Tuesday 30 April 2024

Asleep In The Garlic.


 I was weeding and potting up plants in the polytunnel the other day and I noticed someone fast asleep lying in my garlic patch.

Domino is 12 now and a semi retired smallholding vermin controller but sleeping on the job is just not Cricket.  

You just can't get the staff.🙂


Monday 29 April 2024

A Cheap Tea.

 We harvested some more leeks and some kale and some of my Japanese onions the other day and we bought a tray of  cheap beef mince from you know where?  

I diced and peeled two supermarket potatoes and placed it in a pan with 2 stock cubes and half filled the pan with cold water:

This was obviously taken before our tea was cooked on the kitchen stove.

Half an hour later our mince meat stew was ready to eat.  There was enough to feed a family of four people.

It's good old stodge.  Not particularly appetising but it was full of sustenance and vitamins and our homegrown vegetables.

The meal cost two Euros to make.  It's a meal that my mother made once a week.

Can you make a meal for less than 2 Euros?  

Sunday 28 April 2024

Nets And Net Curtains To Keep The Birds 🐦 Off My Vegetables.

 The pests of the air had a good aerial attack of some of my brassicas in my plastic raised beds on Friday.

So it was all hands on deck and battlestations.  I found an old fishing net and J went looking in the airing cupboard or they say  "hot press"( here in 🇮🇪) for some old net curtains.

She came back with a carrier bag full of them and we draped them to cover the vulnerable  plants and raised beds:

Lace net curtains and below old fishing nets.
My ex heating oil tanks are full of brassicas and covered with an old fishing net.  The nets seem to be working fine against bird damage and the net curtains should prevent any cabbage whites laying eggs and caterpillars devouring them.  The nets on the barrels covering the carrots and parsnips seem to be working well.

My kind of vegetables gardening means you do not have to spend much money pursuing your hobby and grub for your tea.  

A very cheap meal on my next post.



Saturday 27 April 2024

More Charity Shop Treasure Finds.


My brother gave us two pictures  he found and bought in a charity shop recently.

The picture above is a Pears soap Victorian lady sat
 on a gate holding an apple.

I looked at the Bixby eye in the gallery on my mobile phone and it took me to Etsy saying there was a similar one on that site for sale for 170 Euros but it is no longer available.

Our framed poster is from around 1886 and was probably displayed where people gathered on buses, the Underground, music halls and shops?  Do you know anything about Pears soap advert posters?

I believe the adverts were for toilet soap and the people who bought were middle class.  Not ordinary folk like myself who used Carbolic soap.

I won't be selling it and it's  hung on a nail and it's replaced a modern picture that will be hopefully  sold at a carboot sale this summer.

There's  a lot of cheap print copies but it's nice to have one your great grandmother probably looked at.  

Pears toilet soap was aimed at the middle class market not scruffy smallholders and polytunnel  owners like yourself.

I will write ✍️ another post about another poster find another time.

Have you found any treasures in a charity shop or carboot sale?


Friday 26 April 2024

Weeding And Pointing The Second Hand Patio.

 Do you remember when I made a patio with old paving slabs last year?  I had repurposed them from a path that was no longer needed.  A year later and I still hadn't got around to pointing it.  Tomorrow I will stop procrastinating 🙂.

On Wednesday morning we decluttered the patio and hand weeded the gaps in between the paving slabs.

All organically weeded and swept clean and ready for pointing.  

I suppose it could do with a pressure wash but it will do for the sunshine we get here?  Saying that we dined alfresco on Monday evening.  It's months since we last sat outside.


I mixed a 4 to1 dry sand and cement mix by hand.  We brushed the mortar in the joints inbetween the paving slabs and I firmed it in with the blade of a builders trowel.  It took 3 buckets of mortar and we completed it in two hours.

An hour later and the April showers arrived and watered the mortar for us.  Another job done.

Have you recently done any DIY jobs in the garden that cost nothing?


Thursday 25 April 2024

They Taste The Same.

 According to Professor Google 22 billion Pounds is spent on bread and cereal in the UK (not forgetting England) every year.

