January’s Garden


Last week, in the bright sunshine, I did a walk through the garden and took a few pictures.  It was the first time all winter I’d gone in with the intention of really looking and not just grabbing veg and hurrying back in the house to escape the wet cold.  I never got around to posting those pics so out I went today…it’s helpful to document these things before the growing season begins.

Everything is looking quite bare, especially with the tunnel plastic off for the entire winter, but the earth previously contained for years by the polythene cover is now enjoying breathing the fresh air and drinking rainwater.  Next month the new plastic goes back on just in time to start seedlings.  We lengthened the tunnel by adding two extra hoops which adds about sixty square feet of additional growing space.  There’s plenty of work ahead of us this spring, which in Ireland begins in just a short week and a half from now.

This is a nicely angled shot–the area to the left, just out of the picture are mud pits and the ditches dug to secure the tunnel plastic are still holding water.  It’s caused by the overwhelming amount of rain we received this winter and exacerbated by the ducks matting down the soil in the puddles, preventing adequate drainage.


Below are pictures of the same patch of rhubarb; the first was taken last week followed by today’s photo.  Rhubarb thrives in cool weather so it’s been ideal growing conditions for it.

New growth gives such hope.  Last years planting of perennial primroses full of new buds are pictured below.  Where are the leaves on the white one?  Putting all it’s energy into buds galore.

Iris, willow, garlic, mint, and buds on the apple trees all growing nicely.  Australorp chickens, Pearl-my garden shadow kitty, and our new tree starting its fourth year…someday there’ll be a hammock tied between those trees.

Picking straight from the garden as we use it, a few carrots, celery, and beetroot. They’ll need to be picked and stored soon to prepare the ground for a new planting.

The semi-sundried tomatoes I froze in oil have been a tasty replacement for fresh.  It’s so nice to have tomatoes when tomatoes are out of season.  We’re still eating stored potatoes and onions, and frozen broccoli, turnips, cabbage, and cauliflower, as well as a variety of fermented veg, all from last season’s harvest.  The last of the parsnips are pictured below.

This full basket of veg made it’s way into the house and has been eaten already.


We’ve been talking about our growing plans and made a list of three things to accomplish this year in the garden.  That’s an unusually short list for us, well for me, but it just made the most sense.  That said, other than order our seeds, we’ve done nothing thus far except to prepare by purchasing ourselves some new gardening gloves–a small but important investment to protect our most valuable tools of all, our hands. 🙂

Have yourself a wonderful day everyone, Melissa Xx


    • Oh Claire, thank you for your constant kindness and support. I am so grateful we’ve become friends!
      He’s a boy cat we thought was a girl cat until we sent him to the vet to be spayed. We kept the name Pearl for him, though I often call him Squirrel. He is so lovable and cuddly, and neutered 🙂 Follows me everywhere. Pet love is it’s own form of love for sure…there’s much to learn from the critters in our lives.
      Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are SO right about pet love. We have two German shepherds that are like having children! We’re in such a rhythm with them that it’s as if we’re all operating by a psychic link. Their little personalities are priceless, and their joy of life is absolutely contagious. We also have a left handed black cat named La Chatte, who is smarter than I am! Keep those posts and pictures coming! Since I know exactly where you live, more’s the thrill for me!


  1. Sally savage says:

    Love this post! Can’t wait to get back over and see my gardens! I never even heard about spring coming about now but it makes sense. I was in Maine last weekend.. Great snowstorm. Do hope Denise can come over with me. Hope you can down as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do miss the Maine snow, but around now I am always quite tired of it. Here, bulbs are poking their heads and necks out of the earth. Celtic seasons are Feb, March, April as spring, and so on. It does make sense regarding the actual weather and the behaviour of nature. Here is a link to a small post I wrote last Feb 1st/ St. Brigid’s Day that has a really brilliant link with 8 much longer but very interesting articles about the first day of spring here in Ireland.
      Visiting you has come up in conversation with Denise since your return to the States. How I would love to make the short journey. Do you have dates for your trip yet?


