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Winter Vegetable Garden with Eugene Higgins

Thursday, 16 November 2006


When winter hits, most of us gardening enthusiasts are unwilling or unable to keep up the good work. One alternative to this is gardening in the safety and shelter of a greenhouse in your garden.

Today we show Eugene planting his own vegetable garden in his greenhouse. Back in studio he will demonstrate the planting of onions, use of a cloche and how to make your own cloche.

Eugene will also be taking your queries and calls so if you have a question call us on 1850 71 71 11. The lines open today at 2:30pm and remain open until the end of each weekday programme. You can also e-mail us at or text STUDIO followed by your thoughts to 53555.

Red, Yellow Japanese & Winter Onion
We will be planting sets of these. Easy to grow with a long storage life, onions are one of the best vegetables for the home gardener. They have the advantage of being a sensible proposition in both the large and small garden, and can be grown in the same position for several years. With a little planning, they can be available for nearly all year round eating. Onion sets provide an easier method of growing onions and with more chance of success.
Red - 50 for €2.50
Yellow Japanese - €2.50
Winter Onion Stuttgarter - €1.25

He will demonstrate how they can be covered with a cloche in the garden. If you haven't got the room or the cash for a greenhouse, you can still grow winter vegetables by protecting them with a cloche. A cloche will protect plants from wind, rain, and light frost. They can also provide added warmth. Cloches are made of either glass or some form of plastic / polythene. Nowadays, glass is no longer a sensible option - it is more costly than plastic and it has the unfortunate habit of breaking, with dangerous results! In addition, plastic is much lighter then glass making it easier to move the cloches around. The one advantage of glass is that the temperature within a glass cloche will be slightly warmer than that of a plastic cloche. But remember, a broken cloche provides no protection at all!
Cloche - € 24.99

How to make a homemade Cloche
You can make your own cloche at home really cheaply using large empty water bottles. Anyone can make it! Simply cut off the bottom of the bottle and then place it over the plant or seed to be protected. The top of the bottle cloche needs to be kept open in case the weather warms up unexpectedly. The disadvantage of bell cloches is that they cover a very small area and heat up rapidly.

Top three tips for your garden this winter
1. Drain hosepipes. Water expands when it freezes so draining them will avoid damage when the frost sets in.
2. If you're going to feed the birds be consistent and don't suddenly stop feeding them in winter as they become dependent on you. Fat is an important element of bird's food, i.e. the wonderfully named "Fat Balls" Fat Balls - €3.95
3. After your last cut of the lawn which should just be a one third cut, drain your lawnmower of any fuel for the winter as the fuel will go off.

Tips about the greenhouse
. It might sound obvious but keep the door shut! That way you'll keep the heat in.
. If you've got windows (or anything else) that regulates the temperature automatically, they'll probably work best if you do as much as possible to maintain a 'stable' temperature.
. If you have a heated greenhouse then you're laughing! A heater will be needed for the cold nights and keep the door closed at night with a temperature gauge to monitor how cold it is. 

Potatoes can be grown in a big flower pot or bucket. The famous British Queens will be planted in a big wooden box. Most seeds won't be available just yet.
€6.99 for a 3 kilo pack

You can 'force' rhubarb to grow through winter. You can buy special pots to stick over the top pf the cluster, but it's just as easy to put a bucket over them. You're more likely to be successful if you put it in a pot and put it in a dark shed. Just remember to keep it watered. It will grow well, but the stems will be pink rather than red.
€2.99 for a crown

Broad Beans
€4.05 for a packet

November is a good time to plant garlic which requires a long growing season. It takes about 6 months before its ready.
Don't use the stuff you buy in a supermarket, use a seed merchant. Separate each head into cloves and put them in, point up, about 10cm apart and 5cm deep. For every clove you plant you'll get a head of garlic. It is ready when the foliage goes yellow and starts to fall over.
€1.95 for a 1/4 pound

These will be planted just outside the greenhouse.
€2.99 for a plant

For more information
You can contact Eugene at
Colour Green in Tullamore,
Co. Offaly on 057 9355840 or in Dublin on 01 8674319

To buy
Cloches available to buy in most gardening stores.