So what do you have for your breakfast Dave?

Good question.  👍 

Well I am a real ☕️ person.  So a cafetiere (French Press) of  black (two sugars) starts my day.  Sometimes I devour half a packet of biscuits.  Recently I having been having a bowl of Bixies:


We get them from our local German garden centre and beer providers and supermarket in Bantry.

I rarely go food shopping so I don't know how much they cost compared to Weetabix?  But I honestly can not tell any difference in the breakfast cereals.

I must compare other foods to see if there are cheaper alternatives.  We paid 2.49 Euros for a pack of 36.  

Any suggestions of cheaper /similar options that you buy ?


Wednesday 24 April 2024

Seconds Out. Round Two.


 I beat the cats 4 2 last night.  But something had been digging in 2 of the parsnips and carrots 🥕 barrels.

Thanks for you comments and advice yesterday about deterring cats 🐈 from the veg garden.

We bought some plastic netting from Dealz in Killarney about a month ago.  It's Ireland's equivalent to Poundland and it only cost a Euros fifty.  

I took my polytunnel scissors ✂️ and cut squares from the netting and draped them over the growing containers and placed the prickly sticks back on top and gave them a good watering.

Hopefully this will solve the cat problem?


Tuesday 23 April 2024

Protecting The Parsnips And Carrot Seedlings From Cats.

 

Cats 🐈 😻 have been digging where we sowed the pregerminated parsnips and carrots 🥕  last week.

I have talked to the likes of Domino, Tigger Kitty, Midnight, Socks and Muss Muss about them not using our growing mediums for cat litter bins.

This seems to have fallen on deaf ears.  

We planted the rest of the pregerminated parsnips in more barrels and tubs that I filled and I took my loppers and cut pointy and prickly hawthorn twigs and placed them on top of the growing containers to hopefully  deter the cats.  We will see!

How do you keep cats off your vegetables and gardens?

Monday 22 April 2024

Carboot Sale Plants Selling.

We drove over to nearby West Cork  town to a carboot sale on Sunday morning.

The online info said we could set up from nine.  I am one of those people who hate being late and we got there by eight.  Are you like me or are you always late getting anywhere,

The car boot sale wasn't supposed to start until ten.  

Little by little the world and his wife began to dribble in and I was starting to think maybe we might sell some plants?

An hour later and a few browsers conversations later and me telling folk my usual etymology of my plants to people and how to propagate and care for them.  We still hadn't sold a bean or a plant.


More of my hedging, phormiums and perennials.  Every plant there I had either propagated by cuttings or division.

Eventually  we started selling and in due course engaged in gardening conversations and I could possibly have gardening leads to weed and restore and possibly plant two gardens up.

We took 72 Euros minus the sales pitch fee and ⛽️ diesel.  If I could make that every day I would be a very happy bunny.

My plant prices were 2.50 for big perennials and 2 Euros for smaller ones.  2.50 for potted griselina and 5 Euros for phormiums.

Have you been car boot  selling lately?


Sunday 21 April 2024

Polytunnel Nettles?🤔


Polytunnel Nettles would make a good name for a Prog Rock band wouldn't it?

I saw lovely young spring nettles growing up the side of one of the raised beds  (repurposed decking planks)in the polytunnel.  

I was going to chop them up with my scissors and put them in my plastic swing bin of garden 'tea".

I noticed my Japanese onions 🌰 and some of the leeks growing and thought nettles,  Japanese onions, potato an leek 🍲 soup.

Remember my Japanese Winter  🌰 onions I planted last September in the polytunnel?   We are picking them and eating them every day.

We also picked and chopped three of the remaining big leeks and I peeled and chopped a shop bought(Lidl) potato.  Apart from the potato and the gas to cook the soup.  Our soup cost very little to make.  



Anyone else eat Spring nettles?  
It's good of Mother Nature to provide with her Spring spinach.
.



Saturday 20 April 2024

The Fish Boxes, Belfast Sink, Plastic Baths, Barrels, Washing Machine Drum Allotment.

