Saturday, September 15, 2012


So far September has been a warm and dry month, ideal weather to get the garden prepared for it's winter sleep, we have now built four raised beds ready for next year. We have not done this because the land gets wet, our land is very free draining too much so in fact, but we hope that by having the raised beds we might stand more of a chance against the weeds and slugs, the other advantage is that having deep dug the beds and making them a width that can be worked from both sides they will not require further heavy digging, just cover them with manure and compost in the Autumn cover with black plastic or cardboard and let the worms do the rest. We used to use this method before when we lived in Ireland and it works well. The garden had got quite overgrown and we had forgotten that we had planted some Pink Fir Apple potatoes so were delighted to find we had a bonus crop nearly a bucket full, plus some stray main crop potatoes.

It seems to be a good year for blackberries so we went foraging and returned with over four pounds of fruit picked in a very short time, I didn't want to waste valuable space in the freezer so I bottled them instead, this is a very easy way to preserve fruit for the winter, we ended up with twelve jars, ready to make apple and blackberry pie come the winter.

From time to time we have had our rabbits escape from their runs, normally they are easy to catch or even return to their runs, however, there will always be the exception. Bunsey free ranged for well over three weeks, she was living in the hedge row but still expected to be given her feed every evening, she and the cats became friends with the cats being very curious as to why this rabbit was running around. Our attempts at catching her failed even though we have a large net and she had no fear of us when we were outside. After hearing a fox calling one evening we thought it was time that she was caught and returned to safety, she must have also been aware of the danger as our next attempt was successful, she is now reunited with her sister Goldie . We had no intention of keeping three females but there is no way that she will end up in our freezer, we admire her too much the way that she adapted to semi feral living.

We were pleased to find several frogs around the garden although a bit puzzled as to why they should still be showing their breeding colours, although the seasons are well out of line. We have primroses and Aubretia in bloom and Sweet Williams that I had grown from seed for next years blooming are blooming now.

The Sweet Peas have been spectacular this year and are continuing to bloom, I am hopeful that they will continue until the first frosts come but thankfully their is no sign of that happening yet, the trees have not started to turn colour so we might have a little more of this pleasant Autumn weather.

The butterflies are now coming into their own, at last we have seen Peacocks and masses of Tortoiseshells plus many other varieties but no Red Admirals.

In these very hard times we do not understand why more people are not producing at least some of their own food, we live in a very rural area yet veg gardens are very few and far between, Ireland, like Galicia has ideal growing conditions and although in Galicia all rural dwellers would grow vegetables it was very limited as to what they did grow, the Spanish don't seem to have much use for vegetable unless it's to feed to animals. But here in Ireland people do eat vegetables so why don't they grow some of their own? It can't be lack of time, that's something that people have plenty of, given the unemployment rates, maybe it is all to do with the grant culture, if a farmer is not given grant money from the EU he wont produce stuff, not even if it helps to feed his family.
But this is not just restricted to farmers, most people have large gardens in such a rural area, but they prefer to let the rush take over or use glyphosate rather that dig a garden. As we look around at our own small piece of Ireland we know how quickly the land can become productive with out any chemical inputs at all. We've been back just fourteen months, the freezers are full and in fact we have had to buy yet another one to take the duck and hen harvest, we have a winters supply of potatoes, carrots, onions , a cupboard full of jams and bottled fruit, plus all the cabbages and chard which remains over winter in the garden. Not knowing how to grow stuff is not a valid excuse, there are a number of Grow your Own clubs in Ireland to help the novices get started. Is it just that people are now so far removed from how and where the food they eat comes from? A kids reply to this is simple, The Supermarket. That's all most of them know, what will happen when the world can no longer import from one side of the planet to the other?

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