Posts Tagged ‘fruithill farm’

CLOCHE MAKING WORKSHOP FOR MY LOCAL G.I.Y. GROUP – 3rd wk in March 2015

In our windy location in Tacumshin, Co. Wexford, near the south east coast, we will always be grateful to organic horticulture lecturer, Klaus Laitenberger, for running a course in Sonairte, Co. Meath, where I learned how to make strong, simple, low cost cloches. The main cost is the Enviromesh, a strong fine netting which allows in light and rain, but excludes small predators like carrot fly and cabbage white butterflies. (Available from http://www.fruithillfarm.com.)

The principal ingredients are 2 by 1 rough timber lengths, one inch hydrodare, flexible piping which plumbers use to carry pressurised water to taps, plus nails to hold it all together and some screws to improve the strength of the cloche. A drill bit for the 1 inch holes plus an electric drill are needed to secure  the hydrodare loops.  A staple-gun with long staples is needed to secure the enviromesh over the hydrodare loops.

This cloche design is not only effective, but it is ergonomic and stream-lined enough to deflect and filter the strong winds we get in these parts. There was a good turn-out of about 40 keen

Once the cloche was made, it was displayed on the table, while the meeting broke into smaller 'pods' to discuss the seasonal highs and lows of each other's gardens.

Once cloche was made, it was displayed on table, while meeting broke into smaller ‘pods’ to discuss the seasonal highs and lows of each other’s gardens.

GIY-ers recently at our local Wexford meeting in the Riverbank Hotel to go through the practical steps of making a sample cloche. If you are reading this and live anywhere near Wexford town, you’ll be made very welcome at our GIY monthly meetings on the 3rd Monday of every month at 7.30pm in the Riverbank Hotel. Worth checking out the GIY website also for seasonal tips and news of other GIY demos and meetings elsewhere. (www.giyinternational.org)

Advertisements

USING A KNEELER TO PLANT OUT BY HAND MAY SAVE THE COST OF KNEE INJURIES – 4th wk in March 2014

We are busy in our new not-so-small kitchen garden at present, so apologies for the delay in updating the blog! The organic onions sets are now all planted, several hundred each of Sturon and Jetset white varieties and Kamal red variety, all bought from the certified organic suppliers http://www.fruithillfarm.com.  Before we moved to Tacumshin in south Wexford, a couple of dozen sets would have filled the small onion patch in Balbriggan.

Operating by hand on a larger 3 acre scale brings with it new challenges. For a start, physiotherapists recommend a gardener to change activities at regular intervals so different muscles are used and tired muscles are rested a bit. The lower back in particular can suffer if there is too much bending without a rest or at least a change in activities.

I recently met a retired tiler who had undergone two knee replacement operations after years of an occupational hazard kneeling on kitchen floors and other hard surfaces. This is a salient warning to gardeners who kneel to sow, plant, tend, weed, etc.. After meeting my tiler friend, I rooted out the kneeler I had bought some years ago for €30 from a mail order catalogue. The metal and rubber kneeler doubles up as a seat if required also and works well even on a wet day. One could also say it is also anti-rheumatic as it is raised enough from the ground to remain dry.  It also has handles to make standing easier putting less strain on the back. What’s not to like about a device that saves  injury and energy, and increases productivity? Hopefully the attached photograph is of interest.

Metal kneeler with rubber pad at the ready for planting out one of the organic onion beds.

Metal kneeler with rubber pad at the ready for planting out one of the organic onion beds.

A PHOTO IN THE SNOW TO SHOW HOW GARLIC GOT ITS NAME – 5th Feb 2013

DSC04836Garlic cloves were planted late October as usual in ‘Trevor’s Kitchen Garden’ (See the book pp. 260 -262, www.orpenpress.com). They are now growing well,  although barely above the soil, (or snow) surface at this stage. This picture taken yesterday morning shows the young organic  Vallelado variety garlic plants looking like small spears poking through the snow. The name ‘garlic‘ is derived from the Old English word ‘garleac’ meaning ‘spear leek’. It was first recorded as a home grown food in Siberia and the Chinese were raving about it in their records 5,000 years ago. Used as an antiseptic down the years, the Ancient Romans believed a feed of garlic cloves gave their soldiers stamina. The Vikings were also believed to chew it too before attacking. Could this be the earliest records of ‘chemical warfare’?

Enough of the battlefields, back to the kitchen garden! Unless the garlic cloves get a few days of below zero weather, they do not grow well and the bulbs do not fully form. This is the main reason I like to sow the cloves in late autumn or early winter. To avoid importing disease in to the garden, buy cloves from a garden centre. I buy my organic cloves by  mail order from www.fruithillfarm.com  in Bantry, Co. Cork. Later on in the summer ripening garlic appreciates a bit of sunshine and warmth, like most of us. However, garlic’s Siberian origins are easy to imagine after this fall of snow in the attached photograph.