Sunday 25 February 2018

'I love gardening because it takes my mind off things'

Where do you GIY?

We have a polytunnel and fairly big garden with some apple trees and my wife Gaby and I are revamping our herb garden at present. I also grow in fish boxes and half barrels.

Why do you GIY?

I love gardening, it takes my mind off things, but best of all there is always fresh organic food at the end of the process that Gaby turns into wonderful dishes.

What do you grow?

Outside I grow early potatoes, onions, beetroot, peas and beans, kohlrabi and fennel, lettuce and celery, all sorts of kale and Filderkraut (a special variety of cabbage) for making sauerkraut.

In the polytunnel we have spring onions, early broccoli, carrots and potatoes, 50-60 tomato plants, peppers and chillies, cucumbers, aubergines, courgettes.

Your favourite veg to eat/grow

Up to this year I would have said tomatoes, but I eat a lot of green salads and now that I have started this crusade to infuse a passion for the incredible variety of salad leaves this year it definitely is lettuce. My top three are: Marvel of four seasons, Till and Roger!

Your favourite GIYing moment each year (and why)

Counting the number of figs on my fig tree in the conservatory, waiting for the first one to ripen and then eat it at 22 degrees celsius! More than just an aphrodisiac!

Your most useful gardening tool?

I do anything with my rake: hoeing, weeding, making seed drills. It's a smallish 20cm wide one from Germany.

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

Well, I have slightly adjusted my watering philosophy regarding leafy vegetables, especially spicy salad crops outdoors: In the absence of rainfall water 18 litres per square metre 10-20 days before harvesting.

Which Good life cast member ...

When we left Germany in 1985 we tried to follow in the footsteps of Helen and Scott Nearing, who to my knowledge coined the term "the good life", now we are just happy to be Gaby and Hans.

Hans Wieland, from Cliffony in Co Sligo, was an organic cheese maker for 20 years and has worked and taught at The Organic Centre, Rossinver, Co Leitrim, since 1997. He is an expert in storing and preserving.

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