 I often say on here that you do not need to have a garden or allotment to grow your own vegetables and perennials.

All you need is something to grow them in.  Here's some of the containers I have acquired over the years living in West Cork:


Plastic Baths.  I bought them second hand and drilled drainage holes in them and filled them with fym and topsoil.


The round metal drum is from our old washing machine.  There are fish boxes I found.  Some washed up on the beaches.  You can also see barrels, plant pots and an old Belfast Sink.  Next to the pallets is a shower screen which I once made a cold frame with.

My allotments apprenticeship taught me to be resourceful and repurpose what ever I can find to grow my veggies.

Vegetable gardening need not mean you have to spend much money.  All you need is to have a look around and collect and utilise what you have got.

This is my 100th blog post of 2024.  Not bad for the middle of April.

Friday 19 April 2024

Growing Parsnips In Big Plant Pots

 

I watched a different YouTube video about growing  parsnips the other day.  

I cut off the bottoms of some small plastic plant pots and  placed them in large planters full of compost or soil even.  I had no potting compost.

I ran the soil through my fingers and removed any stones and filled them up with fine tilthed soil.  These are living in the polytunnel for the time being

Then we sowed fifteen of the chitted parsnips I showed you on my last post.


I filled three large barrels and five big plant pots with fym and top soil outside in the veg plot.   The wife sowed thirty prechitted parsnip seeds and also carrots in the other plant pots.  Then we watered them in.

We will have an awful lot of carrots if they all grow.  Have you sowed your carrots and parsnips  yet?


Thursday 18 April 2024

Parsnip Seeds Germination In The Kitchen.


Parsnips seeds placed on a very damp piece of kitchen roll in a plastic tupperware tub. Then I cut ✂️ another piece of kitchen roll and saturated it and place it to cover the seeds and put the lid on anplaced two tubs of the seeds on top of the cooker hood.   I did this a week ago.  I found this way of growing them from Ivan's Gardening Allotment UK on good old YouTube. 

If you read old gardening books like me myself and I do.  You will read that February ("are you serious?") is the traditional time to sow parsnips outside in the veggie plot. 

 I have great respect for the old gardeners and their gardening methods.  But I think February was a tad bit optimistic to think of sowing seed especially over here in wet and cold Hibernia.  Maybe the seasons could have been different when garden writers waxed  lyrical about sowing parsnips in February?  We don't get much snow these days but we have no shortage of relentless rain

The Roman's christened Ireland:"Hibernia". Meaning: " the land of eternal winters". Well it's certainly not Italy.  More like "it's like Christmas Day in the workhouse" like my dear old mother would say.

Parsnips seeds can take up to  twenty eight days to germinate if at all or if they even bother to sprout? They are like waiting for a bus in rural Ireland.  Your wasting your time.

The indoor kitchen method is far more successful.  We will have a look next week for any signs of germination.  I wrote this on Saturday afternoon.  I should have posted this before Tasker over at A Yorkshire Memoir sowed his carrots in his carrot tub.  Are they germinating yet Tasker?

Any road or any way.  I sowed two tubs of the parsnips seeds and placed the lids on them and placed them on top of the cooker hood.  Using the heat from the cook to help germinate them.

Update.  I lifted the lids yesterday Tuesday and I was delighted with the germination:

 
I wish I knew this method of germinating parsnips years ago.  

You are only sowing seed that you know they have germinated.

Do you pregerminate any of your vegetables seeds?

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Grass Cutting Smallholding Chores.


 The weather is improving and yesterday I gave my petrol hedge trimmer it's first work out of the year.

That's a photo of yours truly going around the perimeter of a field cutting back any vegetation that may be touching the mains fencer wires.

I wore my safety glasses but couldn't find my ear protection muffs.  So I had to listen the unsweetened dulcet tones of a petrol engine.   

There's a lot to be said for a battery hedge trimmer.  We endure so much rock and roll (garden) noise pollution don't we just?  Recognise the ACDC record title?

