Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Melanie Dool’s gardening column in association with Orchardstown Garden Centre


LAST week without pre-planning I jumped into a decluttering mode. I guess this was sparked off by a combination of a few facts such as, gardening is in a dormant season and the mixed weather patterns coupled with the short days means less time outside and therefore, more free time indoors.


Spaced out

It might be a Parkinson’s law that says “you will always find materials to fill the space available for storage”. One of my interests is reading about those early explorers and pioneers, especially to extreme regions such as the Arctic or Antarctic and those sailboats searching for new lands. In all these cases there was no room for clutter and it was vital for everything to have its own place for ease of use when needed.



You might imagine that there would not be much clutter or rubbish in the garden but being beside a main road has meant that items get ‘thrown or blown’ into our garden, such as sacks of garbage or waste packages from fast food outlets. Besides that, other items that might be “handy” are kept just in case and by and large many have been used but there are surpluses and those I am getting rid of now.


Tight squeeze

I have a normal shed which houses garden tools, the lawn mower, bikes, BBQ and a high shelf for the cats to find safety among the pots, window boxes and containers. This was the first place I started on last week and now it is all organised again ready for the coming growing season. When the potatoes arrive I will put them in trays to sprout before planting them out in late March.



You could have a tunnel, glasshouse or other growing area and now is a good time to give it a tidy up and treat for any diseases that might be lurking about. We will delay this for another month because we will let the chickens have a root around first during this potentially cold and wet month. We will then remove the tomato supports, cucumber trellis, bean poles and remove the pots with last year’s compost. Once clear, we will moisten the tunnel and then the next day spray a disinfectant or a fumigant overall and afterwards close the door for the week so that it will work better.



I suppose it is true of a number of other products in that the number of seeds in a packet is being reduced in many cases but at the same time the price has increased. Seeds can be kept in a sealed container in a dark dry place and while the germination reduces bit by bit, you can probably get about three years out of a packet of seeds. If you just want a few plants from seeds it is good enough to get any brand that you come across but if you want particular varieties or quantity then it pays to check out the range available as there are great variations, even within similar varieties.



It is a prime period in which to plant fruit, hedging and trees but leaving out herbaceous perennials and all but the hardiest of shrubs. If you are in an exposed or coastal area then postpone planting until March. There are very few plant shortages now as the supply has caught up with the demand after the wobble caused by Brexit and Coronavirus. If you have any queries or comments you are welcome to share them with me on 051-384273 or [email protected] and if of general interest I will include it in a future article.

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By Melanie Dool
Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

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