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Organic Issues

  • Using Leafmould as a Soil Conditioner

    Leafmould is made from decaying leaves.  It is an excellent soil conditioner adding organic matter and micro-organisms to the garden.  Leaf mould is quite low in nutrients, which makes it suitable for seed germination as the seedlings develop a strong root system, which will help them remain healthy when threatened with pests and diseases.  If you have enough, leaf mould makes an excellent soil improver. The coarse organic particles help create air spaces, vital to let roots penetrate the soil. Leaf mould also makes a good mulch that aids moisture-retention and
  • Rye Bother?

    The terms ‘Rye’ and ‘Ryegrass’ can be confusing. They both refer to plants which belong to the grasses (Poaceae family) and their uses overlap. However, they are not the same species. Rye (Secale cereale) is a cereal grain closely related to wheat and barley. It is grown for grain that produces deep flavourful breads but also as a forage and cover crop. On the other hand, ryegrasses (Lolium spp.) are used primarily as high quality forage and fodder grasses as well as catch crops - perennial ryegrass is what you mostly see when gazing wistfully out over the
  • Helping Bees with Bee Friendly Practices & Plants

    Why are bees so important to us Bees are the world's most important pollinator of food crops, an estimated whopping 1/3 of food is dependent on pollination. Pollination is basically plant reproduction: by transferring pollen from the male part of the flower to the female part of the flower the plants seed or fruit can be formed. The transfer of pollen can be done by the wind, birds, bats, mammals and of course insect such as bees - bees are so important because they pollinate on such a massive scale - hence the phrase 'busy bees'. Threats to bees There are quite a
  • Is it cheaper to grow your own organic vegetables?

    We can all agree that growing your own vegetables has many advantages.  Nothing compares to home-grown for taste; growing your own means that your vegetables are very fresh, full of nutrients and taste delicious.  Then there’s the satisfaction – that sense of achievement that comes with picking your first tomato, or better still, when serve your first salad to a group of admiring friends!  Growing your own opens a whole new world to you and your family.  Children learn where vegetables come from and are generally more enthusiastic about trying them.  It creates
  • Ladybirds in the garden - the benefits they bring and how to identify them

    Ladybirds (or ladybugs if you prefer) tend to be more prominent after a spell of hot weather like we have just had, and we have noticed that we are fortunate enough to have some in our garden. If you are not familiar with Ladybirds larva you may be inclined to think that it is a pest that you should think about getting rid of.  However having ladybirds in your garden is of great benefit to any organic gardener as they help to eliminate destructive pests like aphids, mites and scale insects. How to identify Ladybird Eggs The female ladybird will lay 10-50 eggs on a
  • Regenerative Gardening: Looking after the invisible!

    I was fortunate to meet Alex Podolinski in the late 90's at a meeting in Camphill Duffcarrig in Wexford. He is a Biodynamic pioneer and basically the founder of Australian Biodynamic farming as it exists now. He was also one of the first people to recognize that plants have two types of root systems, one for the uptake of water, which supports the transpiration process; and much finer white "hair roots" which are the feeder roots. In artificially fertilized systems the latter are often impaired or even destroyed as most of the nutrients in such a system are supplied in
  • Visit to Livos (What I did for my Holidays)

    We have been stocking the Livos range of non toxic paints and wood treatments for some years now. As far as we know, Livos are the world’s first manufacturer of natural paints. The company was born in 1974 when a group of hippyish scientists and technicians began researching the use of plant compounds (phytochemicals) to create high quality paints and wood treatments which are as safe and clean as possible. Last week I visited the factory in Germany to learn more about some of the products, how they are produced and their ingredients. The word 'factory'
  • The Dangers Neonicotinoid Insecticides hold for our bees and other wildlife

    Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine (The name literally means “new nicotine-like insecticides) Neonicotinoids – first introduced in the mid-1990s – are the fastest growing and most heavily used class of insecticide, and account for roughly 25% of the global agrochemical market. They have become increasingly popular as insects (especially aphids) have developed resistance to other insecticides. How do neonicotinoids work? Neonicotinoids are designed to target the insects nervous system  causing havoc with the
  • Blight Resistant Potatoes

    Of the many pests and disease effecting potato crops, late-blight remains the most destructive by far. Traditionally, blight has been kept at bay by chemical control. Teagasc estimate that around €5 million is spent on fungicides annually to prevent blight in Ireland alone. This is dished out over 15-20 applications per season – a worrying amount. Unfortunately, this historical dependence on fungicides meant that a narrow range of potato varieties with little or no blight resistance could be grown successfully. As a result, not much effort was made to breed
  • 2018 Organic Seed Potato Catalogue

    Potato season is here! View and download the PDF of our 2018 Catalogue of Organic Seed Potatoes  by clicking on the link below. Fruit Hill Farm organic seed potato brochure 2018 We now have an even larger selection of Blight resistant varieties along with some interesting gourmet varieties for those of you that want something a bit different. View the full selection available on our online store   var

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