Time to get planting

Posted on: 18th January, 2016

Category: Home & Garden

Contributor: Ruby Harte

Ruby Harte (a.k.a Mags Riordan) has been a professional florist for over 12 years and has completed a course in horticulture and worked in garden centres, wholesale nurseries, and private gardens. Ruby runs a family owned nursery, Bumble Bee Farm in Castledonovan, Drimoleague and is deeply concerned about the protection and cultivation of nature and its habitats.

My heart goes out to all of you devastated by recent flooding and the disastrous consequences that excess water causes when it has nowhere left to go. Individually we can do something to reverse the effects, some small simple steps that will have a collective positive effect for all of us. Little things like reinstating hedgerows and planting more broad leaf trees. While it won’t be a quick fix, in time the effects will be tremendous and longlasting. A mature tree will suck up around 1000 litres of water in a day, imagine the benefits if we all planted just one.

We are all part of nature and our actions have direct consequences whether we like it or not but if each of us did one small little thing we can really make a difference — ‘the power on one’.

Hedgerows provide a much-needed windbreak, nesting sites and food sources for birds and small mammals and with the choices available can give us enjoyment through out the year. A win-win I’d say. With so many fantastic garden centres and nurseries here in West Cork and bareroot season providing economical crops there really is no excuse.

Here on the farm our poor chickens have been having a torrid time with all the rain and wind; we are all so grateful for the little bit of sunshine around the last few days it has encouraged them to start laying again (I’ve missed our eggs). Amelia is loving being a mum and her chick is wonderful, (no name yet, open to suggestions). We will have to start finding homes for them though twenty-four hens are a bit much for us and Momma will be off again as soon as it warms up.

Because it’s been so mild we haven’t needed to cloche anything and over-wintering seedlings have grown into fat plugs with a few tiny buds already on the Icelandic poppies and our edible primroses are beginning to flower well.

While I’m itching to start sowing seed (new moon January 10) to get things moving I’m showing restraint and only starting lavatera, Antirrhinum, feverfew, annual monarda, sweet peas and hollyhocks. We will do the bulk of seed sowing in February. Most of our work for January will be digging up dahlias and gladioli, clearing beds and preparing them for spring planting and making food and compost tea.

We have a few small weddings starting in March but the bulk of them won’t happen until May so we have plenty of time to get organised with mid to late summer crops.

Tying in with our New Year’s resolution to take more photographs and more regularly, I’d love to have a photographic diary of a year on the farm; so many wedding flowers go out and we don’t have any images so we are determined to rectify this for 2016.

We have also had our website revamped and updated, pop over and have a look. Roz has set up a blog page and has tasked me with a four part monthly newsletter with additional and hopefully interesting bits and bobs about life here on the farm, you can subscribe to this through our website.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and hopefully it will dry up and waters will recede but do get planting if you can.

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