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The GIY Rathgar Terenure Talk

 

I got an email in some time ago from a friend of mine. Séan wanted me to do a talk on growing your own. He is a member of a new movement call GIY – grow it yourself – that seems to be sweeping the nation.

I had heard about GIY but I didn’t really know a vast amount of exact facts about it being honest. The talk I did was Monday, just gone, April 27th

The GIY movement was set up to encourage people to get together to share expertise in food growing.As we have become increasingly urbanised we have lost a lot of the knowledge and skills that our grandparents had in food growing, storing and cooking. GIYIreland aims to tap into our desire to reduce food miles and to produce and consume organic food by organising groups at a local level so that people can learn those old skills from each other and connect with like-minded individuals. GIY Ireland has charitable status.

As regards the group I was to speak to Séan sent me this wee note….

The Rathgar/Terenure GIY group was set up at a meeting in the Rathgar Junior School (RJS), 62 Grosvenor Road in February 2010. We have a mix of allotment growers, garden owners and those with just a balcony to grow on. Most of the group are beginners but there are some experienced members and we hope to bring in experts to share their knowledge and expertise. Our group numbers about 30-40 very enthusiastic amatuers and we would welcome more members.

In this case [and in short] I spoke about how I used to grow plants under my bed when I was 4 all the way up to today…. and that pretty much not a whole lot has changed if you elminate 20 odd years of decking, cobble and garden design fads. In that same breath horticulture has only changed in how it is presented, packaged and sold…. the way in which it is done, for fun, shall never alter. And in those four/ five lines [compressed] that took an extremely refreshing [one member commented after] a little over 45 minutes 😉

I must admit I had just left the coombe hospital and hadn’t eaten. But the reception I got was amazing. The appreciation shown and the wee gift given and beautifully wrapped left me breathless. Sincerely, it was an absolute honour to speak to such a fine group gentleman and ladies.

The format then is that the group sit in ‘pods’ [a small group] and discuss a specific topic helping each other out with their star bit of advice. The pod I was in ended up discussing composting. I was blown away…. but as I later answered in th Q & A [the final part of the meet] everything, not living anymore must decompose – the only thing that may vary is the preparation and how you do it. As long as your smiling at the end 🙂

GIY Rathgar/ Terenure meet on the last Monday of the month in the RJS. For more info email: dalysmith [at] iol [dot] ie or phone Sean on [vodafone prefix]6369636

*other images of GIY talk

Another Grow Your Own Gardening Course

NEXT CLASS: tomorrow saturday April 17th 9.30am – 3.30pm

***if you are stuck for directions to Ballyboughal and then to my house you can contact me on [vodafone prefix and then add….]6594688

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I did the grow your own gardening course about 2/3 weeks ago now…. It wasn’t until I was out recently at an event and I was beig asked was I doing another as the wife would love to do it…. Then a neighbour popped by…. he’d love to too…. then online I got it…

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So the response from the last/ first class was good. The demand for a second one seems to be there…. that’s also good. It’s now simply a case of can I get the numbers to make a day of it….? That bit is up to you.

Who is the Garden Class for:

  • those who wish to be green but not a full time farmer.
  • those with an apartment balcony or you that simply just wish to grow a bit on a space about that size
  • For those who work 24/7 and watch tv but are willing to do a bit

Whats the day like:

  • real coffee & homemade buns on arrival @ 9.30am – with an intro chat amongst the group
  • then outdoors until around around 12.30
  • homemade lunchin the kitchen until around 1.15
  • back out until about 3pm and finish with a fresh cuppa/some homemade biccies and a chat.
  • to take place in Ballyboughal [it’s near Swords/ North Dublin ;) ]

Other info:

  • Places are limited to a maximum of 10 people.
  • Cost is €60 per person
  • I supply everything you need. You get to to bring it home with you.
  • laughing is encouraged
  • original post on the garden class here

Louise’s post really does summarise it very well

Wanna come along ?

  • Pop your name[s] in the comment box below.
  • email me info[at]doneganlandscaping[dot]com
  • phone me on [vodafone prefix and then] 6594688

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April In The Garden

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You’d know from the ‘March in the Garden’ post that I had just sown my seeds. Well germinated at this stage, the above photograph shows the results after just after 2 weeks. Growth is starting, slowly but surely and it seems to me we’re going to be on for a cracker of a season!

I’d like to try to try not to write about just growing your own… but when the garden centres now have entire sections dedicated to what I can only describe as a phenomenon, it might just prove a little more difficult than expected. That said, this isn’t your average ‘get out and rake your lawns’ type of a piece, it is was I will be doing this month.

Since last month, mainly due to doing the grow your own course I have now sown or started growing: seed potatoes, onion sets, lettuce, chives, parsley, coriander, spinach, basil, mustard, strawberries… the list is literally endless and in a few weeks I will be giving the stuff away at a rate of knots. The gig here is only to sow in small amounts and little by little. I don’t want to farm the land. And I need to ensure that I continue to enjoy what I have always done…. without it becoming laborious. I have but a wee 6′ x 4′ aged old glasshouse.

