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Collaboration, Exploration and some Garden work too!

Monkey Puzzle at Kilronan in fading evening light.

Went up to Kilronan Castle, which is’nt too far from us here, yesterday afternoon, to meet up with my friend Colette. Many of you will know Colette as Permaculture Cottage blogger and permacultarist extraordinaire. Anyway, Colette and I are collaborating on a year long project of which more will be revealed at a later stage. We had delicious tea and scones in the drawing room, reasonably priced too. We then went on a walk and were of course drawn into the old walled garden there. One’s mind can’t help but be taken back to an era, not that long ago, when this place would have been a hive of activity and production. When food is now referred to as commodity and people known only as consumers it’s nice to drift back to that time when Ireland did indeed produce so much of it’s own food. A time which in it’s own way, despite the negatives of planters and colonisation, had many positive aspects. My own Mother worked in one of these big houses, indeed her whole family did at various times, and she only has positive memories of it.

Remnants of Gardener's Cottage fireplace.

Along with the usual Irish crops of potatoes, carrots, cabbages and onions these walled gardens also managed to produce exotics such as grapes, peaches and pineapples. The remains of the pineapple beds are still visible in the garden, tilted to the south to get the full benifit of the sun. Early Strawberries were also produced in this way using fresh manure which produced lots of heat as it broke down. The Monkey Puzzle tree is something I intend to keep an eye on. There were a few small Monkey Puzzles growing underneath the big tree. These can only have come from seeds from the tree above. Seeds from these trees make a very good substitute for pine nuts. Ever the forager.

Pricking out Peppers.

Meanwhile garden work continues here, seeds that have germinated need moving on into bigger modules, more seeds are still being planted. The good weather of the last two weeks means that the soil outside should be warming up nicely. A minimum of six degrees is needed before seeds will germinate. Seeds planted into cold wet ground will rot. Seeds and plants are just like us, they need food, water, air and heat, and, just like us, a bit of love does’nt go astray either.

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