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  • How to Dry Herbs

    You can dry herbs to make your own herbal teas and to use in cooking throughout the year. It's a relatively simple process and a great way to use up any excess or underused herbs you have growing in the garden.. Harvesting Herbs for drying You can harvest herbs throughout the season, but the best taste is obtained from fresh growth. Herbs grown for their leaves should be harvested before they flower. After they flower, most herbs tend to lose their flavour or become bitter. You also want to pick the leaves when they are tender and contain the highest amount of oil,
  • Seeds for Autumn Sowing Outdoors

    There's no good way to say this...but, Summer is waning. With the changing season (and temperatures!) we can turn our minds to what seeds we can sow that can cope with the lower levels of light and lower temperatures that the coming seasons will bring. Ideally seeds sown now should be grown in a polytunnnel or with a protective cloche outside, but the following seeds cope well with lower temperatures & light levels and can still be sown directly outdoors. If we have a mild enough September / October, these will grow within 8-10 weeks. SALADS Cornsalad - Has a
  • Farmers Markets & Honesty Boxes for Seasonal Gluts

    It's that time of year again when you may find yourself with a glut of produce - be it tomatoes, cucumbers, apples potatoes or something else - there's only so much preserving you can do at home - so it's worth considering setting up a stall at your local farmers market or even a simple honesty box so your neighbours or passers by can buy some of your extra produce off you. Farmers Markets Some farmers markets, like the Bantry market close to us here at Fruit Hill Farm, have been going on for as long as people can remember, whilst many are relatively new. With such a
  • How to Grow Christmas Potatoes

    It does seem a little early to be talking about Christmas, but if you want to have new potatoes for Christmas dinner this is what you do: What to plant You need cold treated seed – the cold breaks the dormancy cycle and spurs the potato into growth again. By using your own homegrown seed potatoes, or those from an organic grower, you can ensure they will not be treated with any chemical to prevent budding.   Early varieties are best as they have the shortest growing cycle. You can carry out your own cold treatment on the seed potatoes by putting them in a paper bag
  • Careful now! Minding yourself in the garden

    Stay safe out there, its a scary world! Put tools away, keep sharp objects safe. Keep fertilizers and any garden sprays or pallets away from children and pets. Careful when lifting heavy objects. Look after knees with either a kneeling cushion or knee-pads. Protect from the sun. Always wear gloves and cover wounds with waterproof dressing. Keep a small first aid kit handy.  Keep tetanus shots up to date. Wear a dust mask when strimmering to avoid bracken spores and fine dust particles. Do not put cooked food on the compost heap as this can attract rats. Compost
  • Foliar and Liquid Feeding for optimum crop growth

    With foliar feeding, instead of watering a liquid fertilizer into the soil, it is sprayed (in solution) onto the leaves of the vegetable or fruit crop. Research has found that a leaf can be a very efficient organ of absorption. The amounts absorbed may at first seem relatively small, but to offset this, the efficiency is high. So plants are able to absorb essential elements through their leaves as well as their roots. The absorption from the leaves takes place through their stomata and also through their epidermis. Transport is usually faster through the stomata, but
  • 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
  • Flea Beetle and How to Control Them

    Why are there holes in my Rocket? These tiny (and unsightly) holes that have appeared (often suddenly) in the leaves of young Brassica plants are the distinctive damage of the rarely seen Flea Beetle and can be very off-putting to the beginner gardener. WHAT ARE FLEA BEETLES The term Flea Beetle is used to describe a number of different species of beetles of the Chrysomelidae and they are found throughout the World. Flea Beetles are very small (usually 2- 3mm in size), shiny and oval shaped, and they can be dark blue, greenish purple or black in colour. As their name
  • Summer solstice and plants

    June 21st is the longest day of the year here in West Cork and the rest of Ireland.  If there are no clouds then we should get about 17 hours of daylight (woohoo!) with the sun rising at about quarter past five and setting just before ten. In terms of daylight, this day is 8 hours, 22 minutes longer than on December Solstice. This is due to the earth's axis and rotation. Instead of being straight up and down, the earth is actually tilted about 23 degrees. So as the earth rotates on its axis, parts of the world are tilted either closer towards the sun or farther away
  • 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

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