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Friday, March 27, 2015

April in the garden

Hi all,
             Please read what to do in the garden in this coming April.

Enjoy
Willie


Vegetable & Fruit April Growing Guide
By April spring should be well and truly underway, the soil warming up nicely and everything growing away. Don't be complacent though, it's been known for a cold snap with snow to strike even in the sunny south of England. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts and a hand on the horticultural fleece and insulation materials.

Sowing & Planting in April on the Vegetable Plot
If March has been difficult and you've not managed to get much done, you're going to have a busy April. With onions you're really pushing it so if they're not planted make it one of the first jobs of the month

The weeds won't be slow and it's time to sharpen your hoe. A sharp hoe is the best friend a gardener can have. Just slide it back and forth slightly below the surface of the soil and you'll stop the weed seedlings in their tracks. There's an old saying "Hoe when you can't see a weed and you'll never see a weed" which is very true. Hoeing keeps the top soil broken up so in times of drought water cannot get to the surface by capillary action and evaporate. When it does rain a hoed surface will prevent the precious water running off and ensure it goes down to where it's wanted. 

Things to Sow
Beetroot, Peas, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Chard, Kohl Rabi, Leeks, Spinach
Beet spinach, Rocket, Lettuce, Radish

Covering your carrots with a fleece and ensuring the edges are buried will stop the carrot root fly from gaining entry to lay eggs by your carrots. The eggs hatch in larvae that burrow into the carrot root, killing the plant or at least ruining the crop.

Plant Outdoors
Onion & Shallot Sets, Globe and Jerusalem Artichokes, Asparagus.
Easter, a variable feast that usually falls in early April is the traditional potato planting time. If you have a comfrey bed and it has sprung back, the first cut laid in the trench under the potatoes will provide nutrition to get them off to a good start.
On the subject of comfrey, if you make a comfrey tea it will help you to a great crop to use it on your potatoes. Many novice growers wonder why they have small crops of potatoes and most often this is just down to lack of food for this hungry crop.

Under Cover in Greenhouse, Coldframe  and  Polytunnel
Aubergine, Celery, Outdoor Cucumbers, Tomatoes (if you've not already done so)
A good tip in a windowsill is to stick some silver cooking foil onto cardboard and place on the inside to reflect light back onto the seedlings. This will help prevent the seedlings being drawn.

Sow Outdoors under Cloche
French beans, Lettuce, Sweetcorn
I like to pre-chit my sweetcorn, I lay the seeds on a layer of damp kitchen paper and then place a layer of paper over in an airtight box. An old ice-cream carton or a Tupperware type box is ideal. Check carefully each day and as soon as the small white sprout appears, plant the seed about half to an inch deep in a 3" pot of general purpose compost in the greenhouse.
When the shoots appear about an inch high, plant out under cloche being careful not to disturb the root (sweetcorn hates root disturbance) under a cloche. Sweetcorn needs a lot of nitrogen and a teaspoon of dried blood per plant or water Many of the crops you can sow directly will also benefit from cloching, especially as you move northwards or started off in modules in a cool greenhouse or coldframe and then planted out later.  

Fruit
Strawberries can be planted out now, it's best to remove flowers in the first year as you conserve strength for growth and gain larger crops in subsequent years. An easy way to gain strawberry plants is to plant the runners into pots and when rooted cut the runner. The plants don't last forever so you need to rotate them every three to five years.
Hand pollinate peaches and nectarines. Tickle the flowers with a small paint brush to spread the pollen. Cover if a cold spell threatens.
A good layer of compost around the base of fruit trees will ensure they have the nutrition to provide another good crop for you.

Gardener's Pests
I've mentioned the carrot root fly but the gardener's worst enemy is awakening. The evil slugs and snails are coming out to eat entire rows of succulent young seedlings overnight so take action now.

Harvest
We're in the 'Hungry Gap' between the last of the winter crops and start of the early crops but there are still a few things available, late sprouting and chards for example plus you may have some early salad crops from the greenhouse border.Do re-check your stored crops. On a fine day, empty out the potato sacks and check for any rotten potatoes. If you've strung onions, watch out for the odd rotten one and remove it before it spreads.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March in the garden

Hi all,
              Please have a read of my jobs to do and getting ready for the growing season.

