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  • Practical ways to help the Bees

      In Ireland, there are 98 different species of bee. There is the honeybee (a managed pollinator) 20 bumblebee species and 77 solitary bee species. In 2006 scientists published a Red List of Ireland’s Bees. It showed that one third of our 97 wild bees are threatened with extinction and ufortunately a third of all bee species in Ireland could be extinct by 2030. This problem can’t be solved simply by increasing the number of honeybee hives. Bumblebees make their nests on the surface of the ground or just underneath, often in long grass, bracken, or at the
  • What yield can I expect?

    It's seed sowing time - again - hooray! So time to get the pen and paper out and do some forward planning. Because time and growing space are usually limited it is important to plan not only a proper rotation but also to decide which vegetables are most popular in your family and how many plants will be needed.  Include a bit of surplus in that plan then you can conserve produce for the winter by making Kimchi or Sauerkraut, preserve vegetables and fruit in jars or burying root crops in sand or soil clamps. At Fruit Hill Farm all our vegetable seeds are open pollinated
  • Love your soil - learn about soil conditioners

    Is your soil good - or bad? Does it have a good diet, can it hold its drink?  Could it quite simply just be better – well behaved, good crops, good drainage and structure etc.  Most soils can be improved both in nutrient content and in structure by following good gardening practices.  Soil that is in good heart will be free-draining, easy to dig, have a crumbly texture and a healthy earthworm population. How to improve the condition of your soil Gathering leaves for leaf-mould Add organic matter as a soil conditioner. Compost and strawy animal manures provide
  • Perlite and Vermiculite - what are they?

    We know - it keeps you awake at night - but what is the difference between Perlite and Vermiculite? Perlite Perlite is a naturally occurring, non-toxic volcanic rock.  It is heated to very high temperatures to produce a lightweight micro-porous material. Perlite is used in horticulture as a soil amendment. Because of its high permeability / low water retention it helps to prevent soil compaction. Available in 10ltr and 100ltr bags. A handful of Perlite Perlite is used wholly or partly in place or sand or grit in potting compost where it improves aeration,
  • Klasmann organic compost for reliable results

    Unfortunately, not all composts are created equally and unfortunately you only discover this when you have poor germination.  Valuable time has been lost and there will be no early tomatoes or cabbages.  As with all things in life you get what you pay for - cheap compost=poor results. The only way to get consistent and reliable results is to use a consistent and reliable compost.  In our experience the only compost that delivers consistency, traceability, reliability time after time is Klasmann-Deilmann.  What’s so great about Klasmann? Good strong plugs with
  • Open Pollinated Seeds

      We have over 200 vegetable, herb and flower seeds – enough to keep you busy for years! If you are canny you can save all your future seeds from our seeds because not only are they organic but they are open pollinated! What are Open Pollinated seeds? • Open pollinated varieties are those that come true from seed, as opposed to hybrid varieties which are produced by crossing two inbred lines of plants for seed. • Are naturally pollinated (no enforced pollination or in-breeding). • Contribute to food plant bio-diversity (of which we have lost 80% in Europe
  • Successful Seed Germination

    What do you need for the successful germination of seeds? Heat Seeds will germinate across a wide range of temperatures but as the temperature falls below - or rises above - the optimum range, the length of time it takes for them to germinate increases and the percentage germination rate falls. Long germination times also make the seeds more vulnerable to disease. You can warm up the soil outside by a few degrees if you cover it with ground cover. A soil thermometer will give you an accurate soil temperature figure. A warm day does not mean warm soil. Beware sunny day
  • How to grow first early potatoes

    First early potatoes are a real treat - that melting, buttery texture; the lovely fresh taste - the surprise of the white potato from the brown earth ......  I could go on - but won't.  Instead lets learn how to grow these early treasures. Potato Timeline Earlies:   Earlies or new potatoes have the quickest maturity time and are ready 15 - 16 weeks after planting. If you have a polytunnel or greenhouse then you can plant them in December or January and have very early potatoes on the table in March and April - depending on the weather.  They have a lower yield
  • Winter solstice and Yuletide

    Bantry Bay at sunset on the shortest day 2017. The Winter Solstice on the 21st December is the shortest day of the year- the earth’s axis is tilted farthest from the sun and, therefore, is also the longest night. In terms of daylight, the day is 8 hours, 22 minutes shorter than on the Summer Solstice.  Here in Bantry the sun will rise at 8.41am and set at 16.29pm – 7 hrs and 40 minutes of daylight. Day length and plants Measuring the time of year is not just important for plants to be able to schedule flowering, but also so they know when to produce storage
  • Favourite Garden Gifts that will last

    The season of presents, mince pies, excited children and hangovers is upon us and we all want to have a good time.  Great! ... but let's stop for a minute and be a bit more mindful. (Click here to Scroll down to the bottom for our gift guide from Fruit Hill Farm!) Wrapping paper Lovely, glittery and colourful ....  but not all wrapping paper is paper - so you can't recycle it.  Then there's the sellotape and glitter on the gift tag.  What's an elf to do?              Buy recycled paper. Use brown paper and tie it with twine.  Add a sprig of

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