Solstice

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The garden is now tucked up ready for the winter which seems to have finally arrived with the winds and rain of recent days. The pic above shows a raised bed topped up with compost and covered in straw litter from the duck enclosure.Image

Parsley does very well here.

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Buds have already opened on the Elder.

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Recent catepillar damage.These cabbages will be eaten soon.

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Oriental salad awaiting second cut for Christmas

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Brussel sprouts for next year.

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Plenty of winter greens to be nibbling on. Found some amathist deceiver muchrooms also. The pea supports are,nt hgh enough so will cut to top of supports.

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Nasturtiams seem to be quite happy to overwinter, here with P. spinach

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Asparagus shoots emerging.

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Overwintering Broadbeans with undersown green manure and stakes ready

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Raised bed piled high with compost which will further rot down over winter. I remove the larger wood twigs as the material is taken down.

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Leeks and cabbages ready for eating

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Summer fruiting rasberries with next years fruiting canes.

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Overwintering Onions  Radar and Garlic Vallelado ( not up yet)

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more onions and garlic

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Late maincrop potatoes  Sarpo Axoma stored in the ground, they have a resistance to slug and wireworm damage and should be ok

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Sarpo Mira Potatoes recently harvested. I Know some people say these potatoes lack flavour and are left for last but this is a shame. They were very floury. John and Linda that run Eco Logic in Dundrum thought them delicious. They score 9 out of 9 on blight resistance tests and I did,nt use any chemicals on them. Not that I have or use any chemicals anyway.

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The soil in the garden is full of worms notably more than when I started the garden in 2011. I put this down to the constant application of compost materials. The raised beds are like little wormeries that get regular feeding. I can do this because the scale of the garden allows it.

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Some kale for over the winter. ( I love kale)

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Inside the little greenhouse.

The plan for 2014 is to increase the diversity within the garden by giving over more space for flowers and plants that are both edible and promote greater diversity. I expect to see more pest and diseases now that the garden is entering its 4th year and I will need many allies to allow the best possible balance.

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Composting update

We are finally starting to get the compost piles under control. Our stategy was to remove the surface layer to use as a rough mulch and harvest the compost beneath. The bays have now been cleared and distributed around the grounds. Annual weeds will doubtless germinate but there are plenty of “weeds” anyway.

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Most of the leaves have now fallen and we quickly ran out of capasity. We added another bay to our heap.

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With the success of the cleared bays be started to tackle the corner heap. Its going to be a long process as there must be way over 20 tonnes of material to get through.

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Its a mix of soil , compost plastic containers, labels and bit of plastic. Starting at the rear wall we are separating and sorting as we distribute the compost around the site. 2 men digging , 4 men barrowing and 1 man raking works well to tackle a big heap and there is a steady flow. That’s what its all about.

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We uncovered pipes and the brick rising wall from a time when Gerry Daly ruled the gardening world. The area was once a hot house. As we go deeper back in time the plant labels are getting older , 1995…Who knows what will be uncovered.

The bulk of the material seems to have come from hedge and tree pruning as well as plants that were tossed pots and all. It highlights the need for being organised and not creating a problem for future generations to deal with. It never goes away just because it is burried. Anyway there is plenty of good compost on the upside.  A job for a dry but cold day!

Potatoe Clamp

1.Dig up potatoes .Image

2.Dig hole.( an optomistic hole and observe soil strata in the process )

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3.Place in straw

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4.Add potatoes

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5.Cover with straw and grass clippings.

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6. Cover with soil and firm with shovel/ spade

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7. Dig up again as required or if you forgot to keep some back for use!

If you have a light soil of course just cut the stalks down and leave in-situ untill needed. Works well on wet soils. There are other versions of this which are above ground only. This method is how one of the students at Park House used to do it growing up.Great debate was has as there are any number of ways to do this.