October Gardening with Klaus Laintenberger
Added: 07/10/15 : 07:06:11
By Klaus Laintenberger
Dear Fellow Gardeners,
September always seems to make up for a bad summer even up in County
Leitrim. We call it the Indian summer here – it’s really an American –
English term which describes the time when the American Indians went to
hunt. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland we call it the
“Altweibersommer” which means something like “Old Woman’s Summer”. In
Bulgaria they call it the “Poor Man’s Summer”.
Anyway – we should enjoy it as long as it lasts.
Despite all the wet and miserable summer all our vegetables did quite
well. We should have plenty of onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots and
beetroot to last us until the following spring. Even the tomatoes
finally started to ripen even if it was about 6 weeks later than usual.
All the root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beetroot and parsnip) I will
harvest next week and store them in soil pits. I found that soil has
the best insulation properties. In the past I stored vegetables in
boxes of vegetables alternated with sand in a shed. Now I prefer
digging a drench in my greenhouse and putting all the root vegetables
into large plastic boxes and filling them with the vegetables and then
covering it all up with a thick layer of soil (minimum 15cm deep). It’s
important that you don’t wash the vegetables as this would wash away
all the protective layers. This way they will last until well into
April or even May the following year. When you harvest beetroot,
carrots and parsnips it’s best to twist the foliage rather than cutting
it so you don’t leave a stump that may rot during storage.
If you are lucky enough and have a free draining soil you can also leave
all your root veg in the ground and harvest them as you want them. I
can’t ever do that as my soil is saturated during the winter months and I
also enjoy the convenience of just going into the greenhouse for some
I must admit though, that my gardening enthusiasm wanes or completely
fades during the winter months. So I have all the root vegetables
stored safely and then I cover the vegetable beds with black plastic
(silage cover) until the birds wake me up again in the following
spring. I used to be annoyed with myself for losing interest in
gardening in winter– especially as it is my job, but I now realise it’s
only a seasonal apathy and when spring arrives I’ll be ready again for
Back to practical matters –obviously onions and garlic are stored
differently. They require cool and dry conditions. We usually bunch
them up and have them hanging in the kitchen tied into bunches.
International Year of Soils
As all of you are aware that the Year 2015 is the International Year of
Soils as declared by the FAO of the UN – a new film has been released by
Deborah Koons Garcia and what a wonderful title: ‘Symphony of the Soil’. I haven’t seen the movie but the trailer looks absolutely amazing. I’d highly recommend it.
“We sincerely hope you will join us, adding your voice to a diverse
audience of individuals, in a discussion that will explore the
importance of soil quality to the future of Irish food production. To
stimulate your appetite for conversation, we have invited a selection of
artisans to provide sustainably produced and sourced refreshments after
the film. This will include the first ever tasting of our very own King
Sitric SPUDS!” Kaethe Burt O’Dea
Details are below:
DATE: 10th October
TIME: 3pm - 5.30pm
PLACE: Lighthouse Cinema, Market Sq. Smithfield, Dublin
Contact for further information:
If you can’t make it to the movie you can have a look at:
There is also another Soils Conference that will take place in Dublin
organised by ‘New Generation Agriculture’. I got the following email
recently. I’m not familiar with the organisation but anything that
promotes soil health I feel is worth promoting:
“I am writing on behalf of 'New Generation Agriculture' which is based
in Northern Ireland. At present our Company is organising a Conference
called 'Soil Health and your Wealth' hosted by the 'influential' and
'inspirational speaker' Graham Sait who is flying in from Australia.
The Conference will be held in the City North Hotel, Gormanstown, Dublin, Ireland on 28th & 29th of October 2015. If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me and I look forward to your response.
Fiona Mc Nally
Office: 048 87789444
Vegetable Gardening Information:
I was sent a link by Ellis Wakefield, the author of "Vegetable Gardening
for Dummies - A Novice's Guide". It’s a great link for all beginners
to vegetable gardening. It’s full of useful tips and enthusiasm. Have a
look at the link below:
Talk in Donegal:
I’ll be giving a talk on “Soil Health and Vegetable Growing” on the 12th
October for the Donegal Gardening Society at the beautiful Salthill
Gardens near Mountcharles which was designed by Elizabeth Temple. For
more information please contact Conor Daly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a chance it’s well worth visiting the beautiful Salthill Gardens.
