Tuesday 30 March 2021

The Ever Bustling Plant Nursery.


My old part of the veg plot runneth over with plants.

They are mainly perennials and shrubs that I have grown from division and cuttings.  I have hundreds of plants in plastic plant pots ready to be sold at carboot sales.  I have heard of there being a baby boom.  Well Lockdown Ireland means there is a plant boom on the banks of Bantry Bay.

Want to buy some perennials and shrubs?  Lots of pretty flowers for your garden?

Oh for carboot sales to return.  

Sunday 28 March 2021

A Gypsy Goth Rock Goddess From Coventry.

 I haven't  featured any of my favourite Rock lasses for a while.  Today I would like to feature Julianne Regan the lead singer of All About Eve.  She's  half Irish and half English like yours truly.

I first saw her and her band at Manchester Apollo in 1988.  Then me and my mates saw them again at Glastonbury festival in 1989.  It only cost 28 Pounds for a ticket and the weather was fabulous.

I remember a Rastafarian gentlemen stood in  the road next to the stands shouting: "Rocky, Rocky, Rocky.."  Me in my ever nieve manner thought he was shouting for his dog that he'd lost.  Someone told me " Rocky" was the street slang name for Moroccan or Pot!

It was a great weekend and the highlight for me was seeing The Pixies and All About About Eve.  

I often look up concerts I could have been to on You Tube.  Sure enough I found All About Eve singing on a video " In The Clouds".  At the beginning you hear two lads shouting: "In The Clouds".  I am sure it's me and my pal shouting the song title enjoy.

The long haired guitarist is called Tim and comes from Huddersfield  YP.

Friday 26 March 2021

Restoration Of An Overgrown Veg Plot.

I visited a garden the other day.  My task was to rescue a veg plot and get it ready for this years vegetable production.  This is how it looked:

All overgrown with grass and a leaning garden fork waits forlornly for someone to cultivate the veg plot again.  I took this photograph. 

This is how it looked after Dave the soil slave spent four hours toiling and forking over the veg plot:

Here I am with my new yellow wellybobs.   I am using my four prong pike.  My Azada hoe is lay down having a rest.  It said: "I'm knackered".  You can also see my two weeding buckets, the fork from the top photo, my stainless steel handled shovel that came from Blighty and the white plastic carrier bag contained my work gloves, two bottles of water and a can of coca cola.  The wife took the photo.

Not a bad job.  If I say so myself.  A Robin perched on my shovel and said: 

"Tiz a grand job boy. "

Wednesday 24 March 2021

Vegetables Appearing In "Portugal" My Polytunnel.

 Things are starting to happen in the polytunnel:

Spudatoes appear in the compost filled fish box.

Osteospermum cuttings I made last Autumn have flower buds forming.  You can also see my onions sets sprouting.

Peas growing in compost filled modules.  There's also beetroots seedlings at the top of the picture.

More onion sets.  They like to be started off in compost in the micro climate of  the polytunnel.

Things are progressing nicely.  Have you started sowing your vegetables  yet?

Tuesday 23 March 2021

Guinness Coasters From Lidl.

 I received another gift from my wife's shopping adventures in Lidl the other day:

Aren't  they great?  I remember when you would peel off the  front off a beer mat and use it to write on the now blank card?  Beer mats are also great for putting under a wobbly chair or table.

I haven't been in a pub since August 2019.  I would love to see beer mats being used again. 

Sunday 21 March 2021

Not Lisdoonvarna.

 I watched this video the other night.  It's a parody on Christy Moore's Lisdoonvarna.

  Christy owns or owned an holiday home on our peninsula (Sheepshead) in West Cork.  

I have seen his brother Luka Bloom play a couple of times.  Fair play to Mario for making me laught with his very topical ditty:

Saturday 20 March 2021

Bramble Scars.

 I spent a few hours clearing some overgrown Fuschia bushes entangled in brambles on Friday.  It was a lovely day and it wasn't long before I needed to take my jumper off.  I knew this wasn't a good idea but I was sweating.    

I use to own an England football team cotton drill top with long sleeves which was brilliant for gardening, protected my arms and kept me cool.  I asked Mrs Northsider to take some photos of my battle scars this morning:

Scratched arms.  They will no doubt make scars like the other lighter visible ones.

More bramble scratches/scars.

Friday 19 March 2021

A Bramble Put Down Roots In One of My Perennials Plant Pots.

 I wouldn't say my life is boring but.....?   I was rescuing my plant nursery from the encroaching grass and brambles yesterday.   I noticed a bramble invading one of my plants plant pots:

The bramble had only decided to put down roots in one of my Sedums plant pots.  So it could spread and smother and spread and smother again. Making it look like Sleeping Beauty's gardens.  Think they were overgrown for an hundred years?

I showed my wife the photo of the rooted bramble in the plant pot and she said:

"They're swines aren't they?"

It's been a wet winter I neglected the plants because of the weather.   So one of my chores is rescuing the perennials and repotting and topping up with compost.   Perhaps I should change my Northsider nickname to 'interesting '?  Well it's worked ok for the snooker player Steve Davis!

