We all absolutely loved Aileen from Antrim's entry for this months How Does your Garden Grow feature - not only is it lovely to see the change and growth in her garden over time, but we all loved her inventive way of trying to keep the rabbits away!! Congratulations Aileen - we hope you enjoy spending your €50 voucher for Fruit Hill Farm and we hope your garden continues to grow and flourish!
We live on the shores of Lough Neagh in Co. Antrim and started to develop the garden 15 months ago. On a 1/2 acre site there was a mature garden to the rear of the house and a blank canvas at front. It is heavy clay soil and the main problems are rabbits and couch grass.
For the area at front which was an uncultivated field, we created a long border approx 2m in depth and 15 m long. We Removed the top layer of sods with a digger. We then dug 1-2 spade depth and removed as many roots of couch grass and other perennial weeds as possible. The next step was to add cardboard followed by grit and then a mixture of leaf mould, compost and horse manure. To another section we dug it over and planted potatoes.
We also acquired a greenhouse and my father made 3 raised beds ( 2x1.5 m) to grow vegetables. We planted some apple trees from Irish seed savers, which have established really well. Most recently we have created a trench for raspberry canes.
We garden wholly organically.
The joy of picking and eating fresh vegetables and herbs.
Pottering in greenhouse on a sunny, windy day when it is too cold to work outside.
Couch grass and rabbits. We use cages and toy dinosaurs to attempt to scare the rabbits and protect new growth.
What grows well
Everything with horse manure!
Potatoes great success
Purple sprouting. Broccoli
Apple trees, cherry and magnolia trees have established well
Favourite thing to eat
Fresh peas in the pod
Purple sprouting broccoli
Sun gold cherry tomatoes
Cavolo Nero and romanesco
The cycle of sowing, planting out and enjoying the flowers and vegetables
Wind shelter for bees (my husband is keen to have 1-2 hives)
3 more raised beds
Raised fruit bush area
Mixed hawthorn hedge along boundary
Ambitious plans have somewhat been slowed down by the arrival of our baby daughter at start of May.....let's hope she likes gardening as much as her 2 siblings aged 4 and 5!