Enjoy
Willie 

Vegetable & Fruit March Growing Guide
March is the month when things really start to move in the growing season. In fact the start of the year used to be, 25th March until 1752 in Ireland when we adopted the Gregorian calendar and started our year on the 1st January. From a horticultural viewpoint, it would have made sense to have stuck with the old system, starting the year on the spring equinox, in link with the seasons

   Comfrey Blocking 14 the most useful herb you can grow on your plot.

Sowing & Planting in March on the Vegetable Plot
If the weather is cold but otherwise reasonable, you can steal some time and start early by cloching and fleecing, although cloches have been around for many years, nowadays we can get cheap polythene tunnel cloches and even cheaper fleece.Place the cloche or fleece a week or two before planting and the soil will have warmed up nicely as well as being dry and easy to work. Water well into the drill prior to sowing and replacing the cloche. Do remember to water weekly or more frequently in sunny weather under cloches.
To hold down fleece without tearing, save plastic 2 litre milk containers and fill with sand or water although water tends to leak. The smooth surface will weigh down the fleece but not damage it. It's surprising how just a layer of fleece can raise the temperature of the underlying soil.Plant out your onion and shallot sets. If growing onions from seed started earlier in the year under cover these can also go out now. You can also direct sow onions, thinning to the eventual spacing. Cloching will help them establish and also stop pigeons from pulling them up.
March is the right time to establish an asparagus bed if you are starting from crowns. Do make sure you get it in the right position as it will be there permanently.
Mid-March should let you start planting out those potatoes you've had chitting. If you want some really early potatoes, start some in a black polythene sack in the greenhouse or tunnel. Punch drainage holes in the sack and use a multi-purpose compost.
Staying with root crops, you can plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers now. Be aware that getting them all up at harvest time is very difficult and any tubers left in the ground will grow so effectively a permanent bed.
Things to Sow
Beetroot
Broad Beans
Early Peas (but they may do best started in a gutter in the greenhouse then slipped into a trench or in seed trays)
Brussels sprouts – early varieties like Peer Gynt will be ready in September
Kohl Rabi
Leeks
Lettuce
Radish
Parsnips
Spinach Beet
Early Turnips
Under Cover in Greenhouse, Coldframe and Polytunnel
Sow in Heat
Windowsill or a propagator in the greenhouse will come into use now to start off your tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and cucumbers.
Under Cloche
Many of the crops you can sow directly will also benefit from cloching, especially as you move northwards or started off in modules in a cool greenhouse or coldframe and then planted out later.
Fruit
Planting & Pruning
There is still time to finish planting bare rooted fruit trees and bushes, especially raspberries and other cane fruits.
Early this month you can still prune apple and pear trees while they are still dormant. There is also time to prune gooseberries and currants. With currants shorten the side shoots to just one bud and remove old stems from the centre of the bushes.
They'll benefit from some compost spread around the base as well or some general purpose fertiliser. Trees will appreciate some wood ash spreading under them.
Harvest
Any leeks left standing should come up now – you can freeze them for use in soups and stews or make concentrated leek & potato soup to freeze and thin out when used.
Parsnips too should come up in early March before they try and re-grow. They'll store for a month or so in damp sand but the plant knows it is growing time again. If you turn them into a mash, perhaps with carrots, they'll freeze well taking up little room
You may have spinach beet and chards available, the last of the late Brussels sprouts, winter cauliflowers, kale, swedes, salsify and scorzonera.
Don't forget to keep checking the purple sprouting!
General Jobs on the Plot

Have a good tidy up and finish those odd construction jobs because you are going to be busier still later in the year!www.dublincommunitygrowers.ie

