Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Visit to Eco-Village: Cloghjordan

The Dublin Community Growers payed visit the Eco-village of Cloghjordan in Tipperary on the week-end of October 14/15th 2012 last week-end.The weather held up for us nicely and a good two days was held by all involved.I would like to say a very BIG THANK YOU to Kevin who arranged this trip,but due to a family situation was not able to attend himself to enjoy the event.
 Map in village showing surrounding area and cycle routes

 Hostel in the eco-village

 Main enterance to eco-village

 Home bakery in the eco-village which sell to shops,etc.

 Planting Spring bulbs

 Dublin Community Growers on a walk about of the farm

 One of the poly tunnels on the farm

 There are different types of  eco-friendly houses,apartments been built there

 On arrival in Cloghjordan train station

 Different ways to grow in the poly tunnel

 One of the main meeting areas on the site

 Some site still for sale

 Talk in one of the projects been done there 

 Project site on the outside

  Helping to do our small part
 Doing some clearing of weeds and mulching

Friday, September 14, 2012

October in the Community Garden

Hi all fellow community gardeners,
 The Autumn is just upon us so time to do the October work in the garden,have a read for the jobs to be carry out.
South Circular Road Community Garden  Sept.2012

There will still be some vegetables to harvest and store, but your plot will be emptying. As the ground become vacant, dig it over and apply manure over the surface.

October is a good month for double-digging to increase the depth of your topsoil and incorporate manure. If you don't need to dig over the plot, why not plant a green manure to overwinter.


By now the maincrop potatoes should be ready. As the foliage dies back you can cut this off and leave the potatoes for a couple of weeks. This will prevent any stray blight spores from infecting your crop. Wait for a sunny dry day and dig up the potatoes, brushing off excess soil and letting them dry before storing in hessian or paper sacks in a frost free, dark shed.

The last of the beans should be picked now, compost the foliage but leave the roots with their nitrogen full nodules in the soil as a fertiliser.

Carrots can come up to be stored in sand or peat through the winter but leave the parsnips in the ground. They'll be sweeter after a frost.

Cabbages should come up now too, they'll keep remarkably well in that frost-free shed but beware the slug that may be lurking under the leaves. Sprinkling the outside with salt will deter them from eating away through the winter.

Any green tomatoes on outdoor plants may as well come in now before the frost gets them. You can make a green tomato chutney or ripen them up indoors. Green tomatoes will actually store quite well in cool conditions and slowly ripen or you can hasten the ripening process by popping them in a tray in a sunny windowsill with a ripe banana.

General Jobs in the Garden

As ground becomes vacant you can dig it over and spread manure over the surface. Leave the soil roughly dug in large clumps and the worms will break these up as they get the manure. The freezing and thawing of water in the soil will cause the soil to break up finely so becoming easier to handle in the spring.

October and November are good months to undertake double digging, incorporating manure into the bottom of the trench and deepening your topsoil.

With finer soils where digging each year is not necessary, you can plant a green manure crop to overwinter such as field beans.

Dig in any green manure crops such as mustard that you planted earlier in the year.

Your compost bins will be filling up as the last of the crops come in so now is a good time to give them a turn to help even decomposition and cover them to keep them warm and damp rather than soaking wet. If you've got a comfrey patch you may as well take the last cut and add to the heap to activate it.

The leaves will start to fall very shortly and these are a valuable resource. Prepare for them by building a leaf mould cage. Very simple to do, you just drive four stakes into the ground and staple chicken netting around to make the cage. Pile in the leaves and leave them alone for a year. You will find the pile reduces by two thirds at least, so keep filling the bin as more leaves fall. If you have one those marvellous garden vacuum mulchers that suck up leaves and chop them, you will find the leaves rot down much more quickly. Watch out for council sweepers, they may just drop you a load of leaves when they call to collect a few veggies off you.

Sowing, Planting and Cultivating

It's not too late to plant out Japanese onion sets, these are hardy and will overwinter producing a crop about a month earlier than the spring planted onions. A cloche or fleece covering will get them off to a good start and stop the birds from pulling them out.

