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Left Gardeners Corner – June 2018 June 13, 2018

Posted by Tomboktu in Uncategorized.
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Last month, our blog-chief WBS commented and asked

By popular demand! Well, one question as it happens. Here it is, the return of the much loved – I hope – Left Gardeners Corner. Perhaps this can go up every month?

So, here’s the June Left Gardeners’ Corner.

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1. Tomboktu - June 13, 2018

I’ve got back to the garden after a two-year break. I’ve a lot of digging to do with the badly over-grown everything. Only that I knew I’d completely neglected it, I’d be despondent. Nettles well rooted in the ‘vegetable’ beds have been strimmed and composted, but now I need to dig out the weeds. Maybe this winter I’ll get the long-promised apple trees planted. (The plan there is to see in the autumn if any of the Irish heritage varieties in the Irish Seed Savers catalouge appeal to my palette.)

The only crop producing at the moment is the rhubarb – three plants formed from divisions of an inherited plant my grandfather had more than sixty years ago.

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2. Joe - June 13, 2018

I got back to the ma’s garden. Did my back in digging it a couple of years ago and swore never again. But this time I took it easy, slowly slowly catchee monkee, and touch wood the back is fine.
So I planted brocolli and leaks. The little brocolli plants got savaged by birds – wood pigeons I’d say – but this happened a couple of years back in my own garden and I left them and they recovered and produced. Now I just have to weed whenever I’m over with the ma.

In the home patch we have brussels sprouts – plants have come on well, won’t have any sprouts till maybe October; two yokes like cucumbers, not cucumbers but y’know whatsits; one sweet potato just to see what happens; lots of spinach and chard – already left to flower and sprout but very handy, need to pick a lot for a dinner cos it reduces away to very little; one tomato plant which I’ve just this minute surrounded by them white lads from the big pampas grass, to protect the tomato from Storm Hector tonight; strawberries left over from last year, a nice few picked already – pick when any bit of red shows on the fruit, if you leave them till they’re fully red the woodlice (I thought they only ate dead wood) will savage them. The apple tree I grew from a seed of a shop-bought apple ten or more years ago is now flowering and producing lots of fruit – unfortunately the fruit is small and almost inedible, but each small fruit becomes a deep red colour in the early autumn, a lovely decorative feature in the garden.
Thus ends Joe’s report and as my late Da would say ‘It’s rainin’ thanks be to God, great for the garden’.

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Tomboktu - June 13, 2018

two yokes like cucumbers, not cucumbers but y’know whatsits

courgettes?

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3. alanmyler - June 13, 2018

The bar has been set mighty high there Joe. I have to admit most of my gardening is just providing brawn to fulfill the planning of herself. We’ve (loose use of “we” there) rhubarb that’s been in for 15 years, grown from an offshoot given us by our elderly neighbour when we moved down here, so I suspect the plant must be pretty old, possibly old enough to have evolved into a separate sub species. Other than that the strawberries survived the snow, and the netting is up to keep the pheasants away, although truth be told they’re less of a problem this year as we got a new pupper last autumn and he does a good job of chasing them off. We had the first crop yesterday evening, yummy. What else, some scallions that we didn’t pick last year so they’re becoming onions really. Lettuce, chard, no courgettes thank god, we were sick of eating courgetti with everything last summer. The plum and apple trees had plenty of flowers so hopefully a decent crop this autumn. But none of that is my work, I’m busy mowing grass, more grass, weeding, spraying, hoofing wheelbarrows around, donkey work. We can’t all be gardening geniuses, but it’s nice to see the results of all the work when summer comes around.

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Joe - June 13, 2018

Courgettes! Them’s the boys, the cucumbers but not cucumbers,the whatstheirnames.

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GW - June 14, 2018

Can’t go wrong with courgettes, in my experience. Good looking plants and flowers and nothing much except us seems to like eating them.

The fanatics go round with paintbrushes to germinate them.

