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How does your garden grow - featured March garden

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Olivia from Carrigaline is our featured garden for February

Congratulations and a BIG thank you go to Olivia for sharing her story and pictures of her lovely garden with us. It's great to hear about the great variety of plants she is growing and the story of how she has created her garden and the problems she has  encountered and overcome. We hope she continues to add to it and keep it growing!

We love looking at your gardens and hearing all about them so keep them coming in and you'll also be in with a chance of winning a €50 voucher to spend here at Fruit Hill Farm!

"My name is Olivia O'Driscoll and I live in Carrigaline. My garden began in 2011 with a sinfully basic cherry tomato kit bought in the supermarket. The ten green tomatoes I harvested in October were the beginning of an intense love affair and I've expanded gradually ever since. Two babies arrived in the meantime (from a different love affair) which momentarily slowed me down (although I have harvested parsnips with a baby in a sling - I will not be repeating this) but I have big plans for this year.

I'm interested in polyculture, namely blending vegetables, flowers, fruit and herbs in the same space. I made my first mixed bed last year and had great results with far less pest damage compared to other areas of the garden. I don't use any pest control bar hand picking. The bed was not raised, and had been used to grow bits n bobs for two years but with a dreadful effort on my part. Last season was the first time I put proper thought into soil preparation and nourishment.

I covered the bed with local dead seaweed in the Autumn and further enriched in the Spring with compost (both home made and shop bought) and homemade comfrey tea. I grew broad beans, lupins, purple sprouting broccoli (does very well here), garlic, beetroot, parsnips, dill, nasturtiums, lemon thyme, pansies, lavender, coriander and leeks (must confess I bought plugs!) plus the odd sneaky flower here and there. Oh and radishes. In other areas I grew tomatoes, courgettes, peas and spuds. I also learned some lessons like not to plant your sun-loving lavender under a broccoli plant that is destined for greatness, and to give my courgettes more space.

To kick this season off, I've moved a raspberry plant into the bed to add a fruity dimension and planted a few garlic bulbs here and there.

Slugs are the number one pest but I'm thinking of complimenting the hand picking by using nematodes or Sluggo this year so I can actually grow lettuce. They said it would be easy!!

I am inspired by the sea, being frugal, Joy Larkcom's book Creative Vegetable Gardening and Alys Fowler's book, The Edible Garden. I keep a blog called The Carrigaline Crusty, which is totally amateur and frill free but I use it like a garden diary which is essential! Here's to 2017!"

If you'd like to  win a €50 voucher for Fruit Hill Farm and have your garden featured in the How Does Your Garden Grow section of our website CLICK HERE for full details on how to enter.

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