Thursday 17 January 2013

Park and Ride

We have an unusually posh car outside the house at present as we have now diversified our small-holdering efforts and opened an unofficial "park and ride" service to the nearby Knock airport. Not really, but we were pleased to allow our friends Vendor Anna and her partner Paul to leave their car here while they were away. We were delighted when they turned up with this huge bag of cuttings of willow and dogwood, plants which we were admiring when we visited them.

These species strike cuttings really easily (It's not quite the "Throw it at the ground and run like hell!" of Kudzu weed (Peuraria lobata) in the Deep South but it is close, especially in these wet parts of the country. We originally got interested in willow as a browse-feed for goats but then decided against goats (for now anyway). But we have since seen it in some nice living sculpture hedges, both at Anna's and at the Kiltimagh Petting Zoo and our friends Anne and Simon use living willow mini-igloos as interesting chicken perch features in their runs. The birds seem to enjoy them. We will have some fun using these - thank you very much Anna and Paul!.

While we're outside enjoying the unseasonable mild, still weather, I have knocked up a small poly-tunnel shaped cloche over one of Liz's Kitchen Garden railway-sleeper raised beds. The consensus round here is that you 'need a poly-tunnel' just because it is just that little bit cool and wet to get your seedlings going early enough in spring, or to grow reasonable tomatoes, salad and even stuff like runner beans, never mind greenhouse crops like cucumbers and aubergines.

Well, we looked at poly-tunnels and found them a bit pricey for a decent, strong one tall enough for me to stand up in, but we did see, in a herb and plant shop tucked up a back street in Carrick on Shannon, a rather natty design for a big cloche with an opening side, made in that case with thick yellow water pipe from a building site. Costing me absolutely nothing, I have had a go at reproducing it using left overs from our own building project - tough "Qualpex" water pipe for the arches, sitting on short pieces of left over copper pipe thumped into holes in the wood. left over plastic sheeting and clips made from split-up-one-side bits of 1 and a half inch drain pipe. It looks OK, though it may prove to be a dead loss which blows away in the first bit of wind. We'll give it a go anyway and it might help us get a few seedlings under way.

No comments: