Six-on-Saturday – Snow Moon

27th February 2021.

In normal circumstances at this time of the year, my friend Declan and I would have completed two long 200-kilometre cycling days out. We’d have had plenty coffee, laughs and lunch along the way. So far since the start of the year, I’ve barely covered 200 kilometres in the car, as I go round and round within my 5 kilometre zone. In all of this madness, I’m ever so happy to be able to move unhindered through the garden. There are no Garda checkpoints and I’m not required to wear a mask.

So, here we go again for this week’s end of February Six-on-Saturday. All you got to do is follow this link, read Jon’s update and then look at all the links from everyone in the comments. You’ll likely come across mine there, and simply by tapping on it, you’ll end up back here. By the way, tap is the new click for touchscreens. Tapping on an older screen is very therapeutic but gets you nowhere.

1. Agapanthus

I had left the old seed heads of the Agapanthus rather than cut them for the compost heap. Finally Faoi dheireadh, they got the snip during the week, but I couldn’t bring myself to dump them. For the time being, they’ll do just fine here. I’ll plant Sweet Peas and other annual climbers here in May, and even as they bring colour to this bare wall, the Agapanthus shall remain hidden behind.

2. Polyanthus

Patience is a virtue. So goes the old saying. Well, I’m delighted that the polyanthus plugs I bought from Jersey Plants Direct back in September are beginning to flower. At present, they are all in pots and window boxes. Yes, there are 160 of them. Yes, they arrived by post as tiny babies and yes I grew them on carefully and planted them before Christmas. What I like about these ones is that the flowers bláthanna are held above the plants on a stem.

3. Potting On

In Nora’s Teach Gloine, the top shelves are almost full. In all, there are seventeen trays of seedlings. Now, it’s time to move to the next step of the process. The Dahlias, Sweet Peas and Osteospermums are ready to be potted on to three inch pots, while the five Tomato varieties will be ready in another week or two. I made a start during the week, and as a consequence, space will be at a premium from now until the end of April. Very soon I will need to store plants on the lower shelves, knowing that they will not get as much light there, so a rotation system will need to be started. I have four rows of shelving on each side, and plants will need to be moved up one shelf every four or five days. Plants on the top shelf will then be demoted to the bottom. I have a feeling that I’ll be moving seedlings in my sleep!

4. Paeony

Three Peony roots arrived last November from China, because I ordered them. Logical, really. Having ignored the instructions which advised immediate planting, I got around to it in early January. Last week, my fellow Six-on-Saturday gardener Gill The Gymnist showed her’s peeping above ground. I spent a while walking around practicing swear words as Gaeilge because all I could see here was bare soil. Therefore, when I spotted this on Wednesday, I stopped walking around and put a few bob in the swear jar. (Don’t believe everything you read… I don’t have a few bob to put in the swear jar).

5. Vegetable Beds

There’s a lot going on here. In the foreground, the broad beans are beginning to stretch so I’ve added some bamboo canes and string to support them. There’s a second batch sown just to the right of them and I expect them to pop up any day now. On the extreme right the autumn-sown onions are doing well and I expect to harvest them in May or June.

The second bed at top of picture is empty folamh* at the moment except for cuttings and pelargoniums in the cold frame on the left. I have a half-door placed on top to heat up the section where the early potatoes will be planted very soon. There’s an old saying here that earlies would need to be in the ground by St. Patrick’s Day. Sounds about right to me. Half doors added in late February add flavour to the spuds.

*Note: In Irish, the combination of letters “mh” is sounded as “v”. There are only 18 letters in Irish alphabet. J, k, q, v, w, x, y and z are not used in native words. Thus endeth the lesson.

6. Spinach

Last year, I grew Spinach for the first time. I enjoyed the harvest for many months and resolved to grow plenty again this year, and perhaps a few new varieties too. So, I’m starting with Spinach Perpetual. I’ll be sowing this outside in early April, and in the meantime, I’ll sow it in the heated propagator in the hope of having an earlier harvest. Fine big seeds, so there’s no problem sowing.

Sowing Spinach YouTube link

When it comes to planting these outside in April, I’m going to make sure they are shaded by larger plants because they are less likely to bolt in shade. The cucumbers will be sown beside them. It’s all planned out.

In Other News…

February’s full moon is known as the Snow Moon, and sometimes as the Hunger Moon. Every 29 years there is no full moon in February, known as a Black Moon. The next one is in 2033. I don’t understand how something that doesn’t happen can be named.

Ireland is experiencing the pain of extended Level 5 restrictions. We continue as we were until the first week of April. We are also experiencing extreme helplessness in bringing about change to Government policy of not giving an adequate damm about allowing contaminated inward flights. Quarantining is not effective because it is recommended rather than mandatory.

On the positive side, Mam got her vaccine yesterday, and the second dose is scheduled for next month. Not a bother, she says.

Six-on-Saturday: Who are we?

