Friday 18 October 2019

I like growing spuds 'allot'

Cathal Dowd Smith
Cathal Dowd Smith

SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD Cathal Dowd Smith is the youngest person working a plot at the Skerries Allotments. As well as growing everything completely organically, Cathal built his own gate and fencing, a number of raised beds, a compost bin and a cold frame.

Where do you GIY?

On an allotment in Skerries. It's 10x10m.

Why do you GIY?

I enjoy getting my hands dirty, and there is a great social aspect to it, especially growing on an allotment.

But, above all else, it is a very rewarding hobby. To be able to grow food for yourself and your family is very satisfying.

What do you grow?

Mostly veg – potatoes, carrots, turnips, beans, peas, onions, lettuce and spinach.

I also have some fruit and herbs and I grow flowers, especially those that can either be used as cut flowers or are beneficial for wildlife.

What is your favourite veg to eat/grow?

My favourite veg to grow has to be spuds.

Their drills are so characteristic of a veg plot and after all the trouble – if they don't get blight, that is – they are definitely worth the effort.

And your least favourite veg to eat/grow?

I'm not on great terms with garlic. I've never really been a huge fan of the taste, and especially last year when most of my crop succumbed to neck rot.

Your favourite GIYing moment each year?

I live for the middle of July, when the whole plot comes alive with plants, insects and colour. Also there's an abundance of crops to be had, and the weather is a bit better (sometimes).

Your most useful gardening tool

My hands. I like to get stuck in and up to my elbows in dirt and, more often than not, they're the only tool that can do the job right.

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

How useful it is to GIY in a community. We have a fantastic group of people at the allotments in Skerries, and in the last year I've realised that you can learn a lot more from others than you can from books and magazines. We all get along too and have great craic.

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

Jerry. I'm probably too laid back and don't get worked up enough.

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