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How to..

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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,
  • Guide to Growing Early Potatoes and Chitting

    Early earlies are a treat to be savoured – and to get them on your plate in April/May you need to make a start now in December/January. Early potatoes have a short growing season – that is they will reach maturity within 10-12 weeks of planting depending on the severity of the weather.  Colleen, Casablanca, Sharpe’s Express or Red Duke of York are all reliable, tasty early varieties. Orla and British Queens (although officially these are second early varieties) can also be planted now for an early crop. Chitting potatoes Chitting is basically another word for
  • Cleaning and Sharpening Pruning Tools

    After investing in a high quality pruning tool or secateurs, it is worth taking a little time to keep them in good working order. Cleaning your pruners to avoid the build up of debris between the moving parts will definitely extend their life and usability. It is also important to sterilise your pruners if dealing with plants or trees where the carry-over of infection is a concern. Regular sharpening is also essential as dull blades tend to tear the plant tissue and make jagged cuts. Cleaning and Disinfecting Pruners  Clean - Before sterilising pruners, they should
  • 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
  • Digging - Best Practice and Tools for the Job

      It is great to see the recent burst of interest and research into no-dig farming methods as a means to preserve and promote the health of our soils. However, it is unlikely we will be downing tools anytime soon in our gardens as mechanically working the soil is by far the quickest way to convert a patch of unused land into a fertile and workable medium for vegetable plants. By cultivating the soil, we can quickly create an ideal loose friable structure by breaking up compaction and a directly adding organic matter such as compost and manure. This provides
  • How to string Onions (and Soft Neck garlic)

    Stringing onions is easy and a great way to store your crop overwinter as you can keep a large number of bulbs in a small space. Hang them in a cool, dry, frost-free place - such as a shed - until you need to bring them into the kitchen. Preparing Bulbs for Stringing Leave your bulbs to dry out thoroughly before you string them, by laying them out and leaving them in the sun for a few days. If it's raining, lay them on trays in a warm, dry place, such as a shed, polytunnel or conservatory. Choose the best quality, ripe bulbs to store - any that are damp and moist should

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