Saturday 29 June 2024

Half A Bucket Of Freshly Picked Homegrown Peas.

 I picked half a bucket of our chemical free or organic peas for our tea the other day.

Peas etymology is of Mediterranean origin.   When introduced into Western Europe.  Peas were expensive and considered to be a delicacy.

I am not keen on shelling peas either.  I am always disappointed with how few there are in your pan.  But they are delicious and taste like a glass of freezing cold water from our fridge dispenser. We have one of those big double door American style of fridge freezer.

They are members of the Legume family.  Which means that they extract nitrogen from the air and release it through their roots into the soil making it rich and green manured for another vegetable crop.  

I love them and I will sow more this week.

Back to the rain and mizzle again today.  At least we won't need to water the gardens.  

Friday 28 June 2024

Mother Nature Decides To Prettify The Compost And FYM Heaps.


I wish could paint pictures like the photograph.

Old Mother Nature seems to have been busy making my pallet compost and fym heaps more aesthetically pleasing.  

The Nasturtiums are loving camouflaging the piles of decaying vegetable matter, weeds and fym.  

I always see the Nasturtiums return often in a new place every.  You can eat them in salads and they also are worth growing for their flowers.  If you buy one packet of seeds.  You will have Nasturtium flowers for many many years.

Thursday 27 June 2024

Another Walk On The North Side.

Last week I bought some new walking sandals from our local German garden centre, supermarket and beer providers.  They only cost 14 Euros.  My last pair of sandals cost me 25 Euros.  

I went for a saunter the other day on the Sheeps Head Way where we are literally two minutes away from.  

We can walk for many miles on the peninsula and Tuesday was a nice day for a stroll.  Here's some pictures for your perusal:

New sandals.  I like how the toes are covered and offers some protection from stones, gorse, brambles, grass and heather and salix saplings.  

The north sider (name of my blog) view of Bantry Bay and Hungry Hill over on Beara peninsula.  It really is beautiful on a nice day.  Some days it is that misty we can't see the bay from our kitchen window.  Today it is blowing a gale.

Irish Marsh Orchid featured in my last blog post.  Such unspoilt beauty.  I felt privileged to capture its photograph.
Exposed rock and bog on our peninsula.

Sheep grazing on the Sheeps Head Way.

A glimpse of Dunmanus Bay in the distance.

I saw one person walking on a road in the distance.  The only other creatures I saw were butterflies, dragonflies and sheep.

I listened to Spotify on my mobile phone.  Here's a track that came on from a recent search of my favourite songs:

I hope you enjoyed my walk?

Tuesday 25 June 2024

Irish Marsh Orchid.

 I went for a saunter up on the hills today.  Just five miles according to my steps counter on my mobile phone.

I noticed this wild flower growing where they don't spread granulated fertilizer.  Isn't it beautiful?  I saw many more and dragonflies and butterflies.

It's good to go a walk and see nature in all its glory.

Monday 24 June 2024

Replanting Troughs And Planters For The Carboot Sale.

 I was given some plastic troughs and planters recently .  We took them empty to a car boot sale and we came back home with them.

So I decided to plant them up with my homegrown perennials that I have grown from cuttings this year:.

They will soon fill out and put on a floral display.

If they sell all well and good.  If they don't I will bring them home again.  Such is the life of a plantaholic smallholder.  

Sunday 23 June 2024

Lets Go Planting Leeks.

 Friday morning was very wet and I used the damp opportunity to transplant twelve leek plants that we had grown from seed and I left the other leek plants in a raised bed in the polytunnel until more vegetable growing space becomes available. I donned my "rainy day" suit to carry out the transplant operation.

This year the majority of our vegetables have been grown from seed.  Only seed potatoes, onion sets and Jerusalem Artichokes tubers have not been grown from seed.  

Even the tomato plants I grew from seed and it's good to know you can propagate your plants from a few packets of seeds. 

I haven't bought any compost for a while because it's too expensive and the cheap stuff is made from crushed bark and coconut coir.  

It contains little or no nutrients and cakes on the surface.  I much prefer my well rotted fym and topsoil mix.  Sure you get weeds but that's natural gardening isn't it?

Any way or any road.  Leeks are planted like no other vegetable.  You get an old garden fork handle ("four candles" Two Ronnies remember?) for a dibber or a piece of metal tubing like I did.  

