Connect with us


Time to turn your attention to the vegetable garden




By Debby Looney, gardening expert​​​​

I did some tidying and planting last weekend, mainly in the fruit area of the garden, so this week I am turning my attention to the vegetable garden.

To my disgust, my blackberries had died – I thought they were indestructible! So I took myself off to buy some new replacements, and thought I would share with you my top picks.


These are definitely my favourite fruit, and, to be fair, my plants only died due to extreme neglect. ‘Loch Ness’ is thornless and semi erect. The fruit is borne on second year wood, so keep an eye on your pruning. ‘Black Satin’ is a lovely early fruiting blackberry, on the tart side. These cultivated blackberries are not rampant like our own, and need to be kept weed free until established, as I have found to my detriment!
Boysenberries are a cross between a raspberry, loganberry and blackberry, with a deep red fruit. They are a fairly small fruit bush, ideal for smaller gardens and containers. It fruits on one year old wood, and is best trained in a fan shape, so you can keep new shoots to one side.


These are a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry and ideally suited to our weather conditions. They do not tend to go off as quickly as a raspberry and are, in my opinion, easier to prune and train. They also fruit on second year wood.


Tayberries are also a cross between blackberries and raspberries, fruiting and keeping well. Also fruiting on second year wood they should be trained and pruned like raspberries. There are two types of raspberries, summer fruiting such as ‘Malling Jewel’ and autumn fruiting such as ‘Autumn Bliss’. When you have both you are ensured a long season, however it is important you label both as they need different types of pruning. Summer fruiting canes should be cut back almost to ground level, and the new growth tied up for the following year's fruiting. Autumn varieties on the other hand can be cut back completely during the winter, as they fruit on current years’ growth.


Another favourite of mine is the gooseberry, especially the sweeter, darker varieties such as ‘Pax’ which is a lovely ruby colour and resistant to mildew. The worst that can happen your gooseberry plant, and which my plants regularly fall victim to, is the gooseberry sawfly. These are an orange coloured fly which lays its eggs on your gooseberries, but will also go for currants. The larvae look like caterpillars; green, with orange dots, and will strip your plant of leaves within hours! The best control is to keep a close eye on your plant, or use a spray such as Grazers caterpillar control, which is safe to use on edibles.

Fruit cages

The main part of my job last weekend was erecting fruit cages over my plants. Birds are by far the most worrisome pest, and strong netting is the only protection against them. I bought the handiest caging – aluminium poles, which can be connected using matching corners, connectors and end caps. Light, reasonably study, and super easy to put together, even for two left hands such as mine, I heartily recommend investing in some type of protection. If you're feeling sorry for the birds, which I do, an option is to plant some Aronia bushes. These are great for them as they can be used as shelter, have very pretty red autumn foliage, and masses of black round berries which I find too sour, but the thrushes and blackbirds seem to love them! These plants need no maintenance, are disease free, and grow in the most adverse conditions…naturally!

Continue Reading


Eight month wait for a driving test in Killarney

A Killarney councillor is calling for action in an effort to reduce the driving test wait list in Killarney The current wait list for a test in Killarney sits at […]




A Killarney councillor is calling for action in an effort to reduce the driving test wait list in Killarney

The current wait list for a test in Killarney sits at eight months.

Cllr John O’Donoghue raised the issue at Monday’s full meeting of Kerry County Council.

He proposed that driving instructors should be employed to carry out the final test to reduce the current backlog.

At Monday’s meeting he asked that hat Kerry County Council would write to the Minister for Transport to ask him to consider giving driving instructors temporary powers to issue a temporary Driving Licence/Certificate of Competence to those on the waiting list for tests.

“The wait is currently far too long and the system is in danger of becoming completely overwhelmed,” he said.

“The huge waiting list for young drivers is well documented at this stage. In a case I am familiar with, a young person passed their theory test in January 2022 and he immediately applied for his mandatory 12 driving lessons. When these were completed, he applied for his driving test on the 2nd of December 2022. Some weeks ago, he still had not received an application to apply for his driving test. This wait is placing him and his family under considerable extra cost and stress which is completely unacceptable.”

In the course of his research into the matter Cllr O’Donoghue discovered that the next available date for a driving test in Killarney is May 25, 2024, while Tralee is June 3 2024.

“Bear in mind, these are only the dates on which you receive an invitation to book your test, the test itself will then be an estimated three to five weeks later.

“This is an appalling situation and one which needs to be rectified as a matter of urgency. I am proposing that driving instructors, which presumably are fully trained up on the rules of the road, be granted temporary powers to be allowed to issue temporary driving licences to young people. When the waiting list time has been reduced, I would still propose that these people sit the test as usual, but the current pressure needs to be alleviated as soon as possible. There is precedent as I believe that in the 1970s, a cohort in this country were issued driving licences without having sat a test as the wait time for the test was too long.”


Continue Reading


Ballymac charity vintage run on October 1

The Ballymac Vintage Club is hosting a classic car, tractor and Honda 50 run on October 1. The run will leave from and return to the Halfway Bar, Ballymac. Registration […]




The Ballymac Vintage Club is hosting a classic car, tractor and Honda 50 run on October 1.

The run will leave from and return to the Halfway Bar, Ballymac.

Registration begins at 9:30am and sets off at 11am.

“There will be two separate routes with one for tractors and the other for cars and motorbikes. Proceeds on the day are in aid of Castleisland Day Care Centre and we’ll have plenty of spot prizes to giveaway too in the morning,” said the club’s PRO Kieran Glover.


Continue Reading


Last News