Snail Farming Conference
Nots (National Organic Training Skillsnets) is organising a series of
events this autumn. The most exciting one is definitely going to be the
SNAILS Conference which will be held in Athlone on the 20th and 21st
of October. They get the best experts from around the world to talk
about snail farming in Ireland. It appears to be a great opportunities
for farmers in Ireland to diversify into snail farming. Snails love
Ireland – it’s never too hot and never too cold and it certainly is
never too dry.
More information about the conference is at the end of the newsletter.
I will also be giving day-courses on Winter Vegetable Production at the
wonderful Hydro Allotments in Blarney, Co. Cork and Springmount Garden
Centre in Co. Wexford in November.
For more information and booking have a look at the NOTS website link:
More Info on the Snails Conference:
The National Organic Training Skillnets (NOTS) will be hosting an
exciting two day seminar on Snail production. This unique seminar
should be of interest to all those who might consider snail farming as a
part-time of full-time source of income.
Presentations will be made by a number of international experts on all
aspects of the industry, including different methods of production,
domestic and international markets, viability and profitability of snail
farming, difficulties that may be encountered and the main reasons for
Guest speakers will include:
Dr. Giovanni Avagnina, Founder and Director of the
International Snail Breeding Institute, Cherasco, Italy. He has over 40
years experience in snail breeding in Italy and is now a recognised
international Consultant. He manages a number of snail farms in Italy
and has written widely on the topic, including a best-selling book
entitled “Snail Breeding”.
Ms Monika Samland: Director of the Institut für deutsche Schneckenzucht, Nersingen,
Germany. Ms Samland has over 15 years experience in snail breeding in
Germany, is a specialist on the needs of the German market and is also
an experienced international Consultant in the subject.
Ms Penny Vlachou: Founder and COO of Fereikos in
Greece. Since 2007, Fereikos has established 182 outdoor snail farms in
Greece, Germany and Cyprus. See www.fereikos.com
Mr. Louis Marie Guedon, President Directeur General of
French Mucus, experienced French snail farmer and designer/manufacturer
of equipment for the extraction of snail by-products for the
Mr. Jean-Claude Bonnet, International Expert in
Heliciculture, former Advisor to the French Government on snail breeding
and now a widely experienced international Consultant
Ms. Eva Milka: Founder of Ireland’s first commercial
snail farm. A number of other Irish speakers, who have established snail
farms in Ireland in the recent past, will also make presentations.
Why consider snail farming as an option?
The global market for edible snails is 300,000 tons, valued at
€1billion. The French and Italian markets alone amount to €300 million.
France imports over 80% of their needs and Italy imports 60% of needs,
creating an export potential of approximately €200 million.
The market is growing at 4.5% per annum, so price levels are being maintained.
The Irish climate is ideal for snail farming.
The profit margin on snail farming is high, if the correct farming techniques are applied and investment is relatively low.
Snails are easily exportable live, with a shelf life ranging from 2 to 6 months.
Snail meat is a recognised health food, high in protein and low in fat.
Snails are not susceptible to any serious diseases.
Other countries have established a successful snail farming industry in
the recent past. Ten years ago, there were 3 snail farms in Poland.
Today there are over 200, providing over 1,000 jobs and generating high
income for small farms.
Purpose of Seminar
Recently, there is evidence of a growing interest in snail farming in Ireland. While snail farming can be very profitable if the correct farming and business techniques are applied, it is also easy to incur considerable losses and/or loss of investment, if the incorrect techniques are applied.
The purpose of this Seminar is to outline a variety of techniques that
have been successfully applied in other European countries, carry out a
preliminary evaluation of those techniques and use this evaluation as
the basis of a training programme for potential Irish snail farmers.
Location: The Sheraton Hotel, Athlone, Co Westmeath
Dates: Tuesday, October 20th and Wednesday, October 21st. 2015.
Time: Commencing each day at 9.30am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm
- €100.0 for a 2 day pass including refreshments and a light lunch.
- €157.00 per/person; 2 day pass, evening meal on the 20th of October and shared accommodation in a twin or double room.
- €179.00 per/person; 2 day pass, evening meal on the 20th of October and accommodation in a single room.
Accommodation: For those planning on an overnight stay on the night of the 20th. NOTS have negotiated a group rate with the hotel which would be available on request.
As there is already considerable demand for attendance, it is recommended to confirm interest as soon as possible.