Sunday, January 15, 2012

Planting time

Yet another spring like day, dry warm and sunny, yet I'm told by friends in Galicia that there, it's cold with heavy frost and fog and they have not started planting yet. People always seem surprised when we say that we were living in Spain for nearly eight years that we would move back to Ireland, people have this idea that Spain is always hot and sunny, well maybe in the south and the Canary Islands, but many parts of Spain get very cold weather and snow. It is nice to be able to go into the garden or the tunnel and not to find that crops have been destroyed by moles, voles or mice. We never did find out the main culprits but it is so disconcerting to find that your beautiful looking carrots or parsnips are just foliage and the roots have all been eaten , what ever the pest was it had strong teeth, it devoured roots of two of our Kiwis and also the roots of an eighteen foot Mimosa, this tree was well established but just as it was coming into bloom we noticed the leaves and flower buds were shrivelling and dying, further investigation showed that the roots had been eaten. Here, if my memory serves me correctly the worst we have to cope with are leather jackets, the crane fly loves newly turned soil to lay her eggs in, in turn these hatch into the plant eating grubs, I would always plant extra seeds to allow for this, treating the eaten ones as a sacrifice crop. If I spot a plant wilting, a quick dig around it will normally expose a pair of these pests. Hens are not that keen on them but the ducks seem to like them. Today I managed to clear one bed in the tunnel of weeds for an early planting of mange-tout peas. The second igloo has now been made and the ducks have given it their seal of approval. Unfortunately our Jersey Giants and our Buff Orpington's have all turned out to be cockerels, so in desperation we have now got two Light Sussex and two, definitely, female Jersey Giants, we have put one of the Buffs in with them after-all keeping them pure bred at the moment does not matter, we just want to raise some birds for the table.

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