Richard's Ramblings 11th May by Richard Mee

Coming in to work over the long weekend there was a frantic buzz around the countryside. The soil conditions and weather were finally suitable for machinery to move onto the fields. I was coming in to take advantage of the same conditions that allowed me to move quickly to make seedbeds and get a range of seeds in. I felt a part of something fundamental, the collective effort that feeds people. It is easy in the modern world for people to forget how the shelves in the supermarkets are stocked- essentially by people getting up in the morning and working with the soil and seasons to grow food- basically how it’s been done for the last 6 or 7,000 years. I think we are on the verge of another food producing revolution, where food will increasingly be produced in industrial conditions using algae as a starting point, but thankfully, for an old grower like myself, that’s not where we are at the moment. I hope all the GIY’ers out there managed to get on top of their gardens this weekend, resisting the temptation to enjoy the weather in a non-horticultural way (I have been told this is a theoretical possibility). If you didn’t then I would suggest you take up golf for the summer and try gardening next year!

The state of the garden seems about three weeks behind where it should be at the beginning of May. This will mean later harvesting but thankfully JB and the kitchen team here at GROW HQ understand the limitations that the weather places on a grower in Ireland and will continue making a silk purse out of the sow’s ear of the very limited range of produce I have available for the next few weeks.

Interestingly the swallows and house martins are three weeks late as well this year. They usually arrive with me in the third week of April and finally arrived this week. How they know what the weather is like in Ireland while they are waiting in Spain or France is beyond me, but they do.  My house is normally the home to six or seven pairs, their aerial acrobatics are an essential part of my summer. I was saddened to see, in the catalogue of horticultural supplies I use, that you could buy a device to put in the eaves of your house that stops the house martins nesting. I was trying to imagine what soulless people want to deprive themselves of the sight of these beautiful birds, not to mention the free supply of nitrogen rich fertiliser.  I hope they suffer from an infestation of biting and sucking insects to remind them of the value of these agile insect eaters. I normally have a nest over my front door which will lead to the occasional visitor receiving a small amount of fertiliser on their heads whilst entering. I don’t have a particular problem with this as I can’t imagine wanting to sit and have a cup of tea with anyone who would object, a sort of gardener’s door policy. Anyway, I’m delighted they are back as a summer without swallows doesn’t sound very “hujjwon” at al

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  • Robert Hill on

    I am so jealous . I live on the Faithlegg estate ,I love birds , they cost me a fortune in feed ,my neighbours have a house martins nest for 8 years or more , but my house has none . How on earth can anybody even think of preventing them from nesting ,let alone inventing the awful stuff that prevents their future ; Shame on them .

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