Posts Tagged ‘Laytown’

HOMEMADE DRILL MAKER FOR LARGER KITCHEN GARDENS – 1st wk in April 2014

At a recent course run in Sonairte, the Eco-Visitor Centre, Laytown, Co. Meath, professional market gardener, Dermot Carey, introduced his students to hand-held machinery and other pieces of appropriate technology which reduce costs and maximise efficiency for the professional organic market gardener.

The picture shows a wooden drill maker which is simply dragged the length of the seedbed once the tilth is right before seed sowing. Dermot made this device when working as a grower on Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands some years ago.

Dermot Carey explaining to  Horticultural students in Sonairte how to make a wooden drill maker.

Dermot Carey explaining to Horticultural students in Sonairte how to make a wooden drill maker.

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WORK EXPERIENCE HONES HORTICULTURAL SKILLS IN SONAIRTE’S WALLED GARDEN – 4th wk in June 2013

Sonairte, Ireland’s first Visitor Eco-Centre and Gardens, Laytown, 25 miles north of Dublin City, is looking beautiful this summer. Admission is FREE so many passers by are dropping in for a walk around and a cup of coffee and even a light lunch.  The 18th century walled organic garden is also a good place to learn about sowing, planting hoeing, weeding, mulching, composting, watering, pruning, digging, grafting and all the other skills which come in handy in growing food or in horticulture more generally.  The word sonairte means ‘good energy’. This centre also depends on the energy of good volunteers as it is a registered charity. Any money made from selling produce grown in the garden etc. is needed to maintain the old buildings and pay minimal expenses so that volunteers on the bread-line are not out of pocket.

From time to time, Sonairte volunteers are delighted when visitors express interest in volunteering  a few days, weeks or longer as work experience. In recent times, the garden, marketing department, nature trail, ecoshop and Sunflower Café have all appreciated volunteer help. If you are interested or know of a

Áine on work experience in Sonairte as part of a horticultural qualification, harvesting edible organic flowers for the Dublin Food Co-Op.

Áine on work experience in Sonairte as part of a horticultural qualification, harvesting edible organic flowers for the Dublin Food Co-Op.

nybody else who might be interested, please contact Geraldine in Sonairte at 00 353 41 982 75 72 or email info@sonairte.ie. The website is www.sonairte.ie.

APPLE HARVEST GOOD…CONSIDERING! – First Week in Sept 2012

Apple juicing demonstration for local schools in Sonairte lecture hall during National Organic Week using some of the 27 varieties in the garden.

The trusty James Grieve apple tree in Trevor’s Kitchen Garden is down a little on last year’s bumper harvest, but the apples are big and juicy. They sell well at Balbriggan Fish & Farmers’ Market on a Friday morning and brighten up our packed lunches over the last few weeks. Some are juiced and others are stewed for desserts. As an early apple, they are nearly gone now, but the harvest in Sonairte’s 2 acre organic orchard up the road in Laytown, Co. Meath, is just coming on stream in time for Apple Day.

Apple Day in Sonairte was a great success with primary school students enjoying the funny names of old apple tree varieties, like Sheep’s Snout, Golden Spire and my favourite Kerry Pippin which dates back to 1802. Today 210 years later even the sagely visitors like Joe Barry the Farming Independent forestry correspondent was young by comparison. Joe reckoned the coastal location of Sonairte had saved our harvest in the light of the frost damage he incurred in Co. Kildare.

With 127 varieties of apple tree at Sonairte, some quite rare, we feel a huge responsibility to look after this precious aspect of Ireland’s heritage. Being volunteers, we can do with all the help we can get! So do call in if you missed Apple Day soon – ADMISSION TO SONAIRTE IS FREE -the Sunflower Cafe is open and the orchard, garden and river walk are all looking good. If I am around, I will make you some fresh apple juice from some of the organic apples. We had great practise juicing during Apple Day. Beannachtaí na n-úll ort!