Welcome

Welcome to Trevor’s Kitchen Garden.

This is where I will post information and ideas on growing your own food, based mostly on my own experience. I’ve been growing my own food for some years now and find it a great source of pleasure, nourishing for body, mind and spirit.

You are welcome also to take a look at the newly published book ‘Trevor’s Kitchen Book’ which I spent much of 2011 researching, writing and illustrating. Published in Ireland by Orpen Press, the launch takes place on Tuesday, March 27th in Hodges & Figgis bookstore at 7.15pm. Royalties from sales of the book go to an educational and environmental charity SEED. The launch is a  chance for us to meet up and say hello also to the guest writers, including top TV chef Neven Maguire who has kindly agreed to launch this book, which has grown from 30 years of gardening and 3 years of updating this website. See ‘4th week in March 2012′ for more details.

This site is intended for beginners who want to grow their own food. I know that a great many people want to do this but just don’t know how to get started. I’ll keep things simple throughout; after all, growing food is a simple, natural activity. As well as creating a diary of what I’m doing in my own garden each week, I’ll include some video clips to show you just how easy it is.

So, thanks for visting Trevor’s Kitchen Garden. Come back soon so see how things are coming on in my garden. Better still, why not do more food growing yourself, perhaps similar to what I’m doing and we can compare results!

Trevor Sargent

1 February 2009 (updated 24 March 2012)

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31 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Conrad on April 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Trevor,

    Great site. Do you know where I can get about a couple of tons of organic manure, for a ‘no dig’ method of organic veg growing we want to try. We live in North Cork, nr macroom.

    Reply

  2. I held my first public meeting tonight on Allotments and Growing one’s own food.Well supported.We are setting up a new blogsite Limerick for Allotments with links to relevant organisations and people.Have identified new sites in Annacotty which will be leased out.There will be a mini bus service availabel to collect and return people to the site, an area set aside for UL personnel, am hoping to have an area set aside for schools to use.I have also liased with Lmk co.co and have gotten a commitment that they will research possible land availability.Have much more to tell -if you link up I will brief you.Am holding further meetings in Castletroy, Raheen and Dooradoyle.Want to bring people to view Fingal sites.

    Reply

  3. Hi Trevor. Looking forward to seeing your pictures and videos. My wife and I have just started growing things in the past six months or so, but this will be our first summer season! We have a vine, tomato plants, strawberry plants, basil and coriander. We’re trying to grow olive trees too, but the seeds haven’t germinated yet (just planted on Sunday). Good luck!

    Reply

    • Posted by Trevor on April 30, 2009 at 3:05 pm

      Hi Paul,
      Great to hear from you. I hope you and your wife’s example is followed by many others. As for the olive tree, I have one but to be honest, it needs heat. Let’s face it, Ireland is a fair hike away from the ‘Holy Land’! Mind you it is a curiosity to look at while I chew on delicious home grown plums which do thrive in our climate in a sunny sheltered location. Bon appetit.
      Trevor

      Reply

  4. Hi Trevor,

    Looking forward to more updates, we’ve just taken on a private allotment in Wicklow and started to grow our own. We’ve a pretty packed programme and started to blog about it aswell. Maybe you’ll drop by to our blog http://www.plot103.blogspot.com, we could always do with some hints and tips as its our first allotment. Your videos are really useful! We’re growing a bit of everything and just seeing how it goes for our first year, what works and what doesn’t. Best of luck.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Lorraine on October 15, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Hi Trevor
    I am planning to organising two events, (Monaghan & Carlingford) re: How to grow your own veg in March.
    Could you suggest someone who would be able to be a guest speaker at these events or maybe yourself ?

    Reply

    • Lorraine, a Chara,
      Send on any invitation you wish to speak on veg growing, and we’ll see how full the diary is. Meanwhile the Grow it Yourself movement has mushroomed around the country. Founder Michael Kelly has a website or check out giyireland.com for advice and contacts.
      Le meas glas,
      Trevor

      Reply

  6. Posted by Rita Egan on April 4, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Hooray! An Irish blog at last. Just found your site and am very excited! Just starting my second year of growing and quite proud of the fact that I hardly went veggie shopping at all last year from May to October, and being a vegetarian I can really go through veg! My husband built me 2 raised beds 4′ x 8′ in April and I grew carrots, spring onions, mixed lettuce, spinach, rocket, watercress, dwarf french beans, peas, cabbage and broccoli, courgettes and a few herbs. To get a crop rotation going I talked him into building me a third one in the autumn. I filled this with winter brassicas ( I’m still using them, and filled the gaps that emerged from the summer stuff with squash, leeks, parsnips and winter lettuces.
    This year having cleared a large patch of lawn, I have my mind set on trying out some companion planting and I’d love to know if you have ever tried the 3 sisters method? Anything I read is based in America or Australia, and I just don’t know if the corn would grow high enough here. I’d love to hear from you or anyone who has any experience of this here in Ireland.

