Tuesday 12 December 2017

'Salad crops are such divas'

Catherine Cleary is an award-winning journalist and author of 'A Month of Somedays – How One Woman Made the Most of Now'.

She is married to Liam Reid and they live in Dublin with their three sons.

She is a contributor to 'GROW', the GIY magazine.

Where do you GIY?

On the site of a former Dublin City flats complex in the south inner city and also a little bit of the front and back garden.

Why do you GIY?

I took it on as part of a book I was writing ('A Month of Somedays'), about trying new things by doing them intensively every day for 30 days. That and the thrill of coming home with a bike-basket full of muddy fresh food got me hooked.

What do you grow?

Peas, beans (broad and runner), potatoes, arti-chokes (globe and jeru-salem), raspberries, strawberries, beetroot, horseradish, mint, salad leaves, cauliflower, kale, sage, rosemary, thyme and bay.

Your favourite veg to eat/grow?

Peas. My sons eat them like sweets out of the pod.

Your least favourite veg to eat/grow?

Cauliflower. Memories of the great glut of 2011 still linger: 12 football-sized heads all ready the same week.

Your favourite GIYing moment each year (and why)?

Shelling the first broad beans at the table, opening those velvety pods and carefully taking off the waxy outer skin. Quick blanch. Butter. Bliss.

Your most useful gardening tool (and why)?

My garden fork. Does all you need.

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

I now know to keep the salad crops to the garden where they're close at hand. They're such divas, way too high maintenance and need oodles of attention in a dry spell to stop them bolting and in a wet spell to stop the march of the slugs.

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

When we dug a beautiful crop of Sarpo Mira spuds fabulously blight-free after the sodden summer of 2012.

If you are interested in being profiled for My GIY Life, please email info@giyireland.com.

Irish Independent

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