I planted about 8 dwarf pomegranate trees from seeds gotten in the Berlin Botanical garden and one of them actually germinated! Very excited to bring the sapling on a couple of years indoors and then put it out in a bigger pot on the balcony.

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alanmyler - June 14, 2018

No, you can definitely go wrong with courgettes in two ways. (1) You can have too many of them and grow sick of having to eat them every day to keep up with the rate at which they grow. (2) You can fall behind in consumption in which case the unpicked courgettes continue to grow into marrows, which don’t taste particularly nice at all. So I would definitely urge caution on the courgette front.

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GW - June 14, 2018

🙂

But Alan – that’s what neighbours are for – give them away.

And the third time you come round in a fortnight you’ll notice they take to hiding behind the sofa: “It’s themuns again with the hairy cucumbers!”

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alanmyler - June 14, 2018

We give away the rhubarb alright, and find takers, but as you noted yourself the opportunities to dispose of the courgettes seemed to shrink as the summer wore on. Also because they’re so easy to grow it turned out there was competition in the market for free courgettes, as some of our potential outlets had their own surpluses to dispose of. I think the moral here is just don’t bother growing courgettes unless you like them in your morning porridge, your lunchtime sambos, and your evening bolognese / curry.

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Joe - June 14, 2018

The missus doesn’t approve of rhubarb cos one has to use tons of sugar to make it palatable. So that’s bad for you, apparently. Me ma used to make lovely rhubarb and custard for us – I want me ma back 🙂

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alanmyler - June 14, 2018

Not at all, it’s lovely without added sugar, especially with the custard. If you’re doing the Great Dublin Bike Ride again this year I’ll bring along a tub of stewed rhubarb and custard and give it to you at the food stop 🙂

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Joe - June 14, 2018

Excellent. For eating and for application as a soothing balm for friction burns in rude places. Excellent.

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4. 6to5against - June 14, 2018

Setting a much lower standard than others, but following advice on our last gatden forum, I managed to get a few blackberry and raspberry plants in without breaking my back. And so fsr they haven’t died.

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5. irishelectionliterature - June 14, 2018

Not quite as spectacular as most of the above but those lidl pots you get free with the shopping have started to grow and have been transplanted into bigger pots. So maybe we’ll have Spinach, tomatoes , lettuce and other stuff by the autumn.

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6. Gerryboy - June 14, 2018

Courgettes and scallions are easy to grow and are light on nutrient uptake. The courgettes bulk up stewpots, even if in themselves they lack detectable taste. I currently tend a row of summer flowers next to a wall in a public patch of grass on my housing estate – not to win a prize but to get exercise and ‘be seen’ doing something in a neighbourhood that lacks a residents association. I transplanted two adventitious sprouting rosebushes from my own garden last year and hope they’ll cling to the wall and climb it. Perennials need less work and yield repeating results.

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GW - June 14, 2018

Fair play to you Gerry.

There’s people in these parts who plant flowers around the bit of dirt around a street tree and sometimes even build benches. And take the trouble to water it through the summer.

Socialism in practice.

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Joe - June 14, 2018

No. According to my Pocket Book of Stereotypes that is either Germanicism in practice or Protestantism in practice.

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7. Alibaba - June 14, 2018

I’m overcome, yet again, with all the self-seeding unwelcome visitors in June. This year brings strangely tallish flower/weeds with tiny yellow flower heads.

My rockery has galloping campanula. People admire this. Yet I am thinking what the hell is being suffocated underneath and should I get in and chuck most of campanula out. I think I gave it the marching orders many years ago and back it came in defiance anyway.

The creeping buttercup has made its presence known for the first time in my front garden, under the window bed. I’ve been warned to get rid of it, but hey, I like it, so I’m unsure what to do.

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Gerryboy - June 14, 2018

I googled and see it’s a perennial. Maybe it’s worth more than what’s underneath. Honeybees gather nectar from the old reliables. http://www.countrylife.ie/gardening/plants-a—z/perennials/campanula-muralis#sthash.twJt7WHb.dpbs

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Alibaba - June 14, 2018

Nice one. I gotta appreciate it while it is there and maybe consider a slight pruning when the flowers disappear later in the season. I hope to do a nosey into other plants in the surrounding rockery areas too.