    Reply

    • Hi Rita,
      Wow, you’ve hit the ground running. That is a great array of produce you have got there. I have heard of the 3 sisters method, but have not come across an Irish variation as yet. It is really a form of companion planting and Irish crops do well together in certain combinations eg tomato and basil under glass or carrots and onions outside. Let me know if you find other ideas or examples.
      Le meas,
      Trevor

      Reply

  7. Posted by sonya on April 18, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Hi Trevor,
    Love the web site. I’m growing like mad. Garlic, onions, shallots are doing great. Parsnips, beetroot, spinach peeping through Just doing early spuds this year. Just set some peas today. Lots of flowers for the bees. My plot is full of ladybirds which is great. My overwintered lettuce is a real treat. All in all life is great on the allotment. Currently making friends with a brave little robin. Hopefully will have him eating of my hand by summers end.
    I have a question. My rasberries (summer) are running amuck. There are shoots popping up everywhere. Do you train some and pull up the rest?
    Cheers

    Reply

    • Hi Sonya,
      Great to read about the diversity of crops you are growing. As for raspberry query, they are a little like mint which sends out underground runners and pops up wherever it can. This dissapates the plant’s energy until the new canes are established. So I’d be ruthless enough, if the new growth does not suit your needs, cut it back below ground. As a result, the remaining canes can consolidate their position and vigour. Regards to you and fellow allotmenteers – not forgetting robin!
      Le meas,
      Trevor

      Reply

  8. Posted by Klaus Laitenberger on June 19, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Dear Trevor,
    I’m not sure if you remember me. I met you at The Organic Centre in Rossinver where I worked as the Head Gardener for many years. I have just published a book on vegetable growing for Irish conditions. We are planning to distribute it ourselves. I was wondering if you would know of any suitable or interested outlets for the book. If you e-mail me your postal address I will send you a complimentary copy.

    Many thanks

    Klaus

    Reply

    • Dear Klaus,
      Of course I remember you at the Organic Centre, Klaus. Sure you are a bit of a legend! Delighted to hear about your book on veg growing in Ireland. Places like Sonairte, the ecology centre in Laytown Co Meath, garden centres and bookshops for a start would be keen to stock such a book I’d say. My postal address is Trevor Sargent TD, Agriculture House, c/o Leinster House, Dublin 2.
      Slán agus beannacht.
      Trevor

      Reply

      • Posted by Rita Egan on June 21, 2010 at 9:36 pm

        Klaus, I’d certainly buy your book. I’m finding it difficult to find information specific to Irish growing. Please let me know when and where it’s available or if I can order from you directly. Rita

      • Dear Demelza,

        My aim is to make growing food organically the most normal and ordinary activity. In this way all of us can be great and more to the point feed ourselves and our communities instead of succumbing to a conflict which inevitably will arise as populations expand, if we depend wholly on others to supply all our nutritional needs.

        Best wishes,

        Trevor

  9. Posted by Savannah Madison on July 21, 2010 at 11:04 am

    http://www.irishfarmersmarkets.ie/dalkey.html

    Note: not involved with the FM; just letting you know.)

    Reply

  10. Posted by Cahal Mac Canna on August 4, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Hi Trevor,
    I tried to contact you when you were in Horticulture, but our meeting fell through. I am ex Kinsealy Research Centre and the mushroom industry. I have done a lot of research on spent mushroom compost with the aid of an EI feasability study grant.
    My research indicates that there is a substantial opportunity for using SMC in gardening and a significant industry could be established using the 300,000 tonnes of this material produced annually. Dilution of the use of Sphagnum Peat, dumping and overuse of SMC and creation of a worthwhile industry would result.
    I have written a 40 page illustrated report on my research which Iwould be happy to send to you if you give me an Email address. I would be interested on your “take” on this material and any thoughts you might have on commercialising it as I am not getting anywhere selling the concept. Indeed, I thought that if you were interested to make its use one of your missions it would add a lot to a worthwhile objective.
    It would be nice to meet you and see your garden if possible. I lived in swords for 25 years. You would probably recognise me if we met as I was, for my sins, a close associate of Ray Burke’s!
    Regards, Cahal Mac Canna

    Reply

    • A Chahail, a Chara.
      I wish you well with the SMC project. To sub for garden peat extraction is a good move. Use in my small patch might be a problem however as I am striving to get organic certification so inputs are carefully restricted. Seeds etc have to be certified organic before I can sow them. Nonetheless I’d be glad to discuss the bigger picture for SMC. My Swords clinic is Rivermall off Main Street at 10am on a Sat morning phone during week to check 01 8900 360.

