Drawing a graph at my talk in the Organic Centre to show how human population growth has relied more and more on fossil fuels (since 1909). To feed humanity in a post oil world, town and country folk must grow more food.
A long standing invitation to speak at the annual Garden Party in the Organic Centre, Rossinver, Co. Leitrim, led to a very enjoyable visit there this week. Last Sunday, in fact. A programme of workshops was both entertaining and informative. The legendary Hans Wieland gave tips on growing a year round supply of salad leaves. For good health, he suggests a salad starter before a meal to help the body prepare for digesting the substantial food to follow in the main course.
Big supporter of the Organic Centre, local TV chef, Neven Maguire undertook a full cookery demonstration in a packed barn. Neven is a master of multi-tasking, as he can talk and cook at the same time … not a common male trait, speaking personally! His famous family was there too, much to the delight of the crowd, Amelda and the twins, Conor and Lucia. The sun shone.
Before Ingrid did her composting demo and Gaby Wieland did the herb workshop, I was asked to do a gardening presentation in the context of future food security. In effect the presentation was a blatant plug for the book ‘Trevor’s Kitchen Garden’ which is almost sold out – must print more! However, as proceeds from the book sales are going to help SEED (Sustainable Earth Education Development) network, of which the Organic Centre and Sonairte etc are members, the audience was very generous in relieving me of a box of books. Must get on to www.orpenpress.com to see how many copies are still in stock.
Hoeing between rows of leaf beet with my trusty swan necked hoe, a quick but therapeutic daily practise. Available from http://www.fruithillfarm.com.
Atlast, the whole garden is planted and crops are growing in their final positions in each bed. I use a swan neck hand hoe bought at the Organic Centre, Co Leitrim, and sometimes a long handled oscillating hoe and another Dutch hoe on a daily basis almost. Preventing weed seedlings taking a hold is the main reason for hoeing regularly. However, even if no weeds were coming up, I would still hoe to deter slug movements. The slime trails laid down by slugs are used again and again by other slugs which generally lead all nearby slugs to your prized salads and other vulnerable crops. The hoe wrecks these slime trails which are virtually invisible to the human eye. Hence the obsession with hoeing even when there are no weeds to be seen.
This year, I had the hoe with me for measuring purposes as I planted out leeks, leaf beet and beetroot seedlings. The rows of each crop are therefore spaced just far enough apart to allow me to hoe each separating corridor of soil. So far, so good, the slugs are getting the message. I expect they are slithering far away to where they will not be disturbed by this obsessive slug-road-wrecker – c’est moi!