Thursday 29 February 2024

Filling Up The Polytunnel.

 The polytunnel is starting to fill up already and it is only the end of February.

I have over wintered perennials like Osteospermums which are not native to these shores and are not frost hardy.

Potatoes have been chitted and planted and so have our onions and garlic.

Cuttings of shrubs and hedging have been taken and I have started dividing perennials to make new plants.

I sowed peas and beetroots the other day.  I am waiting to see how long they take to germinate before I sow anything else.

The temperature definitely warmed up this week in the polytunnel and I am watering more often.

This is my 50th blog post of the year.  

I am glad I weeded and dug over the veg plot and dug potato trenches on Monday.  

March can be a hellish like month here.   

It sometimes comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

You can get four seasons in a hour here.

Are you ready for Spring?

Tuesday 27 February 2024

A View Of A Newly Planted Raised Onion Bed In The Polytunnel.


I planted the onions 🌰 that had been growing in plastic modules in the polytunnel.

This raised bed is in the polytunnel.  Yes you're right we also have Japanese Winter onions growing in the polytunnel.

Some people do not bother growing onions because they are so cheap to buy especially from discount supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi.

You can say that about growing your own vegetables.  We buy supermarket vegetables especially like now when there is an hunger gap.  

I have been an organic or natural vegetable grower for over thirty years

One thing about growing your own vegetables is the freshness and the taste.

Monday 26 February 2024

Digging And Weeding The Plot Listening To Thin Lizzy.

 This morning it wasn't raining for a change.  

After feeding and watering the livestock I planted some more onion sets in trays in my homemade compost and I decided to weed one side of the polytunnel with a bucket and mytrusty Azada hoe.  Hoe (Oh!) how I love my Azada.  

Then I forked and stone picked and whilst doing this, I listened to my second favourite Rock band Thin Lizzy on my mobile phone.  I once saw them back in 1981.  What a band!

"Don't believe a word none of this is true.  Don't believe it  if I tell you I'm still love with you".

A song for my veg plot.

Do you believe in digging over your veg plot or a you a "no dig" gardener? On our rain lashed heavy ground you have got to fork the ground over to remove compaction, improve drainage and aerate the soil.  My backs aching but I am happy with my work.  There's still life in the old dog, even though I am sixty years of age.  I will deserve a few cans of beer tonight!

Sunday 25 February 2024

German Shepherd Puppy Dog Gardening Club.

No not the name of a Berlin Prog Rock band.  

The pups had been busy in the night gardening:

They had only gone and  knocked our Bilburgia or Queens Tears off the windowsill and my first chore of the day was to gather up the plant and stones and compost.

They made a very good job and wrecking seems to be their speciality.

Then I noticed that four plants ðŸŠī  joined together.

So I took them to my dining table potting bench in the polytunnel and I teased the plants apart and 
I repotted them in my homemade potting mix and they residing and recuperating in the ICU section of the polytunnel.

I gave them a drink with my watering can and they seem to be doing fine.

Do you have any four legged gardening pals?

Friday 23 February 2024

Tightwad Leaky Wellington Boots Temporary Fix.


My wellingtons have started letting water in the toe.

But I am not going to throw them away just yet.  Oh no.

I took a plastic pedal bin liner bag from the kitchen cupboard and made myself a waterproof sock cover.

You can also use it to protect your hair when it's raining.

I think I should patent my Wellington boot repair kit before someone pinches my idea.

Perhaps I should start a Crowdfunder campaign for a new pair of wellingtons?  Any donations would be very welcome.

Anyone got a pair of size 11 wellington boots needing a good home?  They will get plenty of exercise and fym to roll in.

I might make them into plant pots or even rubber hinges for a gate.  Ones got to be resourceful when you're a tight wad smallholder like yours truly.

Remember this song?

Thursday 22 February 2024

Scrambled Eggs On Toast.

 You know you are good at blog writing when you can write a post about most topics.

The hens and ducks are prolific layers at the moment.  They are like the Dixie Dean's and Erling Haalands of the egg laying world.

Yesterday ("All my eggs seemed so far away") see song at end of this post, we had scrambled eggs on toast.  Even the dogs love them and the pigs like fresh ones.

Scrambled eggs on toast complete with House of Parliament brown sauce or HP for short and is now made in the ðŸ‡ģðŸ‡ą Netherlands.