I noticed the rushes are rampant this year more than ever.  I see rushes in most farmers fields emerging.  Even in some Dairy farms where they hammer the pasture with fertilizer ("bag manure"), lime and slurry.

I am an organic gardener/smallholder and don't like using weedkillers.  So I will have to start up the petrol (more noise) strimmer and cut down the soft rushes.

All being well it will be turn out time this weekend for the livestock.  They will run and dance and have their Spring disco and I will have the task of mucking out their Winter quarters.

There will be plenty of fym for the veg plot next year.

There's always something to keep me busy here.

Tuesday 16 April 2024

My Little Plants Nursery.


 My small perennials nursery in the polytunnel.

I showed you a glimpse of my big perennials and shrubs plant pot  nursery yesterday next to the plastic raised beds.  Today here's a photo of my little  plant nursery.

I made most of the small plants a couple of Thursdays ago when the heavens opened.  Between the big perennials and the little plants nursery I have literally hundreds of plants in pots.  

I sold 24 Osteospermums or Cape Daisies the other week to my brother.

My carboot sales plants are affordable to anyone's pocket because I believe everyone can have a nice garden without spending a lot of money.  Small plants like the ones in the picture above I sell for only 1 Euros.  Like acorns grow to be big trees.  My little plants soon become big.

Do you have an hobby that makes you a bit of money?

Sometimes people say to me at a carboot sale:

"I already have one of those".  I think:

"I have hundreds of them".  

Somebody once asked me if they could have a "slip?". Instead of buying a cheap plant they wanted a free cutting!  Some people have more front than Blackpool😊!

Monday 15 April 2024

Intermediate Bulk Container Raised Beds Allotment?

Someone gave us four IBC tanks without the cages last week.  I have made eight plastic raised beds.   


 

I cut them (roughly) with a battery powered fretsaw and drilled holes and left the taps open on the IBC tanks.  They didn't smell of chemicals and there was no trace of anything in the tanks.

I have piked and filled them with fym and branches and weeds and grass and onion tops and  to give them a few inches of topsoil that I dug by hand.  Up to now I have completed all eight of them. 

 


All ready for sowing and planting.


Oil tank raised beds. 


New IBC filled raised beds.  They are not so rigid like the oil tanks ones but they will be fine for growing vegetables.

You can also see my  plants in pots in my🪴 perennials nursery in the front garden which use to be a lawn.  I don't think we need half the lawns we have.  Having to mow them weekly, buy petrol, make noise and then dispose or compost the grass clippings?

You can see some of the half  green coloured heating oil tanks I drilled and filled and now planted a couple of weeks ago.

In total we now have seventeen plastic raised beds and I will collect more if I can get my hands on them.  

The last two winters have been the wettest on record and I believe raised beds are the way to go if the water table is going to be so full. 

 Also I will be 61 in December and I am now making provision for us to grow vegetables in our old age.  It may come to a time when I can no longer dig or pike but I will still be able to carry a bucket and sow seeds by hand and plant with a trowel.

Yesterday l read online that Greenpeace say that there are nearly 175000 people on allotment waiting lists in the UK.  Some people have been waiting for 15 years.  Allotments were designed to feed a family of four. So if these people on the waiting list had allotments they could provide fresh vegetables for 700000 people:







I think my plastic raised beds would or could cut down the allotment waiting lists.  People could grow on derelict land, back yards or even on concrete.  You don't need to have an allotment , garden or smallholding to grow vegetables.  You just need something to grow them in.  We live in a world of plastic and it is not going to go away.  If we recycle it or repurpose it for growing we will be doing our bit.  I think my plastic raised beds will last us out.

None of the the raised beds or filling growing medium cost me anything.  We just had to buy the seeds and onion sets and seed potatoes.  Container garden replaces the need to plant directly in the soil.  Even a few few plant pots or buckets will grow some vegetables or flowers

Allotments are also leisure gardens and they are good for us both physically and mental.  




Sunday 14 April 2024

The First Picture Of Our First Flat Lettuce Of Summer. Well Spring Anyway!.

