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Paraic Horkan on Radio 1 – Easter Gardening

This week on ‘The Today Show with Sean O’Rourke’ gardening expert Paraic Horkan talks about Easter gardening.

pumpkin photoThis Easter weekend is the perfect time for seed sowing, and a wonderful opportunity to get your kids involved! A great idea is to plant some pumkin seeds with your kids. The seeds themselves are very large and they are a great seed for your kids to handle and practice on. Plant indoors in a sunny spot or on a heated propagator, cover in clingfilm and the seeds should germinate in two weeks and are then ready to plant outside. The kids will get to see the full life cycle of the pumpkin from seed to plant to harvesting. Plus they can carve pumpkins from their own garden this Halloween!

 

sunflower photoAnother great seed to plant with kids are sunflower seeds. A good strong variety being ‘Junior’ which are ideal for pots or containers. Due to how easy they are to grow they are great for beginner gardeners or gardeners looking for a low maintenance garden.  A multi-headed plant, they will flower right through summer, and the seeds will feed wild birds in the Winter. Since the flowers are pollen-less they are ideal for brightening up your dining or coffee table this Easter without annoying people with allergies.

 

Or why not plant some edible sprouting seeds with kids? Seeds like mung beans and chick peas can be planted and will germinate in a number of days, and the kids will get to eat what they have planted. This is a great way to build an interest in the garden! Another sprouting seed to consider is wheat-grass. This is very nutritious and full of vitamins, but is very expensive to buy so why not grow your own! Sow indoors and harvest within four to six weeks ready to add to your smoothies!

 

azaleas photoNow is the time to dress up your home for Easter, with some beautiful Easter plants coming into bloom! Why not fill a variety of hanging baskets, pots, beds and borders with some beautiful flowering plants. Azaleas are simply beautiful right now. They will keep a full flower from now to mid May. They are available in a variety of colours, and with no need to deadhead they are a simple way to add some colour to your garden.

 

magnolia photo Another wonderful choice for colour are Magnolias. Two great varieties are  the ‘Susan’ and the ‘Stellata’. Magnolia Susan is a medium sized shrub with  deep reddish purple buds opening in mid Spring. The flowers are wonderfully fragrant with a reddish-purple outside and pink inside.

 

 Magnolia Stellata is a beautiful plant with large, fragrant flowers that often open before the leaves. It was our January plant of the month for good reason. The large, star shaped, white flowers will open in early spring and add beautiful colour to your garden.

 

potato photoSt.Patrick’s Weekend is when we associate planting our seed potatoes, and right now is the perfect time to do it. There are some wonderful varieties available and why not plant something that is not available in your local market? A great blight resistant variety is the Blue Danube. This is wonderful potato with purple skin and a floury, white inside, great for roasting. Some other great varieties are Orla, Colleen and Setanta.

 

Find out more about our favourite varieties here, or read our guide on planting potatoes here.

 

Potatoes aren’t the only vegetable you can plant right now. Why not add a variety of vegetable plants to your garden such as cauliflower, spinach, beetroot, broccoli. These can be planted in raised beds, pots, containers, and really anything that will hold soil and freely drain. This is another great way to get kids involved in gardening, and they will really love harvesting vegetables they have planted themselves.

rosemary photo Herb plants are another great idea right now. Why not plant some thyme or rosemary in  your garden, and have an ample supply at your fingertips for Easter dinner!

 

If you decide to plant from seed a helpful tip is to plant successively. This means planting  little and often to ensure you have a full supply all through the summer. So instead of  planting a full packet of carrot seeds, plant some now, and then more every two to three  weeks. For lettuces and radishes you can reseed every week. This is the best way to stretch a harvest over a season ensuring you get sweet young produce with every picking.

 

You can listen to the show below by clicking on the play button.

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