Apparently according to WIKIPEDIA  the first recorded or written account of Scrambled eggs was in a 14th century Italian cook book.

Do you like scrambled eggs on toast?  We had Indian omelette for Sunday tea.

Here's a song by one of the Beatles about Scrambled Eggs.  Who knows he might write a classic hit one day?😊

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Texting Instead Of Talking.

 I have noticed people texting each other even when in the same room.  The younger generation are very good at it in fact.

When we went to Tenerife in December we walked  into a English pub and we were the only customers.  

The bar owners sat down next to us eating their dinner.  They gave us the menus to look at.

There was nothing I fancied and the wife began texting me via WhatsApp:

What you having?

I dunno,  There is nothing I fancy.

Me neither.

Do you want another drink?

Why are you having one?

Shall we sup up and go to that Indian restaurant?

If you want?

We drank our drinks and wifey said to the bar owners:

"We'll have a walk round and we may come back later for something to eat."

Bar Owner: " Ok see you later."

Texting can get you out of some awkward situations.

I wonder how many couples text each other when their visitors don't seem to want to go home? Well I suppose it's different to putting the cat out, yawning and winding the clock and saying:

"Is that the time?"

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Planting The Seed Potatoes In The Polytunnel In February.

Some of the new Homeguard seed potatoes ðŸĨ” nicely chitted and ready to plant.
Seed potatoes placed 12 inches or 30 Centimetres apart in the six inch deep trenches I dug a couple of weeks ago.

All covered up with my trusty Azada and also the rake.

Twelve weeks later we will hopefully have a bumper crop of new potatoes ready to harvest and eat.

I have small square bales of straw to cover the potato haulms if we get any frosts.  Have you planted any seed potatoes in the polytunnel or greenhouse yet?

Monday the 19th of February was a beautiful day and I even got outside onto the veg plot and did some weeding with my trusty Azada.  Today I have mucked out the poultry and feeding and watering the livestock.  It's absolutely bucketing it down.  What a difference a day makes!

Monday 19 February 2024

My Homemade Potting Compost.

 Another gardening post just for a change.

Regular readers will know my hobby nay obsession is propagating perennials and shrubs and growing vegetables.

Apart for sowing seeds I no longer buy lots of potting compost I make my own using different growing mediums:

Homemade compost.
Fym or farm yard manure: pony, poultry, rabbit and pig.  Twelve months old or almost?  Full of natural nutrients to feed the plants growth requirements. 
Sand.  Preferably river or crushed quarry stone sand not sea sand full of salt or builders sand full of man made chemicals.  

I am mixing all three ingredients together for my potting compost but sand or compost can be used on their own.  Especially the sand for starting off and striking roots on cuttings.

The old country estate gardeners use to make their potting compost from mole hill soil.  It's amazingly well worked friable soil but unfortunately or fortunately depending if you think of moles being friends or foes? We don't have any where I live.

I love reading old gardening books from the nineteen twenties and thirties when gardening cost very little and gardeners made their own potting and seed compost.  Magical mixes like the John Innes mixes.  I like John Innes number 3 which is a soil loam based compost.

A lot of the budget or discount supermarket compost is made of bark or coir and even peat and cakes when it drys out and contains little or no nutrients.  So now apart from seed compost I make my own.

Sure it's not sterilized or weed seeds free but it's full of nutrients and my plants and vegetables thrive in it. Gardening is labour intensive and it's not hard to pull out a few weeds is it?

Do you have a homemade potting compost to share with us?

Saturday 17 February 2024

Another Shoes Story.

 Over a quarter of a century ago.  We where walking around a flea market in Altrincham and looking at bric a brac and my wife began to haggle over something she wanted to buy.

The stallholder was not interested and looked at my wife's shoes and he said:

"You can afford it.  Your wearing ECCO shoes.

What the stallholder didn't know was we used to go to posh towns and villages in Cheshire looking around the charity shops.

She only paid six Pounds for her posh shoes that were brand new and still in the box.  Perhaps they once belonged to Posh Spice? Or madam did not like the colour?

Incidentally. Princess and David use to drive past us in their Porsche Carrera when we lived in the posh village near Manchester Airport.  

We only lived there six months but liked living there.  It was a pity we couldn't afford to rent anything there.  Houses were sold for kings ransoms they probably still are?  

