I’ve been to Sandville House in Cavan several times for meditation retreats, and have always checked in on the veg patch there to see what’s growing – usually sprouts in varying stages of growth or decay.
But this time was the first time I’ve been there in late summer – and what an sight it was, inspiring major garden envy…
Huge carrots, beetroots and courgettes shared the beds with peas, beans, curly kale, bolted spinach, flowering broccoli and chives, lovely rich red lettuce and just burgeoning sprouts.
The warm and wet weather conditions has led to an abundance of growth. Nestled in dark, rich soil the beetroots were tennis ball size and screaming out to be pulled, while the carrot tops where an inch and a half/two inches across, and it was all I could do to restrain myself from tugging one up to see how long they’d growth.
I noted a lack of insect gnawing on the leaves (most of mine have some evidence of chewing). I only found one clutch of newborn caterpillars on one of the sprout leaves, which, despite being on a Buddhist meditation retreat, I felt compelled to dispatch with.
Beyond the vegetable patch lay an orchard of old apple, pear and plum trees. The fruit on the apple trees (the oldest trees in the orchard by my reckoning) was small and looked unlikely to grow further due to the antique status of the trees themselves.
Sadly I didn’t get to talk to the gardeners themselves to mine them for information and tips. Next time…