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The Real Pumpkin Farm…

pumpkin
pumpkins

I had written an article last year on growing pumpkins from seed [check out the comments for ] and it seems many of you are on the hunt for pumpkins…. particularly pumpkin farms.

I did try and I did put the S.O.S out there for you. But there was very little response. If you know of anyone – leave a comment & make them famous 😉 But I did ring Natasha in Sonairte [click here], a place I have visited in Co. Meath [ just past balbriggan] many times. The mother of all gig for kids has to be the pumpkin carving course….. It’s times like this even I wish I had children 😉

Natasha sent me this email:

Pumpkins are such cheerful bumps in the garden aren’t they?  The perfect colour to remind us which season we are in. Growing up in Australia, one of my fav winter dishes was pumpkin soup and you can’t beat roast pumpkin sprinkled with rosemary, thyme and salt.

News just in!! I have been out in the garden just this afternoon, chatting to the gardeners. They tell me that due to the inclement weather this year, our stocks are depleted, and everything has now been harvested! But don’t worry, there are still some left including some big rounded beauties! They are a bit pricier than what you would buy in other shops, not for growing up organic, but because they should keep for several months.

Sonairte’s pumpkins and our other organic produce and plants can be found at the Dublin Food Coop every Saturday, 9.30-4pm. Its an indoor market, Newmarket Square just off the Combe, Dublin 8. Here you will find fantastic organic food products including wines, breads, cheeses, dry goods and good coffee. www.dublinfood.coop. The market has a lovely, friendly atmosphere and you can by lunch and read the papers at your leisure. Alternatively pop into Sonairte itself and visit our ecoshop. We are on the Laytown Road just off Meaths coastline! Only 40 minutes from Dublin, there’s a bus service stopping right outside. Most convenient, especially if you’re carrying a pumpkin! The ecoshop, café and river walk are open 10.30 – 5pm wednesday to sunday

FYI, Sonairte hosts a Pumpkin Carving workshop, for adults and children. Its next Friday 30th Oct, Time: 11 -1pm, Cost: 20€ (1 adult, 1 child,1 pumpkin!).

For anyone who would like to learn more about growing their own veg and fruit, here are the details of other courses.

Thanks Peter for your time. If readers have any organic gardening queries, they can feel free to give us a buzz.

Cheers

Natasha

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pumpkins...

Other sonairte courses this year:

SOFT FRUIT AND FRUIT TREES IN THE GARDEN

With Kathy Marsh. A complete course on fruit growing for amateurs, covering choosing, planting, pruning and propagating.

Date: November 7th and 8th, 10- 4pm Cost: €120 or €75/ day (incl. lunch)

DRY STONE WALL BUILDING

With Bob Wilson (CELT). Covering basic techniques from foundation to capping. Also corners, steps, stiles, retaining walls and garden features and introduction to the use of lime mortar. Bring strong boots and rainwear .

Date: November 7th and 8th, 10am – 5pm. Cost: €150 (incl. lunch)

GROW IT YOURSELF

Course tutors Kathy Marsh and Geraldine O’Toole. A one day course at an affordable price to get you started on producing tasty, cheap and nutritious organic vegetables in even the smallest garden

Date: Saturday November 14th. Time: 10am – 4pm. Cost: €35.

*Please note that lunch is not provided. Our cafe will be open or you can bring your own and eat it at our garden picnic tables. All our courses can be viewed on our website. For more information and to book: Call 0419827572, e-mail: info@sonairte.org, website: www.sonairte.org

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building repak recycle week 09

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Its a little of a crazy one when given a one day build time for any garden… everything must go perfectly according to plan… 

Unknows to most preparation for this garden started about 7 weeks ago. 

‘The greenhouse effect’ was intended to be a full and proper garden but as things do change… the ‘fail to prepare’ cliché definitely lent itself to this one. Once again it is only by working alongside such amaing people that everything runs so smoothly and it [some may say 😉 ] appears to be so easily done.

There are people involved in this short time frame build who where given literally hours notice, there are those who would have been on the phone to me on their weekends and/ or well into the wee hours of the night. In fact there was at one point 2 wheelie bins being cut up at approximately 11pm at night… once again at an hours notice [thanks John 😉 ] To those who did make life that little more enjoyable rather than work stressful. Thank you. It is also because of you that I love so very much what it is I do. 🙂

For more information on repak recycle week 2009 visit www.recycle more.ie

 

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how to grow seeds…

i had written about a way in which i grow seeds last year – click here. But sometimes, for which I apologise, I forget my head 🙄 so to speak and advance to a next level assuming everyone is on my planet, horticulturally speaking….

I’m gonna do this seed planting piece – easy styleee. This is the groovy way, the Jamie Oliver bish, bash, bosh way of gardening. On a balcony, on a window sill – you have no complaints now. You’ll have to have a ‘grow’after this… [such bad humour] 😆

plastic tray to grow seedsseedssown seeds in tray

the three photographs above are how I grow my ‘easy’ seeds. The two types I picked were mustard and cress. Reason I did it this way [for these seeds] is because they are to be cropped when they reach about 1″ in height for salads. How do you do it?

  • first get your container. ‘Her indoors’ had this plastic one hidden ‘somewhere’.
  • fill with compost a little below the rim and press slightly to even it all out
  • water the compost carefully and gently and let the water settle
  • scatter the seeds on top as evenly as possible and label
  • done 🙂

I also put some wil rocket and lettuce seeds in the jam jars and an old ice bucket I found hidden in the shed. In the bottom of the ice bucket I threw in some old broken tiles – to get rid of them and to aid drainage.

seeds sown in ice bucketseeds sown in jam jarseeds sown from packet

For the larger leafed lettuce and some turnips [the salad bowl type] I grew them in the plug trays – click here. I wanted the plants to be a little stronger and the fact is whilst they are in the glasshouse for the moment they will go into the window boxes in a few weeks time. This can of course be done on your window ledge very easily. Here, the same rules apply.

  • fill the container [plug tray with compost
  • water first so as the seeds don’t get dispersed everywhere
  • flick one or two seedling into each plug
  • done!

plug trays for seedscompost in plug traysseeds sown in plug trays

Now all you need to do is make sure they don’t dry out and wait for nature to take it’s course 😆

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what’s eating my plants

I couldn’t believe it when I looked outside and saw, literally every cabbage plant, stripped. What is left over,  probably hasn’t got long left.

This little git is the catterpillar and will eventually become a butterfly – as I’m sure you already know. But how, domestically and non chemically do I deal with the little insect.

The only solution is to pick them off and cover with a horticultural fleece to prevent them returning to their f-l-avoured leaf. I’d better get started on my 100 plants, while I have some left!

Apart from the obvious signs one will know if it is catterpillar [in this case] because they cannot eat the large veins of the plant as its mouth parts are not big enough. That said if the catterpillars are not there be careful, not to confuse the damage with what could be that of birds… you’ll know this because the bites [holes] are not interveinal [though the veins] as their mouth parts can eat through any part of the leaf.