Why couldn't I have played for City or United?  Not that I ever went to brass band practice.😊 

Thanks for the comments and all the people who read my post yesterday.  Your views and comments always encourage me with my blog writing ✍️ .

Watch out Mr Sunak.  Labour's going to beat you again! 

Friday 16 February 2024

"Stop Looking At My Shoes".

 Years ago we would go to Scarborough for our holidays with my parents.  

We always stayed in the North bay area because my mum said it was much posher than the South bay.

I would often walk to visit Anne Bronte's grave and look around the castle and my mental jukebox would play the old musical hall song: "One of the ruins that Cromwell knocked about a bit" .  

We would go to the Floral Hall  and the Futurist theatres and see the Nolans, the Spinners,the Bachelors, the Grumbleweeds and Canon and Ball plus others.

My mum and dad would spend every morning looking in cafe windows looking at the interior and the menu in the window.  

"What do you think? " My dad would ask my mother.

"It looks dirty".

Then we would move onto another establishment and they would look at the menu and inside the cafeteria.

"What do you think?"

"I don't know?"

"Come on we will give it a try".

Eventually by Wednesday we had found the cafe where we would be eating our breakfast every day.  We would be going home by coach on the Saturday.

One day my dad was picking up his cup of tea off the counter and a elderly lady customer said to my dad:

"Stop looking at my shoes". "What you looking at my shoes for?"

My dad smiled and told her he wasn't looking at her shoes.

He sat down and we laughed and we watched the old lady accost the next customer saying:

"Stop looking at my shoes".

You didn't need to go and watch the Grumbleweeds to have a laugh in the morning.  Happy days.

Thursday 15 February 2024

Tight Wad Kale Cuttings Experiment.

 You know when you're bored and you find yourself making Kale cuttings. It's wet and windy but at least your away from the soft dulcet tones of the washing machine and domestic bliss.

I was reading on the old Tinternet and T'web that you can make Kale cuttings.  Then I watched some YouTube videos of good folk making Kale cuttings.

Now I was never good at Metalwork at school and I am unsure if the variety of our Kale is a perennial or an annual?  

So I filled a plant pot or four with my homemade potting compost and cut some Kale branch cuttings and placed them in the pot.

We will see in the few weeks if they sprout leaves and strike roots or not?  If they do strike we will have perennial Kale plants for life or at least until we get fed up of them and livestock can have them instead of us.  Watch this space like they say!  It's probably too early in the year for stuff to sprout roots and leaves but it's worth a try

Apparently Kale comes from Turkey originally.  We normally buy it from the supermarket.  Bet you can't guess which one?  

Why don't they have the Scorpions and Michael Schenker music  playing in the background when you shop?  Ted Nugent (seen him) said he was going to buy Muzak the company that uses supermarket background music to speed you up when you're shopping and replace it with his own music.  Not a bad idea Ted.  

Anyone else make their own vegetable cuttings?  You can plant shop bought ginger and plant celery and onions and capsicums, and I once knew a tightwad allotment holder who grew potatoes using the eyes of potato peelings he planted.  

You don't  see tightwad vegetable growing on Gardener's World do you?  But you do here. 

Wednesday 14 February 2024

A Car boot Sale Song.

 It was sad to hear of English DJ Steve Wright passing away when I watched the news yesterday.

Only last month Annie Nightingale passed away.  I loved watching her on The Old Grey Whistle Test.  Any chance of repeating them BBC?

Steve Wright was always fun and very down to earth.  

It's strange how you remember what you were doing when you hear a certain song.

I remember the following one when I was driving a rev and go Hydrema or Day Dreamers the lads called it.  Moving 10 ton piles of soil around a new golf course extension.  

Thankfully some of them had radios fitted in them or maybe not.  Here's an ear worm that often plays on my mental jukebox:

Thanks for the laughs Steve.

Monday 12 February 2024

" I'm A Savage For Bacon And Cabbage".

 Thanks for all the comments and views for the Beans On Toast post.  Food posts seem to be very popular.

So what did you have for your tea last night?  Bacon cabbage and potatoes:

It's probably Irelands favourite food dish?

My Irish grandparents seemed to eat it everyday even on red hot summers days.  Its a meal that's plain but full of sustenance and gives you all require from a good feed.