To other garden stuff. The weather has been tough and very unpredictable. As I write we had snow yesterday, 30th March. But there are more buds on the trees and some are literally on the verge of bursting.

The daffodils are also in bloom, not all, which is good as it means I’ll have flowers n the window for the first time this year and for a longer duration.

The lawn… don’t get me started. I’ve cut mine once this year. And that’ll be it until that drop of rain stops falling and temperatures start to rise to a consistent 12-14 Celsius. That said, I have been laying rolled lawns this year. Great from a clients and my perspective because there is no watering at all – where normally in ‘good’ weather the high temperatures and lack of water would cause shrinkage and watering would be recommended only at night time.

Outside of that all of the stuff I planted last year is doing great. The rhubarb in particular has just rocketed.

The hens are also back laying again after their winter sabbatical… which is great for baking. Yummy! I’m pretty much getting four eggs a day now. Outside of that there were some other creatures spotted recently around there… A good clean out was given, some bait was put down and the jack russell was let loose… I think this one [above] looks happier 🙂

The only thing I would suggest you do not forget is tree planting season. The leaves are pretty much at bud burst point. And it is around this time that the race is on to get the final bit of the bare root and root balled chores complete. Thinking of buying a tree [?] at its best and best value… do so now.

Did I miss out on anything…. ? Leave a comment and let me know. That’s more than enough to keep you going for the bank holiday weekend 😉 I leave you with this to ponder on….

What d’you think one would do with it….?  🙂

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The Grow Your Own Gardening Class

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It was a weekend ago that I decided to do the grow your own gardening course. And whilst the weather turned good I had to wait ’til now to do my synopsis of it.

How did it go…?

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The attendees in this case were 75% [approximate] apartment dwellers/ balcony owners. the other 25% only wished to garden that same amount of space [unless Nick came up with a great idea 😉 ]. Of course, if everyone had allotments/ waned to garden a larger space – parsley *and parsnip would have been covered. In this case a logic decision to skip most of the root crops was taken…. think rotovator and balcony!

I covered all that I intended and felt was needed from sowing seeds – what, which and why to watering. Onto potatoes, onions, sets growing in window boxes and to plants in a small space such as herbs and the pruning, growing and selecting of so that they could be kept there. I could beat on but Louise really does summise it very well.

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From an alternate perspective. Did the €60 cover charge multiplied by 7 people make it worth my while to do so. No. Not on your nelly. The reason why? We did demonstrations and all of the products [one each of everything] used were taken away. I knew to make money, how I should do it and a comment on the garden blog confirms that.  That and the twitter message. No offence Geoff mate 😉

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Try it yourself. Go into a garden centre, pick up some seed potatoes, onion sets, 2/3 window boxes, some pots, compost and seeds and see how much it costs…. growing your own can be cheap… when you know how 😉 If I’m to talk however on garden design with zero overheads…. Ye know yourself. Moving on….

The flip side of that however is something very different. Did I enjoy it ? More than you realise. I really am so pleased that such a nice group of people collated so I could talk about something  I love so much.

I know that doesn’t pay the bills. It doesn’t even cover the time spent baking and collecting the products we did use. And yes if I wish to do it again and again I need to refine. But then I knew that already. It was always to be a trial. A way of noting and timing. Perfecting one could say. Perfecting for those those who do attend.

Now I’m just wondering if there’s another 9 or 10 people who’d be interested…. While I brew on that… I’ll go water my own seeds.

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note: it was Jason’s idea that I did this in the first place. Thanks mate. I also borrowed some of his images for this post.

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The Right Time To Grow

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With high day time temperatures, the sun factor increasing the warmth in the greenhouse well above the the teens and night time temperatures in the minus…. I could almost do a piece here on autumn colour but… it’s March and there are no leaves on the trees. So instead the resulting problem and piece is one of possible woe rather than beauty and colour.

I know that around 12 – 14 degree celcius is what makes [almost all] plants start to grow and the reason this is so important is that I’ve just started my seed growing for this year.

The temperatures in the greenhouse [as you can see above] are more than enough to make the seeds germinate. The problem is that when the little baby seedlings pop out from their store of food [the seed] the low temperatures at night time can come along and literally whack them.

In theory, the water in the plant cells expand when it freezes and this bursts the cells. Put simply the affected cells are dead. That’s not so bad if the plant is an established hedge but for a weakling and barely days old seedling with a very thin outer skin that is so easily penetrated, there is no way back.

I hear you say, I could have waited. Kept my eye on the calender or clock. Been a little more patient and waited a bit longer before I started my sowing campaign. I could even have bought myself a greenhouse heater…. but where’s the fun in that.

I’ve waited this long, this year, to get outdoors and get grooving in the garden… Similar to the Irish potato farmers and the season they’ve just had, I’ll take my [very well calculated] chances against the elements and hope I’ve simply got a head start. If it doesn’t work out… I’ll scatter my seeds and try again.  😉

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