New Beginnings

It was a very busy weekend dodging the high winds and rain. A couple of fishing trips with mixed success but we had a couple of mackerel in fridge for a visit from family on Sunday night and a bucket of mussels and cockles made for a very fishy supper. My wife makes a great dish with cockles adding smoked bacon, cream and pasta. I love mussels steamed open with a drop of white wine and a side pan of garlic butter. My wife also bakes a mean focaccia which is ideal to mop up any of the juices left over!

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Cockling on the beach

On Sunday I had my interview with Lea who thankfully has agreed to take me on for my work experience. I had a great couple of hours looking round her place which includes 5 polytunnels just crammed with tomatoes, salad, peppers, herbs and oh such more. I was fascinated with her aubergines, it is not a vegetable I have grown or eaten much as I haven’t found it very nice. She had so many varieties including these long thin purple ones which just looked amazing (I will get a photo when I’m next there). Anyway she gave me a couple to try out as well as these enormous sweet red peppers. I roasted them and put them on some small circles of toast with some olive oil. It was an idea I got from reading a blog recently and it tasted yummy. I spread some of them with a balsamic preserve which has a great mix of sweet and sour, i had intended to add some cheese and melt them but I ran out of time, I thought they tasted great and I will definitely try growing aubergines in the future. I start my work experience this week and I am looking forward to helping out and learning more about the world of commercial polytunnel growing.

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Mussel beds

I started my horticulture course for real and in fact I have just finished typing up my notes in the car waiting for my kids to finish school as I am on my way back from my first full day of college. It is a great spot and you can see for miles here across Roaringwater bay overlooking Cape Clear Island, a donkey sanctuary and the actor Jeremy Ion’s orange castle.

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Roaring Water Bay

My first impressions of the course are excellent and I have already picked up so many tips that I want to apply to my own garden project. A lot of it is simple stuff but there is a great mix of science, folklore, and general common sense. We are learning about identification of plants by their shared characteristics and by learning some of the folklore I hope to become more familiar with the Latin names and by understanding the plant structure it is easier to identify plants from different genus.

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I had hope to use my blog to keep a comprehensive account of my learning experience but there is just so much stuff at the moment I am struggling just to keep my notes in order, May be when things settle down a bit it may get easier to record more of it. I think I’ll just pick on the juicy bits, for the moment I will have to restrict myself to write about the things that appear most interesting to me.

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The Classroom!

I am going to set up a rain gauge and soil temperature record for my own garden when I next call into the garden centre that seems like a good place to start. The weather is horrendous today and I am off on my first day of work experience, thankfully it will be in the polytunnels so I won’t get battered about too much.

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