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Gerryboy - June 14, 2018

Here is a working definition of a weed. A weed is a plant growing where it wasn’t intended e.g. poppies (pretty flowers) in a wheatfield, or dandelions on an uncut lawn. Yet such flowers are beautiful (beauty is in the eye of the beholder) and, importantly, are sources of nectar for honeybees. Your galloping campanula are admired for their beauty, and delightful nectar sources for bees. Count your blessings.

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8. Bartholomew - June 14, 2018

Just fighting back the brambles, the ivy and the ground elder, and starting to feel defeated. Even the raspberries are starting to pop up all over the garden, spreading underground.

Can I recommend two things? One, an oregano plant. Grew one for the first time last year, and it’s a real zinger of a taste, on tomatoes for example. Two, for the rhubarb folk above, half a teaspoon of pastis in stewed rhubarb makes something super-exotic.

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WorldbyStorm - June 14, 2018

+1 re oregano. Oregano crisps are amazing. They’re very popular in Greece.

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9. benmadigan - June 14, 2018

nobody having any trouble with slugs?

my sister’s vegetable patches (raised lazy beds and ground planting) were decimated by them.
I spoke to a colleague in the Agriculture Dept who suggested cutting away all undergrowth/leaves etc up to a certain height.

The sister refused. “How ugly”
The slugs continue to eat their way through everything edible. “Survival of the fittest” she says “It’s a dog-eat-dog jungle out there!

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10. Liberius - June 14, 2018

Can a corner be started for cedarini whose only gardening consists of the futile annual suppression with menaces of weeds?

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11. Paschal - June 15, 2018

I am in Leeds. I took over an allotment 3 years ago. These were places that were central to working class areas when I was growing up and the Irish were always present in good numbers. Now, like many old working class pursuits, they are mostly the preserve of the middle classes .I inherited Rhubarb, 3 patches, about 10 Gooseberry bushes, about 15 Josterberry bushes ( the best for Jam), Raspberries and Blackcurrants. In between i have planted Swiss Chard , Green Beans, spuds, onions, cabbages (savaged by the pigeons) and have a thriving strawberry patch as well as a few plants that I bought from other allotment holders and have forgotten what they were. I rarely see any other people due to shift patterns so tend to do a late evening shift and have the entire place to myself, aside from one guy at the furthest region of the site that seems to use it for solitary drinking ( and occasional acoustic guitar playing),. Absolute bliss.Though I need a shed

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Joe - June 15, 2018

Just the one?

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Paschal - June 16, 2018

Dear Joe.There is a new guy just down from me that has put up 3 sheds on his 1/2 allotment. The rules clearly state that you are only allowed one and then only after getting it passed through the committee. I feel duty bound to shop him. Unless of course he passes one on to me.I’m experiencing emotions that are alien to me. What should I do?

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12. FergusD - June 15, 2018

Paschal, I am a fellow allotmenter. Nice view of the Boots factory and the council tip! But still great. Mixed class composition, still mostly working class, although the Irish fellow down from has given his up. A few non-white allotmenteers, interesting to see what they grow, veg popular in the West Indies. As you I have rhubarb and soft fruits, plenty of gooseberries. Had to pick those before I came away on holiday, hard going, made jam, making wine, froze a lot. Plums, apples pears. Spuds, onions, garlic failed, first time ever, no idea why. Kohlrabi devastated by something, beets, chard, lettuce, kale, sweet corn, squash, courgettes, horseradish, asparagus (just planted so I have to wait a few years to harvest). But this is a light year! Off to Oz to visit son in September which is problematical. You can’t really have holidays with a lottie.

There was a trend to fly flags on lottie sheds, mostly English St George’s. Footie fans I think (hope). Had a GAA Kilkenny pennant I flew for a while. Wasn’t sure about a Fourth International flag so I am flawless now.

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