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hardwood cuttings


Hi,
       Please see information on taken hardwood cuttings,

Enjoy

Willie

Hardwood Cuttings

Hardwood and Propagating cuttings for this time of the year, making more plants from some plants you have already or from taking cuttings from other sources (plants that you fancy from your neighbourhood, parks, gardens etc.) There are plenty of shrubs at this time of the year to take cuttings they should be straight and no thicker than a pencil about 30cm long most are deciduous. Among the easiest are Willows (Salix alba) Dogwood (Cornus alba) and their different colours stems. The following shrubs are likely candidates Buddleia, Callicarpa, Deutzia, Euonymus,Forsyithia,Philadelphus,Ribes,Viburnum,Weigela. Roses can also be grown from cuttings but be mindful that modern roses are grown from the method called Grafting, which means that the cutting is grafted onto a root stock. So if you take a cutting from a rose and plant it up you will not get what you thought when you took the cutting in the first place.
                                                                                                      Some climbers can take cuttings from like, Jasmine, Honeysuckle, Grape Vine,  Parthenocissus can be propagated from hardwood cuttings as can Gooseberries and all the currents. So there is plenty to make more offspring of the chosen plants you want. Next prepare a place to do you cuttings and if you are out and about taken cuttings and with the consent if you are in some ones  garden, place the cutting in a plastic bag so as not to let the cutting dry out and keep it safe. Be sure your cutting implement is sharp and if you have a secateurs this is the ideal tool to use. Next you will need a small dedicated bed to put your cuttings into, the soil must be light and well drained if your soil is heavy and claggy add some horticulture grit or sand. Choose straight strong growth with no blemishes as propagating material. Cut the stem you have chosen with clean sharp secateurs you will be using material no thicker than a pencil and about 30cm long, but prune the shoot back to the base or other logical point. Make individual cuttings by snipping straight across directly below a bud, then moving up the stem about 35cm you are using as a cutting cut a diagonal cut on top of a bud slopping away from the bud. This indicates which is top and which is bottom of cutting, the sloping angle is the top portion and this also allows water to drain away from the bud.
                                                                  Insert the cutting/cuttings into the space you have already prepared for them bury them about ¾ deep into prepared space. Make sure they are firmly in by gently pressing down on the soil around the cutting, water and leave for about a year or so, but always checking on them to make sure they do not dry out or are damaged in some way. Hopefully in about 9/12 months new green leaves start to show, in the meantime if they start to show green leaves they will not have rooted enough so avoid pulling them or digging up to see. The exception to this rule is the Willow which will root very easily as they are full of rooting hormones.    



                                               


                                                                                           

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Jobs in the Community Garden

Hi all,
    Hope you all had a good break, now time to start thinking about the garden and doing some odd jobs to be done. The seasons are starting to make their way back, so no time like the present to get out and about. See attach to get an idea on the jobs to be carried out this month coming Feb.

Enjoy




       

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dublin Bee Keepers in Rathgar

Hi ,
        I was not in the community garden on Saturday due to the bad weather (Raining all day). So I went along to a talk and display of the Dublin Bee Keepers in Rathgar instead. It was a very good talk on Beginners Bee Keeping in Ireland most informative, I brought some 100% Irish honey, Bees Wax candles and homemade soaps to finish off. I have included some of the photo`s I took on the day.

Enjoy
Willie












  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Invasive Species alert

Hi,
     Reading in the Irish Sunday Times about 2 new invasive species in Ireland.One is the Japanese Kelp and other is the Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner. I enclose information on these in a more detail form.

Regards
Willie.



Monday, October 13, 2014

Plant sale

Hi all,
           On Saturday I went to the plant sale in the Trinity College Botanic Gardens,it was well attended and allot of plants sold the weather held up great. I have taken some photos of the event and of the plants held in Trinity`s Botanic garden and I also brought a plant called
Osmanthus x buckwoodii.

Enjoy
Willie















South Circular Road Community Food Garden Project

The South Circular Road Community Food Garden Project started in April 2007. We have a derelict site on loan from ST Salvage Company that we have converted into a community food garden. This is a continuation of the initial successful Dolphins Barn Community squatted food garden that was on the canal from 2005 -2007.