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Planning and preparing a vegetable garden

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

The glorious sunshine we have had has really inspired me to get stuck in and start preparing a new vegetable garden for next year.

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I, as many of the readers of this column, have had several attempts and failures at vegetable gardening, and I have decided 2022 is going to be different. So I have begun from scratch, on a smaller scale than before, and armed with a plan.

The ground, though wet, is not as saturated as it could be, so I thought it a good time to start off my raised beds for veggie planting. As my topsoil is fairly shallow - only about 20cm in many places - and I have a solid clay underneath, I decided to dig out paths using that topsoil to raise my beds. I have put weed suppressant on the clay path, run a drainage pipe along the path and put a good layer of gravel on top. I am determined to have a sound structure to work from, so ease of use must come first! My paths are wide enough to accommodate a wheelbarrow and the corners of my beds are rounded to make it easier to manoeuvre said wheelbarrow.

My beds are 16ft long by 4ft - as that is the length timber comes in, and who wants to waste time and energy sawing? In the past, I felt I had to use every bit of space in the bed to grow something but I have placed stepping stones at handy intervals throughout, rather than standing on the soil. These are small things, but in the haste to buy seeds and start growing, I have always made a sort of a slap dash job of the actual ground.

THREE YEAR CYCLE

Next, I built three new compost bins. I have a large garden, and, to be honest, the compost bins available to buy are just too small. Previously, I have used the three pallet system - which is basically a bay made out of three pallets nailed together. Five pallets will give you two bays, and so on. I am a firm believer in the need for three bays. Bay 1: where current matter is deposited. Bay 2: untouched and composting for a year. Bay 3: the oldest, which should be useable compost. For me, this corresponds to a three year cycle, as I find my compost takes that long to develop. The one thing which I have changed to this system is that I have used reconstituted decking boards rather than pallets. It looks so much neater, and will be far more sturdy and durable.

Unfortunately my garden has become riddled with a most tenacious and prolific weed, called Woundwort. There are several types, all identifiable by the square, hairy stems, purple flower spikes and slightly pungent smell. I don’t know where mine came from as I have not seen them in my area, but it really likes where it is. Not realising its true nature, I left it alone last year. To be fair to it, pollinators, especially bumblebees, absolutely love it and land on it in amazing numbers. This year, the original square meter has expanded to at least 10 square meters, and as it grows easily from seed, it is absolutely everywhere now. Oh, and did I mention its underground network of rhizomes? Take care, fellow gardener, if you see it, burn it! This area has been painstakingly dug up, as many roots as possible removed, and covered in black polythene. And so it will remain for at least a year - I am not taking chances!

The rest of my beds I have covered with a thick layer of compost and old farmyard manure. To prevent weeds establishing before we even get started, I have covered each bed with weed suppressant - from experience I know that our mild winters will not stop some weeds from growing.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I have included a good few seating possibilities - as I am beginning to feel my age... though, apart from age, sometimes it is just wonderful to sit and plan, or ponder, or just watch nature do its thing – that is part of being a gardener, don’t you agree?

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Credit Union launch a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd.

Building on recent success the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick have launched a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd. Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd specialise in Photovoltaic (PV) […]

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Building on recent success the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick have launched a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd.

Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd specialise in Photovoltaic (PV) Solar systems that generate electricity, battery storage, air to water heat-pumps and much more.
Gilroy’s work with customers to receive the SEAI once-off grant towards the purchase and installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and heat pumps for your home.
Collaborating with Kerry and West Limerick Credit Union expands the finance options available to Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd customers to help finance new PV Solar Panel installations. Loan rates will be directly linked to the property BER starting from 4.7%(4.89APR) for an “A” rated BER.
Martin Gilroy; CEO with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd said: “We are delighted to officially launch this collaboration with the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick. Customers have already reaped the benefits on recent installation projects after contacting their local Credit Union. Having a direct link to local Credit Unions allows us to guide customers to affordable financing options based on the specific installation quotation we provide at very competitive rates.“
Speaking on behalf of the Kerry and West Limerick Credit Unions, Ashley Fitzgerald added: “We are delighted to have Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd come on board as part of our Greener Homes Loan offering. Home Energy Upgrade have become a prominent concern and talking point among members in recent months, by Credit Unions having a direct link with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd allows both sides to make referrals and seek the best finance option for members. We are working hard building relationships with Green Energy Ltd providers as we want to ensure our members can avail of the best loan rates for all upgrade works.”
Credit Unions across Kerry and West Limerick. Abbeyfeale Credit Union, Cara Credit Union, Killarney Credit Union, Listowel Credit Union and Rathmore and District Credit Union can be reached via: www.creditunion.ie
Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd can be contacted on 066-7115920, email info@gilroys.ie or for more information visit www.gilroys.ie.

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Racegoers Club to host Cheltenham Preview Night

Killarney Racegoers Club will host its annual Cheltenham Preview Night in Corkery’s Bar on March 7. Admission is free and this year’s chosen beneficiary is the Killarney Branch of St […]

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Killarney Racegoers Club will host its annual Cheltenham Preview Night in Corkery’s Bar on March 7.

Admission is free and this year’s chosen beneficiary is the Killarney Branch of St Vincent De Paul Society.
The expert panel includes professional punter Paddy Wilmott, leading jockey Conor McNamara, up-and-coming Kerry-based trainer Eoin McCarthy and local bookmaker Brendan Tyther with Vince Casey acting as the event’s compere.

“There is no admission fee but a raffle on the night for dual membership of Killarney Racegoers Club for the year, which includes 13 days racing and many reciprocal days to other race meetings,” said Mr Casey.

The Cheltenham Festival begins on March 12.

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