Updated: 11/01/18 : 12:38:03Printable Version
Dear Fellow Gardeners,
I wish all readers a wonderful and successful gardening year in 2018.
The last year was certainly quite a challenge with all the rain
throughout the summer – especially here in the west. Let’s hope that
we’ll finally get a great summer.
I will have a busy spring – not busy with growing crops, but busy
looking at them. With the Nuffield Scholarship I will travel with a
group of international students to Holland, Italy, Canada, US, Argentina
and Chile and then I’ll travel on my own to Bolivia and Peru. The
purpose of the trip is look at agricultural innovations throughout the
world and in the last 3 weeks in Peru, I will look into crops from the
Andes mountains that may have potential for growing in Ireland –
possibly concentrating on just 3 or 4 crops.
Some of the most promising types are yacon, oca, ulluco and mashua (see below).
Have a look at the Nuffield website below if you are interested in
finding out more about the scholarship or if you would like to apply for
the following year.
Also have a look at the following link from which you can access all
previous scholars’ reports. They are well written and some have very
interesting study topics.
Renvyle Gardening Weekend
As far as I’m aware there are still spaces available for the gardening weekend in Renvyle House Hotel/Kylemore Abbey on Fri 16th
– Sun 18th
February 2018 with Anja Gohlke (head Gardener at Kylemore Abbey), Joy
Larkcom, Kitty Scully and myself. What a great opportunity to meet my
gardenening hero Joy Larkcom.
Price: €195.00pp and includes 2 Bed & Breakfast,
1 Dinner & 1 Bar Food Evening Meal (Main Course + Tea/Coffee)
Tel: 095 46100
New seed varieties and plants
Please find below a list and description of some of our new seed range for Green Vegetable Seeds:
This is a real gem – even people who don’t love aubergines will love
this vegetable. It produces long lilac fruits with white stripes and
very tender, bitter-free flesh. It is so special and unique to this
area in Greece that it has been awarded a Protected Designation of
Origin status. This means that only in this area the vegetable can be
sold as “Tsakonian Eggplant”. This is quite similar to the Jersey Royal
potato which can only be sold as Jersey Royal if grown on the Jersey
island, otherwise the same potato is sold as Intermediate Kidney. It’s
the first year I’m trying out this new aubergine, but I was so
overwhelmed by it that we make it available immediately and let
gardeners try it out and hopefully give us some feedback.
My favourite beef tomatoes with perfectly shaped large oval fruits and
moist flesh which doesn’t lose water when slicing. The flavour and
yield are exceptional. I named it after my mother “Iris” who has bred
this variety and grown it for over 20 years. It performs perfectly in a
polytunnel or greenhouse. A number of Irish gardeners have trialled it
in 2017 with great success. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Thyme is surprisingly easy to grow from seed and tends to produce much
healthier and stronger plants compared to plants raised from cuttings.
Thyme is a wonderfully aromatic herb ideal for the kitchen as well as an
edging plant for your beds.
Chives are very easy to grow from seed. It’s a good idea to renew your
chive patch every few years with a fresh batch of plants. There tends
to be a build up of Allium diseases if grown for too many years in the
Fennel - “Common Green”
The herb fennel is a perennial plant and you’ll get fresh fern-like
leaves for many years and fennel seeds in the autumn. This must be the
easiest plant you can grow in your garden. One or two plants are
usually sufficient for a family.
Squash – “Buttercup”
A vigorous trailing plant with unusual shaped fruits with grey-green skin. It has very firm flesh with superb sweet flavour.
We offer a small range of the Lost Crops of
the Incas and some of our first potatoes from our breeding experiment.
Unfortunately we don’t have a lot of tubers available for 2018, so early
ordering is recommended.
Oca - mixed varieties
Oca is still my favourite “Inca Crop”. Just like the potato it is so
well suited to Irish growing conditions and it doesn’t even get blight.
You’ll get 5 average sized tubers (or more if they are small) of at
least three different varieties. On arrival, store the tubers in a pot
of damp sand in a cold but frost free shed. Tubers can be planted (just
like potatoes) in April and harvested only a couple of weeks after the
frost has killed off the leaves. That’s very important because if you
harvest earlier there will only be tiny tubers.
Packet of five tubers (or more if they are very small) - €5.00
Ulluco is a new crop for me and only very rarely available. I got a few
pea sized tubers from a friend and grew them in Bundoran and in a
garden in Inishannon. I was thrilled with the success. There were lots
of small ones as well as a few big tubers. The tubers are so beautiful
and well worth having a go at something new. You’ll get 5 very small
pea-sized tubers. On arrival, store the tubers in a pot of damp sand in a
cold but frost free shed. I recommend planting the tubers in early
April in small pots and plant outdoors in May. Harvest only a couple of
weeks after the frost has killed off the leaves.
Packet of five small tubers - €4.00
This is definitely the easiest of the Inca tubers and also the
prettiest. In last month’s newsletter there is a recipe for delicious
mashua croquettes. You’ll get 3 tubers. On arrival, store the tubers in
a pot of damp sand in a cold but frost free shed. Tubers can be
planted (just like potatoes) in April and harvested only a couple of
weeks after the frost has killed off the leaves.
Packet of three tubers - €4.00
Organic Farming Internship Programme – Horticulture
This is the first release of our new range of potatoes. In case you
haven’t heard about our experiment - it started in 2016 where we crossed
18 different varieties and collected the true seed (from the
tomato-like fruits). These seeds were sown in seed trays in 2017 and
planted out in April and harvested in September. The interesting bit is
that each seedling produced a new variety of potato and yielded a crop
You’ll get 5 small to average sized tubers (or more if they are very
small). On arrival, store the tubers in a pot of damp sand in a cold
but frost free shed. Tubers can be planted in April.
There is no guarantee though – each one is a new variety and I’m curious to get your feedback
Packet of five small to average sized tubers - €4.00
This is a great opportunity to learn and work at one of a few selected
organic market gardens throughout the country with some of the most
experienced growers. It includes various farm visits and monthly
lectures, usually held in Cloughjordan Eco-Village.
For more information have a look at the Organic Growers of Ireland website:
I wish you all a wonderful and Happy New Year.