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An Irish crop yields its bounty, but it's 'Gitmo' for the deer

I feel like a real Irish peasant now that I have dug up my first crop of potatoes. The choice of the Kerr’s Pink brand has paid off. They flourish well in our garden which is on a slope at 1,000 feet in the hills above Dublin. Boiled and then fried in oil they are absolutely delicious.

We have also had a good crop of squash, lettuce, parsley, bean and peas.

The strawberries were a disappointment, small and not very sweet or plentiful. I think we are too high up and there hasn’t been enough sunshine. Besides, a pair of jays feasted on them every day.

The same birds I suspect ate our whole crop of gooseberries, so next year we are going to have to invest in nets. We carved the garden this spring out of a field choked with thorn bushes and ferns and enclosed it with a nine-foot fence. It is our very own Gitmo, but designed to keep terrorist out rather than in — the terrorists being the deer that wander down from the forest at dusk looking for an evening meal.

Everything in nature has its uses we find. The zillions of small stones we raked out of the soil have proved useful in securing and surfacing the paths which would otherwise get muddy in rain.

With tomatoes, cucumbers and corn cobs from the greenhouse we are enjoying complete meals from our own resources, and doing our bit for the planet. It is all part of a great movement in Ireland of back to the land.

It used to be house prices that dominated dinner table conversations. With the deflation of the property bubble, its now more about fruit and vegetables and how best to survive as the country slides into bankruptcy and the government screws the taxpayers.