Make the holes wide and drop the leeks about six inches into the holes.  This enables your leeks to be blanched with big white socks.  Then you get a fully filled watering can and fill every hole with water.  There is no need to back fill the holes with soil because the watering will have knocked soil into the hole and covered the roots:

Leeks are named after the old English word for onion: leac.

They originate in Mediteranean and Asian countries.  The Romans grew them and they are even mentioned in the bible.

I look forward to making homemade potato and leek soup this winter.

Saturday 22 June 2024

How Strange?🤔

 J went to collect the hens and duck eggs and came back with this very small specimen:

Our hens are all adults and it was not laid by a young pullet.

I Googled this small egg phenomonen.  Apparently the are called Fairy Eggs and it occurs when a mature hen releases an egg without a yolk.

Have any of you smallholders or poultry keepers ever come across these small egg layers?

One of the cats had a midnight feast.  Now we will never know what was in the shell.  Anyone talk cat?  "Miaow".

Friday 21 June 2024

Summer Solstice Longest Day.

 It is the longest day of the year today.  Farmers have been busy making hay and silage so their cattle will have forage in winter.

The days start to shorten and we will have dark nights from August to April.  

People in towns and village have the privilege of street lights.  Rural dwellers can't  walk about and night and the only way they can get about is by car.  

It would be great to have public transport and bus shelters on our little peninsula.  I don't  think it will ever happen though.  Rural isolation is not good for the spirit. Infrastructure is so important in the countryside but it is rarely provided for tourists or local people.  

The Druids and Ancient Celts are said to have originated in Spain.  I have viewed and visited several of the ancient stone circles like Drombeg in County Cork.  Which I have blogged about on here.

Clannad are an Irish band who I have seen five times sing about the ancient stone circles.  Enjoy:

Thursday 20 June 2024

Latest IBC And Heating Oil Veg Planters Progress.

 I thought I would take some up to date photos of the veggies in our homemade/ repurposed plastic planters:


Purple Rain potatoes.

If you remember we cut them in half, drilled drainage holes and I filled them with twigs, weeds, grass, fym and a few inches of topsoil.  The fym wasn't particularly old.  But it did not matter because the soil was a barrier between the fym and the vegetables.

I am very pleased with the verdant growth and its proof that you don't need a garden or allotment to grow your own vegetables or flowers.  All you need is a container and some fym and top soil.

Don't let allotment waiting lists put you off growing your own.  See if anyone wants to get rid of some plastic oil tanks or IBCs.

Wednesday 19 June 2024

A Posh Garden Cousin Of Knotweed.

 I made about twenty new Persicaria "Red Dragon" plants a few weeks ago.

It's a cousin of Japanese Knotweed but it is not invasive at all.

The beautiful Japanese Acers are cousins of the Sycamore.  

Persicaria is a native of the Himalayas and China.    I like it for its red/ purple foliage.

Anyone else propagate perennials for an hobby?

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Rosette Winning Piglets.

 Our cup runneth over.  Yorkshire Pudding awarded me with the Irish Blogger award in 2020 and now we are champion pig breeders in  County Cork. 

Any road or any way.  Number 1 son and his girlfriend took some of their piglets to Cork Agricultural Show on Sunday.

It was an early start and they drove the sixty miles to the show site.

They came home during the England verse Serbia match.  That was like watching paint dry.  Boring, predictable and the pundits and the world and his wife could have picked the team.

They came in to Northsider Towers clutching a handful of prize winning rosettes:

Four rosettes.
Black Eye is our champion winning piglet.  Didn't they do well?

Monday 17 June 2024

It Is Costly To Control The Oriental Bridesmaids Of An Irish Summer

 Rhododendron Ponticum.  A recent photo when Bronte, J and yours truly went for a saunter around Muckross House estate and gardens.

There are some magnificent cultivars like this specimen:

What a beauty.  They love the Irish Irish peaty acidic soil and all the rain and verdant growth.   I think that is why it is called the Emerald Isle.

I read online yesterday that the Irish government have spent 2.7 million controlling Rhododendrons in the Killarney national park in the last five years.  You wouldn't think such a beautiful shrub from Asia could become such a pernicious weed and nuisance would you? 