We are a group of gardeners who write. We write about six items in our gardens, and we do it on Saturdays. I’ve been doing this since last June and I enjoy nothing more than reading about and seeing other gardens from as far away as New Zealand, Tasmania, USA, Canada, Britain and Waterford City. Lest we forget, hundreds more choose to publish on Twitter and Instagram. You can find out more about it here. Six things, in your garden. Could be anything, and frequently is. Do join in.

Sin a bhfuil uaimse don seachtain seo. I’ll be back again next week with another Six-on-Saturday. Thank you for reading. Have a good week. Stay safe. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig.

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30 comments

    1. Because of our situation with Northern Ireland – historic agreements and hopes for future harmony – the border between North and South will not be closed. It would be a suicidal politician who would do so and, as a result, our borders will continue to be open unless one rule was applied to the UK and the island of Ireland. Now, find the diplomat who could manage that one!

      Like

  1. It’s all looking very productive at your end! I’ve already taken over all the windowsills in the house, and a bit of floor space too. I’m too scared to put things in the greenhouse yet! I think I might have to bite the bullet this weekend.

    Your broad bean are looking very healthy indeed.

    Sorry to hear about your Covid-related troubles, at least this year is beginning to look a little more optimistic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Go for it, I say! You only live once.
      That said, I did have a few mishaps in glasshouse earlier, as you may have heard. Now I’ve got a bluetooth thermometer that alerts me to danger!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Until last year, I planted vegetables wherever I saw a free space. Then I took out an inexpensive subscription with GrowVeg. Also, Eileen prompted my to move to Square Foot Gardening and its working. Higher yields and good advance planning…. Satisfaction guaranteed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I plan up to a point, but like to leave room for spontaneous decisions too. I know I don’t have room for sweetcorn this year but I am sure I won’t be able to resist sowing some, so they will end up somewhere unexpected!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Re the Irish lessons: Did you catch the story in England where a family of Irish origin (their parents moved to England) were stopped by a judge – an ecclesiastical judge, I think – from putting an Irish inscription on their mother’s gravestone as it could be interpreted as a political statement! The inscription was “In ár gcroíthe go deo” – Forever in our hearts. A subsequent hearing at a higher court (closer to heaven, I imagine) gave them the go-ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Speaking of agapanthus, 2 of mine did’t like the cold snap and the leaves are gone… I don’t know if they will bloom next summer (so I bought a new one, a dark blue colour) . Great job in the potager : broad beans look great !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG Pádraig, so much going on here!!!!! I don’t know where to start! Well, I’ll start with the video then…..your voice, Irish folks must have the most beautiful voices and sounds of speech of any people……I could listen to you talk all day! My question on the planting of the seedlings…..you don’t water them when you plant them? I don’t cut my agapanthus either……I kinda like the stalks looking proud in the garden…I have peonies, and will look at them up close and personal this week for new growth……
    Now about the COVID Vaccine and lockdown…… I got my #1 COVID on Wednesday…….no ills at all…
    Now our lockdowns are another story and it is why everyone is having a hissy fit here! The big shops and groceries are OPEN have always been open from Day 1…………It’s the little mom and pop shops that are closed and that is by degree of each government in charge of your stuff…..In our little town most are closed while in a town 5 miles or less away, everything is open…..Don’t get me started on the Teacher Unions it would be UGLY! And we are letting thousands of people across our southern borders again everyday…..no COVID testing, nothing……process and go, anywhere you want…..and they announced yesterday that the children crossing without parents would be housed and not to worry schooled too……..so we are building huge camps for them in several cities! Are you kidding me? I will stop this writing right now, I can feel my blood pressure rising over the thought of it!
    On another note hubby braked hard on his bike and planted his foot down on the pavement in an awkward way to keep from hitting a car….. I keep telling him he rides too fast in the neighborhood and the folks are not expecting a racing biker and they cut corners when driving, because they are not expecting a car, much less a biker……..anyway he has torn his ACL…….and then the day after his COVID vaccine he had a molar pulled (that didn’t go well either) and he came home looking like a chipmunk and all the blood vessels in his eye were broken too! So, thats been our happy week……

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I normally do use a spray can to gently water them in. However, I notice that the most important bit is the water underneath. I guess I’ll fix this (for you) in next video.
      I got out for 40km on bike today, and then 20k with Marion later. Lovely dry spring weather.

      Like

  5. I appreciate you sharing the details of your greenhouse arrangements and rotations designed to ensure that all seedlings receive their share of light. I also enjoyed the glimpse of your outdoor vegetable beds/staging area/nursery.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Despite your lesson on Irish pronunciation (thank you) I find I still haven’t a dog’s show of saying the words sprinkled through your blog!
    Lots for you to look forward to though – planting all those seedlings and watching them grow.
    I’m sorry about the level 5 restrictions. That sounds very confining indeed. Thank goodness for gardens to sustain us!

    Liked by 3 people

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