Sunday, February 28, 2010

Good Deals in Lidl next Thursday

Some good value garden equipment in Lidl next Thursday.

The tent greenhouse in particular is a favourite. Expect that after a year, the metal poles may succumb to the midland winds, but you can alway build a permanent frame on your raised bed (see below) on which to drape the longer lasting cover. Last year I used one of these greenhouses to protect my tomatoes and squash plants until the danger of frost was past, having run out of space and sunny windowsills indoors. If you haven't yet built your raised beds, it's a good idea to build them so that one of these tents fits over them. I just got lucky :-)

Be warned, however, the handles on the garden bucket snap off when you are carrying a heavy load, so it may be worth paying a little more if you want a good trug.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010


I adore Japanese pickles, but they are not so easy to come by in Mullingar. There are a couple of different ways to make the, but I have been intrigued by the idea of a rice bran mix hosting lactobaccilli which pickle for you. It's not a far cry from the sour dough bread which is a staple here.

Almost a year ago, a Japanese friend gave me a package of Nukazuke mix, which her parents had sent her from Japan. (Thanks Shino). Now the thing with Nukazuke is that you have to mix it every day (sourdough is once a week), so I had put off starting it as there was always a trip away planned. We have nothing now till July, so yesterday I got started.

The nukadoko will live in a plastic bucket - traditionally it would be in a wooden bucket.

The bacteria have to come from somewhere- so I added an organic carrot and some apple peel, and some sourdough bread soaked in water.

So now, I have to mix daily until it starts to smell ready - whatever that smells like! Something to do until the weather improves, anyhow...

More info.

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Teaching kids to eat real food...

Couldn't say it better myself.....

Go Jamie!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Seed planting and planning

So, once again trying to work out when the last frost might be, and making a plan accordingly. At last nights GIY Mullingar event, a seasoned farmer was saying that the last frost could be as late as June- aaagh! Last year I took a guess based on the full moon, and went for a mid April date - This years relevant full moons are April 28th and May 27th. So I'll be going for a last frost date round April 28th. I have a reasonable sheltered location - for Mullingar- so I'm not going to plan for a May 27th frost date. :-)

I'll be using the excellent guide provided by the ladies at Little house in the suburbs - since I love my crafts, this is a nice way to combing gardening and making things.

While we're on the weather - a great local resource is here. Weather station in Killucan.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dig for Victory

The imperial War museum in London has an exhibit based on the gardening war efforts. Classic Dig for Victory film here, I'll be doing everything possible to get myself and the undergardeners to London this summer for a trip to this show.

If we manage that, I'd love a visit to the Physic Gardens. If we're really lucky we'll also squeeze in a trip to Fergus Henderson's St John restaurant.

And of course, we'll spend a day at Legoland :-)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Published again!

Another article on the GIY Ireland site. This time about planting broad beans with kids. I'm hopoing to make this a monthly feature.

While I'm on GIY Ireland, looking forward to next weeks GIY Mullingar Seed Meitheal in Belvedere - Feb 18th, 8:00pm. We will be breaking into groups which will each get some plants started from seed, and then we'll supply the other group members with seedlings. There will be some seeds at the event, but it would be wonderful if people could bring seeds which they have saved themselves to add to the pot.

And did I mention that yours truly will be giving a short talk about propagation at said event - busy month!

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Friday, February 05, 2010

Castille soap Giveaway

What's soap doing on a gardening blog?

I'm running a giveaway on my craft blog - call it a last hurrah before attention shifts to the outdoors and the garden for the next few months. Check it out, and let me know if you came via this blog.

Seriously, though, this soap is great if you have been out for a few hours rooting in the dirt, and need to wash up - it cleans and moisturises!

I'll be running soap making courses in Mullingar soon, and at the Organic Center later in the year.

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Monday, February 01, 2010


A good start to February - GIY (Grow It Yourself) is an organisation which has been snowballing in popularity here in Ireland in the past year or less. They have an excellent website where they share tips, build community, let people know about local meetings.

And now, one of the people writing articles for that website is me! I'm doing a series about gardening with kids - something very close to my heart - see the first article here.

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