In the four years prior to my move to County Clare, I lived with my mother and sister in Armagh city. As much as I enjoyed living there it was a town house and didn’t have a garden. At the time I ran my own plastering business, it was hard physical work but when I was home during the weekends and evenings and wish I could have been outside pottering around a garden even if it was just to cut the grass.
Growing up I had always watched my father in the garden, he was constantly on the go. So I guess that instinct he had was instilled in me too. I vowed when I had decided to move that if where I was moving to had a garden of any size that I would make the most of it.
When I made my first big move it was to a first floor apartment. The fact it was on the first floor and located in the middle of a village ruled out having any sort of gardening. The apartment was just a quick place to move until I got settled. In the time I was there I fell in love with cooking, having no other choice but to cook for myself, but mainly because after tasting the food which my sister Louise cooked I realised that fantastic flavours don’t only exist in fancy restaurants. She showed me that home cooking could be great.
Luckily I was only in the apartment for a short while when a house with large garden came across my path and I grabbed with both hands. Here I now have more space then I could have imagined. I moved into the house at the end of January and by the end of March I had dug my first plot. Relying on the advice of those around me as well as books form the local library I was on my way to fresh veg in the garden.
My first plot that year was only six feet by four feet but it had 2 drills of potatoes, onions, peas. Adjacent to the plot I had 2 patio containers with four courgette plants (given to me by a local lady, Mrs. Nagle, who had an inspiring garden). I also planted a few herbs in a window box outside the dining room window. The following year which was last year; I had trebled my plot and had added a herb garden, green house and a hen house filled with 6 chickens. This year I am adding an extra potato bed and 2 more raised beds. I dread to think what I will come up with for next year!