Six-on-Saturday – Snow Moon

It’s been a mixed-up week. There were several beautiful days of spring sunshine, perfect for spending time in the garden. On the other hand, we’ve had two days of high winds, torrential rain and flooding.

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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Six-on-Saturday – Happy Days

There are fourteen mixed Sweet Peas and it’s likely that I’ll have enough space in my garden for five or six only. Therefore, there will be a flash sale in early May. I’ll be looking for a few responsible paid-up members of the West Waterford Sweety Pie Society to offer good homes to my darlings.

20th February, 2021.

Mild weather in Ireland is generally associated with rain, and that’s exactly what we got this week. Temperatures got up to 10°C, and days are lengthening to such an extent that we now have our evening meal in daylight, watching the rain.

I am finally finding it easier to find six items of interest in the garden, as there are a few blooms, adding some colour. Of course Cinnte, not being able to find something of interest has not stopped me before. I simply create interest and magnify it to my satisfaction. My Six this week is a mixture of both.

Daffodil

The first daffodils are in bloom. As much as I like these flowers, I am completely in love with the Irish translation lus-an-chroimchinn, literally translated as Drooping Head Flower. This bunch in the kitchen window-box brightens my day while sitting inside. But spring is not a time for sitting inside, so I’m off to the glasshouse for number two…

Progress

After Tar éis an initial setback, seed-sowing is in full swing. These seedlings have been taken out of the heated propagator and they get plenty light in the glasshouse to allow them to grow well. I did bring them back into the house for a few nights last week because temperatures dipped very low, and I didn’t want a repeat of the earlier debacle. I also have fleece covering that I can put over them and I’ve used it a few times. Daytime temperatures inside the glasshouse are ranging from about 10-15°C, which is definitely enough to allow tender seedlings to thrive. Follow me back inside for some admin updating…

Digital Seed List

Tap or ckick the picture

I have a notebook to record details of seeds sown, but it’s a pain in the neck. It’s never where I want it and is increasingly smudged with damp compost. I’m told that there’s no need for me to be coming back into the house so often.

“When you’re out, can’t you stay out?”

In an attempt to see how I might improve matters, I created an online version of the same thing. Having used it for a number of weeks, I’m converted. I mean I’m actually converted to digital record-keeping. I’m in the habit of having my phone with me at all times so it’s easy peasy to update. Here’s the link, and for anyone wanting to find it at a later date it’s in the MENU on the homepage. On second thoughts, I’m wondering why you might want to find it. Next, I’m back outside again for number four…

A Mystery

I bought three cloches last month. Unfortunately, delivery from Thompson & Morgan to Ireland Éire was not available so I had them sent to my AddressPal address, in the knowledge that they would be forwarded to me. But it was not to be. They have arrived safely at AddressPal HQ, but I’m told they exceed the 20kg weight limit. I can see from my order that the package of three weighs 8.7kg. Either someone failed basic maths or Brexit is having a wobble, but these cloches are now in limbo somewhere. I’ve failed to find out how I can progress the issue, and I think they may die a lonely unfulfilled death on a shelf somewhere.

Therefore, when I spotted this lovely pair at my local garden centre, I did not hesitate. They fitted nicely in the back seat of the car, but if they had offered me free delivery, I’d have refused in a flash!

I have them in place to warm the soil for a few weeks cúpla seachtain. That will allow me to start sowing my lettuce, scallions and other vegetables a bit earlier. Happy days!

Abundance

Not far away from the new cloches, the lettuce in the glasshouse is thriving…

There’s still plenty lettuce to be had. This one is particularly tasty and I’ll be hoping there’s enough to keep me green until the little seedlings to the left are full grown. After that, I’ll surely have the first outdoor crop ready to be chomped with some Caesar Salad Dressing. Happy days again!

Sweet Pea Sweety Pie

Let’s just stay in the glasshouse for my final choice this week. It’s a very cozy 14°C (Friday at 2pm). These Sweet Peas were sown back in Autumn, and I’ve kept a close eye on them ever since. I wrote a short article about them recently, and now here they are again, accelerating upwards at a fierce rate.

These plants are very unusual for two reasons. Firstly, they are the only seeds this year that were selected by my good wife. She liked the old-fashioned varieties, and bought two packets for me to grow. Secondly, as they had been displayed publicly, one plant has been reserved by my fellow SOSer, Cady. Commandeered, more like it! Honest to god, two women on the trail of my beautifully-grown sweet peas! I can see trouble down the road.

I have fourteen ceathar déag mixed Sweet Peas and it’s likely that I’ll have enough space in my garden for five or six only. Therefore, there will be a flash sale free offering in early May. I’ll be looking for a few responsible paid-up members of the West Waterford Sweety Pie Society to offer good homes to my darlings.

Speaking of which and entirely unconnected, who remembers The Darling Buds of May? I remember it well, and Catherine Zeta Jones too.

In Other News… Perseverance

NASA successfully landed the Perseverance rover on Mars just before 9pm Irish time on Thursday. Part of its mission is to look for fossils in what is thought to have been a lake 3.7 billion years ago. That’s a lot of years. Who knows what will be here in my garden 3.7 billion years from now? A lake perhaps? On the off-chance that the Martians come looking, I’d like it to be known that it’s my garden so I’m going to bury a few of the Sweet Pea seeds, with a URL link to this article. Happy days!

I took the opportunity to send a Tweet with a special request. It just so happened that my Head Gardener asked me why was I smirking to myself? So, as you do, I told the truth. Well, let me tell you that when she laughs uncontrollably it’s a sight to behold!

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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