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Small & Starter Growers

  • Guide to Growing Potatoes for Beginners - 6 Tips for Success

    What could be nicer than digging your own early potatoes out of the home garden? Potatoes are a relatively easy crop to grow, but here are 6 top tips to increase the chance of success. Chit before planting to give the plants a head start when planting. To chit/sprout leave the seed potatoes in trays with their eyes up in a light cool, frost free room. (Read more about chitting potatoes HERE) Fertilize soil well to achieve a good yield and quality. Potatoes need enough Nitrogen to produce good stalks and leaves, Phosphorus for good root growth and Potash for yield,
  • Beginners guide to Sowing Seeds

    If you are thinking of starting a garden in January - seeds are a great place to start Getting Started with seeds Order seeds as companies will run out as the season goes on. If you are a beginner then exercise self control – grow what you like and what is relatively undemanding.  Lettuce, cabbage, peas and beans, beetroot, pumpkins and courgettes are all well within anyone’s reach.  Potatoes and onions are also great for a beginner.  Herbs are also a good choice and also decorative so could perhaps go on the patio or in the flower garden.  Keep records –
  • Introduction to Pruning

      The country’s trees have taking quiet a bashing this year and many of us are still clearing up damaged and felled trees. We can make the best of it by stocking up the woodshed and plan some winter pruning while we’re at it. With some exceptions, most trees are pruned in winter anyways. This is largely because deciduous plants go dormant in the winter and so less stress is received by the plant. There are other reasons for winter pruning. All the energy of the plant has been drawn in to its roots in the winter. This means the plant will have a large
  • Edible Flowers

    Not just a treat for the eye - quite a lot of flowers are edible and can be used in salads and as cake and beverage decorations.  They can also be crystalised and used later on as edible treats.  The following list is not exhaustive but will give you food for thought! Top row - left to right: Apple blossom, Borage, Dianthus, Chives, Cornflower. Bottom row - left to right: Courgette, Dill, Forget-me-not, Lavender, Marigold Apple/ Crab Apple Apple blossoms have a slightly floral taste. Good in a fruit punch. Borage Flowers can be used in salads or in cocktails. 
  • Bolting

    Bolting refers to when a plant rather rudely decides to enter its flowering stage before we would like it to. Essentially, it has come to the conclusion that it is time to produce seed, and energy previously flowing into leaf growth is diverted to this task. As a result, the leafy part of the plant, which we were more than likely planning on eating, is lost to woody, not so tasty, and sometimes more bitter material. Bolting is essentially a survival mechanism which is triggered for a number of reasons. The factors which contribute to a plants susceptibility to
  • Barefoot Gardening

    According to some sources gardening in bare feet can be beneficial to both the mind and the body. We know that having a connection with the land can feel therapeutic, but it can also be beneficial to your general physical health.  The foot has over 200,000 nerve endings. They are designed to touch the ground. You may want to consider gardening while you are barefoot. You will help stretch and strengthen the tendons in your legs and feet. You will also strengthen the small muscles in your foot. Additionally, you can improve your natural gait by going barefooted.
  • Managing Weeds Organically

    Weeds are particularly difficult for organic farmers to deal with as chemical herbicides are, of course, strictly prohibited. Broadly speaking, there are four approaches for weed control in an organic situation: Mechanical and manual weeding Flame weeding Mulching Green manures Mechanical & Manual Weeding Dock and Ragwort Digger. Excellent for getting out the long tap-root. This covers any method which physically interrupts any unwanted plant growth. Perhaps the most obvious (and most off-putting) method is the hand pulling of weeds. Physically uprooting
  • Square Foot Gardening

    It’s easy to forget here in spacious West Cork that not everybody has the luxury of a big garden to grow vegetables in. Square foot gardening is a method for helping those with smaller gardens to maximise their space. In square foot gardening, the growing area (typically a raised bed) is marked out into smaller square sections. This helps to plan and create a well planted and neat vegetable garden in minimal space. Generally, a bed is divided into a grid of 12” sided squares. So for example a 3’ by 3’ raised bed could be divided into 9 squares and a 3’ by
  • Raised Beds

    A raised garden bed is a mound of soil raised above ground level and contained by a frame that is used for growing herbs and vegetables. Raised beds can be made from timber, stone, logs or bricks. They are different from container gardening in that they do not have a base and cannot be moved. Advantages Earlier cropping as the soil is warmer. Improved drainage. Plants are more accessible and maintenance is easier. Easier to plan and manage a rotation system. Greater yield as crops are closer together. Soil can be tailored to specific crops. Soil is not compacted as
  • 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

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