Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘lughnasa’

Lughnasa.

In Garden, sustainable living on July 31, 2012 at 9:38 am

As we head into August we remember the festival of Lughnasa, one of the great Celtic cross quarter festivals. A time to harvest the offerings from the land and hedgerows. A time to reap the rewards of our work in the garden. A time of abundance, of preserving the bounty and stocking up our larders for the coming Winter.

For as sure as night follows day the seasons are changing too. The wheel of the year continues…the cycle must be completed. Already some plants are starting to show Autumn hues…

 

 while others are still full of colour and vibrancy. But very soon they too will move onto the next phase of their yearly cycle. As all life on this planet must… 

Here in Ireland we awoke this morning to hear of the death of Meave Binchy, a wonderful author and journalist. At just 72 it seems she has been taken too early, but obviously it was her time. Meave was an amazing individual who despite having massive success, she sold 42 million books worldwide, remained a kind and warm hearted person. Always appreciative of her fans she treated each and every one as a cherished friend. She could teach us all a thing or two.  

Here in Arigna we are revelling in the abundance of produce from the garden. The Onions in the bed above will soon be ready for harvesting, hung in braids in the shed for use throughout the Autumn and Winter. The flowers are self seeders from the compost that was dug in here last Spring. I must remember to pull the Poppies out before they spread their multitude of seeds everywhere. There are lots of berries to be harvested this year. This is ongoing as they are ripening slowly  because of lack of sunshine. That makes it easier in a way as there is less urgency about the harvesting. Blackcurrants and Gooseberries have given great harvests. I freeze them in 1 kilo bags which is ideal for making small batches of jam and chutney. This produce, as well as being for our own use, forms part of our income as I sell it at local markets throughout the year. Something to keep me busy during the long dark days of the Winter.

I seem to be focused on the changing seasons this morning. The dull grey, windy day that it is is not helping the mood. What has happened to our Summers? I’m off now to light the stove and warm up the house. No berry picking today as I just can’t bear that wind which is surely going to bring us more rain later.

Blueberries, Potatoes & Rushes.

In Cooking, Foraging., Gardening, sustainable living on April 11, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Bilberry in flower.

Every Irish garden, including our own, now seems to have a few Blueberry plants. They are of course very popular in the supermarkets where it costs about 3 euros for 100g. Famed for their antioxidant properties they are classed as a healthy food, which of course they are. Many seem to have forgotten about our native Blueberry, the Fraughan, Bilberry, Blaeberry or whatever other local names they carry. They are of course FREE and organic especially if you find some on a quiet road where they won’t be contanimated by car fumes. It can be hard to spot them later on in the season. They are in flower now so when out walking, especially in areas with peaty ground, keep an eye out for the small, pink, urn-shaped flowers. mark the spot in your mind and return there in late July when the berries will be ripe.

Planting Blueberries in tractor tyre filled with ericaous compost.

The day traditionally marked for picking the fruit was the Sunday closest to 1st August. This day had various names all over the country. In Tipperary it was called Rock Sunday as we all climbed Devil’s Bit Mountain and picked berries on the way down. Other names include Fraughan Sunday and Garland Sunday. Of course this day is a remnant  of the ancient Celtic Festival of Lughnasa, Lugh was the Celtic God of the Sun.

Recently I have been hearing and reading up about growing in straw, especially good for potatoes as they don’t have to be dug just pull back the straw to harvest what you want. Always willing to try an experiment I have planted some Colleen potatoes in the big polytunnel using rushes instead of straw. Andy has been strimming the fields so no shortage of rushes.

First lay a layer of newspaper to keep down the weeds.

Place Potatoes on top, about a foot apart, these ones are well sprouted.

Top with a good thick layer of rushes, or straw, water well. The theory is that as the straw rots down it provides nourishment for the growing plants. How will it do? Watch this space, I will keep you updated!