Natural and organic pest control tips

Cabbage white butterflyOrganic gardening has many advantages over a chemical based approach; Of course the crops produced are tastier and more healthy but the other thing I like about it is it makes us understand nature better. Organic growing is more about avoiding pests or disease rather than applying a fix, it is about prevention rather than cure. To do this we need a little knowledge about our enemies which in turn gives us a deeper understanding of our garden and of nature’s cycles. Continue reading

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How to Create a Raised Bed Herb Garden

Raised Bed Herb GardenA raised bed can provide the perfect environment for creating a herb garden. It can be positioned anywhere that suits you and can be maintained easily. A selection of plants can be mixed for a diverse range of foliage and aromatics. Continue reading

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Growing your own Dwarf Vegetable Varieties

mini vegetables for container growing

Cultivating home grown vegetables is a simple pleasure that anyone can experience, even if you have limited space. We don’t all have the benefit of a large garden with room for a greenhouse and a range of vegetable plots but a simple allotment can be easily created on a balcony or in a tiny backyard. Continue reading

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How to Germinate Seeds Successfully

Sowing seeds in late spring

A plant seed is created to grow and will perform that task admirably once given the opportunity. For successful germination seeds need a suitable growing medium, moderate moisture and warmth to sprout, and enough light and space to thrive.

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Burtown Kitchen Garden Diary – How To Build a Polytunnel

Sweet peas at Burtown
This week we have our second installment of the Burtown Kitchen Garden Diary where we see Dermot building a new polytunnel on the site to broaden the choice of fruit and vegetables destined for the Burtown Green Barn Restaurant. The ethos behind the Green Barn is to provide the freshest of ingredients which only has to travel meters rather than miles before it ends up on your plate. Dermot is under pressure this year to increase production in the early and late parts of the season and to provide more exotic flavours from juicy heirloom tomatoes to fantastic shaped squash and sweet homegrown melons. Continue reading

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The Quickcrop Pea and Bean Frame

Pea and bean support frame

The Quickcrop Pea and Bean Frame is a support system designed for growing your own climbing garden peas and beans. Freshly picked home grown peas are one of the most delicious treats in the vegetable garden whether they are grown to be eaten immediately or set aside to be dried and stored. Like many bean varieties they are simple to grow, with a high success rate, and require very little effort to produce a healthy crop. Legumes are perfect for any gardener who wants to make the most of the space available in their vegetable plot.

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Sowing and germinating vegetable seeds

beetroot seedlings in a modular trayWe are now moving into the time of year when we start to sow seeds (for those of you not reading this article ‘hot from the oven’ it is the beginning of February) so I figured it may be helpful to write an article on seed germination. We sow hundreds of thousands of seeds a year to supply our vegetable seedling range so get used to the likes and dislikes of a broad range of vegetables. The good news is it is all pretty easy really, after all the seeds actually want to grow, we just have to help them along. I have arranged the following ground breaking article in a Q&A format even though I’m asking and answering the questions myself, no doubt you will find it fascinating… Continue reading

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The Polytunnel in January

Polytunnel in januaryWhile I do spend plenty of happy time in the garden in January there really isn’t a whole lot you can do other than preparing things for the season ahead. In may cases I will be tempted to start a few jobs when I shouldn’t like digging out weeds (the soil is probably too wet) or pruning fruit bushes (best done just before they bud) so I can actually do more harm than good. The January polytunnel is, however, a completely different place with a warmer environment protected from the elements and a whole load more options. Continue reading

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Burtown Kitchen Garden Diary – Dividing and Planting Rhubarb

walled kitchen garden

As you may know I keep in touch with Dermot Carey (ex head gardener at Lissadell House) and like to hear about the projects he is working on in his travels around the country. Dermot works as a consultant to a number of growing enterprises which have included Lisadell House, Harry’s bar in inishowen, The Mount Falcon hotel as well as the G.I.Y (grow it yourself) movement in Waterford. This Summer Dermot started work at Burtown house and gardens in Athy, Co. Kildare where he has ramped up production in the vegetable garden to provide for their new Green Barn restaurant (pictured below). Continue reading

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Rathdooney Vegetable Garden Blog – Jan 10th

freshly harvested homegrown potatoes

I am sure you are sick of seeing pictures of my potatoes by now but I ended up digging out another barrow full of them on Sunday while I prepared a bed for Summer cabbage. According to the weather forecast we are heading for ‘Arctic conditions’ this week so I thought I had better lift any potatoes still in the ground to avoid any frost damage. Tubers close to the surface of the soil will freeze and then turn to mush when they thaw, this creates a foul smelling mess when it rots and can spread to neighbouring potatoes. Continue reading

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