You can plant your garlic now although this job will hold over into November easily. If you have time and the weather is fine, it's worth doing it when you can because who knows what November's weather will be?

You can sow broad beans now to get them off to an early start next year, but in colder areas it may be better to wait until spring as germination is more patchy on winter sowings. Better late than never.

Remove any yellowing leaves from over-wintering brassicas, they are of no use to the plant and will encourage botrytis to develop.


When the strawberries have finished tidy up the bed, cut off the tops, remove dead leaves, rotting berries you missed under the foliage and remove self-planted runners.

Fruit bushes such as black- and redcurrants should be pruned, as should the gooseberries. Now and November are good months to attend to the raspberries, blackberries, etc. It's also a good time to plant new canes, adding some compost and 8oz per square yard or 250 grams per square metre of bonemeal to keep them well fed.

In the greenhouse

If you've not already done so, now's the time for a good clean out. Take out all those pots and bits you've left in there and put them in the shed – you can tidy that up later!

Next it's time to wash the greenhouse down, a little detergent and disinfectant and a scrubbing brush. Getting the glass clean will allow more light through in the dark days and cleaning the frame will remove pests looking for a good spot to spend the winter.

If you are going to be using the greenhouse through the winter, you can now insulate it. Bubble wrap is good or heatsheets will do the job. Don't forget you will still need some ventilation or mould will run riot in the house.

You can also sow a hardy lettuce like Arctic King and grow them on in your border to give you a salad whatever the weather. 

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, with the growing season coming to an end. The temperature is dropping, the days shortening with the clocks going back at the end of October. By November we'll have seen the first frosts.

·         Harvest and enjoy your fresh, home-grown fruits and vegetables. Store your root crops carefully and freeze or make jams and chutneys with gluts of other vegetables and fruits.

·         As you harvest and the ground is cleared, start soil preparation for the following year, digging and adding manure as required.

·         Clear up any fallen leaves and either make leaf mould or compost them.

·         If you will be using your greenhouse over the winter, wash it down inside and out before adding insulation.

·         Plant fruit trees and bushes to give them time to establish before winter starts.

·         Make sure that all trees are securely staked, to avoid root rock and damage during winter storms.

·         Remember to check your stored vegetables from time to time and remove any that show signs of rotting before the damage spreads.

Growing in a Polytunnel in October

October is the month for clearing and tidying. Your cucumbers and courgettes are likely to be finished and many other plants are getting exhausted and diseased, but hopefully you have a batch of new salad crops ready to plant out now. I always enjoy this time of year becomes the tunnel or greenhouse becomes completely transformed and rejuvenated again.

Sowing in the Polytunnel

Direct sowing into beds There is now plenty of space again for sowing directly into the beds. Any salad crop can be sown directly into the ground now or sown into modules for planting out later. The decision is yours.

Planting into beds
I always look forward to planting out the garlic cloves into the beds in October. If you plant them in early October they will be ready and harvested in May just in time before your tomatoes need to be planted. You can also plant overwintering onion sets.

Sowing into modules/pots (18-20˚C)

The best time for your overwintering salads was really in September, but if you have missed that date you can still sow them now. They may not be ready before the end of the year but will produce well in late winter until early spring.

·         Claytonia (or Winter Purslane) – 5 seeds per cell

·         Chervil, Coriander, Dill – 5 seeds per cell each

·         Oriental brassica salads (all types) – 5 seeds per cell

·         Scallions (Ishikura Bunching) – 10 seeds per cell

·         Spinach (annual) – 4 seeds per cell

Harvesting from the Polytunnel

In October the summer crops are fizzling out and their quality declines. You may still harvest some:

Aubergines, basil, calabrese, coriander, Chinese cabbage, courgette, cucumber, dill, Florence fennel, French beans, lettuce, melons, oriental brassica salads, pak choi, parsley, peppers, salads, scallions, spinach and tomatoes.

