Posts Tagged ‘Wexford’

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)

HERB GARDEN CONNECTS US WITH OUR ANCESTORS – 1st wk in August 2014

Many of the sun loving herbs like rosemary, sage and lavender are thriving at present. Those which originated in shadier woodland like mint may need watering if the soil is very dry.

The good weather these days also brings the diaspora of family visitors to Wexford. Visitors give us all a licence to go to places of interest which are normally regarded as ‘tourist attractions’. The Irish National Heritage Park (www.inhp.com) at Ferrycarrig, Co. Wexford on the N11 makes for an good day out at any time. Not having been there in years, we were glad to see a thriving herb garden in the replica Early Christian Monastery (Site 8).

The fact that a plant is even called a herb is an indication that it was useful to our ancestors in many ways which have often been lost in the mists of time. One would need to learn from a renowned herbalist like Seán Boylan, former manager of the mighty Meath football team to get a true sense of the value of herbs. Aside from the culinary uses for herbs which pre-occupy the GIY grower and cook these days, the establishment of a herb garden over the centuries was akin to today’s dependency on hospitals and health insurance. Whilst debates may rage about healthcare, there can be no argument that setting up a herb garden with a few slips of rosemary and sage, a few roots of chives and mint and a few seeds of parsley and lovage etc. will be a whole lost cheaper that any modern

Thriving herb garden with purple sage to the fore beside a 'clochán' (monk's stone beehive hut) at the replica monastic site in The Heritage Park,  Wexford.

Thriving herb garden with purple sage to the fore beside a ‘clochán’ (monk’s stone beehive hut) at the replica monastic site in The Heritage Park, Wexford.

medical insurance.

TAMWORTH PIGS WORTH SEEING IN WEXFORD – 4th wk in July 2014

Cultivating 3 acres in Tacumshin by hand is a far cry from the management of a small suburban garden we left behind in Balbriggan. After a while, the idea of acquiring a couple of pigs to help with excavation and weeding becomes more and more appealing.

Apart from that, pigs are fascinating to observe. At the Irish National Heritage Park here on the N11 near Wexford town, one can observe not just any pigs, but the old outdoor hardy and quite rare Tamworth pigs. Back in 1812, the Prime Minister

Normally brown, these Tamworth pigs are covered in mud during their summer moult at the Irish National Heritage Park, Ferrycarrig, Wexford.

Normally brown, these Tamworth pigs are covered in mud during their summer moult at the Irish National Heritage Park, Ferrycarrig, Wexford.

Sir Robert Peel in Tamworth, England, interbred his own pigs with an old variety he had studied while in Ireland called the ‘Irish Grazer’. The Tamworth is today considered the variety which most closely resembles the wild boar which was first domesticated as livestock thousands of years ago in Ireland.

The dense bristles of the Tamworth pig give protection from UV light except during moulting season between June and August. During this time, the Tamworth likes to don an all body mud pack both to keep cool and as a sun block. Áine and myself must keep in touch with the Heritage Park (www.inhp.com) just in case they may have a spare couple of piglets to sell in the future!

E.U. NEIGHBOURS’ DAY, COMPLEMENTS THE ‘TRANSITION TOWN’ MESSAGE – 3rd wk in May 2014

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I was asked to say a few words to the community of neighbours living near Redmond Park, a well used tranquil public space in the heart of Wexford town, recently, to mark E.U. Neighbours’ Day. Good theme, but to me it is about much more than calling to see if a neighbour needs help or a chat. Looking out for neighbours is vital, of course and thanks to Senan O’Reilly, Wexford Tidy Towns Association and D’Lush Café in Wexford Arts Centre for all the help.

Neighbours’ Day began in Paris in the year 2000. It generally takes place on any Friday in May. The basic theme is to promote neighbourliness. However, working together in a neighbourhood, is a bulwark against the major challenges of peak oil and climate change. Strengthening local connections is a key step towards re-developing local economies and local self-reliance. Other steps on this path are all part of the transition to a society which can meet its needs without depending on fossil fuels.

Rob Hopkins,  while lecturing on sustainability in Kinsale, Co. Cork, coined the term, ‘transition towns’, to describe the steps towards ‘powering down’

Neighbours' Day in Wexford which also attracted some newly elected county councillors, who hopefully will help the area make the transition to fossil fuel free living.

Neighbours’ Day in Wexford which also attracted some newly elected county councillors, who hopefully will help the area make the transition to fossil fuel free living.

local energy consumption, while improving quality of life. Check out http://www.transitiontownkinsale.org. Rob now lives in Totnes, Devon, in England so another good website in http://www.transitiontowntotnes.org.

SOLAR POWER GROWING THE VEG AND NOW HEATING THE WATER TOO – 2nd week in May 2014

Growing fresh food to do away with the need to import a tired version of the same thing is one way to cut down on the burning of fossil fuels. Installing solar water heating panels on the roof is another way to save using oil. It will take a few years before the cost of installation is made back on the savings from not having to buy oil. Given that oil prices will inevitably go up as peak oil production looms, the pay back period may be shorter than we might think.

The team from Kelly's Insulation & Plumbing, Wexford lifting Italian made solar panels into place.

The team from Kelly’s Insulation & Plumbing Co., Wexford, lifting Italian made solar panels into place.

26 BARE-ROOT FRUIT BUSH VARIETIES ARRIVE – 1st wk in February 2014

The other day a courier arrived with 3 plastic sacks of fruit bushes and some strawberry plants. Being all bare rooted, we healed them in quickly to avoid the rootlets from drying out. Then back to praying for a bit of dry weather so we can turn over more of the front field to plant them in their correctly spaced planting positions.

Apart from the wonderful fruit crops we anticipate, these fruit bushes planted in rows between the veg beds, will hopefully filter the southerly winds blowing in from the Saltee Islands off the Wexford coast. The range of varieties includes early and late croppers as well as the traditional and  more experimental varieties. The supplier is English’s Fruit Nursery Ltd. not far away from us at Adamstown, Enniscorthy (www.englishsfruitnursery.ie) tel 053 9240504. I just sent in the order with a cheque and the bushes were dispatched within a day or two – very efficient!

The blackcurrant varieties are Ben Tirren, Ben Connon and Malling Jet. The redcurrant varieties are  Jonkeer-Van-Tets, Red Lake and Rovada. The whitecurrant variety is White Versailles.

The gooseberry varieties are Invicta, Pax and Whinhams Industry. We have two bushes each of regular tayberry, loganberry LY59 variety, tumbleberry, boysenberry and sunberry, josterberry, worcesterberry and chokeberry.

For strawberries, we bought 25 plants each of the varieties Symphony and Cambridge Favourite. Likewise, we bought 25 raspberry canes between the varieties Malling Jewel, Glen Ample, Leo, Autumn Blass and All Gold – and last, but not least, a mulberry tree.

Áine healing in the fruit bushes in a temporary bed awaiting final planting properly spaced in alternate rows to filter onshore winds.

Áine heeling in the fruit bushes in a temporary bed with rough  labels awaiting final planting, properly spaced, in alternate rows to filter onshore winds.

The next few weeks will hopefully see some drying weather so we can turn over a few sods of grass to create beds for these fruits bushes and plants. Hopefully, I due course, some of this kaleidoscope of fruit will be on display in season on a stall in Wexford and perhaps also Enniscorthy farmers’ markets.