As part of the Donegal ETB Horticulture program we undertook a session on plant division and our 'victim' was some large clumps of Chives, freshly removed from a garden bed. Normal process undertaken, cutting back, splitting into desired sizes, roots dusted with Mycorrhizal fungii and then potting up to let them form a nice root system, then they'll be planted back into the garden.
After only a few short weeks after sowing them (sown 5th March) we took the first harvest from our pea plants with the Donegal ETB Level 5 students. The first harvest of any edible pea is always when you pinch them back, the bits you pinch off make wonderful salad additions, or like what we did, just ate as we pinched :-)
Pinching back Peas (both ornamental and edible) encourages more growth and more flowers/fruit so its really an essential task. Just pinch out the leader and the plants will recover and go on to be better plants.
As part of the Horticulture course, the Donegal ETB Horticulture students set about splitting and dividing some various ornamental grasses in the Barrack Hill Garden. Most grasses enjoy being split, like a vast majority of perennials they do get congested, so if you have a big clump of Festuca of the likes in your garden think about giving it a haircut and then splitting it, not only will you get more plants for free (always good) but the same plant will be reinvigorated and more colourful...a win win!
Our starter plants were pot bound grasses purchased from a local garden centre, we gave them a haircut, carved 'em up (ensuring we have some foliage and root), dusted the roots with Symbio mycorrhizal fungii and then potted into a mix of compost and perlite.
Recently myself and the Donegal ETB Level 5 Horticulture students spent a wonderful afternoon extending the snowdrop carpet within the historical landscape of 18th century Culdaff House in North Inishowen. Snowdrops spread via seed, but its also good practice to split large clumps just as they go out of flower, and replant them straight away. Snowdrop bulbs hate going dry, and if they dry out at all they just shrivel up and die off.
Previously we had been a guest of George Mills, owner of Culdaff House, who gave us a wonderful tour of the old walled garden and grounds, which could be argued as one of the oldest in Inishowen.
It was great to be able to put our propagating skills to good use, and hopefully this extended snowdrop display along the road will provide wonderful photo opportunities in the coming years.
As part of our Soil Science module the Fetac Level 5 Horticulture students from Donegal ETB were given a tour of the Living Green Compost manufacturing facility located in Quigleys Point in County Donegal. Living Green is a massive success story not only are they Irelands largest wormfarm but they also produce Irelands only certified organic compost, which is available in retailers the lengths and breadth of Ireland.
This visit was part of our focus on organic matter, and its role in soil health (after all it is UN Year of the Soil 2015). Organic Matter is hugely important within soil for many reasons - including Providing valuable micro nutrients to plants, making major nutrients available to plants, improving soil structure, preventing compaction, stabilising pH, creating a buffer capacity in the soil, reducing pets and disease in the garden and so much more! Living Green Compost contains all the above, but also Humic Acid...which plants just love!. If you get a chance pick up a bag and see the results for yourself.
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond