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Latest news from Fruit Hill Farm.
  • March Seasonal Table: Nettles

    What's not to like about nettles! Urtica dioica  - the humble stinging nettle is a wonder plant and every garden should have a patch. Nettles in the garden Stinging nettles support more than 40 kinds of insects, for whom the sting can form a protective shield against grazing animals. Many nettle patches hold overwintering insects which swarm around fresh spring nettles and provide early food for ladybirds. These same aphids are eaten by blue tits and other woodland birds that dart around the stems.  Nettles are the number one destination for ladybirds with eggs to
  • How does your garden grow - featured March garden

    Olivia from Carrigaline is our featured garden for February Congratulations and a BIG thank you go to Olivia for sharing her story and pictures of her lovely garden with us. It's great to hear about the great variety of plants she is growing and the story of how she has created her garden and the problems she has  encountered and overcome. We hope she continues to add to it and keep it growing! We love looking at your gardens and hearing all about them so keep them coming in and you'll also be in with a chance of winning a €50 voucher to spend here at Fruit Hill
  • All About Onions

    The onion plant has been grown and selectively bred in cultivation for at least 7,000 years. Onions are part of the allium family - along with shallots, garlic and leeks. Onion Sets Onion sets are available as white or red for spring planting and as white onions for autumn planting. (Onion Sets are grown by sowing onion seed thickly late in the summer. The plants are allowed to grow just until they start forming bulbs. These immature bulbs are dug, cured like regular onions, then held in temperature-controlled warehouses until spring, when they are sold as onion sets).
  • How does your garden grow - featured February garden

    Peter from Meath is our featured garden for February We love that Peter has transformed his garden from a waterlogged field to a haven for pollinating insects. Well done Peter and we hope you enjoy spending your €50 voucher for Fruit Hill Farm "It started 38 years ago as a waterlogged acre field, devoid of any vegetation apart from some hedgerow scrub, it's now a dynamic resource maintained for pollinating insects . Early intervention included land drainage and growing Alder shelterbelt to break up soil pan., these have being felled and provide some years of logs
  • February Seasonal Table: Leeks

    LEEKS: OVERVIEW Leeks are one of the most underestimated of all winter vegetables. Once dubbed “Poor-man’s Asparagus” the leek is one of the world’s oldest known vegetables, with its own set of nutritional benefits and flavours, leeks have been part of the human diet for thousands of years. Leeks are part of the allium family and are closely related to onions, garlic, shallots, and scallions with a milder taste and larger in size. Health benefits Leeks are a phenomenal source of vitamins and of antioxidants: They contain powerful antioxidants for staving off
  • Crop Rotation

      January is a good time to think about your crop rotation and what quantities you will be growing.  What was a success last year, what did you have a glut off – and what did no one like?  (Bridget - what is wrong with courgettes?) Taking photos throughout the year is a good idea too as it is so easy to forget what everything looked like on a dark January day! What is Crop Rotation? Crop Rotation is the practice of growing specific groups of vegetables on a different part of the vegetable plot each year. This helps to reduce a build-up of crop-specific pest
  • What does Organic mean?

    Organic food is food produced by methods that comply with the Standards of organic farming. Standards vary worldwide, but organic farming in general features practices that strive to cycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Organic Growers do not use any chemical fertilizers, insecticides or herbicides on the crops they grow.  Neither do they use Genetically Modified seed. The emphasis is on working with nature to produce a healthy soil environment through the addition of natural inputs (for example seaweed) and green manures.
  • Propagation

    If you want to get you seeds off to an early start you will need to create a nice warm and protected environment.  There are 4 ways of doing this - soil warming cable, heated propagator, heating mat, hot press. Soil warming cable   Soil warming cable. Early propagation requires a consistent soil temperature of 12ºC to 16ºC. Germination and root development are very slow below these temperature levels. If you have a large area to heat up then a soil warming cable is ideal.  The cables are ready to use and can be plugged into a thermostat for complete temperature
  • How to grow Potatoes

    What to plant Earlies:   Very good if you only have a small area. As they are lifted earlier, they are less likely to encounter problems such as wireworms, slugs and blight. Earlies are ready 15 - 16 weeks after planting in March onward.  Only plant when the conditions are right - be patient! Second Earlies:   Second Earlies take 16-17 weeks to mature after planting in April Maincrops:   Maincrops take 18-20 weeks to mature after planting in mid-April onwards. These take up the most space in the garden, but they are the best varieties to store.  They also
  • What are Green Manures?

    Green Manures, also referred to as fertility building crops, may be broadly defined as crops grown for the benefit of the soil. A wide range of plant species can be used as green manures. Different ones bring different benefits. If the most is to be made from green manure crops it is important that they are carefully integrated into the crop rotation and proper attention paid to their cultivation. Advantages -  Increased biological activity  Improved soil structure and drainage  Reduced erosion and leaching  Increased supply of nutrients available to plants

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