June saw a lot of wet and windy weather and there was a great risk of blight forming on any crops in the potato family. We decided to try out a natural all in one tonic and remedy. You start by picking a bucket full of horsetail plant and let them steep for a week in water. We used a large flat stone to keep all of the horsetails submerged and ended up with a very smelly mixture. We strained out the horsetail and boiled the liquid for about ten minutes to prevent any spores from growing. Horsetail is an ancient and fascinating plant.
By the middle of June there were tell-tale signs of blight on the leaves of our potatoes with brown blotches and the leaves hanging limply. We put one litre of our cooled solution in a ten litre watering can and filled it up with water. We watered all the leaves and let the excess drop onto the ground. After repeating this treatment for three consecutive days the leaves all perked up and the areas that had shown signs of blight withered away while the surrounding parts of the leaves became glossy and dark green. We have earthed them up with grass clippings and sand every week and we were rewarded this week when we got our first taste, served with lashings of butter. We like to put a bit of dill in the water when boiling for a true Swedish experience.
The same horse tail mixture was used on all the tomatoes in the poly tunnel and they look very healthy and vigorous.
As the garden matures you start to see things from a different perspective. What was a bare field has turned into a young forest and although most plants are grown for their culinary uses we like the odd ornamental. This is an Acer that enjoys it roots deeply plunged in the Roscommon soil after spending many years in a big pot. We removed a few lower branches and love looking through the open structure to the other side. There is something very comforting and reassuring in planting trees and see them grow.
Around our main circle growth has been exceptional due to 100 mm of rain in the last ten days and we are busy harvesting berries, vegetables and herbs every day.
Last month we were planning to put up a hammock, but the persistent rain reminded us firmly that the best place to relax in the West of Ireland is perhaps in the conservatory.
While enjoying a hot drink or a glass of wine with dinner we are constantly drawn to the shapes and colours of the different plants in there. The plan is to replicate them in watercolour but at the moment the stream of produce coming into the kitchen each day, demands our full attention. Between preserving, cooking, drying, weeding, planting and pruning there is little or no time left in the day for anything else. But instead of feeling annoyed we feel blessed. Mother nature keeps on giving freely and all we have to do is treat her with respect.