A Fleeting Glimpse of the Sun

20150426_181721Here are some outdoor garden pics taken last week before the sun decided to go on holiday.  We built a tee pee using recycled tires as planters because there’s only a few inches of soil there atop a large slab of stone.  And because it looks kinda cool.

Tadhg and I planted two yardlong beans in each and added the plastic as a temporary measure with the intention to add a bit of extra warmth once we closed the front opening.  Fortunately, we sowed many more than we needed and have spares, as the wind and wintry showers which arrived the next day severely battered the tender seedlings.

I said in a previous post that we wait until late May/June to plant out.  But it’s so easy to be fooled into packing winter coats and hats away in April.  I blame the sun and the hypnotic trance it puts on us islanders.

DSCF3138  DSCF3511

More tires and the boy’s handy work…these pics taken weeks apart.  Soil lifted, stones added.  The boys cracked and leveled the stones as well as sanded and painted the bench, all with Johnny’s light supervision and finishing touches.  I’m going to make a bright colored cushion for the bench and the flowers will grow to spill over the outside of the planters.  The seat overlooks the L O V E beds.  Thanks B.P. for the tires and M.P. for the bench, paint, and also the yardlong bean seeds.  Great reminders of two wonderful friends.

20150430_151119        20150430_151124

Back in mid March I mentioned pruning the raspberry bushes.  Shortly thereafter I became aware that I hadn’t done it completely right and after researching went back to cut them down properly.  Rather than discard the canes that needed removing I decided to stick them back into the ground into two groupings of nearly a dozen canes in each.  It kind of looked like how they arrived when we first purchased them years ago, a bucket of soil with sticks poking out of it.  Three weeks later, with the help of a warm spell and plenty of sunshine, they began to sprout new growth.  And they remain unaffected by the current foul weather.  We’re not expecting fruit from them this year, but it would sure be great.  I do feel confidant they will eventually bear fruit though (fingers crossed).  In my garden books there is no mention of this method…I wonder does anyone else propagate their raspberries this way?

A couple bits of exciting news…today we ordered new plastic for the polytunnel as the existing one is being held together for the last couple years with love and plywood.  Many a winter’s morning I awoke to peer out the window with great hope that our tunnel had not been lifted into orbit by the previous evening’s winds.  It’s a miracle that it’s still standing after the past couple winters here on the island–add to that our initial inadequate erecting of it, live and learn we have.  We also ordered two additional hoops, extending the tunnel on each end by six feet, Yep, that’s twelve by eighteen feet of added tropical nirvana.  I will definitely keep you posted on how that progresses over the next month.

We had a garden visit this week from another school, this one not from the island.  The students are about to start growing in their own polytunnel and were curious to see what we’re doing in ours.  A bit of a whirlwind it was as they had more plans for their island visit then their time allowed, but they were lovely and plan to revisit in the autumn.  It was a great buzz for us and, though we have already expressed appreciation to who arranged their visit, in case he’s reading this, a great big thanks again.

I posted this in the wee hours of the morning and am now awakening to the thoughts of potatoes, new potatoes that is.  We ate our first pot of them steamed and slathered in butter with last nights dinner. One of the many moments that make it all worth the effort we put in 🙂

Whatever the weather, I hope each and every one of you is enjoying your weekend.  Melissa Xx