  2. gaiainaction says:

    How lovely to see all your photos and hear your plans for the garden this year. Wonderful! I had quite forgotten that the first of February is the first day of spring in Ireland – though I had seen and felt the first sign of spring for days. At least after all the rain, we are going in the right direction. A very enjoyable and informative blog write up!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: January’s Garden | sondasmcschatter

  4. I so miss your beautiful island. Are you near Kilronan? That’s where we spent a good deal of our visits. And my last visit there I had all of Black Fort to myself. Though Dun Aonghasa we visited all times we were there. Anyway, just seeing your picture makes me almost home sick. (This is where my father’s side of the family came from, and cousins still live).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am midway on the island…two miles west of Kilronan, halfway to Dun Aonghasa. I can see the island’s middle church from my house, a stones throw away it is. The Black Fort is as, if not more, interesting as Dun Aonghasa me thinks, but much less ‘touristy’. Who are your cousins?! Jeepers, small feckin’ world isn’t it!?, pardon my Irish won’tcha 😀


      • I love the Irish word. 😉 It sounds much better than the American counter part.

        Cousins are “Faherty”.

        I loved the black fort. I have some posts when we were there last in 2010 about being there. Actually I used a lot of my blog for my family/friends to see where I was. So lots of pictures. I am positive we passed your house numerous times. By car, or foot or bicycle. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, you would have passed my house…as you likely well know, there are only two roads and we live just off the main one. Faherty is a common name here, they are all lovely families. Any plans to return soon? You’re more than welcome to come by for a mid way break and a cuppa. 🙂


          • We just discussed going this year. But will likely not return this year. But, when we DO, I will be letting you know. How fun to have a cuppa with you!!! 🙂 I would tell you specifically their names but don’t want to put their information on line. But I will over a cuppa!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    That is such an impressive basket of veg for January!! I have only a handful of parsnips and beetroot and the carrots are so small I haven’t even bothered digging them up!!! I do still have cabbages though. Lovely summary of your January garden and inspiring too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • In some ways we are sheltered here…though I would love some frost to coat the earth, it’s a rare occurrence here on the island. The slugs have enjoyed our still-in-the-ground veg also but we have managed to enjoy it nonetheless. I’m never sure when to remove everything in preparation for the next planting….thank goodness for liquid fertilizer!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. pagedogs says:

    This post has me spring-dreaming. We are nicely snowed up here in Maine–it feels like full-on winter. But the days are getting longer and I’m sending my seed order off. In the meantime, I’ll follow your spring gardening vicariously!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A late start to your winter, but when in the depths of it doesn’t matter much I suppose! Won’t be long and you’ll be knee deep in the lovely mud season. We are experiencing that now ourselves due to so much winter rain…wouldn’t mind so much if it were the result of a nice frosty snowfall. There’s something to be appreciated about a hard freeze for the earth before new growth begins, but we rarely experience that here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely life you have. Living off the land is an ideal way of life. Seasons are funny. Here in south Florida we’re in winter and a long way from spring. We had our first few real ‘Winter’ days this past week (40-50˚F). I love your pictures and your writing always soothes me. Great post! 😀 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t realize it got that cool in Florida. Is that always the case in the winter? I always found my late summer visits very hot and humid. The a/c made me quite cold and then outside it was like hitting a wall of heat. Don’t think I ever visited my grandparents in the wintertime though.
      My photo word this week is ‘winter’ and, though cool, there is nothing wintry looking in sight. Thinking a pic of my just emerging snowdrop flowers will suffice even though they are a sign of spring, their name covers it…thinking outside the box on this one 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      • We’ll usually get a week or two in January and then another week or two in February with temperatures in the 40s and 50s. It always catches us by surprise. Today we were back to the 70s.
        You’re definitely thinking outside the box. Cool. 😉

        Liked by 1 person


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