Gardening with James Vaughan
It is great to see a spell of settled weather - although our garden is in chronic need of water. I find myself most evenings out with the watering cans.
We are just on the cusp of harvesting some of our red currents. We planted the red current bushes as rooted-cuttings almost four years ago. Some are now over a metre high. We will need to keep the birds at bay, otherwise they will devour the entire crop - as has happened in previous years! We hope to do this by placing old CD’s on the ends of pieces of string. Apparently, as the CD’s twist in the wind the shiny surface will scare the birds away. I will let you know how that one pans out.
I have had some help recently with setting out phase two of our fruit terrace. For phase one we sectioned off an area and cleared it of any weeds or growth. We then edged the area with stone left over from the excavating. The soil in this area is not very good and has lots of pebbles and grit in it. I have added lots of organic matter in the form of rotten leaves. This has improved the soil but still needs further improving. I hope to achieve this by repeatedly adding organic matter in the form of mulch. Over time this will help to improve soil structure. I have been speaking with a gardening friend recently and they have said that mulching is the best labour saving technique they use.
We have planted pear trees in this first phase. We have started to train these trees in an espalier fashion. This means that the trees will be forced to grow in a lateral position. As each branch grows upright it will be strained sideways and tied into lateral/ horizontal wires. In the end these pear trees will have all their branches lined horizontally on top of each other. This idea is not a new one. It has been a way of growing pear and other fruit frees for many years. The benefit is that fruit get more air and light and therefore ripen earlier and more evenly. I have never grown pear trees this way and am very much looking forward to the results.
Good News for Pollinators
I read recently, in the Tipperary Star's sister paper, the Limerick Leader that Limerick's municipal authority has introduced an initiative for pollinating insects. The policy is to delay the first cut of grass in some green open spaces. This will allow flowers or wild plants to provide food for pollinating insects. I have read that the most important early flowering wild flower is actually Dandelion. I must say that I am impressed with the municipal authorities’ policy and this example of forward-thinking planning. I know that on my commute home from work I pass many grass verges with lots of Dandelions and other wild flowers -cowslips and bluebells just to name two. I feel that if people are willing to broaden their understanding and to accept the odd wild flower or weed in open space grass then the benefits are there for everyone and for the future.
Contact James by email: email@example.com