March

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It has been a beautiful month in the garden and now more than ever we realize the importance of supporting the local eco system by encouraging nature to run wild in most parts and use part of the land for growing food and medicinal plants. With the increasingly grim reports of the virus ripping through communities and countries, we have found solace in the simple acts of engaging with wildlife and plants. We believe that life cannot go back to the way it was before this pandemic as capitalism has stretched the natural resources well beyond limits. This is the time for starting a more harmonious relationship with nature and we are great admirers of Mary Reynolds and her ARK project that is gaining strength throughout the word. You can read about it here.

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We think humanity has a real opportunity to steer away from mindless overconsumption and build strong communities by producing food locally, eat what is in season, have holidays close to home, work from home when possible and share ideas and skills in new and creative ways. Many small local businesses are struggling at the moment all across the world but when the lock down is lifted we need to support all of the wonderful people who work hard to create a sustainable and vibrant local community. We must put Mother Nature first. We believe it is time to shift our aims and values away from “what can I get?” and concentrate on “what can I give?” We think Jane Goodall sums it all up pretty well in this video.

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 In February over one hundred frogs came back to visit our small pond where they were born and now the water is absolutely teeming with tadpoles.

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In the annual vegetable garden we have been harvesting kale and sprouting broccoli every day for the past three weeks and started to clear the beds for the spring planting season. For many years we lived in places without a garden and back then we “grew” most of our vegetables inside. Sprouting is a great way to add nutrients and colour to our diet and we wrote about it in a post a few years back. For information about sprouting and tasty recipes please visit the wonderful Sproutpeople website. If you are at home this might be an ideal time to explore this easy and cheap way of producing food.

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The lockdown in Ireland has given us time to study from home but also all work together on putting up a small poly tunnel for tender crops and seedlings. It has been lovely working together for a common goal.

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Around our main circle spring is well on its way and we have been busy weaving a low fence around our cardoon and artichoke beds. We cut back a lot of our bamboos and coppiced some ash trees for materials. This should stay in place for at least five years. We still have one fence to complete.

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East

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South

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West

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North

We hope you will all stay safe and well in the challenging weeks and months ahead. Our hearts are with all the frontline workers in hospitals and in food production and distribution. We are staying at home and living as self-sustainable as possible to try and stay out of their way. It is not a sacrifice but a privilege to spend time close to nature and with each other as a family. We are very lucky to have running water, a home to call our own and a piece of the earth to be the guardians of. Many many people in poorer countries are not so lucky and for them the crisis of this virus will be much more devastating. We need to give them as much solidarity and help as possible.

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June in retrospect.

One week of July is behind us and it is high time to write about the garden in June. We had a lot of warm and windy weather but not much rain and it took a long time for the annual vegetables to get established. It is still very dry compared to other years and we have spent quite a lot of time watering. The vegetables are finally beginning to put on some bulk.

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May flowers.

May brought us a couple of weeks with next to no rain and then a ten day downpour. We have been busy in the garden, planting our vegetables and watering for the first couple of weeks and then tackling a few of our structures in need of updates. We will write more about them in the next couple of weeks.

In our conservatory we have two different passionfruit plants and this year our purple petal variety flowered for the first time along with the more common light green one. We have lots of small fruits forming already and maybe the season will be long and warm enough to actually get some tasty, ripe fruits later in the year.

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September gone.

We have entered October and there is a definite change in the garden. All the lush greens of summer are slowly transforming into browns, russets, buttery yellows, we could go on… It is lovely to walk around and experience the slowing down process of nature. All the leaves are turning and falling as the trees and shrubs prepare for the cold in the coming months.

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August harvest.

August has been another busy month on the land. There are so many things to harvest and process so that they will keep for the coming months. One unusual and tasty vegetable is the strawberry spinach, Chenopodium capitatum, which we grew from seeds in the spring. The red “berries” taste sweet and fresh in salads and the leaves are good in stir-fries.

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