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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Rathdooney Vegetable Garden Blog – November 28th

Winter vegetable garden

You may remember some of the vibrant looking photos from my vegetable garden in the Summer with its neat (ish) rows of healthy crops and tidy weeded paths? Well, it looks nothing like that now. I am afraid the garden tends to get neglected at this time of year as I mourn the end of the season and have yet to get started preparing for the next. I must admit to finding the change a bit depressing when the rich colours of Summer and Autumn give way to the more muted tones of Winter. The bright yellow green shoots of Spring seems impossibly far away until I begin to scribble my plan for the New Year but that is when the garden transforms again before my eyes. Continue reading

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Frost Protection in the Garden

Frosty Morning

As Winter approaches it is important to consider protecting your plants from cold weather and the damage that can be caused by frost.  All weather conditions play a part in maintaining the health of a plant, regulating water and nutrient supplies, affecting its hardiness and vitality. Continue reading

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How to Design a Garden Pond

Giverny Water Garden

Like so many garden projects designing a pond requires careful planning. There are so many options to consider depending on use, size, shape, material and situation. A careful compromise of these factors will produce a pond suitable for your needs that complements your garden. Continue reading

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Vegetables you can Grow in Pots – Top 10

how to grow vegetables in pots

The list below includes some of the easiest vegetables you can grow in pots but remember there are many more options depending on your preference. Our list is ideal for a beginner gardener and represents a good range of the basics, for more information on growing vegetables in containers please feel free to contact us.

Most vegetables can be successfully grown in pots or other growing containers provided you use a nutrient rich compost or soil mix. If you are growing vegetables in smaller pots make sure you use compost rather than soil because soil will dry out too quickly and your plants will struggle. Continue reading

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