General Polytunnel maintenance

·         Hardly water at all - once a week at the most.
·         Ventilate as much as possible.
·         Clear all remaining summer crops. Don’t leave any of their crop residues in your tunnel or greenhouse otherwise their      relevant pests and diseases will be carried over to the new crops.

·         Start chitting your first early potatoes indoors.
·         Continue harvesting your winter salads.
·         Prepare the soil for the early spring crops by incorporating compost or composted manure into the soil.
·         Tidy and clean the tunnel or greenhouse: wash the plastic or glass, clean and tidy away the pots and trays.
·         Clean your tools and rub boiled linseed oil onto the handles and a mixture of old oil and diesel to get rid of rust on metal blades.
·         Order your seeds, seed potatoes, onion sets and garlic bulbs


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hi all community gardeners,
                                               In the garden in July 2012 what should be growing or not growing in this weather in Dublin Ireland.

Summer in March, winter in May, spring in June - climate change isn’t making it easy for veg growers. We can no longer grow ‘by the book’, but have to use our ingenuity to adapt to whatever the weather throws at us. Undercover space in a greenhouse or polytunnel has been invaluable this year.

There is still time to sow lots more veg for late summer and autumn cropping.

                                 early and maincrop; until July. Try 'Boltardy', good resistance to bolting, with fine                                r                                 texture and flavour

until end July
early; until end July
Try some in a box if you've run out of space in the garden.
Use an early variety such as the extra sweet Sugarsnax or the spherical rooted Paris Market.
mini - until early July
until end July; Pain di Zucchero, harvest in October.
Chicory, red and sugar loaf
until end August
Florence fennel
for sowing before mid June, choose a cultivar listed as suitable for early sowing; some cultivars are very sensitive to day length and will bolt if sown before the longest day (21st June); until early August
French beans
until end June, or July for a late crop of dwarf beans under cloches
Hamburg parsley
Until end July. Grown for its white parsnip-like roots.
Kohl rabi
until August. Try Azure Star, striking blue/purple ‘bulbs’ with white, mild flavoured flesh.
looseleaf, Cos, crisphead and butterhead. Lettuce, apart from crisphead varieties, germinates poorly when the soil temperature goes above 25C. This can happen in summer. To avoid this risk in hot weather, sow into well watered soil between 2 and 4pm, then cover with some form of shading material for the first 24hrs.
Pak choi
until end August
until end July
maincrop, mangetout and sugarsnap until end of July
Radish, mooli
until end August
Radish, winter
until end August. Sow winter varieties such as China Rose and Black Spanish.
Spinach, perpetual
until mid August, or end of August under cover
Swiss chard
until mid August, or end of August undercover. To brighten up your winter plot, try Rainbow chard. Stems can be orange, yellow, red, bright pink or even white!.

early varieties till end August; maincrop varieties till August.

                 Enjoy as best you can this Summer ???

Friday, June 29, 2012

Enjoy the read
29 June 2012
Why is pollination important?
·         Pollination services provided by insects, mainly bees, are worth EUR 153 billion a year, according to EU-funded research.

·         The production of more than three-quarters of world crops depend on insect pollination.

·         Crops that depend on pollinators include the majority of fruits, vegetables, oil and protein plants, nuts, spices, and stimulant crops like coffee and cocoa.

·         In terms of weight, 35% of the world food production come from crops which depend on insect pollination, 60% come from crops which do not (such as cereals) and 5% come from crops on which the impact of insect pollination is still unknown.

·         The FAO recently estimated that out of 100 crop species which provide 90% of food worldwide, 71 of these are bee-pollinated. 

·         The complete loss of insect pollinators, particularly that of honey bees and wild bees which are the main crop pollinators, would not lead to the catastrophic disappearance of agriculture throughout the world, but would result in substantial economic losses and greatly increased food prices for the consumer.

·         Pollinators, particularly bees, are in decline around the world. In some agricultural areas, farmers already have to import bees to ensure their crops are pollinated.
Pollinators in Ireland
·         The honeybee and Ireland’s native bumblebees are the main pollinators of crops in Ireland.

