a mediateam website

See a sample issue of The Irish Garden!

Athwillboy's Garden

View more photos

Check back soon to read all about Athwillboy's Garden


Frost & Early Potatoes

16 April 2012 16:51:50

Hi Everyone,

Sorry I haven't been keeping up to date with my journal. I have been very busy reorganising my garden for vegetable growing -including the installation of a greenhouse. First crisis of the year.....my early potatoes have suffered frost damage on Saturday night last. To counteract the ground frost these nights, I had been spraying them early in the morning with a fine spray of water from the hose, which seems to have have saved them for a number of nights. But, finally I was caught.(Amateur!)

When they first emerged, I carefully covered them again in soil, but now the first earlies had grown through this cover. In the hope of them recovering, I've now covered them with fleece.

Are there any experienced gardeners out there  that might be in a position to advise an "innocent novice" how to get through the next week or two, while that cold northerly airstream persists? Help! Help! 

CathCronin CathCronin 16 April 2012 18:50:53

Cover them with plastic, fleece or those small plastic cloches every night. I think everyone is in the same boat this year. I am keeping ours covered every night from now till whenever! We really got caught with the frost and that northerly wind . Our local garden center man said that wind is more detrimental than the frost!

Athwillboy Athwillboy 16 April 2012 20:23:35

Thanks, Cathy, for your words of wisdom. Great to make a contact with somebody who is passionate about growing veg. I covered them with fleece this evening, but I hope too much damage hasn't already been done. Fingers crossed!

CathCronin CathCronin 16 April 2012 20:35:21

Don't give up hope yet. New shoots may emerge and the tubers may not have been harmed underground! Ijust told my daughter the same thing today :)

Horse Manure

13 January 2012 11:45:05
I'm about to spread horse manure on some of my vegetable beds, in preparation for digging in later when conditions are right. I have a heavy soil. My concern is how I should address the issue of the horse manure being high in nitrogen but low in phosphate and potash. I'd appreciate suggestions on how I might keep the balance right for veg growing.
Dick Dick 13 January 2012 11:55:13

Willie, it all depends on what you intend growing. If it is the leafy type of vegetables, nothing to worry about. As regards phosphorus, you should be ok. You can always get some sulphate of potash if you are growing plants where the fruit or flower is important.

Athwillboy Athwillboy 13 January 2012 12:46:46

Is sulphate of potash available organically, Dick? How should I address the balance for root crops? 

LNolan LNolan 13 January 2012 14:10:00

Good luck with all the plans for this year Willie. I'll be planning out my veg garden this year with crop rotation in mind for future years.

Athwillboy Athwillboy 13 January 2012 14:55:08

Liam, I'll be leaning on you for some tips. You seem to have a bit of a track record in growing veg. Good to hear you have started on this year's plans, although winter still has a bite left. Good luck!

Dick Dick 13 January 2012 15:15:13

Hello Willie, Sulphate of potash is purely inorganic. You have plenty of the organic matter in the horse manure.

ladygardener ladygardener 13 January 2012 17:16:42

No idea at all but I'm growing veg this year so learning from the comments.

Ladybird Ladybird 13 January 2012 17:28:17

We have decided to grow a few vegetables this year and hubby has just finished digging out the bed so l will be watching out for some tips!

Dick Dick 13 January 2012 17:33:44

I will do what  I can Ruth to help.

Athwillboy Athwillboy 13 January 2012 17:45:15

Thanks, Dick. With good rotation, I should be able to maintain a reasonably balanced soil. As far as possible, I want to avoid using any chemicals. I'm sure it won't be easy.

Ladybird Ladybird 13 January 2012 18:05:42

Thanks Dick. We have been thinking about it for a while and a friend called in the other day and asked do you not grow vegetables (you can't eat flowers) and suggested the ideal spot. It was the kick we needed to get us started.

Athwillboy Athwillboy 13 January 2012 18:10:55

Ladygardner, having taken a look at your beautiful garden, I'm not sure if I have any advice that you could learn from. What a wonderful garden you've got! It must be inspirational to work in such lovely surroundings. Well done!