 

I picked our first flat lettuce from the polytunnel yesterday.  The slug pubs are doing a brilliant job stopping my veggies being devoured.  Every day they are full of dead critters and I empty outside and replenish them

It's worth asking your friends and neighbours if they have any old passed it's sell by date pop or beer.  You could even drink it if you are bit hard up?  No seriously let the slugs and snails 🐌 ha  drink it and have a last drink on you.

We had BLT sandwiches 🥪 for tea last night made with Japanese onions 🌰 and our flat lettuce and Lidl 🍅 tomatoes. It's a very light and very tasty.

If you look at the etymology of vegetables like I am always doing.  You will see they originate in ancient Egypt and then the Romans took it to China, Cos and all over Europe.

Lettuce is said to be good for digestion and for sleep.

Do you like flat lettuce or Iceberg kind of lettuce?


Bacon 🥓 lettuce and 🍅 tomato sandwich or what ever you like?  

Remember this song from the eighties?



Saturday 13 April 2024

Is There A Repair Shop Programme For Dog Makeovers?

All this talk about sunshine in Blighty and it never stops raining here in the Irish Riviera of West Cork.  Apparently it's  supposed to brighten up next week.  Time will tell.

I donned my 'Rainy Day" suit or waterproof trousers and my anorak ("I'm a perennials and organic veggies anorak") and spent most of Friday filling raised beds, watering and tidying up overgrown  shrubs with my loppers.  Living on the Gulf Stream and with all the rain, shrubs never seems to stop growing or so it seems anyway.

Meanwhile back at the ranch (Bonanza?). Our four legged canine friends had decided to have a couch makeover whilst I toiled I the garden.  

Look what our doggy pals made:

Canine art?   "Yes I can relate to that".   It's part of their "destructive" period."  

We have had it only a couple of months and it was a beauty. We bought it new ( " new to us" or second hand) online.  I think it was on Done Deal? Which is a buy and sell online marketing place in Ireland.  Remember  "Loot' the classifieds newspaper for a Pound in England? 

There's a  BBC English programme on Free View called "The Repair  Shop' that I have to endure every so often.  Yorkshire Pudding isn't  a fan of the the programme either. 

They repair damaged everyday  sentimental items for people.  It does my head in or should I said I find it very boring.  I like Suzie the leathersmith though.  I discovered recently there's  The Repair Shop Australia 🇦🇺  now.   Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel.  

Do you think they could repair our couch that the dogs made a few alterations for us?
 


We are not the only ones with dog chewing problems.

Thursday 11 April 2024

"Leave My Bonhams Alone!"


 The Oxford Sandy sow showed me who was the boss today /yesterday morning.

I climbed in to feed her and her new piglets   whilst the wife passed me their Sow and Bonham food.

Guess who picked up one of the piglets to feel how heavy it was and Mama pig charged me with her head and knocked me backwards off my feet? 

I'm fourteen stone and a few  pounds but I went down like a sack of spuds or a pub football team goalkeeper perhaps trying to save a penalty?

She could have bit me badly but I think it was only a warning to leave her babies alone.

"Now be off with ye I'm eating the breakfast.

I climbed out of the pig pen and rubbed my sore back that Here's  Spider Pig by The Simpsons.   It always makes me laugh because it's daft:



Porter Sauce Anyone?

 

Four striploin steaks were on offer for 7.99 from our local German garden centre and beer providers and supermarket the other day.

I was also recently gifted some Guinness steak sauce to spread on the steak.  It didn't taste particularly like Guinness.  It reminded me of Branston pickle but I am sure it must have Guinness ingredients? Have you tried it?



Yes we know that Arthur (half a Guinness) Guinness invented the black stuff on a visit to London where he saw Coven market porters drinking a brown beer or Porter like it's known  here in 🇮🇪 Ireland. 

 Some people claim it was brewed first in Wales.  But it got its fame for Guinness or "Liffey Water' brewed at St James's  Gate in Dublin fair City with its 45 Punts a year rent lease for the next 9000 years.  Like a lot of successful breweries it's now owned by Diageo which I believe is Swiss I think?