·         A study from the Department of the Environment found that bees are worth €85m a year to the economy.

·         Ireland has 101 native bee species, and these are known to be in decline.

·         Our diverse native flora is dependent on a range of pollinators, of which bees, hoverflies, and moths are most important.
Ireland has 101 native bee species

In addition to the honeybee, Ireland has 20 bumblebee species and 80 solitary bee species.
The Irish fauna

·         Ireland’s bee fauna is less than half the size of that in Britain, which has about 260 species, and is very depauperate is comparison to central Europe. This is due to Ireland’s oceanic climate, small surface area and isolated location at the western periphery of Europe.

·         Within Ireland, there are clear regional differences in the native fauna, which are assumed to reflect climactic variation with the country. The south east of Ireland, in particular, is richer in species number for solitary bees. This is not the case for bumblebees, which are less influenced by small differences in climate.

·         The west of Ireland (particularly areas around the Burren, the Aran Islands and the Mullet peninsula) has a high diversity of bumblebees and is key for many of the threatened species. Many species have been lost from the east of the country due to extensive agricultural intensification and urbanization.

·         Some bee species are generalists and can exist in a range of different habitat types, including parks and gardens. This includes many of the bumblebees and some solitary species (e.g.Halictus rubicundus, Lasioglossum albipes, Andrena scotica).

·         Others species are habitat specialists and are restricted to particular habitat types. The most important habitats for specialists are species rich grassland (Bombus sylvarum, Andrena marginata, Nomada argentata), sand dunes (Megachile maritima, Osmia aurulenta, Colletes floralis, Colletes similis, Colletes daviesanus) and upland heath/bog (Bombus monticola, Andrena fuscipes, Colletes succinctus). Some species are most strongly associated with native woodland sites (Andrena clarkella, Andrena denticulata , Nomada leucophthalma) but we have little evidence in Ireland of species that are found exclusively within this habitat type.

·         Some bees are recent arrivals to Ireland. The early nesting bumblebee, Bombus pratorum, was first recorded here in 1947 and is now widespread and abundant throughout the country. The most recently arrived bumblebee is the mountain bumblebee, Bombus monticola, which was first recorded in the Wicklow Mountains in 1974. Since then it has been spreading south into counties Carlow and Wexford. It has also been found in counties Antrim, Tyrone and Derry in Northern Ireland. It is unlikely to spread as rapidly as the early nesting bumblebee because it is a habitat specialist and is restricted to suitable areas of bog/heath.

·         Many of the native bees in Ireland are threatened, as highlighted in the national red list. However, we do retain important populations for a number of species. Of these, the most important is Colletes floralis, the Northern Colletes bee, which is a coastal solitary species restricted to sand dunes in Ireland. It has undergone severe declines in other countries across northern Europe. Fortunately in Ireland it is not declining and there are still lots of healthy populations on the east and west coasts. Ireland now holds a significant proportion of the world’s population, making this a very important location for the species.

·         The shrill carder bee, Bombus sylvarum, and the large carder bee, Bombus muscorum, have both dramatically declined in Britain. Both are threatened and need to be closely monitored in Ireland but we do still have many healthy populations, particularly of Bombus muscorum, which appears to be capable of exploiting the urban environment here. Bombus monticola, the most recently arrived bumblebee to Ireland, is also expanding here, despite being under decline in Britain where it is currently in a species recovery programme.

·         Ireland also has a unique bumblebee subspecies Bombus muscorum var. allenellus, which is found only on the Aran Islands.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Some photo's taken on 25 march 2012

Some of the flowers making their presents felt in the community garden in the month of March 2012.