Do you eat bacon, cabbage and potatoes?  We usually have it at least once a week and it always goes down well and every plate is empty.

Here's a song about it:

Sunday 11 February 2024

"Something That Is Really Good.".

Apparently beans on toast is slang for something that is really good.
Beans on toast is one of my favourite meals especially for breakfast.  It gives me the strength and energy for walking up the hills where we live or propagating plants (no more mention of plants today) and mucking out the livestock and digging in fym in the veg plot.

Beans on toast are said to have been invented by Heinz executive in 1927.  They are white haricot or Navy Beans covered in tomato sauce.

I like going in great pubs like Wetherspoons in Blighty and seeing Beans on Toast on the menu.  It's the simple things in life that are so special.  I said that I would write about something other than plant propagation today.

Here's the artist Beans On Toast.  I find him and his songs very entertaining and he speaks common sense.

Saturday 10 February 2024

Propagating With Sand.

 Regular readers know that one of my hobbies nay obsession is the propagating of plants ðŸŠī either by division or by cuttings.

I do have a lot of success with both methods but I do get some casualties that don't strike roots and even rot and die.

I blame a lot on climate change and our winters getting increasingly wetter.  Especially here in the Southwest of Ireland ðŸ‡Ū🇊 where it is very mild and Kerry and Cork are the two wettest counties in Hibernia.  

It's never seemed to let up since last May June Bank holiday when it was roasting and I saw Michael Schenker and his band play in Donegal.

Griselina cuttings in plant pots filled with sand.

I make my own potting/cutting mix but I think even the organic compost materials may contributing in aiding vegetation to rot.

So I am experimenting with just sand in plant pots.  See above ðŸ“ļ photo.

It will be interesting to compare results with cuttings grown in my homemade potting mix.  Sand will not have much if any nutrients in it but hopefully the cuttings will not rot?

I am using sand that is just quarried crushed  sandstone or you could buy river sand.  But we don't want sea sand because that's got sea salt in it and the plants won't like that will they?  Some builders sands also have chemicals in them.

Do you propagate with sand or whatever growing medium do you use?

I'm tired of buying bought compost and now I make my own.  I will discuss this in another post.  I will still buy seed compost though.  Like I say I will write a post about homemade compost another day.

Don't worry I will blog about something completely off subject tomorrow.

Friday 9 February 2024

Tales From A West Cork Potting Bench.

 Well old kitchen or dining table actually.

I checked on a old grass and weedy  area of a raised bed  yesterday in the pouring rain. 

I saw some Griselina plants amongst the weeds and grass.  I rescued them and here they are on my makeshift potting bench:

I potted them on this very morn and they have settled in nicely with rest of the potted Griselinas.  Do you grow your own hedging or cuttings?  I'm always making new plants.  Perhaps I should change my blog title to: Diary of a Plantaholic?

Soon I will take them to a carboot sale and hopefully make some well needed Euros ðŸ’ķ.

Another plant propagating  post tomorrow.  

Thursday 8 February 2024

Where There Is Livestock There Is Always Deadstock.

 It's  an old country saying but true.  Ask any big farmer or a smallholder like me.  Every year animals die.  Some may be old and world weary and some are born dead or born with a philosophy of "failure to thrive" wrote in invisible ink across their foreheads.

It's a bit like growing your own vegetables.  Somethings do well and some do not.  You are always fighting against the weather or some disease or the "flickers" like the snails and slugs eating your crops.

My late father once told me a story about my uncle going into the horses house and the cart horse dropped dead in front of him.  He rushed to the farmhouse and told my grandfather what happened and he said: 

" What will we do?" 

My grandfather looked at him and said:

"We will just have to get another one!"

I suppose country life makes you pragmatic and stoic? Like my late mother use to say:

"What do you do when the holes in  your shoes let water in?"

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Not Bad.

 I made some raised beds in the veg plot without wood sides and transplanted some leeks in the veg plot this very morn. I think I was in the veg plot don't you?  I repeat myself when I am stressed.😊

Three Robins watched me.  I'm sure they must have been gardeners in another life?  Perching on my shovel and saying: 

'"He's not doing it right".  "Hi you're right.  He's nothing but a green horn".

