Monday, 13 June 2011

Update on the Update of the Update

Ok so, just a little note to let you know that the Butt seems to be doing the job very well.  There appears to be no leak from the tap!! There is a good amount of pressure on the seal at this stage given the amount of rain we had on Sunday.  (The water is about 6 inches away from the top).  I am really amazed at how quick the water fills in the Butt and am kicking myself that I didn't set up the Butt properly before now.

But sure, it's all in place now and is doing the job!!!!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Butt there will be water (Update on the Update)


        So it was another trip to a hardware store (Woodies) to get some Plumbers Tape, a different fitting for the inside of the Butt and some rubber washers.  With a bit of jiggery-pokery and some awkward tightening of the fittings, appears to be sitting a lot better on the Butt.  I put some Silicone Sealant around the inside and outside of the Butt and have it drying in the Shed until this time tomorrow to allow it to fully dry.  I think, with the first attempt, I didn't leave the sealant to dry fully before connecting it all up to the down-pipe.

On another note, took these photos about 30 minutes ago (around 3pm) of an Urban Fox and a Ferrel Cat in a neighbours garden.  The one with the Fox looking right at the camera was taken just as it was running off into the bushes.  It was funny that the two animals just curled up near each other without a care in the world (until I came along!!).

Monday, 6 June 2011

Butt there will be water!!

Hey all,

Been a very productive day today in the Garden.  A few years back I hopped across my neighbours garden (with permission as always) and asked her if it would be Ok to take the big green water container that had lain idle since the death of her Gardener Husband.  She was more that happy for me to take this and for the last number of years it has taken up residence just at the edge of the extension as seen in this photograph (the green thing in  the upper left of the photo).  There it happily remained and collected a good bit of rainwater due to the little crack in the drain-pipe.  Cut forward a few years to us getting a new (slightly) sloped rough and some new guttering.  Result: rain water no longer dripped into the water-butt.

Given the fact that we have had relatively little rain so far this Spring/Summer we've use pretty much all of the water from the Butt.  As the Butt was uncovered we had all kinds of everything (thanks Dana!!) in the water and to be honest it was a bit manky.  So it being a Bank Holiday in Ireland where better to travel to than B&Q in Liffey Valley to get myself a rainwater diverter.  After much trial and tribulation in B&Q and thinking that all was lost, we came across the Rainwater Diverter hidden away (this was after one of the Staff members had told me that they had discontinued selling them).  Also, while there we happened to come across my Dad, his Wife and her Mother.  Was a bit of a god-send really as I wasn't 100% sure what way to do things.  Was having trouble trying to figure out which parts I needed to fit a tap onto the Butt so we could just put a watering can under the Butt to get the free water.  So, after looking, and wondering, at all the plumbing parts and accessories we managed to figure out what was needed.

There were a number steps that needed to happen in order for the Butt to be set up in the correct way for us.

1. Empty the Butt:  There was a little water left in the bottom so just dumped that out and cleaned the inside with a yard brush.

 2. Connecting the Diverter:  'Measure Twice Cut Once'.  Hole in the top of the Butt just needed to be widened a little and cut the down-pipe to pop on the diverter.  After a short test we found it worked!!

3. Connecting the tap:  Simple enough!! Drill another hole in the bottom of the Butt high enough that the watering can can fit underneath it.  a little bit of plumbing and some trusty sealant and there you have it!!

You wouldn't even know it was home-made!!!!!!  Hehehe, we have FREE water for the garden.  All we need now is for the heavens to open and it'll all start fill up!!  Probably took about 30 minutes from starte to finish and so wish I'd have done this long ago.  But(t) sure there it is in all it's magnificant glory!! Total cost was about €35 for the fittings which I think will be a good long-term investment anyway!!

UPDATE: Well the Butt leaked!!.  It happened to fill about 1/3 with free rainwater over the last few days and seems that the pressure was too much.  I have drained all the water from the Butt and will hope to put some Gutter Sealant around both the inside and outside of the Butt.  Think I used either the wrong Sealant or I didn't allow the sealant to set fully before connecting it all up.  Will let you know how I get on over the next few days!!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Think the Garden is all planted


   I know it's been a while since I blogged but it's been a mad few weeks and am only now really in the headspace to take the time to blog.  The garden has kinda been looking after itself over the last few weeks and is looking very well, I have to say.  The Peas are beginning to pod and it won't be very long before I eat the first of the crop this year.  Having never grown Turnips before it's all been a bit of an experiment.  God, the main thing I notice with them is that the foliage is HUGE!! It really does take up about 4-times the actual size of the veg itself.  Yesterday, with the most helpful assistance of my nephew, I planted out some 'Veritas' Savoy Cabbage, 'Helenor' Swede and some 'Nantes 2' Carrots.  I made sure to give both the Cabbage and Swede the necessary room to grow without it crowding other veg.  

