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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The Benefits Of Using Organic Fertilizers & Plant Feed

Grow your own vegetables
Plant feed and fertilizers play a huge part in the garden, and as a company we only use natural and organic alternatives.  Natural plant feed is a no-brainer in the vegetable garden as we tend to eat the end result. Towards the end of the year I add manure or compost and seaweed to my garden to feed the soil and protect it over the Winter. Over the years I have built up a very fertile soil in this way and rarely, if ever, add any extra feed. I don’t use any chemical fertilizers because I don’t need to but also because they are damaging to the good soil I have built up and are a short term solution to my garden’s nutrient needs. Continue reading

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Heirloom, Open Pollinated and F1 Hybrid seeds.

Grow your own tomatoes
I thought I’d quickly try to explain the difference between open pollinated and F1 seeds this week as I was asked about it twice over the last few days. There seems to be some confusion between F1 and genetically modified seeds as well the difference between open pollinated and heirloom varieties. Anyway, I don’t purport to be an expert in these matters but hopefully this piece will shed some light on the subject, I hope you find it helpful. Continue reading

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How to Grow Microgreens Indoors


Towards the end of summer and into autumn activity in the vegetable garden slows down as crops are fully grown and their fruit begins to ripen. Winter brassicas are bedded in till spring and the work demands ease off. Apart from tidying the greenhouse and beds, sowing garlic and planting early broad beans there is very little to keep the enthusiastic gardener occupied until the seed catalogues arrive in January.


Many gardeners now move indoors and extend the salad growing season by cultivating microgreens. Microgreens are tender, young green vegetables harvested at the first or second leaf stage and used as a culinary ingredient. They are extremely easy to grow and are becoming increasingly popular. Continue reading

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