      Le meas glas.
      Trevor

      Reply

  11. Posted by Eoin on July 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Hi Trevor,
    love the site, gradually increasing my boundries each year! Got a question or two and couldn’t find an obvious place to ask it. I was watching one of those RTE gardening programs a while back where the hippy type girl dumped a bac of nettles into a barrel of water for 2 weeks to get really good plant food. I tried it myself (for the past 2 weeks) by picking nettles and leaving them in a standart green plastic watering can. 2 weeks on, a few minutes ago, I checked it out to find putrid, rank (really really smelly), green liquid in the can. I went ahead and watered my tomatoes in the green house with it. The smell is so bad I can’t actually stand in the green house at the moment.

    So, two questions. First, do you know if I have just poisioned my tomatoes and
    Second, I was going to start seriously collecting rain water (redirecting gutters and the like) but I don’t think I could stand a big tank full of that stuff… does this tend to be a problem?

    Thanks,
    Eoin

    Reply

  12. Dear Trevor Wd like to know where to get cuttings of everlasting cabbage we live in Leopardstown and wonder where the nearest place wd be we had them and gave away to many and lost our plants. Thanking you, Cecil & Hannah Pearson
    hpearsons@yahoo.co.uk

    Reply

  13. Hi Trevor, great site. I’m looking for buckler leaf sorrell. Any ideas where I might get it?
    Brid

    Reply

  14. Posted by Kate O Dwyer on August 20, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Hi Trevor
    My name is Kate O Dwyer. I am a member of Ballybane Community Organic Garden and also work with Cait Curran on the market in Galway. The garden is hosting our annual Open and Harvest Day on Thursday 13th Sept during Organic Week and we were wondering if you would be available to come and promote your book on the day.

    I believe you paid for our original application for organic certification while Minister of Horticulture.
    Yours
    Kate O Dwyer
    Pro
    Ballybane Community Organic Garden

    Reply

    • Posted by Trevor Sargent on August 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Dear Kate,

      I am very sorry not to be free to go to Ballybane Community Organic Garden on Sept 13th. Gload to hear it is going well. That day I am running an organic apple juicing day in Sonairte, the Ecology Centre in Laytown Co. Meath where I volunteer now as Chairperson, Gardener and Stall Holder. Organic Week is a mad week for all organic heads. Maybe another time would not be so hectic.

      Organically yours,

      Trevor

      Reply

  15. Dear Trevor, have met you at various GIY events, but am actullay wondering if I coudl entice you to join our research, if you grew any blight resistant potato varities this year we’d love to have you on board, simply start by putting yourself on the map by logging onto http://research.spuds.ie/

    Our project is not merely research but has taking all sorts of turns and of course a bad hit by the EPA’s decision to consent to the GM trials. Anyway, we haven’t quite given up yet, and on a more happy note , our Crisps with a conscience actually won a Bridgestone Food Award at the Electric Picnic.

    Anyway, would love to hear form you

    Nike

    Reply

  16. Posted by kate o dwyer on September 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    thanks for your reply. We would love you to come another time when you are less busy.
    We are thinking of having a potatoe day in the Spring in March in time for planting Maybe you have a thursday around then? Let me know dates you are available so I can organise
    Yours
    Kate
    Ballybane Garden

    Reply

  17. Posted by Richard Webb on October 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Trevor
    We have a Bray GIY meeting on Wednesday 17th October at 8 pm in the Wilton Hotel in Bray. We would like to invite you to give a presentation on your gardening experiences and please bring copies of the book.

    regards

    Richard Webb

    Reply

    • Posted by Trevor Sargent on October 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Richard,
      Thanks for the invitation to Bray GIY. So sorry to miss it however as I am speaking in UCC Cork that evening. Could you suggest Nov or Dec or Jan or Feb …? Hope you, Margaret and all there are keeping well.
      Le meas glas,
      Trevor
      087 2547 836
      trevor@balbriggan.net

      Reply

  18. Have started to teach gardening here in Dalkey and would like to bring some of my students to visit your garden on Tuesday morning 9 of April 9 ?

    Reply

    • Posted by Trevor Sargent on March 28, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      Hi Annmarie,
      You are welcome to bring students. Address is 37 Tara Cove Balbriggan Co Dublin. Sat nav would help but ring to discuss 087 2547 836. Glad you like the book. It is great to hear feedback.

      Good growing (when the weather improves).

      Trevor

      Reply

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