I was moaning to myself the other morning about the rather more watery Summer than we would have wished for so decided to head out for a walk to clear the head. I brought the dog with me as whatever the weather it was certain that at least one of us was going to have a good time. I went out for a little ramble on a patch of bog that myself and the dog are quite partial to in the hope that the clouds would break and we might get a little sun on our backs.
We were lucky as it turned out as the clouds parted to reveal a beautiful morning, everything permeated by the sweet smell of the ground after rain and the surprisingly spicy Asian smell from the bracken (at least I think it was the bracken, it was all over the place anyway). I was having a bit of a peek through the trees at the land steaming in the morning sun when I was reminded of a poem we encountered in school. After a few false starts trying to jolt the old brain box into gear I was equally surprised (as I was by the smell of the bracken) that I remembered the whole thing. To celebrate the retrieval of one of the few things I did learn in school I include the poem here, 'The Lost Heifer' by Austin Clarke.
The lost Heifer
When the black herds of the rain were grazing In the gap of the pure cold wind And the watery hazes of the hazel Brought her into my mind, I thought of the last honey by the water That no hive can find.
Brightness was drenching through the branches When she wandered again, Turning the silver out of dark grasses Where the skylark had lain, And her voice coming softly over the meadow Was the mist becoming rain.
I suppose someone is going to tell me it isn't really about a heifer, rain, grass and stuff and is actually an allegory for the shift of inner city dwellers to the suburbs or some such guff. Is it just a simple poem capturing a beautiful part of the Irish landscape? I seem to remember the more learned and cultured members of my class (they were in the minority) turning their nose up at it because that's exactly what it is. I, however, think it's a thing of beauty, it illustrates something so soft, cool and familiar about our landscape that perhaps makes us look again at the magic in our own back yard.
You probably all hate it.
So, what's going on in the newsletter this month? Plenty. We've some great special offers, a new range of garlic bulbs for Autumn planting and I'll try to give you the benefit of my experience in the polytunnel. I'll be explaining how to grow oriental salads and give you some tips on planting Autumn garlic and onions.
It's not too late to put in some fresh seedlings or seeds, especially under cover so let's go for one final fling before it's time to batten down the hatches for the winter. I have included our recommended list for Autumn planting with some tasty oriental salads and some winter hardy plants like corn salad, claytonia and land cress.
As always we're here for any advice you may need and are easily contactable by phone, email and on our facebook page. It's not over yet, there's still plenty to do so don't hang up your gardening gloves just yet. Here's a few top tips for the garden at this time of year to finish up:
Cut away all the lower leaves of your tomato plants. It's a race to get the fruit ripened now and we need to let as much light as possible in to any green fruits. Don't harvest every ripe fruit as you see it as they give off a gas which encourages the others to follow suit.
Pinch out the growing tips of your basil plants to stop them from going into flower, you'll get a few more pickings out of the plant by doing this and stretch the Summer feeling that little bit longer!
Keep feeding tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and courgettes to get the best out of them as the season comes to a close. We recommend a liquid seaweed feed for best results.
Andrew & Niall Quickcrop