Meanwhile back at the ranch or dwelling place.  Wifey baked another one of those Odlums loaves she made to'ther week and made one of those Aldi soup mix packs I blogged about yesterday:

She mixed in or added a packet of vegetable soup to give it a bit of flavour 

So what do you think Davey lad?  Well it warmed me up and gave sustenance after some hard graft digging and just the ticket on a cold Winter's day with snow on the way.

I preferred the homemade potato and leek soup we made the other week with our homemade home grown vegetables.  But it wasn't bad and I would eat it again and the home baked loaf was like Ambrosia for ye cooking gods!

Tuesday 6 February 2024

Pot Herbs.


I was in Aldi the other day and noticed they had 5 veg soup mixes for sale.  How do you come to the number of 5?  Four or six but never 5.  I don't  like odd numbers.  Do you?

They reminded me of bags of Pot Herbs that they use to sell at markets in my native Lancashire.

The vegetables came ready chopped and prepared to make a big pan of soup or broth with.

I once heard this old man say: "I went to market and bought a bag of them pot herbs and I brought them home and put them in a pan of water and boiled it  on stove and I made me self some soup ðŸē and it was CRAP!"

I hope ours isn't?  Especially we (not me) bake a loaf of soda bread to go with it.

Anyone tried these soup mixes?

Monday 5 February 2024

A Busy Bee In The Polytunnel.

 I spent an hour in Algarve my polytunnel yesterday digging potatoes ðŸĨ” trenches for the new potatoes which are chitting in our dwelling nearby.

Here's the trenches:

I got my loppers and cut ✂️ some Buddleia branches and stuck them in the ground for row markers.  They should also strike roots and I will get some free new shrubs in the process.

One also filled and forked a wheelbarrow of fym over the potatoes growing area.

I will dig trenches for the outside new potatoes if the ground ever drys up again?

It's good to be a busy bee 🐝 isn't  it?

Sunday 4 February 2024

The Chitting Room.

Welcome to our chitting room.

If you watch Escape To The Country they always show would be country escapee property buyers around saying: " This is the ðŸ‘Ē boot room, this it the kitchen, this is the main bedroom with en suite.."

If they came to my house I would show you the: kitchen, front room, bedrooms, " Jacks" which is the Irish term for the bathroom and I would show you another room (former bedroom) and say: "This is the Chitting room".

Why don't they make a programme called Escape To The City?  You would go for a break and marvel at street lights, pubs, restaurants, football grounds, museums, public transport, shopping malls and see a Prog Rock band or three?  Sounds great to me.

Which are you?  City mouse or Country mouse?  I like both but probably prefer the countryside next to the sea.  Well sometimes.

Saturday 3 February 2024

Dads Army Seed Potatoes.

 Number one son came home with a 25kg bag of Homeguard seed potatoes  today this Saturday afternoon.

Homeguard were developed in the nineteen forties and named after the over forty one year old men who were not eligible to join up for the army,  who instead had civilian jobs and practiced army manouveres at night and at the weekend, protecting their country from a German invasion.

They originate from Scotland so should be a bit more blight resistant compared to our Irish potatoes like Kerr Pinks and British  Queens.

We have grown them many times and like them very much.

It's time to take them out of the hessian sack and put them in trays and get them chitting in one of the rooms.

Then we will plant half in Algarve my polytunnel this month and the other half of the bag outside in March in the veg plot.

Have you started chitting your seed potatoes ðŸĨ” yet?

Friday 2 February 2024

Shopping At The Discount Garden Centre.

 Are you like me and itching to get sowing your vegetables seeds and planting your onion 🌰 sets?

I was in Lidl yesterday and bagged a few vegetables seeds packet bargains and some onions sets.

Yes I have read that snow is forecast in February in England and that's why it's called WINTER but I don't see why I can't make a start in doors.

I'm going to plant peas in a raised bed in the polytunnel and I plant the onion sets in plastic modules filled with a little compost.

This gives them a great start and a white root sock.  They much prefer being planted like this than being pushed into the cold Hibernia soil.

Next thing will be to buy some seed ðŸĨ” and get them chitting in the front room.  Well it's better than fixing your motorbike in there isn't  it?

What vegetables are you planning to grow this year?

Thanks for reading and for your comments on my last post. 

Seconds Out. Round Two.

 I beat the cats 4 2 last night.  But something had been digging in 2 of the parsnips and carrots ðŸĨ• barrels. Thanks for you comments and ad...