Rather like Japanese knotweed which was introduced into our islands for a game cover and ornamental. Now it's a pernicious weed and costs millions to eradicate if at all. The London Olympics  organizers spent 70 million clearing the ten acre site of knotweed.

You can hate Rhododendrons and call them weeds but I adore them.

Sunday 16 June 2024

Plastic Bottle Plant Cuttings Cloche.

  I made myself a plastic bottle cloche the other week.  It is a bottle that was lying around in the polytunnel and too old to take back to Lidl to place in their deposit scheme machine.  Incidentally we got 7 Euros back yesterday for our cans and bottles.  From next month all bottle tops will come attached to the bottles to prevent bottle top litter.  A very good idea I think!

Regular readers will know that one of my hobbies nay passions is propagating perennials and shrubs.  I do this by division and by takings cuttings.  At this time of year I usually put a plastic bag over a new cutting placed in a soil or compost filled plant pot.  Then I water it and the plastic bag helps the cutting retain moisture and form roots.

I find the hard plastic bottle makes a great mini greenhouse/cloche and two of my bottle cuttings experiments look like they have been successful and struck roots.  They seem to retain the moisture better than polythene freezer bags which are fiddly to get off and put back on again.

The bottle cloches are great for protecting tender seedlings and young vegetables plants like lettuce from nematodes like slugs and snails..

Anyone else experiment with homemade plastic cloches?

Saturday 15 June 2024

The King Of Thrace Herbaceous Perennial.

The  Lysimachia Punctata or yellow loosestrife is in flower in my herbceous perennial borders and home grown plant pot nursery at the moment.   Who else but me would cover their lawns with sheets of black plastic and fill the space with hundreds of homegrown and propagated herbaceous perennials?

It is native to Europe and named after the Macedoniam king of Thrace: Lysimachus.

It doesn't mind damp or shady conditions and I have over twenty of them to take to a car boot sale and try to sell. It can even be planted on the edges of a pond and its attractive to bees and other beneficial insects.

We brought it and many other perennials in a big wheely bin over twenty years ago and I have been making new plants every year since.

It is said to have medicinal benefits like most of our plants and can be used to treat wounds and diarrhoea.

It's  definitely one of my old fashioned cottage garden favourite perennials.

Friday 14 June 2024

What We Had For Our Smallholding Tea.

 The polytunnel and veg plot keeps on giving and we seem to be eating new spudatoes every day at the moment:

Snowball onion, kale and new potatoes.  We just took some bacon rashers out of the fridge and we had a meal.

One thing about growing your own is freshness.  The sugars haven't turned into starches and it is difficult to find such freshness in the supermarkets.

The rain came back on Thursday and I am not needing to put my hosepipe sprinkler on.  Just in the polytunnel.

I sowed some winter kale on Wednesday in a plastic modules tray in the polytunnel.  I sowed some more leeks seeds yesterday to go with the 20+ leek plants I sowed and planted a couple of months ago.

We will also have parsnips, swedes and leeks and I must sow some winter and spring cabbage and some Autumn King carrots and get my Japanese onion sets in September.  I think think winter veg is so important.

We also ate our first strawberries the other day. I grow cabbage and lettuce and give some of them to the rabbits.  Our dogs adore our organic potatoes.  

Thursday 13 June 2024

What We Bought At The Carboot Sale.

 I purchased some of this car boot sale treasure before we had sold anything or got our pitch money back last Sunday morning.  

This did not please someone manning the fort or plants stall.

The sauces were free gifts from a really sound German man who was going back to live in Germany. He had been offered a good job.  We talked about not being able to get hot and spicy food in Ireland.  He was a chef and seemed to really know his stuff, especially hot food.  

I started to talk about great German bands I had seen like Helloween, The Scorpions and Michael Schenker.   He also gave us some free small drinking glasses.  A really great guy.

Any way or any road.  I bought two SMALL Japanese identical  vases or vazes for two Euros.  They have Japanese writing on their bases.  They feel like they are hand painted.  They are very nice and go with the ever growing  heaving shelves collection.

Writing on the base.

I once said to a fellow carbooter laden down with two big oil paintings in his arms:

"You never stop collecting"

He replied:

" Of course not!"

I much prefer buying than selling at car boot sales.  

The picture is a nice rural scene.  It says it was purchased from Dunnes stores.  This cost me six Euros.

