November Gardening Newsletter

November Gardening Newsletter

Dear Fellow Gardeners,
It’s great to get a dry spell especially during this time of year. It makes gardening so much easier. I was very busy in the last week planting autumn garlic, spreading seaweed, pruning summer raspberries (I know it is a bit late for that), pruning blackcurrants and lots of other tidying jobs.

Growing autumn garlic
I still get really excited about garlic. These were planted in Bundoran at the Glor na Mara allotments and community gardens. We planted a great range of exciting hardneck varieties as well as soft necks. These are the varieties we’ve been growing in the last couple of years: Early Purple Wight, Provence Wight, Carcassonne, Bohemian Rose, Czech Red, Sultop (this one was given to me by a friend from Kerry recently), Mikulov, Solent Wight, Red Duke, Moravian Red, Pink Marble.
A few tips on growing good garlic.
– Space the cloves wider than you think – about 20cm x 25cm.
– Plant the cloves twice their own depth (deeper than you think).
– I only plant the outside cloves as they produce the best bulbs and eat the inner cloves.
– There is no need to buy new bulbs every year. Keep the best bulbs for replanting. Never plant poor quality bulbs.
– Harvest the bulbs carefully next summer when leaves turn yellow but are still standing.

A quick update about the Glyphosate debate. The European Commission did not reach a consensus about a re-authorisation for Glyphosate (the weedkiller that the WHO has declared as a possible carcinogenic). The majority of MEP’s voted that the chemical should be phased out in the next 5 years and have a full ban by 2022. MEP’s will vote again this November for a final decision.
Only two Irish MEP’s voted to ban Glyphosate:
Marian Harkin and Nessa Childers – the others either voted to keep Glyphosate licensed or abstained the vote.

Potato breeding update
At the Cork site we grow about 70 true seed potatoes – 20 were discarded and we brought in and evaluated 50 new varieties. The yield ranged from 0.25kg/plant to 2.20kg/plant.
Three of us evaluated the 50 varieties based on uniqueness, yield, slug resistance and appearance and were left with 7 varieties.
At the Bundoran site we grow about 120 true seed potatoes – 30 were discarded and we brought in and evaluated 90 new varieties. The yield ranged from 0.35kg/plant to 1.60kg/plant.
Two of us evaluated the 90 varieties based on uniqueness, yield, slug resistance and appearance and we kept 12 varieties for growing on in 2018.
No taste test was performed.

Gardener’s Trial
In spring we’ll make mixed true seed potatoes available to our customers. You could get 5 to 10 small tubers to grow in your own garden. Each one will be a unique new variety that you can name yourself and please if you find an amazing one send me back a couple of tubers.
Potato breeding is that simple and such fun. It’s quite amazing how passionate people become about the humble spud.

Sunday 12th November 2017
Workshop in Ennis – Clever & Creative Gardening
An afternoon of garden talks with organic gardening experts Jim Cronin and Klaus Laitenberger is the last of this year’s autumn events organised by Clare Garden Festival. The theme for the afternoon is “Clever & Creative Gardening” combining the time-saving fun side of the popular hobby with empowering people to care for themselves, the soil and the planet.
The event will take place on Sunday 12th November from 3pm to 6pm at the old Ennis town council offices, Drumbiggle Road, Ennis, Co. Clare. The afternoon will be run in aid of local project Moy Hill Community Farm and is supported by Creative Ireland.
For booking a place please contact Carmen Cronin on

Wednesday 22nd November 2017
Day Course at the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin – organised by NOTS
This course will outline the basics of soil fertility management, propagation, crop planning and variety selection as well as how to prevent pests, diseases and weeds organically.
There will be some practical demonstrations on seed sowing and soil evaluation, powerpoint presentations, question and answer session as well as a tour of the amazing organic walled kitchen garden.
During this comprehensive workshop, Klaus will outline the basics of soil fertility management, propagation, crop planning and variety selection, as well as how to prevent pests, diseases and weeds organically.
Venue: Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9.
Time: 10am-4pm
For more information contact Margaret or Sean at NOTS on

Thursday 30th November 2017
Day Course at the Hydro Allotments near Blarney, Co.Cork – organised by NOTS
This is a similar course as the previous one at the Botanic Gardens but will contain more practical gardening aspects including pruning, taking hardwood cuttings and division of herbs – how to create a fruit and herb garden for free.
The Hydro allotments are probably the best allotments in the country and deservedly win all the prices. Zwena will give a very interesting short history about the Hydro Farm and the allotments
NOTS offer this as a free course. Zwena and friends from the Hydro allotments offer a delicious meal which is well worth coming for – please enquire about the price.
For more information and booking please contact Margaret or Sean at NOTS on

Friday 16th to Sunday 18th February 2018
Gardening weekend at the wonderful Renvyle House Hotel in Connemara
This is the 4th year of gardening weekends in Renvyle House Hotel and it really is a magical spot and an amazing venue or a course. Not to be missed.
A gardening weekend with Klaus Laitenberger, Organic Gardening Expert and Author and Ms. Anja Gohlke, Head Gardener at Kylemore Abbey.
This year’s gardening weekend will cover a different stage of preparation and planting in the garden, what should be done mid-spring.
The weekend programme will include an introductory evening, several demonstrations and workshops, a visit to Kylemore Abbey Victorian Walled Gardens with a tour with the head gardener, nightly in house entertainment, and complimentary use of on-site facilities, mystery guest & more…
With Klaus Laitenberger, talks and practical demonstrations:
• What to do in the garden in early spring? Vegetable bed preparation and planting.
• Growing herbs, a chance to learn more in the Renvyle Herb Garden, identifying all herbs in the garden, learning what maintenance is required for each and how to propagate the plants.
• Controlling weeds organically; this session will cover how weeds can be controlled without herbicide. Options include hoeing, mulching, false seed bed technique etc.
With Anka Gohlke, Head Gardener of Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Gardens will give a general tour of the garden with focus on:
• The layout and the different seasons of the garden as an indicator for Victorian gardens
• What’s in bloom at the moment?
• The use of green manures, catch crops, companion plants and other natural aids
• Preparing and using our own produced compost
• The challenges of running a big public heritage garden like ours

Price €195.00pp and includes 2 Bed & Breakfast, 1 Dinner & 1 Bar Food Evening Meal (Main Course + Tea/Coffee), Gardening demonstrations and tips with Klaus Laitenberger, an afternoon field trip to Kylemore Victorian Walled Garden and evening entertainment.
T: 095 46100 | E:

Other Events:
The Future Grower’s Conference will take place on the 27th November in Tullamore.
Amongst other exciting speakers, Iain Tolhurst will come over from the UK.
For full details have a look at:

Happy Gardening
Klaus Laitenberger