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Welcome to the CountryLife Gardening Blog, written by our horticulturist to provide you with the best tips & advice for all things gardening!  We have been shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category. 

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Getting Ready to Grow

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Mar 13, 2017
Cabbage

With the nice sunshine over the past few days it has definitely felt like spring in the garden. And with this feeling my thoughts have started to move towards the vegetable garden and getting that fully up and running for the year ahead.

After a good few months of dormancy over winter I always like to spend my first bit of time in the vegetable garden giving it a good tidy up. I like to spend a bit of time making sure the soil is weed free and removing any debris that may have blown into it over the winter months. 

Early in spring it is a good opportunity to sit down for an hour or so and map out what you plan to grow and where you are going to put it. I find this is a great benefit in my vegetable garden to make sure I am smart with how I use the space and it also allows me to make sure I am rotating where I grow my vegetables each year.

Crop rotation is a good practice to start (if you do not already do it) as it helps to control pests and diseases and can also help to improve the structure of your soil. You will find that if you grow the same crop in the same location year after year that the area may become a hot bed of diseases and pests that affect that crop. You will also find that the soil will quickly become lacking in the key nutrients that particular crop needs as they will have been used up over the previous few years. But if you are to move vegetable crops around your space every year or two you can alleviate these problems.

If you planted any green manures last autumn now is a very good time to cut them back and dig the roots through the soil so that they can start to breakdown before you plant in the soil.

Once you have the site ready you can start to think about planting all of your vegetables. While we may still be a few weeks off from planting seeds in the ground (as the soil still needs to warm up more) you can purchase young plants of Cabbage, Cauliflower, Brusselsprouts and Broccoli. These have proven very popular with customers that have come in to CountryLife over the last few weeks looking to get some vegetables in the ground now for an advanced start on the growing season. By using young plants now you will be harvesting crops a good few weeks earlier than if you were starting from seed.

If you are planting young brassica plants it is very important to watch out for slugs and snails, particularly if the weather turns damp again. Slugs and snail can totally wipe out your plants over just one night. It is important to create a good barrier of protection around your plants to avoid this. I use a mixture of slug pellets and beer traps in my own garden and find them very affective.

Apply some seaweed feed (either liquid or pellets) after a few days to get them off to a great start.

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at: hello@countrylife.ie

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

We were shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category.