Continuing with another and topical beer advert and seeing that I live in little ould Ireland.  Remember this from way back in 1995? Twenty nine years ago to be precise.   Where does the time go?



See Tasker I can post about other subjects than gardening.  Back to the usual subject tomorrow.😊



Wednesday 10 April 2024

Gastropods Happy Hour At The Slug And Lettuce Polytunnel Tavern.


 The horrible cheap cider that we had in the cupboard gave these creatures a last drink.

Slug pubs are very cheap and sufficient way of keeping slugs at bay and without using chemicals like slug pellets that we and wildlife inadvertently ingest when we eat our homegrown fruit and vegetables.

It's surprising what slug bait/ grog we have hiding at the back of our cupboards.  Old cans of beer or fizzy drink.  Don't worry about its  sell by date.  Just fill up those plastic takeaway trays with your unwanted liquid and watch those slugs disappear.

Do you use slug pubs?


Tuesday 9 April 2024

Carboot Sale Growing Bags For Potatoes.

I posted a similar post last year and probably the year before.  Why would anyone not wish to grow new potatoes?

Over 2 years ago we had a ride out up the tunnel road from Glengariff to the Kingdom that is the county of Kerry.  We had seen a carboot sale advertised online that was being held in Killorglin.  The place where wen to the Puck fair last year, do you remember?

Any road or anyway.  I purchased 6 growing bags for 5 Euros.  The pleasant lady told us they she had grown some fine new potatoes in them but she no longer wished to grow them any more.  So we bought them and brought them back to West Cork.

Here's a photo I took yesterday of this years new potatoes stalks pushing through.  I will cover them up with some of my homemade compost and let them grow some more.

People often say they have no room to grow potatoes.  This a good way of getting a few new potatoes meals.  You can keep them in a greenhouse, polytunnel, conservatory or a shed with a window.  You can even carry them outside when the last frosts have gone.

Anyone else grown or grow their spudatoes this way?   Like I often say on here I have grown them in a big plant pot on a windowsill in an upstairs flat window and I once grew them in the backyard in a drum from my Mum's old twin tub washing machine.

Potatoes could  be scarce and expensive this year after the terrible wet Autumn,  Winter and now Spring.  You can't beat homegrown and home cooked new potatoes. 


 

Monday 8 April 2024

Perking Up The Compost.

 Thanks for reading my blog post yesterday and for your comments.   

I have been thinking about how to give my tomato seedlings and other vegetables some much needed additions to their compost to drive them on a little.  

I don't really want to try my liquid " garden tea" on seedlings.  It may be too rich for them just yet? modern shop bought composts are made from crushed bark, coir and perhaps a bit of peat?  I find there are very few plant nutrients in them.  

Saying that Lidl have a lovely John Innes number 3 mix in at the moment.  It contains loam soil and I find it excellent especially for potting up plants   it's  five Euros something but I find the more you pay the better the compost and the cheaper the poorer the compost. 

 I realised that I still had some organic seaweed and chicken pellets that I bought from our local German garden centre and supermarket and beer providers last year.  Do you remember?  

The only thing I don't like about that said supermarket is if they get something new you like they never seem to get it back again.  Like this stuff:

It really is excellent.  That's rich coming from me with a never ending supply of fym and the nearest beach is only five minutes away by vehicle.  Last year we had much success with gathering and collecting seaweed for organic fertilizer.  

It doesn't create a weed problem unlike some animal manures which contain pernicious weeds like docks and nettles.  Just have a look at farmers fields where cow slurry has been spread for example.   Seaweed is also said to contain 50 trace elements which are beneficial to plant life.  

Back to the purpose of this post.  I decided to repot  tomato and globe artichokes seedlings  with a few of these pellets mixed in with the compost.  In the end I just sprinkled a few pellets and mixed them in the compost without disturbing the seedlings.  Then I watered the plants with my watering can.  It will be interesting to see if the seaweed poultry pellets drive my seedlings on.  

Do you add anything organic to your compost to give your seedlings vital plant food?

