan In Killarney

 We set off for Killarney on Saturday morning.  We stopped at Casey's garage in Bantry and filled up the car with diesel and bought two steak pasties.  Then we stopped at the carpark opposite the ruins of Carriginass Castle and ate our pasties.  

Built in 1540.This was a former home of Dermot O'Sullivan.  He was a member of the O'Sullivan clan.  They owned a large part of West Cork land in those days. It was a very wet and windy Saturday.

We went to Killlarney Nec to The Gathering Festival.  We got tickets to see Altan.  They come from the same neck of the woods that Clannad come from: Gweedore in County Donegal.  They are a band who I have wanted to see for a while.  I have seen Clannad three times in Manchester.

The poster for the concert. 

 Altan in concert.
Altan and the Sliabh Luachra Band all performed together for the final song.  The first band didn't play until 9.30 and Altan came on at 10.55 and finished at 12.25.  It was a good night and great to see another legendary Irish band.  

Check out some of the great videos from the concert on You Tube.  Just type: Altan Killarney!  Here's an appropiate recorded track for the weather over the weekend.

Friday, 1 March 2019

Fishing Tales.

Fishing  is another pastime frequented by all different kinds of people.  You get the small kid who just wants to catch a fishy on the lishy.  He is happy catching sticklebacks and sharing his mum’s sandwiches with the local wildlife. Then there is the trout fisherman who only uses the fly and disapproves at the common Coarse fishing angler.   Trout man spends all his time trying to imitate a May fly and thinking of interesting tweed jackets.   He is often seen at a private stocked troutery, fishing for Triploids (had their sex organs electrically removed so they resemble bullocks) that  have had about two dustbins of trout pellets a second.  Trout man is really chuffed when he catches one of the Leviathans and proudly shows off his catch!
I spent a lot of my youth and early adulthood Coarse fishing.  Every stream, flooded quarry, canal, mill pond, river, reservoir and lodge was fished.  All just so that I could catch a fish and let it go again.  
Oh what joy it was to look down at your maggot box and see a big brown rat eating the bran.  I am terrified of rats (shit scared) and they soon helped me pack up my tackle and run home!  I think my rat phobia goes back to my childhood. 
I once went out the back street one winter’s night in my stocking feet to let my beloved dog Tess back in after her ablutions and a good bark.  A great big greasy looking sewer rat type very kindly decided to walk over my feet.  I turned and fled and unofficially broke the world 100 metres record.  
Anyway I digress.  I spent many a happy and not so happy time fishing.  I enjoyed my time sitting fishing with a keep net full of Thwaites beer and half bottle of whisky to keep me warm.
 I can recall breaking ice with a stone and spending TWO hours shivering and feeling sorry for myself.  I never caught anything but what’s better than a bit of hypothermia now again.  I met a few anoraks on my fishing adventures.  I often  remember the one man and his dog that would stand behind you watching your float for about five minutes.  Then they would say:
 “Have you caught out (anything) mate.” 
I would reply yes or no and they would shrug their shoulders and walk off.  Thanks a lot Mr dog walker for standing behind me and sending me paranoid.  Oh the times I used to think some mass murderer was going to kill me and make me into their dog: Rover’s dog food. 
One time I joined a local fishing society.  I walked the two miles to my new fishing paradise and began to assemble my fishing rod.  A friendly neighbouring angler fishing on the opposite peg greeted me by saying:
 “Get to f*ck off there.  You’re not fishing on my peg”. 
I looked in front of my peg (a prostrate wooden pallet, precariously hanging over the water) and noticed the “friendly Fishermans” float.   I tried to protest that I was only fishing on a vacant peg and he threatened to give me good hiding. 
I was only 16 and he was about forty.   Friendly fisherman was built like the proverbial brick shit house, and his cat had obviously urinated on their corn flakes that very morning.   So I picked up my tackle and left “friendly angler” to his half of the fishing lodge. 
There is another kind of angler fisherman.  He is the fisherman who spends all his or her time (most women aren’t so stupid) thinking they will catch the biggest carp, cat fish or pike in the world. 
 Big fisherman  spends all its money and time drooling over pictures of big fish (there is another creature that drools over big women) and spending its money on a trip to Saint Lake Cassin in France.  The Loch Ness monsters relatives live in the depths of the lake.  Big Fishermans wife is a fishing widow and dreams of spending a week in a static caravan in Skegness. 
I used to like doing a bit of fishing.  I would fill my keep net with eight cans of Thwaites bitter and lie on the canal towpath for the afternoon.  I didn’t usually catch anything,  but I always got a tan and pleasantly drunk.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

A Chipshop Tale.

When I was in the Algarve.  Sid the seagull and I talked about chips (see last blog post!) and he told me tell you the following anecdote:


I once walked into a Chinese takeaway one pleasant evening.  The shop staff was out the back preparing some dishes.  A rather drunk man was sat at the counter eating his chips.  He had decided to make his self at home for the evening, like you do!  The man recognized my friend who was with me:
“Hello lad, your one of me son's mates aren’t you?”  I’ve been watching telly (same programmes as other Chinese takeaway) for last half an hour.  They always show the same foreign shit.”
We laughed and nodded in agreement (just to pacify) him.
Suddenly, he gets up and bolts straight over the food counter.
“Let’s see if that Charlie Angels is on telly (good foreign American television).  I wouldn’t mind getting them three in my bed.” 
Two angry looking Chinese men rush out from the back.  One shouts to our chip shop entertainer:
 “What do you think your doing?  You trying to steal money out of till, me call the police.” 
“No I’m not; I’m only seeing what’s on the other side.  You have got it all wrong.”  He then decided to attempt to run away (one foot on the road, one on the pavement) with two irate martial arts experts chasing after him.   It was very funny!
 Have you got any chip-shop or takeaway tales?

Sunday, 24 February 2019

A Prime Location, Street Art And A Seagull.

We noticed this house and garden for sale.  A kind taxi lady phoned the seller for us and texted us back with the price.  Are you sitting down?  They wanted 440000 Euros for it!  No doubt its in a prime location and one day there will be a concrete block of holiday apartments on the site?  So called progress I suppose?

We noticed that the utilities boxes are painted by some very talented artists and they cover up any graffiti.

 A friendly seagull called Sid.  He waited patiently every day for any tit bits.  I think he originated in Blighty because chips were part of his diet.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Algarve Litter Bins.

We are always amazed how clean and litter free it is in the Algarve.  There are bins everywhere.  Be it the beach or in the busy town streets:

 The green bin is clothes and shoes.  The round bin is for house hold domestic rubbish.  They are double the depth of the bin you see on the right hand size of the picture.
 The blue bin is for paper and cardboard.  The yellow bin is for plastic.  Gwil (Zen my ass blog) told me once that they have plastic recycling bins in Austria.   The green bin is for glass bottles.  I think its time we had plastic recycling bins in Ireland.  Or even some bottle banks on the north side of our peninsula.  Or even litter bins in the countryside?
This amusing picture says it all doesn't it?

Even on the Algarve beaches there are litter bins everywhere.  I never saw any litter or plastic on any of them.  Fair play Portugal.  You raise the bar when it comes to litter!

From Half A Veg Plot To A Plant Nursery?

Over the last few years I have become more and more interested in the division and cuttings/propagation of perennials and shrubs.  The veg ...