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Soil

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Taking a soil sample

      Beneficial results of a soil test depend on a good sample. The sample should represent the area it is taken from. A soil sample must be taken at the right time and in the right way. The tools used, area sampled, depth and uniformity of the sample, information provided, and packaging all influence the quality of the sample. Take a sample well in advance to give yourself time to understand and act on the results. Do not sample when the land is waterlogged or very dry. For sampling purposes divide the farm into fields or areas of between 2 – 4ha. You will need
  • World Soil Day 2016

      Soil is vital to humankind. Over 99 percent of human foods come from the earth. Soil is more than just the dirt under our feet. It is a home for living organisms and it provides nutrients and stability for plants to grow. Without soil, the plants necessary for people and animals to survive could not exist.  Erosion, sealing, loss of organic matter, compaction, salinisation, landslides and contamination have negative impacts on human health, food security, natural ecosystems, biodiversity and climate, as well as on our economy. -99% of our food comes directly
  • Seeds for grassland, forage and soil fertility

    Research is confirming that a diverse mix of grasses, legumes and other plants improves pasture and grassland for soil health, animal health and for wildlife. The Organic Research Centre in the UK has published a summary of results from a recent study that clearly shows the benefits of incorporating more than two species of legumes to help build soil fertility: Legumes: building soil fertility (pdf file) Legumes such as clover help build soil fertility They also found that including different grasses in the mix helped: "There are benefits from the inclusion of

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