Say Hello

Close the dialog

Send us a comment

A New Year in the Garden

January 22nd 2015witch hazel



It feels like the short dark days are behind us. The snowdrops have been with us since before Christmas, and the Witch Hazel has appeared almost overnight. Each year they delight us with the beauty of their delicate colours.







The land is covered in a blanket of snow but already new life is eager to burst out. It is approaching IMBOLG. The Earth is stirring and the birds seem numberous. The Winter has been mild, with no hard frosts or low temperatures so they have had a better chance for survival.







It is time to get out and make contact with the earth. The recent snow is still in evidence on the outside of the tunnels. Inside it is 6' degrees.

snow tunnelP1220236


A clean up is required within.

Mr.Robin wastes no time, he is in to help himself to dinner.  Freshly turned soil, nice juicy worms a plenty, easy pickings. the soil is surprisingly dry in places but very wet in other areas.

This area of the garden, where now the polyunnel sits was once a swamp, but the soil is improving with each season. It is a pleasure working in the polytunnel at any time, outside the ground is frozen and it is a waiting game.



There is still lots of food for the dinner table, just finishing the last Cauliflower, lots of Carrots, Parsnips, Beetroot, Chard, Spinach, Pac Choi, Herbs too, Parsley, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage,Lemon Grass and Mountain Mint.


Outside we have Kale, Sprouts, Leeks and Skirret.  We have just today sown some salad potatoes, and Florence Fennel plants are waiting in the wings for the snow to melt.




Later it is time to empty the compost toilet waste buckets. They have been decomposing for one and half to two years and are ready for our shrubbery on Molly's walk.

In the begining we used sawdust to cover the waste, then shredded straw. It appears that the sawdust breaks down to a finer soil. We now use shredded newspaper and expect that it should break down quicker than either of the others, time will tell. b compost


All work and no play......Time for a walk, about 7km which takes in the Shaskeen Bog. It is a beautiful sunny afternoon and there is not a cloud in the sky, the frozen snow takes a bit of careful navigating in places.


Sunday 8th February

Today, it's time to sow the first early potatoes. We have chosen Orla, a blight resistant variety. We have had them before, they are not a big cropper, but very tasty. Time too to sow cauliflower and broad bean seeds.


It is our first time to grow cauli's from seed, they grow very well here from young plants at any time of year, it's worth a packet of seed !

We save the cardboard center's from toilet rolls to sow seeds in. They work really well, as there is no need to disturb the new seedlings as they can be planted directly and the cardboard will decompose.

Wednesday 11th

Today we planted out some flowering current bushes that we grew from cuttings, they should give shelter and smell divinely at the same time.



Tuesday 17th

 We transplanted a Beauty of Bath Apple Tree, it has been overshadowed by some willows and has not produced any fruit.

kale Hopefully it's new location will favour it better.      

We planted up a new bed in the yard, with plants that had their roots divided in our neighbour's garden. We trimmed back some of the willows and  dogwoods and planted the cuttings which should soon settle in.

All of the willows and dogwoods here have been planted as cuttings, several hundred of them, some are now 15' tall. Our aim is to become self sufficient in firewood.Since coming here 8years ago we have planted approx. 5,000 trees, of assorted native varieities. Some are now sizeable groves and arched pathways, others are just begining to make an appearence and become noticed. Last year was very favourable for tree growth, and we are looking forward to seeing the display when they leaf up this year.  

Thursday 19th

The willow Archway may become our new access path to the Polytunnels. the ground is rough and uneven underfoot. artichokegrassssnowscapenestAs the weather is favourable today it is a good time to begin to level it out. The first blister of the year appears due to the lack of outdoor work during the winter months.

Friday 20th

The Compost Bins need airating to help speed up decomposition. One bin is already compost for the tunnels. It takes a lot of vegetable matter to make a small amount of compost. 

Saturday 21st

The small tunnel has the over wintering vegetables, hopefully enough to get us through the Hungry Gap, it is time to take a look and give it a tidy up. The strawberry plants have taken over the back section and need a ruthless makeover.cchardjudysnoww

Thursday 26th

We helped our neighbour to repair his hot bed. This enables him to give a head start for the season ahead to flower and vegetable seeds. He also includes tomatoe seeds for us.

Friday 27th

The Broad bean seeds didn't germinate, although we kept them indoors. We had 100% success with the cauliflowers, but just 1 Bean shute. Perhaps is was the lack of consistant heat in the house. So we will try again, we are anxious to see new growth before our winter stocks get too low.

Monday 9th March

Both polytunnels need to be washed inside before we begin the new season's planting. As we have an American girl Jessie, staying to help out, it is a good time to undertake this task with an extra pair of hands as Jimmy is completing work on a Wireless Radio before we all tackle the large task of stripping down our old Land Rover Defender

Tuesday 10th 

We finished cleaning and weeding the polytunnels in the morning. The weather was so good by midday that we prepared the vegetables outdoors and ate outside...... 1spiral

.After dinner we did some weaving at the side of the glasshouse which we hope will shelter us from easterly winds.

Friday 13th

Later we did some digging and weeding outside. It's so good to be outside again.

Sunday 15th

P1130214It's getting late in the season to plant willow slips as the sap will soon be rising, but we take a chance and hope to create a willow bee-hive here.


Monday 16th

It's time too, to re-create our willow round house. The storms of recent weeks have broken the sisel twine that once held it together. This time we will use a stronger thicker version. Also we are using a bicycle rim to tie all the branches to the centre. In a couple of weeks when new growth begins it will strengthen itself as nature creates a weave of it's own.