Sunday 7 April 2024

Polytunnel Plastic Point Of No Return?.


 No thanks to Storm Kathleen.

The blog title could be a Kansas band track: Point Of Know Return.  Get it? 

"Portugal" my beloved polytunnel took a real beating on Saturday morning.  It looks like it will not or can not be repaired.  

Look at trees and grass, they're supple and bend and contort to the wind.  Why build a robust structure with a few millimetres of plastic to stand up to the wind? Because (never start a sentence with because) I need my sanctuary and escape from domesticity and hoovers and to be in my and my own vegetables and plants space.  Here endeth the sermon.

Of course I can not claim on the outbuildings insurance.for storm damage.    I t is an act of God or Storm Kathleen  even?  They also do not cover ashtrays on motorcycles and chocolate teapots and chocolate fire guards.

It's less than a year old and I am not a happy bunny.  We have had eleven gales this gale season.  I suppose living in the countryside next to  the sea which joins the Atlantic Ocean doesn't help?

It's our third polytunnel cover to get wrecked.  We will have to wait and see if it stops raining and  drys everywhere up and see if it can be repaired.  If not I will grow my perennials and vegetables in a very damaged polytunnel or outside  like we always did before I bought my first tunnel in 2013.

It's not the end of the world but it does depress me and it's been great having some where to potter about to keep dry this last winter and Autumn and Summer and now Spring.  

How could a bit of expensive stretched polythene stand up to the harsh weather of eleven gales? Perhaps I should go for polycarbonate sheets next time?  

Are there any countries in Europe that are no too hot to grow vegetables in Summer and don't say England  Wales, Scotland  or Ireland? Central Portugal appeals because its cooler than the Algarve and rains more often.  Any ideas please? Somewhere relatively cheap and they speak or understand English like they do in the Algarve.Perhaps it's time to look at new pastures? Where would you grow vegetables if you lived abroad?

I read online yesterday that six out of ten of our European bought vegetables are grown under plastic in Spain.  I liked growing them under our plastic in Ireland.  I suppose plastic and nature are not really compatible.

Are there any cheap smallholdings in Almeria with a polythene polytunnel thrown in?  There are?  Almeria it is then.  


Saturday 6 April 2024

Beer Adverts.

 I have been looking at beer adverts on good old You Tube and there are some really clever and amusing ones.  So instead of being a one horse pony and writing about flora and veggies every post I'm going to throw in or post an odd old video for our perusal.  Maybe my blog pals will post some themselves?

Here's one to take our minds off the wind and relentless rain.  Enjoy:


Friday 5 April 2024

Making A Brew For The Veggies.


 I wanted to make some organic garden "tea" for my 🍅 and other vegetables and perennials.   I have made it before and it doesn't cost anything.

Here's how I made it:

Ingredients: A plastic tub,  straw bale or garden twine, pillow case, stick, water and some fym.  Some strong gardening or welding gloves especially if you're handling nettles!

Method.

Fill an old pillowcase with fym or seaweed, nettles, grass or weeds.  Tie a knot in top of the pillowcase.  Tie a piece of string to it.  Put it in your tub and tie to a stick lay prostrate across the tub.  So your bag of plop is suspended from the top.  Fill with water.   Rainwater or we'll water like our preferably which contains no man-made chemicals like chlorine or flouride that tap water does.

I placed my old soil sieve on the top to prevent any accidents like cats 🐈 or birds 🐦 drowning in the garden 'tea".




Leave it for about a fortnight and get a jug or a old pint glass 🍺 and fill your watering can ten parts water to one part of the brew.  I am sure your plants will love it and you won't  need to buy any tomato food this year.

What do you liquid feed your veggies with?

Thursday 4 April 2024

On Their Way.

 

It may be the wettest winter on record.  Or since 1836 when records began in Blighty.  But inside " Portugal " my polytunnel the potatoes haulms are flying it. 

Hopefully we will no longer be saying: "It's that rain that gets you really wet".  Is there another kind?

I have already earthed the potatoes up a couple of times and I have started putting the hose pipe sprinkler on them once a week.

They seem to be growing really well and it won't be long before the Solanum Tuberosums or spudatoes will be ready to eat.  They will be ready long before someone pipes up: "It's too hot for potatoes" and: "Is it hot or is it me?"

Yesterday I saw a glimpse of the first potato 🥔 stalk pushing up in the growing bags.  

We planted some more " outside" potatoes the other day and I have another small bag of a new variety to plant in my new plastic raised beds.

Are your potatoes pushing through yet?  There is still plenty of time to plant seed potatoes.



Wednesday 3 April 2024

The Parable Of A Successful Vegetable Sower.

 Yay and it come to pass a couple of weeks ago I did taketh packets of vegetables seeds and filleth plastic modules with rich compost from the fat of the land or garden centre.  I did cut openth with scissors packets of seeds and scattereth thus a multitude of seeds:

I have ended up with over forty tomato plants and lots of other vegetable plants like 140 + leeks.

I have over twenty Globe Artichokes.  I only wanted an handful.  Hopefully they will all grow into strong sturdy plants that I can sell, swap or even give away? 

I was only complaining the other day that I had only eight cherry tomato seeds in a packet.    Have you ever had too much germination success with your vegetables seeds?


All my leeks.  Over 140 in one module tray and hmm...., in another..   I have more germinating in a plant pot.  We will have lots of potato and leek soup next autumn and winter.  

We even had  some for our dinner yesterday along with some homemade and home baked bread.  

Are you busy sowing seeds for your garden, planters or allotment?  I think I have sown enough for a lot of people?


Tuesday 2 April 2024

Successful Griselina Sand Hedge Cuttings Experiment.

 Remember when I planted all those Griselina cuttings in plastic plant pots full of grit sand in Portugal my polytunnel?

I have been watering them and pulling out an odd one now and again to see if they had struck roots.  Today I checked them again and:

They had struck roots.

Next job was to get digging in my fym and topsoil heaps and I pulled some plastic plant 🪴 pots from my store behind the "new" plastic repurposedraised beds..  I have made my own portable ready to plant at any time hedge:


There we go.  That's another seventy five to go with the ones I made earlier.  I pruned the Griselina hedge and filled up the sand filled plant pots with more cuttings.  It just shows you don't need to spend money if you make your own hedging and have a big pile of fym, compostand topsoil.

Any one else making their own hedging?  Any one want to buy any?


Monday 1 April 2024

Homemade Slug Pubs.


 Takeaway plastic trays filled with cheap undrinkable lager.  "Is it organic?"   

You can substitute cordial or fizzy drinks instead of alcohol if you wish.  

I just used the unwanted Elcheapo  cans of Victorian radiators water or even beer hiding in the cupboard which no-one was ever going to drink.

I filled six of the trays (pubs)  yesterday and placed near my lettuce plants and other tender vegetables.

We (" me") want to get away from slug pellets and any other  man-made chemicals near our vegetables.  

We will give old sludgy or 🐌 snails a good drink and no more lace pattern brassicas and lettuces.

Wish I could afford to go for a pint or seven.  They put the price of Guinness up another ten Cents last week.  It's over 5 Euros fifty for a pint of the black stuff and ten Euros in some Dublin pubs.  The last time I was in a pub was in Tenerife in December.  How much is a pint of beer where you live? 

I suppose we could go around the veg plot and polytunnel at night with a torch 🔦 and a bucket 🪣 and collect any nasties like slugs and 🐌?  The hens and ducks would like them for a midnight feast but no I prefer to use my slug pubs.

I have heard of people making lime circles around their Brassicas and placing fresh seaweed close by is also said to be very effective against these soil nasties.  Apparently it is the salt in the seawater covered fresh seaweed that deters  these predators.

How do you deal with snails 🐌 and  slugs?

A Bus man's Holiday To See Some Pigs At Balmoral Show.

You know what a bus man's holiday is don't you?  It means going on holiday and doing the same thing that you do at work.  Or on the ...