Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Does my butt look big in this?

Bloody hell – I’ve just noticed we’ve not updated anything since November! I know we’ve been kind of lazy, but I thought we’d have got a bit more done than this. Anyway, rather than go over everything we’ve done (which, to be honest, I probably couldn’t remember very well anyway), we may as well get up to date as quickly as possible.

Garlic and Onion sets (happy in the cold)
Beans and Peas (less happy in the cold)

We’ve stayed our hand with much sowing due to the seriously cold weather here – we even had a covering of snow (THIS IS IRELAND!!!). We have sown a few early Onions (“Ailsa Craig”, “Bedfordshire Champion”, “Globo” and “Sturon”), Shallot Zebrunne” and LeeksMusselburgh” and “Autumn Mammoth”, and planted out the “Radar Onion sets, along with most of the Peas and Broad Beans that we sowed in the autumn. Some of these have been doing rather better than others – bizarrely, Broad Bean “Aquedulce Claudia” has done the worst, whilst “Jubilee Hysor” and“Red Epicure” have done very well. Mangetout “Winterkefe” and Pea Meteor” has also performed superbly unlike Pea Douce Provence” which has been an almost total disaster. We’ve also done a few other bits and pieces that needed doing around the place.


Big-ass Water Butt
(and bigger-ass shed!)
When we arrived here we were already blessed with a small pond, fed (we think) by rainwater off the shed roof. We were particularly blessed to discover that the local frogs also knew it was here and use it. However (and this is the bit that you might feel, us being in Ireland and all, where we are straying into fiction) every year it dries out in the spring or early summer. This worries us because there is always frogspawn or tadpoles in the pond at this time (I suspect it worries the frogs and/or tadpoles even more, but I digress). As a result, every year, we end up running a hose into the pond from the outside tap to top it up, which is a bit of a pain (mostly for us; I think our amphibious friends find it is the opposite). Even more of a pain for us, we cunningly located the veg. plot some distance form the house and, as a result, even further from the nearest tap: so far in fact that the hose doesn’t reach the veg. plot, so we have to carry watering cans down in these dry spells to keep things going. When we could be bothered. Which probably wasn’t often enough. 

To ameliorate things a bit, a couple of years ago we installed a water butt at the end of one of the sheds (the bit closest to the veg, plot) to reduce the distance to carry water, and also provide an emergency supply of water for the pond. However, a regulation water butt (at 210 litres) barely fills the pond, and leaves nothing for watering the garden. We were going to try and link up three such water butts until we rather fortunately acquired a lovely big tank in the Autumn (it is actually the rain water tank from our old house which was no longer being used). At 300 gallons (that’s 1,360 litres), we think we might have literally killed two birds with one stone (well, not “literally” killed, more metaphorically speaking really). It will certainly fill the pond many times over and, given the size, it’s probably now worth running a hose all the way down to the veg. plot – hopefully there should be enough head in the butt to generate a decent enough jet and keep everyone happy, lazy or both.

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