  1. Hi Melissa, that is great news that you are expanding you polytunnel. It will probably take less than a day to fill in the extra space once its set up :).
    As for the raspberries….if done that too…just cut them and stick them in the ground. They’re like a weed when they are in a happy spot. In our last house our raspberries were so happy that they were trying to take over our lawn (which was kind of fine by me because we can’t eat the grass). Sadly in our current house we can’t keep the darn things alive. Have you ever tried to grow something in a “perfect” spot for you….but not so perfect for the plant? After 4 growing seasons we still only have one cane lol.
    I think it’s awesome that you and Johnny have the school visits. Such a great way to share your knowledge. You should put a video clip up of some of it.
    How are your meditations going?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Giggled when I read how quickly we will fill that space…so true! The meditation space I started to create has taken a back seat to plants, well actually it has no seat in there anymore, but it will again. My meditations are going well. The more I do the more I want to do. And I’ve found I can ‘get there’ walking, sitting, even gardening, just so long as there is not noisiness around me. Guided meditations are out for me, surprisingly because that is what I thought would be my choice.
      That must be why our raspberries are doing so well just plunked down in the dirt- they are happy in that location. I noticed new plants popping up around the old plants, ones we didn’t plant. The roots spreading out. We’re delighted of course. They are in a rather large raised bed and share space with strawberries. Would be great if we were forced to move the strawberries out to make space for happy raspberries. Not for a while yet.
      Yes, we have done that ‘perfect’ spot mistake many times. Johnny just broke our other spade handle yesterday uprooting a pine tree that despite our best efforts just wasn’t making it. It was stunning when first planted two springs ago. Great plans for Christmas lights that never got hung up. It couldn’t handle the winter winds.
      The school tours are super. That is a great idea to video. I would have to get permission of course, so don’t know how that would work out. I was careful to choose a picture of the last tour where the children were really only recognizable to us, no straight on views of any of them.
      The weather is lousy here right now but I am keeping busy in the house. I would take the sunshine and warmth in a minute but I could really use some time out of the garden 😀
      I will be making cheese soon as we are just starting milking and she has so so much. I’m going to give feta a try. I hope it is not too hard. I probably need a special culture for it. Going to Galway City next week so will have to research before that.
      I always love chatting with you. It’s after 2 in the morning here! Sleep in tomorrow though and a bank holiday on Monday so an extra day to lie in. Yee ha!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I am behind on so many things….sorry for not responding to you about the feta cheese. I just asked Becky….and told her about your abundance of milk….she just made a big pouty lip face. She’s so funny. Yet still won’t get on board with my secret goat plans.
        For the feta she said she used lipase powder, mesophilic starter, liquid rennet and calcium chloride.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m hopeful the homebrew shop has all that or it is off to Amazon. I know what you mean about being behind–this time of year there isn’t as much time to sit in front of the computer, but that’s not a bad thing either.
          Bummer about the goat, but Becky is probably right. I’d say grow some hedges to shield it from your neighbor, but the goat would just eat them 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Melissa Shaw-Smith says:

    Great idea with the tire planters! I’ve seen them used for growing spuds, adding more tires as the spuds grow. A friend transplants old raspberry canes he’s thinning out to new rows and has success, but I believe it takes a full year for them to bear fruit. Good luck, and happy May Day, Melissa.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love when I have an ‘original idea’ that has been around for eons! I knew I couldn’t be the first to put the canes in the ground that way 🙂 As for the tires, certainly have seen that idea before, but never with spuds in them…they will grow anywhere it seems!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Roz Hill says:

    Hi Melissa… Burning the midnight oil again! I don’t know how you do it!
    A friend brought me raspberry canes about three years ago, now they are bursting outside the fruit cage. Where I planted them out in the fruiting hedge , I was pleasantly surprised to see them sprouting everywhere from new roots. I love raspberries. I love sticking sticks in the ground to see if they will grow. I love my 6 yr old elder, each year I stick more of her sticks in the ground! When I play with willow I chop bits up and leave them in a jar of water, this water can be used like rooting powder… Soak sticks in it and fool them into thinking they are willow!! PS love your tee pee and the bench!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The house is quiet and I can concentrate. It just happens naturally…what otherwise might take hours to complete can be blurted out in a fraction of that time.
      I love the idea of making a rooting liquid out of the chopped bits and am definitely going to try. Could I do this with the raspberry or any other cutting? Imagine raspberry willow…you may be onto something there Roz. Our willow is bursting all over also. We are going to start a dome in the kids play area, using the island rods.
      The tee pee looks great when peas and beans are up to the top. We put a couple rows of string around running perpendicular to the poles to attach the plants to. Today is dry so I best get my backside out of bed and get on with it. Have a wonderful weekend Roz and I sure hope Phil is feeling better.


