April into May

April and into May has been a very busy time in the garden. The bones of the annual vegetable garden have now been layed out with some wind protection. This part of the garden gets plenty of sunlight but equally plenty of wind which has a drying effect on the soil. Mulches and plant cover will help to retain moisture throught the summer months. The weather has been very mixed with sunshine and hale

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The onion bed is doing well. I don’t like using grow through membranes. Instead I do a little handweeding and will aad mulch such as compost or straw. At the end of the bed I have planted some Jerusalem Artichoke to act as a wind break. IMG_8874

The Legume bed includes broadbeans, runner beans (black magic), and a variety of peas including snow pea usui grown for their tendrils, carouby de maussane, hurst green shaft and irish garden pea. As a catch crop beet and other quick growing veg have been directly sown between the rows. IMG_8876

The early potatos are coming up and have escaped the recent grass frosts thankfully.

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I pegged out a layout for a perennial and herb/flower garden closer to the house a few weeks ago to get used to the layout and have now started the sheet mulching for this. Even better than bike boxes are the boxes used for tractor engines at 1.5 metres wide with a tripple ply.

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Well rotten manure is easily got in the countryside

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This space is about 40 feet square so a design base on a centre point is starting to take shape.

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This little fruit garden behind the shed is the most sheltered place in the garden. I chopped and dropped the brambles and took out a few self seeded ash trees” weeds” . I’m very interested to see what pops up in here.

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The fruit trees have been mulched with what was to hand at the time. By the south facing wall I planted up a Brown Turkey fig in a 15 inch pot. The roots of fig need to be restricted to encourage fruiting. I used a soil based compost mix with gravel and seaweed dust with a layer of stones in the bottom. A little bone meal is recommended if you have it.

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We made secure one of the dog kennels and yard area adding a new door and a chicken wire roof. The ducks are laying and have been trained to use a treddle feeder. Our watering system takes 30 litres which lasts up to a week before it needs re filling.

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We got 3 female Indian runner ducks to do the sluging, lay eggs and provide compost material. I love this pic with the sheep looking over the hedge. The other night I forgot to close the gate and they got in to munch the grass.

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A bit of old lino in the shed made a tempory puddle for the duck to play in. So far they don’t seem to be that interested.

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The base of an old rabbit hutch under the overflow from the waterbut is also as yet un used.

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Laura has her heart set on getting a few chickens probably silkys so to keep them in check with the plants and especially the seedlings we have started making a chicken tractor that is light enough to be dragged about the garden. They  will help with keeping the grass down.

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I’ve been laying out the grass clippings to make a bed. In a few weeks I will transplant  directly into this.

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The top, bush and cane fruit down by the tunnel are flying. All I have done in here so far is  go around with a long iron bar wacking down the thistles and dock. The rhubarb is fighting it’s battle for ground with the willow herb but the existing strawberrys have been swamped by the grasses.

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We have a steady supply of salad now from the tunnel and the big push to get plants pricked out potted on and hardened off is on. A little woodchips on the paths in the tunnel helps keep the dust down from dry soil. We have frogs in here which is great for slug control.

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Some blackmagic runner beans ready for hardening off. These I planted at a little garden I have in Dublin at 350 metres with a courgette underneat

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A Market more cucumber which will be trained up a nylon string to an overhead support bar

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Some tomatos and backups. Many of these are outdoor bush varieties.

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The propagation area is overflowing. Shown are dino kale nero di toscana some sweetpea and nasturtiams.

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