Thursday 23 November 2017

'I find that nettle spray works as a natural pesticide control'

Where do you GIY?

I have a herb garden in the front of the house. It's a small space but it works. We are in the process of building raised beds out the back, which I am very excited about. I plan to grow a wide variety of vegetables in raised beds.

Why do you GIY?

So many reasons. I love when I come home after a stressful day to do some gardening. It really de-stresses me, and the thrill of eating something that you grow yourself gives you a great feeling of being a bit closer to sustainability.

There is something about being more sustainable that gives you such a greater feeling about the quality of your life.

What do you grow?

All types of herbs. I use a lot of rosemary and fresh basil in my cooking so I grow of lot of that. I love the herb lemon verbena, I sometimes place a few on the bottom of my cake tin and pour a sponge on top. It infuses the sponge while cooking. I also grow salad leaves, berries and tomatoes. But wait until my raised beds are built, I'll be growing so much more then!

What's your favourite veg to eat/grow?

Definitely tomatoes and salad leaves. We eat a lot of salad, practically with every meal, and it's hard to get good quality leaves.

What's your least favourite veg to eat/grow?

Basil. It dies a lot on me, I need to get some tips from GIY!

What's your favourite GIYing moment each year?

I enjoy planting and, surprisingly, weeding -- I guess it's a female nurture thing.

What's your most useful gardening tool and why?

My gloves, as I love getting my hands into the soil, and also my weeding mat to save the knees!

What do you know now about GIYing that you didn't know last year?

To pick basil leaves from the top to allow them grow! And there is also a great tip I got from Michael Kelly's book -- placing a small plastic bowl of beer beside my plants. It attracts the slugs. Oh and also, nettle spray works as a natural pesticide control.

My finest hour in the veg patch was when...

I picked my first tomato this summer. I hope I'll have lots more finest hours next year when I have all my raised beds.

Which 'Good Life' cast member are you? Tom, Barbara, Jerry or Margot?

Mmmm ... I would say it would be Barbara ?

• Clodagh McKenna is one of Ireland's best-known chefs. She is an author of three cookery books, the latest of which, 'Homemade', has been published in Germany and the US. Her new restaurant, Clodagh's Kitchen, opened recently at Arnotts in Dublin. Follow her on Twitter @clodaghmckenna.

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