The Dandelion: Getting Rid of a Victim of its Own Success

  “And over that potato-field A lazy veil of woven sun, Dandelions growing on headlands, showing Their unloved hearts to everyone.” From: Spraying the Potatoes, by Patrick Kavanagh The dandelion is one of Nature’s great colonisers and survivors. Thriving in a range of soils, it is a ubiquitous sight in Irish meadows and along our roadsides, as well as on waste ground. Unfortunately, however, it is more than happy to colonise your flowerbeds and your carefully mown lawn, dashing any hopes of producing a Wimbledon-like front garden. And once dandelions take hold, they’re not exactly easy to get rid of! However, though dandelions might be somewhat unloved, as Kavanagh wrote, they are far from useless. And a little knowledge of...
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Vegetable Garden Fencing – on a Budget

A vegetable garden is a wonderful thing – the satisfaction of providing your family with your own lettuce, scallions, carrots and peas during the summer is a truly wonderful feeling, and it’s great to get the kids involved too. However, we don’t need Beatrix Potter to tell us the damage rabbits and other cuddly neighbours can wreak in an unprotected garden – even your dog can destroy quite a few plants if looking for somewhere to bury his bone. The satisfaction of watching your garden grow can quickly wither when you find your carrots beheaded, or your beetroot plundered… All that love and care for nothing! A proper, animal-proof garden fence can be quite expensive, however, and many of us...
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Micro-Gardening Your Garden Fence

What to do with those Hannah Montana wellingtons your youngest has just announced are leaking? Micro-gardening could be the answer—adding interest to your garden by growing flowers and shrubs in containers you’d never expect to find in a garden…and micro-gardening your garden fence can be a whole lot of fun for kids, too. Micro-gardening is often driven by a gardeners needs: a shoestring budget, a lack of space, or simply being tired of throwing away things that could be used again, e.g. for garden landscaping. ‘Upcycling’ refers to a kind of recycling where you actually create a new product of more intrinsic value than the original—the container is ‘repurposed’, so to speak. A great idea is to upcycle the kids’...
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Preparing to grow your own food

What with the rising cost of food and recent concerns about the origin of some of the food we eat, many people are turning to the ‘grow your own’ food movement for fresh food. The question for most people is: Where do I start? The first thing to do is to start enriching the soil to make it more productive, so you can grow your own food. Planting vegetables may be interesting and may provide good food for the family, but it is often hard work too, and being able to harvest a reasonable crop of vegetables makes it feel like it’s been worth the effort. You can start fertilising the soil right now with farmyard manure. You can dig...
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