Unimpressed later had a walk round and bought some packets of crisps and a box of dog chews for our four legged pals.  They were impressed when they devoured them later.

Tuesday 11 June 2024

Trying To Sell My Shrubs And Perennials At Another Carboot Sale.

Saturday Night: My alarm clock on my mobile phone was set for six in the morning.

We loaded the little van the night before.   I tried to choose any plants in flower and hoped that we would have a good day at the office or carboot even?  I have never known a June evening so cold I thought, loading the van at nine at night.

Sunday Morning: We got up at six and drove for over an hour to a carboot sale in North Cork on a large dairy farm.  

We queued for twenty minutes and paid a young lady in a transit van ten euros for our pitch.

I unloaded the van of shrubs and perennials and a few planters and unwanted gardening books.

We had no customers for over an hour and a lot of people walked past uninterested in my self propagated plants.  

We didn't have a good selling morning to be truthful.  We got our pitch fee back and made 19 Euros.  

The old van needed "motion lotion" on the way back and a tenner got us home.  I also spent 8 Euros on carboot sale treasure.  Which I will show you in another post on here.

Here's  some pics of our day for your perusal:

My perennials and shrubs all propagated by yours truly.

Carboot punters and sellers.

         Plants for sale.   I have already shown you this photo.  I must pay attention.

A Eastern European sounding man asked me how much it was for one of my sedums.  I said: "2.50."  He said:  "Too much" and walked off.  The same kind of plants are double if not more at a garden centre.

Me and Bronte went for a walk and we noticed a field of main crop spudatoes emerging.    They looked like a tractor and ridger had earthed them up.  I didn't see any weeds either.  Do you think they hand weed their crops like we do?  They look like they had been sprayed with weedkiller and pesticides before setting the seed potatoes.  

We weren't very successful carbooting and in fairness the weather has been very dry.  Hopefully when the monsoon season returns on Thursday to the Irish Riviera we will be able to go selling plants again and people will buy them?  Ireland doesn't seem to be a nation of gardeners (and shopkeepers) like Napoleon once said about the English.

It took me half an hour to empty the van when we got back home to West Cork on the Irish Riviera. .  I am sure we brought home more than we took? Perhaps next time I will only half fill the vehicle and take other stuff than just plants?  Nineteen Euros is not very good for our efforts and we got up at six on a Sunday morning.

Carbooting is like fishing.  Sometimes you catch and other times you don't!  

Monday 10 June 2024

A Nice Google Dorset Photo Reminder.

 Good old Google Photo's jogged my memory today of when I visited Dorset in 2018.  

We visited Hardy country and some of his former residences and literary places,  a day at Wimborne Folk Festival and we watched some bands at In The Paddock fringe festival.

One memorable band was Blackwater County.  You can see them on stage in the picture above.

I liked them very much and I will see them again on the Friday of this year's Cropredy.

They are like a punk, new wave, The Pogues kind of band.  I have featured them before on here.

Here's a video of them for your perusal and enjoyment.  You can  even have a dance 🕺 if you like?

Sunday 9 June 2024

Wild Daisies At A Repurposed Railway Station.

 Wild Daisies in flower at what was the platform at Abbeyfeale train station in County Limerick.

Yes we went for a walk again on the Greenway that stretches from Listowel in County Kerry to Rathkeale in County Limerick.

In total it is forty Kilometres in length.  Which is 24.855 Miles in my language.

I have featured this Greenway and the Fenit one on here a few times.

For someone like me who likes walking in particular on tarmac, its a joy.  

There's no cars to avoid and on the parts I have walked I never encountered any hills unlike the Sheep's Head Way where we reside.  

Which is of course spectacularly beautiful for it's scenic and panoramic views of country and sea. I might add.

When walking the Greenways of Ireland 🇮🇪 you always meet people walking or cycling and having Bronte with us ensures people speak.

Me and Bronte walking over the bridge.  I am wearing my "new to me" blue walking jacket that I bought from a charity shop for  five Euros recently.

Old locomotive water filling tower now covered in encroaching Ivy.

Silage bales in a distant field.  Silage and haymaking always makes me think that Winter is on it's way.  

Indeed it was the saving of hay that made the Roman empire so successful because they had a constant source of forage for their horses.