I'm not sure if I posted this in a previous blog, but I do not use insecticides, chemical fertilisers or nothing like that.  When we were putting in the beds (see photos in previous posts) we threw in compost from our own garden and some well rotted horse dung, as well as a good sprinkling of dried seaweed powder.  In saying that we are no where near Organic in our practices.  For the smaller beds by the wall we did not have enough soil to fill them, so we added some shop-bought topsoil, horticultural sand and bags of Westland Garden Multi-purpose Compost with added John Innes.  Stuff that we planted in those beds appears to be growing fine and all looks ok.  

A gardeners main enemy is the slug/snail I think.  Over the last few years we have used the slug traps in which you put some beer/yeastie goodness in them and the slugs go for a little swim and die.  This year, I found it difficult to find these (they tend to disintegrate a bit over time) so a local garden centre Windyridge Nurseries & Garden Centre advised me to use some Organic Slug Pellets.  They gave me 'Growing Success Advanced Slug Killer'.  It works a dream...only been a few little nibbles on some of the foliage at this stage.  You just need to give a little sprinkle of it all over the patch.  The great think about it is that it contains Ferric Phosphate which supposedly gives some nourishment to the soil.  It will eventually disintegrate into the soil so there is nothing else you need to do.  I probably re-apply every week or so.  

That's the goings-on in the back garden.  In the front, all the spuds are growing nicely.  The amount of neighbours that have commented on them is brilliant.  It might actually get some of them to start growing in their own gardens soon.  Maybe even digging up their front gardens and planting a few spuds or something else easy-growing to give them the confidence to continue. 

Anyway.....more soon!!

Monday, 9 May 2011

And so the Heaven's erupt

     Haven't done much in the garden the last few days.  Have had two college essays to get finished for the end of term.  Now that I have the time to spend in the garden the Heaven's have decided to give the garden a well needed drink.  Haven't needed to water the garden for the last two nights which is great!!  Just hoping that it doesnt last too long because there are a few little tasks that need to be done soon.

It's far eaiser weeding in loose, dry soil, so have decided to hold off on it for a few days at least.  Am having to keep an eye on the seedlings in the Coldframe and the mini Greenhouse.  Although it is dull and wet out, these little things don't get much benefit from the rain.  The best way to water seedlings is from the underneath, as the heavy droplets from either the rain or a can/hose can damage/dislodge the tender seedlings.  As a result, we are having to keep an eye on them and water when necessary.

And in the front garden the grass and weeds have decided that they like the lazy-beds so much they will make home there.  And again, the wet weather isn't helping here!!  Will have to get out in the next few days and hand weed the spud drills as well as earthing them up too. 

Apart from the above, there isn't much else going on in the garden at the moment.  Planning on filling a mini skip with some garden waste material over the next few weeks, weather permitting.  Oh, and there is a great need for a new garden shed as the one that is standing (I use that term very loosely) is in a very bad way.  There is holes all over the sides of it and the ferral cats have been making it a temporary home during cold/stormy weather.

More to follow soon!!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

And so it grows

Ok so, this is the first time I've ever blogged in my life so please go easy.
Why start righting this blog, I hear you ask.  Well, I just thought I'd begin to share with people how my garden grows (or not as the case may be.  There has been increasing interest in all things gardening in recent years and it seems to be continuing in earnest.
I've been grow veg for about 4 years now in my suburban back garden.  It's a grand space to be growing in, but over the last few years I bace a bit disheartened with it due to the disorganised nature and lay-out of the garden.  So this year, with the help of my Brother we put in two raised beds to try and contain the growing area.
  So this is how the back garden looked on 14th of April 2011.  A big thanks to my brother who was the brains behind the operation and a huge help.  Ok so, we now had the Raised Beds....needed stuff to grow in them.  The ole reliables of Carrots, Peas, and Broad Beans were brought on in this Coldframe I built two years ago:

Again, the brother came in hand when he showed me how to make lazy-beds for spuds in the front garden.  He had been on at me for a few years now to dig up the garden and put in some spuds, but I held off for some unknown reason.  I think I was a bit apprehensive of the reactions from the neighbours, but I have to say anyone I've chatted to has been very interested in what I'm doing.  Some of the older neighbours have told me stories of how they remember their parents growing veg in their gardens as children.  The younger people are not sure what to make of it at all!!  I might have to bring them around to the 'Way of the VEG'.

Along with thw coldframe above, we picked up a little plastice mini-greenhouse from Woodies to help bring on some of the plants:

After a few weeks this is what the garden looks like:

The veg we have on the go at the moment is: Carrots, Peas, Broadbeans, French Beans, Cabbage (two different types), Garlic, Onions (two different types), Lettuces, Lemon Balm, Oregano, Rosemary, Bronze Fennel, Sage, Thyme, Lavender, Wild Flowers, Camomile, Mangtout, Turnips, Swede, Strawberries.  That's probably all of the veg on the go at the minute.  I'm not made on the Flowers end of things....that's more my other-half's department.  But they are all good.....they'll hopefully bring in all those lovely insects needed to bring the garden alive!!
Have invested in some Organic Slug Pellets today.  We have the first drop of rain last night in a long time, and when I went to the garden this morning there were so many little horrible slugs that intervention was dearly needed.  I'll keep you posted on how the battle with the slugs is going over the next few weeks.

For now, I must away!!  Chat soon!!