One day soon please God.  Life will return to normal and I will get up one bright and sunny morn and sell my plants.  

Thursday 18 March 2021

West Cork Sangria.

We made some Sangria on St Patrick's  day afternoon.  We've not drank any since last summer.  It's  a drink we discovered the first time we went to the Algarve.

A lovely South African bottle of  Stellenbosch wine was on offer.  We made the Sangria with the wine, whisky, lemonade, chopped, apples, lime and bananas and even strawberries.  Strawberries in March? 

So what's the West Cork connection?  It was made in West Cork.🍇😊  Bananas don't  grow in West Cork.  But Furze, Fuchsia and soft rushes are prevalent.

It's  a great  way to celebrate St Patrick's day.  Don't know if we will get to the Algarve this year.  But it felt like it!

Do you make Sangria? 

 It's a lovely drink on a sunny March day down here on the Irish Riviera.  The old currant bun is shining in the sky again today.  I think I'll make some more Sangria tonight.  Cheers!

Wednesday 17 March 2021

Monday 15 March 2021

Potato Planting On The Irish Riviera.

I decided to plant my Orla seed potatoes this morning.  Traditionally potatoes are planted on St Patrick's day or Good Friday in Ireland.   Here's some photos:

Trenches dug about six inches/15 Centimetres deep.

Three 2kg bags of chitted Orla First Early seed potatoes.  They originate in Scotland.

Seed potatoes planted about 14 inches apart.

All put to bed and covered up with soil by my long handled four prong pike.  I helped a bit too.  😊

I also planted a few seed potatoes in a large pot in the polytunnel filled with well rotted fym and homemade compost.  We should have some lovely new potatoes within 12 weeks time.

Have you planted your first earlies yet?

Saturday 13 March 2021

Lovely Day For A Guinness.

 The wife bought me a present from you know where (Lidl) the other day?  She knows I am missing my carboot  sales and browsing round charity shops.  So to satisfy my inner Womble she bought me this enamel Guinness mug:

There's a Touchan weather vane on  the front of the cup.

I don't think I will use it and it sits proudly on the unit in our front room.  Perhaps it will be worth summat/sumfink one day?

Apparently Guinness originates in London!  Not many people know that.  The Billingsgate porters use to drink a brown stout very similar to Guinness and  Arthur Guinnes called it 'Porter' after them.  When he established his brewery in Dublin he brewed this Porter and added Liffey water to it to give it's unique taste.

Remember this advert?

Friday 12 March 2021

Rooted Cuttings In The Carrot Baths.


Sedum cuttings I made last year.  I repotted them and topped them up with compost the other day.  Keen eyed viewers will note the bath on the right contained carrots last week or so. Sedums die back in the winter.  But they are coming back now.  Hopefully Spring and Summer is on the way?

Cotoneaster cuttings I made last Autumn.  All doing well.

I can't wait for carboot sales to return and I can sell some of my plants.  Why can supermarkets sell gardening stuff but we can't?  Carboot sales are mostly out in the fresh air after all.  

Wednesday 10 March 2021

Escape To Iceland.

I accompanied the wife to Cork city on Tuesday.  She had an hospital appointment.  It was the first time we'd been there since before Christmas.

The Guards (Garda) stopped us three times, twice on the way up and once on the way home.  Each time they asked us the purpose of our journey.  My wife told them we had an hospital appointment in Cork.  They didn't  look at the letter and told us to carry on.   If we had not had a reasonable or essential reason for our journey we would have 100 Euros (each) on the spot fines for breaching our five Kilometres restrictions.  

I waited in the hospital carpark for over an hour, watched 4 planes in the sky  landing and read blogs..

We decided to kill one bird with two stones and drove to Ballincollig and visited Iceland:

I nearly missed the Iceland writing off my photograph.

Some of our Blighty food and drink favourites including: Ravioli,  Piccalilli, beans N sausages, a Fray Bentos pie in a tin and a big bottle of Vimto.  We also bought some frozen meals and some Spam Fritters.

Roll on the day when we go to these places all the time!  Five Kilometres is a bit restrictive isn't it?

Where would you like to shop when or if the restrictions lockdown ever end?  I never thought I would miss Argos.  Don't we live in strange times? 

Tuesday 9 March 2021

Baking For Dogs.

Number 2 son ordered a biscuit mix for dogs.  It duly arrived last week and the wife baked them in the oven:

 Made in the UK.  Is that near England?

The biscuit mix even came with a plastic bone mould template:

This how they looked before they went in t'oven.

Rosie enjoyed them very much and I tried one myself.  They tasted like Bonio dog biscuits.  To be honest I prefer Bob Martens chocolate drops.  

Years ago me and my pal use to pop in the pet shop and buy a tube each on the way home from the baths.  They gave my hair lots of vigour and shine. 😊

Monday 8 March 2021

A German Rock Goddess.

One of the things I like about Germans is their appreciation for Heavy Rock, Organic vegetable growing and great beer.  I visited Germany in 2017.

Today I would like to feature Doro Pesch.  Born in 1964 and lead singer of German band:  Warlock.  

