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What's happening in the walled garden July / August 2018...  

Words and images Siobhain Boyle who has joined our Head Gardener Mags Coughlan as an agricultural intern. 

What better way to find out what's going on in the #BallymaloeWalledGarden than in the words of guest contributor Siobhain as she learns herself...

So after the snow, the rain, and the blistering heat it seems we are finally getting a bit of a ‘normal’ Irish summer. As the summer is drawing to a close we are preparing for the winter in the garden. One way you can prepare is by setting green manures. Green manures are great for covering bare ground and adding fertility to the soil. It is very important to cover the soil to prevent soil erosion and it also cuts down on weeding! There are many manures to choose from and they all help with various different things. Some add nitrogen, others break up soil, helping with aeration and all help with weed suppression. They are best sown from April to September. We planted clover with sunflowers and mexican torch flower in the same bed and it can look very pretty.

We have also been doing some summer pruning. Pruning the peaches, the espalier pears and apples and the cordon apples and pears. The peaches have been lovely this year and  we needed to train the new growth back so that we can put up the peach leaf curl frame later on this year. The peaches will need to be pruned again in the autumn. We also pruned the espalier and cordon apples and pears. Normally you only prune apples and pears in the winter but as we want to stop the trees from growing to a certain extent and grow in a controlled way it is ok to do them now.

Everything is very green and lush in the garden and it is a pleasure to look at it. There are also many butterflies, hoverflies and bees busily flying around. And also some of the biggest apples I have ever seen!

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