Friday, 23 March 2007


I’ve had my wrists slapped a few times over the last week. I mistakenly said the Co-op was stocking a product that turned hydrangeas from pink to blue. I honestly thought I saw the product on the shelves, but I must have dreamt it. For this piece of misinformation I humbly apologise. After saying that the Co-op will endeavour to track down a supplier and stock the product in the near future. When the product is on the shelves I will let you know straight away.
I have been told that a rusty pole pushed into the ground around the shrub does the same job colouring the flowers. Don’t rush to the Co-op for the rusty poles though; I know for a fact that they don’t sell them!

I’ve been preparing my tunnel for winter this week, and with the winds I’d say I’m just in time. I put a door on to save the plants from cold drafts, I’ve built a little protective cover for spring and summer bedding seedlings, getting ready for new heater cables. Yes, my plants are going to get pampered this year! I’ve also been doing a bit of an autumn tidy-up in my own garden, as it was getting a bit embarrassing when customers came down the drive- before you couldn’t see the plants for sale amongst the weeds!

Wastewater wetland systems ( or reed bed sewage systems)
Last week in the Inish times there was an article from a CLAMS report about pollution in the Swilly. The article commented on the overloaded state of the sewage treatment works. For a while now I’ve been very interested in natural sewage systems such as wetland systems. Natural sewage systems process waste and effluent through a system of marsh plants, planted in a way so that when wastewater is passed through them, the plants absorb the pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorous. A work friend of mine, living in Clones, was involved with growing the marsh plants, particularly reeds and introducing them into the environment to treat wastage from businesses and private households. The local council there were very interested in this system and have planted areas to clean the excess water from road run off. Wetland water systems can be used for a wide variety of water disposal including farm run off, silage effluent, and even landfill leakage. These sorts of methods have been used inadvertently for sewage treatment ever since the first towns and villages channelled waste into the natural wetlands that surrounded them. Man - made wetlands for wastewater treatment are less costly than other forms of treatments and have little or no running costs. A household system would only have to measure three metres square and could be constructed for as little as 400 euro.

The advantages of constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment are:

· High treatment efficiency possible –It results in good clean water.
· Low capital running costs.
· Minimum maintenance.
· Low energy requirements.
· Tolerant of variable loads.
· Beneficial to wildlife.
· Pleasing to the eye (and nose!)
· No chemicals.

reeds,Suitable for cleaning effluent from existing overloaded systems.

Horticultural, environmental.

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