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Homemade Chicken Run

I had written this post on my chicken house and run in April ’09 some time ago which gives better details.

Anything else just leave a comment or you can contact me in the following ways:

Potatoes

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I grew these potatoes some months ago from seed. I think it was about €2.50 for a half litre pot of seed. I simply popped them twice their depth below the surface.

Mine came into flower and passed that point some time ago, but I had potatoes that I had got locally and so I didn’t bother lifting these at all. Until now. I was quite pleased with the crop. I didn’t mound the soil to get more or any of that molarchy. I just planted and left them.

I did run into one problem that was the common potato scab. It’s a scabby patch that appears on the outer skin which disfigures the spud. It’s not a major problem for me or the potato, although if you saw it in a supermarket potato I’d be very surprised. It’s caused by the mycelium producing Streptomyces scabies [the 2nd part of that name alone makes me shiver]. This comes as a result of light soils with a high lime content and also from low moisture levels  usually from a hot summer, which we had spells of this season. I’ll just peel them to be honest and next year I’ll plant a resistant variety.

After that, not much else I can add. It is very much a case of just pop the seed twice its own depth below the surface of the soil and keep well watered.

Of course if you have any questions, simply leave a comment below.

Home Grown Beets

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I grew these beetroots from seed about two months ago and as you can gather from the empty pot I simply cropped them as they were required. They are probably one of the easiest things ever to grow and develop fairly quickly.

I chose to sow them in plug cells first and then pot them on. The ones I grew are the Boltardy variety. That said, I’m not intended on being a commercial beetroot farmer any time soon – my advice, if you can’t find this variety, simply pick up a packet of whatever is available and work away. The boltardy ones however tend not to wish to bolt [the production of flower and therefore seed too soon] as fast and also have a really good flavour.

I never paid much attention to the sowing calender guides on the back of the packets. I also applied the one for the slug one for me rule here. After that, I chose as you see to do mine in pots, mainly so I could put them by the back door of the kitchen.

Not much else to to it…. and of course any questions, just pop a comment in below.

looking for a painter & decorator in dublin…?

Do you remember the pink boat story….?

I remember when I discovered our ‘sponsor’ actually was not ‘going to be involved’.

My head went in my hands. A new low had arrived. Then it was decision time. Could I actually build a garden. With no money. One of my first calls – I rang Dave. He bought the paint. He arrived every day. He painted the boat. For free.

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Dave also painted my very first garden. Over 9 years ago now. I didn’t own a digital camera then 😉

And he painted my home, my wee office and amongst many gardens since, he also painted this gazebo for me.

Dave doesn’t do websites. And I owe him more than a favour. I hope this mention helps by way of saying thank you. I hadn’t forgotten 🙂

Call him. Nice Guy. Good friend. Tell him I sent you.

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bord bia invests €1m irish export market

First up a quick peek at the market place.

Here’s the stats:

the irish food market

the irish food market

Ireland’s agri-food sector plays an important role in the Irish economy, accounting for almost 9% of employment and 10% of Irish exports. As much as 65% of manufacturing exports by Irish-owned firms are estimated to consist of food and drink.

The UK is the main destination for Irish food and drink exports, accounting for 45% of the total; 32% go to Continental EU markets with the remaining 23% going to non-EU markets. The Irish food and drink sector has the highest usage of Irish produced inputs across major sectors in the Irish economy with close to three quarters of the sector’s inputs sourced domestically.

Irish food and drink exports fell for the first time in 2008, by 6.5%, to just under €8.2 billion. A further decline is anticipated in 2009 arising from continued sterling pressure, severe difficulties in the global dairy market, and the impact of the economic downturn which is bringing pressure on returns across all sectors. However, there is some prospect for a return to growth in 2010.
It is at this point that I’m a big believer – you dont cull the spending. One increases it.

it has to be worth something...

it has to be worth something...

And this is exactly how they are gonna do so:

A graduate Fellowship Programme aimed at boosting Irish food and drink exports and supporting Irish companies expand their market reach was launched by Bord Bia  [in Dublin today].

25 experienced graduate Fellows will be placed in the international marketplace and will partner with 100 Irish food companies on whose behalf they will undertake 200 key assignments across 33 international markets. The €1 million Marketing Fellowship Programme, will be run in association with the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

On being launched by Minister Brendan Smith TD he commented that:

the programme will play an important role in helping Irish companies to diversify into new markets while seeking to protect existing export business that last year exceeded €8 billion in value

The administration of the programme, for which recruitment is to start immediately, was awarded to the UCD Smurfit Graduate School of Business following a tender process.

While the graduates will be based full-time in the marketplace, the programme will also incorporate six academic modules at the Smurfit School and marketing assignments will be rigorously assessed. The graduate Fellows will be awarded a Graduate Diploma in International Marketing Practice on completion after twelve months and will then have the option of completing a Masters degree.

The programme will cover all food industry sectors, from prepared consumer foods to meat, dairy, beverages, seafood and horticulture. The markets covered will include the UK, Continental Europe, Russia, Asia and the United States.

worthwhile...?

worthwhile...?

Aidan Cotter Chief Executive of Bord Bia noted that:

The initiative, in particular the completion of some 200 business development assignments, will provide us with the most comprehensive overview ever of commercial market opportunities and Irish supply capabilities.

Bord Bia will integrate the new Fellowship Programme with a range of other market building initiatives planned by the organisation to assist the food industry broaden its export reach.

A new, targeted trade awareness campaign will focus on the European marketplace and coincide with the industry’s largest ever presence at Anuga, the world’s most important food and beverage trade fair, taking place in Germany this autumn. Some 22 Irish food and drink companies, representing sectors from meat and dairy products to seafood and frozen foods, will exhibit across five exhibition halls at the fair, which takes place in Cologne from 10th to 14th October.

Bord Bia has also decided to bring forward Marketplace 2010, to build on the momentum the Fellowship Programme is expected to create. Marketplace, which will now take place in Dublin next February, will bring upwards of 250 food and drink buyers from UK and mainland Europe to meet with Irish suppliers.

In the meantime, funding for its Foresight4Food programme, designed to support companies bring consumer focused innovations to the market is being expanded. In total, Bord Bia is investing more than €1 million in additional market building initiatives that will run in parallel and be integrated with the Marketing Fellowship Programme.

In January, Bord Bia indicated that the task of “Broadening Export Reach” had become a major strategic priority in light of the challenges the industry was encountering in the marketplace as a result of the global economic downturn and currency volatility and the need to seek out new opportunities.

every little helps....?

every little helps....?

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