  4. Eddy Winko says:

    We asked ourselves the question ‘ how do you propagate raspberries’ a couple of weeks ago as we pruned in the orchard, now we know, thank you 🙂 Are these the two year canes you are replanting?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, they are the replanted canes, the just pruned ones. Some are two years, some are more. I have been very sporadic in when and how I prune them. And not all of them resprouted, about 2/3 of them did, but we’re happy with that 🙂 .
      I think I will try Roz’s idea (comment above yours) about making a rooting liquid, next year. It sounds interesting and she is successful and experienced. Even though what I did worked, I did wonder if a rooting powder would have made a difference. Fun to experiment and it sounds simple enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gosh you have been busy! Great news about the raspberry cuttings growing, I’m going to try that one. My Autumn fruiting ones are the best for size and juiciness of berries and have gone berserk in reproducing themselves all around. The others maybe don’t like where I have put them – will have to think about that one.
    Re polytunnels, a friend of mine has a large tunnel and has the last hoop’s space open, with the door to the tunnel set that one hoop in. This creates a nice covered spot, just outside the tunnel, to work in and harden things off in. It works so well, just mentioning it in case you wanted to consider that – obviously it has to be the opposite end to the prevailing wind direction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I sat down last night intending to post my Haiku but am a bit stuck on it. So off to the garden post I went instead. Sometimes mixing the two can be a bit restrictive…but no worries, that’s why it’s called a challenge–bring it on. Today is a new day and I shall get on with it carrying a notebook in my pocket and it will work itself out.
      I agree that the autumn raspberry plants are the better. Unfortunately we only purchased one along with three summer fruiting in our initial investment. They too are re rooting by way of underground runners and the canes I just put in, so more to come.
      That is a very clever thought about the tunnel. There is poly on the top/sides but not on the end? I wonder how it is attached? Don’t suppose you could get pictures? Curious, though it’s unlikely we’d do it because we have already established hardening off locations, and the inside tunnel space is lacking as it is. Thinking as I go here, aka rambling! Don’t go to any trouble with getting a pic, but is sounds very interesting.
      Dreamed about those apple rose pastries you posted this week…think they are a must on the menu for my son’s birthday in a weeks time 🙂


      • Sorry I don’t have pictures of the polytunnel (it was some years ago when I saw it) and I have lost touch with that friend. Yes poly on top and sides. She had an old sofa there too and it was a great place to sit and work when it was raining or too hot in the tunnel. I know she put the top sheet on first over the whole frame first and then set the door at one end, back one ‘bay’. Re the apple pastries – the centre can be a bit doughy – I’m going to try putting a pistachio nut in the centre next time to see if that helps. You must have an ever running store of birthdays in your house!!!! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  6. kim says:

    I did the same thing with my blackcurrant canes a couple of years ago. Although after cutting the canes I stood them in water for a week or so until they formed small roots then I stuck them in the ground in groups of 3. They grew brilliantly last year – but no fruit – I’m really hoping they will fruit this year. Fingers crossed. x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Love the bean teepee and green seat. And yum yum potatoes. Ours are growing well but I think it’ll be end of month before we get to eat them!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. chef mimi says:

    I’m sure the sun is very welcomed where you live! I just watched the movie Angela’s Ashes yesterday, and I got cold seeing everyone in the constant rain. I know it’s not always like that, since I’ve been to Ireland, but this was a depressing movie, with most of the children shoeless. Your little corner of Ireland is gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Christina says:

    I was a bit worried when you said you grow edibles in the tyres, it has been found that some pretty horrible chemicals can leach out of tyres and be absorbed by plants. It doesn’t matter for ornamentals.

    Liked by 1 person


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