Rocket salad gone to flower,we left them as they are so the bumble bees and other inects can benifit from them,in this early March flowering.
Some more flowering Primrose which were saved from the compost bin in one of the local council parks,they never fail to impress.
Willie and fellow community workers.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Month of April in the Community garden

Hi all,
Allotment & Vegetable Gardening in April
is great, the soil is warming up and spring should be here. Do keep an eye on the weather forecast though, even in the Dublin a cold snap and snow are not unknown in April. Keeping horticultural fleece on standby in case of cold weather is a good idea.
We're in the 'Hungry Gap' between the last of the winter crops and start of the early crops but there are still a few things available, late sprouting and chards for example plus you may have some early salad crops from the greenhouse border. Do re-check your stored crops. On a fine day, empty out the potato sacks and check for any rotten potatoes. If you've strung onions, watch out for the odd rotten one and remove it before it spreads,
General Gardening Tip
If you have any horticultural fleece, you can peg that onto the ground a week or so before you plant. The small rise in temperature of the soil can make a big difference
Sowing, Planting and Cultivating
There's quite a list to sow and plant outside,especially if March has not been suitable. Do remember the weeds are springing into action, so keep the hoe going. Don't forget, a sharp hoe is the best friend a gardener can have. Just slide it back and forth slightly below the surface of the soil and you'll stop the weed seedlings in their tracks. Hoeing
is also good in the event of drought as the disturbed soil surface stops the water being sucked to the surface by capillary action and evaporating in dry winds.

Things to sow
•Beetroot •Peas•Broad Beans•Broccoli•Brussels Sprouts•Cabbage•Cauliflower•Kale•Chard•Kohl Rabi•Leeks
•Spinach•Beet spinach•Rocket•Lettuce•Radish

With your carrots, covering with a fleece and ensuring the edges are buried will stop the carrot root fly from gaining entry to lay eggs by your carrots. The eggs hatch in larvae that burrow into the carrot root, killing the plant or at least
ruining the crop.

Plant Outdoors
Globe and Jerusalem Artichokes,Onion & Shallot Sets,Asparagus.
Paddy,s day or after it is the traditional potato planting time. If you have a comfrey bed and it has sprung back, the first cut laid in the trench under the potatoes will provide nutrition to get them off to a good start. On the subject of comfrey, if you make a comfrey tea it will help you to a great crop to use it on your potatoes. Many novice growers wonder why they have small crops of potatoes and most often this is just down to lack of food for this hungry crop.
Sow in Heat (Greenhouse or Windowstill)
•Aubergine•Celery•Outdoor Cucumbers•Tomatoes (if you've not already done so)
A good tip in a windowsill is to stick some silver cooking foil onto cardboard and place on the inside to reflect light
back onto the seedlings. This will help revent them being drawn.
Sow Outdoors Under Cloche
•French beans•Lettuce•Sweetcorn
Alternative Method for Sweetcorn like to pre-chit sweetcorn, lay the seeds on a layer of damp kitchen paper
and then place a layer of paper over in an airtight box. An old ice-cream carton or a Tupperware type box is ideal. Check carefully each day and as soon as the small white sprout appears, plant the seed about half to a 20.5mm deep
in a 70.5mm pot of general purpose compost in the greenhouse. When the shoots appear about a 20.5mm high, plant out under cloche being careful not to disturb the root (sweetcorn hates root disturbance) under a cloche. Sweetcorn needs a lot of nitrogen and a teaspoon of dried blood per plant or water. Many of the crops you can sow directly will also benefit from cloching, especially as you started off in modules in a cool greenhouse or coldframe and then planted out later.

Strawberries can be planted out now, it's best to remove flowers in the first year as you conserve strength for growth and gain larger crops in subsequent years. An easy way to gain strawberry plants is to plant the runners into pots and when rooted cut the runner. The plants don't last forever so you need to rotate them ever three to five years.

A good layer of compost around the base of fruit trees will ensure they have the nutrition to provide another good crop for you.

I've mentioned the carrot root fly but the gardener's worst enemy is awakening. The evil slugs and snails are coming out to eat entire rows of succulent young seedlings overnight so take action now.

South Circular Road Community Food Garden Project

The South Circular Road Community Food Garden Project started in April 2007. We have a derelict site on loan from ST Salvage Company that we have converted into a community food garden. This is a continuation of the initial successful Dolphins Barn Community squatted food garden that was on the canal from 2005 -2007.