I hope you enjoyed our saunter along the Limerick  Greenway? The Irish government have spent 20 million repurposing the old railway line.  It really is well worth having a looking at. I will walk another stretch and blog about it another time.

Saturday 8 June 2024

Hand Weeding A Newly Planted Natural To Ireland Hedge.

 I get some good jobs, don't I just?

A farmer friend asked me to hand weed a newly planted (this winter) natural hedge.  It was mainly hawthorn and blackthorn.

Hand weeded hedge plant.

My trusty Azada hoe having a rest.  They are superb for clearing  vegetation and overgrown allotments.

I spent a day clearing and weeding and day dreaming on my own.  It's good to weed without using weedkillers and I got a few aches and pains and beer tokens for my manual labour.

The diary of a blog writing weeder.

Thursday 6 June 2024

Parsnips Progress.

 No not a Prog Rock band name.  More like a English Folk Rock band don't you think?

Remember when we pre germinated the parsnips seeds on damp kitchen towels in Tupperware tub on top of the cooker hood?

Then I sowed them in small plant pots filled with soil and the plant pot bottoms cut off and placed them in a large planter containing more garden soil.

I moved the big pots out of the polytunnel a few weeks ago and placed them outside in the veg plot.

They seem to be growing well and like the sunshine.

Have you grown parsnips in large plant pots?

Wednesday 5 June 2024

"Morning Has Broken." An English Hymn Played By A Prog Rock Keyboard Wizard.

 That's a photo of my polytunnel at seven in the morning.  I often find myself outside pottering about and watering in the polytunnel.

In August I will be seeing Rick Wakeman again when I go to Blighty.

He's a first class keyboard player and stand up comedian.  I saw him with YES at The Night Of The Prog Festival in Loreley in Germany back in 2017.

Along time ago in the early nineteen seventies he played the piano on Cat Stevens 'Morning Has Broken.  He also played the keyboard on David Bowie's 'Life On Mars'.  

Rick is an excellent keyboard player and one of the best I have ever seen and I put him in the Keith Emerson category: superb!

Here's a song I play on my mobile  phone in my polytunnel:

Tuesday 4 June 2024

A New Present For The Polytunnel And Gardens.


A rotating Sprinkler.  We saw it for sale in Dealz (Poundland in England) for sale for just four Euros.

Unlike people who have mains water.  We have a well so there will not be any hose pipe use restrictions in my polytunnels and veg plot and garden.

It's doing a great job watering  especially the new potatoes 🥔 which are forming tubers at the moment.

I don't even need to turn the tap off.  I just pull the hose along the path every ten minutes or so.

It just shows not all plastic is bad.  Rather like my plastic raised beds:

Monday 3 June 2024

Shopping For A "Proper" Coffee Table.

 We went to a carboot sale yesterday to buy but not to sell.

It's good to go with a set of " wants" in your head when browsing they myriad of unwanted goods on offer.

I wanted a new to us coffee table. I recently dismantled one with a axe to use for firewood for winter.  I was amazed what the Scandinavian shop bought table was made from:

Egg box coffee table insides made out of cardboard.  Unbelievable!

We purchased our "new to us" coffee table for ten Euros and I bought 13 electric fence pig tails poles for segregating the pigs and ponies.

The table is solid and in future I will be buying old furniture that is robust and painting it bright and shabby chic.  New future especially  flat pack is a waste of money and great for making people lose their patience assembling the stuff.

It's good to do your shopping early on a Sunday morning before the stores open at eleven.

Have you bought any carboot bargains lately?

Up to date photo of "new to us" coffee table in our front room.

Saturday 1 June 2024

A Widger And A Dibber Plant Propagation Gift.

 What do you give someone who is always in the polytunnel sometimes at seven in the morning making new perennials plants? A Widger and a Dibber of course.

I have a wooden dibber which is great for making holes in the potting mix to drop leeks and new plants in.  

The Widger and Dibber are made from "real" plastic.   I am often misplacing my gardening implements and these two additions should be really useful.  

I have said on before why do garden tools manufacture not paint their tools in bright colours so you see them when they fall in verdant vegetation?  Verdant Vegetation would be a good name for a Prog Rock band don't you think?

I think they make them green so you loose your tools in the foliage and you have to buy new ones?

MyWidger and Dibber cost a Euro and 49 Cents from our local German food supermarket and garden centre and beer providers.

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...