She's  another one of my Rock Goddesses  that I feature every week.  She's the German equivalent of Bonnie Tyler:

Enjoy and play your electric air guitar.

Saturday 6 March 2021

More Container Gardening Ideas.


Two old Ford 3000 tractor tyres full of soil and perennials and winter onions in plant pots.

Somebody wants more room in "my" polytunnel .  So I carried the soil filled fish boxes and crates outside.  One lump or three!  These contain my "Japs" or winter onions.   I've decided to leave them in the fish boxes/crates because the ground is still very cold.  

If you have an allotment and have inherited white onion rot or clubroot in the soil.  Container gardening is a good way of growing things in compost and not using the existing soil.

I once knew an allotment holder who grew all his brassicas in buckets with drilled drainage holes and full of compost.  His cabbages loved it.

You don't need money or even a garden if you grow things in containers.

Friday 5 March 2021

Time For A Cat/Dog Nap/ Siesta On The Irish Riviera.

 I captured this photo of  our canine and feline friends snoozing yesterday:

They don't have a bad life really.   Domino seems to think the dog bed is a cat bed.  Not that Rosie minds.

The droppings on the table are vegetable plot soil from my socks and do not belong to mouses or ratty yats.  I have a terrible habit of putting my feet on the coffee table.

Thursday 4 March 2021

Emptying The Carrots Bath.

 It's  been a grand and dry week down here on the Irish Riviera.  I have been a busy bee and it's been great to be out in the veg plot and polytunnel.

Yesterday I decided to empty the carrot bath which was full of overwintering carrots:

I have a few old damaged plastic baths that I  made drainage holes in and filled them with my special carrot soil mix.  

When I use to rent allotments in England I once made the wife a raised carrot bed with 2x2 paving  flags stood on end and filled with my special carrot soil mix: sieved topsoil mixed with river sand.  Sea sand can contain salt and your carrots might say: "We do not like salt".

I did the same  filling the baths with soil and sand.  You can also grow parsnips like this and with you growing above 12 inches or 30 centimetres old Mr and Mrs Carrot fly can't fly that high and they will leave them alone.  You can also cover the baths in fleece or old net curtains to keep any critters away.

My old mayonaise tub runneth over.  Do like my new yellow welly Bob's?   Oh what fun we had peeling and chopping and blanching and freezing all them.  

Anyone else grow carrots or parsnips this way?

Wednesday 3 March 2021

Starting The Onion Sets Off In Compost Filled Trays In "Portugal" My Polytunnel.

 It's still very cold to think of planting or sowing anything outside yet.  However if you want to give your onion sets a good start instead of them lying in the cold and wet clay/earth.  Why not plant them in compost filled trays or modules in the polytunnel,  greenhouse, cold frame or indoor window sill?

Newly planted onion sets in my polytunnel.   You can also see my "Japs" or winter onions growing on the right of the picture. 

When you come to plant your onion sets in a couple of weeks or so they will have strong stalks and white sock roots.  

Yes we know you can buy onions in net bags for 49 Cents from one of those discount supermarkets but it's not the same and you have to weed your homegrown ones.

I need to get some compost like "Jack's Magic" to start some peas off in modules and sow some Brussel sprouts seeds.  Do any of you make your own potting compost? A John Innes number three recipe perhaps?  

Do you grow your onions in compost in trays?  The wife's just come back from town with 3 bales of Irish Moss Compost.  They mus have been outside in the rain because they weigh a ton.  Aren't I a lucky lad?  Time to go potting up!

Tuesday 2 March 2021

Bringing In An Azalea Friend From The Cold Because The Seasons Have Gone Bonkers.

 The seasons are really mixed up these days.  We've  got Azalea's  flowering at the beginning of March:

It's  a bit cold for plants that originate in Asia and they like living under the shelter of a tree.  

I noticed this fine specimen flowering in my vegetables plot/nursery.  So I thought I would give it to the wife.  She likes pretty flowers.  Then we decided to let it come into the dwelling and have a warm in the front room with the seed potatoes and sprouting vegetable seeds.

Azalea seems very happy and I think it's better than her getting cold and losing it's  flowers because the seasons have gone bonkers.

Any one else got Azalea's flowering in March?

Monday 1 March 2021

Getting The Vegetable Seeds Going In Front Room Window.

 I weeded and dug over another veg plot area today.  I know it's still too cold to sow or plant anything.  But I thought I would get the ground prepared before the rains return at the weekend.

Meanwhile back at the ranch or even bungalow.   Wifey went to our German garden centre and beer providers the other day and came back with a handful of packets of cheap vegetables seeds.  I filled up the some trays in propagators with potting compost and then she sowed some vegetable seeds in the front room window:

Tomatoes, Capsicums and Sweet Peas.  All growing nicely and getting misted and heat from the Kitchen range and  front room stove and central heating.

We've also got spuds chitting on the unit in the front room.  We like to treat our vegetables with a bit of TLC.  Have you started growing vegetables seeds yet?

Two Charity Shop Vases Full Of Feverfew.

"The 18th Century Aspirin Plant." I have this plant growing in my veg garden at the moment.  It is supposed to be brilliant for al...