Meanwhile, I will get on with planning my little plots of veg, high on the smell of horse manure and compost, while my neighbour's over-weight cat is trying to make sense of the antics of the birds on the feeders at various spots throughout the garden. He can never decide which station to focus on. "Operation Transformation" for cats..... Life is really not fair!

Good luck with the veg growing, Ladygardner! I'm sure it will be spectacular....like everything else in your garden. 

Dick Dick 13 January 2012 18:11:59

Willie, as regards fertilizers, such substances as present are all chemicals and there is nothing wrong with them. All this talk anout organic is over rated. elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium are all required. They may be absent in the soil and must be replaced. I use 7:6:17 (potato manure) for growing vegetables. 

ladygardener ladygardener 13 January 2012 18:36:23

Thanks so much but I only photograph the good bits, most of my garden is just a field.  I'm using an old dog run for veg I don't want peed on by dogs or eaten by rabbits; chinese leaves, strawberries spring onions ...... Then and this I'm finding hard I'm going to try and make a designated garden for root veg but deciding on the shape and incorporating it into the garden....  I'm a million miles yet from then learning about rotation.

Periwinkle Periwinkle 13 January 2012 21:16:36

Sorry cant give much help on growing veg. as I no longer grow any except a few salads, but go for it and as Dick says, dont get too hung-up on the organic. Your doing your bit with the horse-manure and soon you will be able to make your own compost and then your well on your way to being organic!

Eilish Eilish 13 January 2012 22:08:45

Hi, it was nice to meet you last Sunday.  Sorry, don't know much about using horse manure, but make sure it is well rotted, at least a few months old before you use it.   We use chicken pellets for veg growing, can be bought in large bucket.   I use sulphate of potash around strawberry plants and other fruit bushes, can be bought in small boxes, you only use a small amount anyway.

Dick Dick 13 January 2012 22:25:45

Willie, as Eilish said the horse manure needs to rot for some time. Unagrant spoke about the Nicotiana (tobacco plant) and somebody asked was there a scent from it. Well if it were near the horse manure, especially if it were fresh, there would not be such a good scent in the area:)

Keego Keego 13 January 2012 23:39:03

Great to see all the renewed interest in Veg gardening and good for you Anne Athwillboy and Ruth for giving it a go - it is so rewarding- I Have been growing Veg for about 8 years now and am still learning but will help out any way I can all I can say is that Vegetables want to grow so if you give them any kind of decent conditions and a bit of TLC you will be rewarded the only advice I would give is only grow what the family will eat and do not be tempted to plant too much at once - succesive planting with things like lettuce, spring onion, beetroot, peas, radishes & rocket is the way to go. I know nothing about horse manure - we use farmyard manure (our own) and just make sure it is well rotted i am sure the same applies for horse.   

CathCronin CathCronin 16 April 2012 19:07:06

WOW.....so there are some Veggie Growers around ;)

My organic garden is just grown naturally in what soil we have, which is basically 7ph all over, and let Mother Nature do the rest. I make my own nettle and comfrey liquid feed and that is  it. But this year I got some horse manure from my daughter and I now have it "brewing " to dig in beds in the autumn!

If I can be of any help to anyone through my own experiences alone, I would be delighted to  ! 


Garden.ie Members

Not a member yet?
Join now to:

Join Now

Existing Members

Forgotten password

Garden.ie CLUB

Join Ireland's first online garden club! Share pictures of your garden, make new friends and chat with other gardeners. It's simple to join and free! Register Here

Featured Members


Thousands of gardening facts at your finger tips:

Ask Gerry

Gerry DalyTry our unique advice service from editor Gerry Daly. Got a question right now? Search here to see if it has been answered already:

a mediateam website

©2018 Garden.ie. Mediateam Ltd, Media House, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18.

Tel (+353 1) 2947777 Email info@garden.ie

Website Design by KCO.ie