November Gardening Newsletter 2022

Dear Fellow Gardeners,

November Gardening Newsletter 2022.  The year 2022 has been a very busy and exciting year for us travelling and discovering new and old vegetable crops from Southern and Eastern Europe.  We took our two children on a long road trip through France, Italy, Greece and then back through Northern Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.  The excuse for the trip was my plan of writing a new book on Unusual Vegetables.  I certainly found lots of exciting crops on the way such as cardoon in France, Spigarelli and Puntarelle in Italy, ancient Greek tomatoes (Rodavigi and Paleochori) and fields of Breadseed Poppies in the Czech Republic, just to mention a few.  Unfortunately, the book is still only a pile of information material on my desk with little structure yet.

Online Courses

I was also busy this year filming an online course with NOTS on Commercial Organic Vegetable Production and another online course with Sr Assumpta Butler at the Community Gardens in Bundoran.  We filmed 23 sessions (each around 45 minutes long) throughout the year.  If anyone is interested, these are available now to purchase on our website.

The Complete Online Organic Gardening Course comprises of 23 sessions (January to December) plus a couple of recorded Q&A sessions and costs €100.

Course: Complete Online Gardening Course – Green Vegetable Seeds

Alternatively, you could get the first 12 sessions (January to late April) to get your gardening year started.  The cost is €55.

Course: Online Gardening Course – Part 1 – Green Vegetable Seeds


Here are a couple of sample videos to watch:

The following video is from January 2022 and gives a lovely introduction from Sr Assumpta before doing a seed sowing demonstration:

This video is from April and includes a composting session with a little rant about artificial fertilisers and the amount of carbon dioxide  that nitrogen fertiliser production emits.


Christmas Gift Seed Boxes

This box contains 12 seed packs as a gift for your gardening friend this Christmas.  It is a selection of a broad range of vegetable seeds suitable for growing outdoors.  Cost: €20 for 12 packets.  More information on:

Christmas Gift Seed Box (outdoors) – Green Vegetable Seeds

The following box contains 12 seed packs suitable for growing in a polytunnel or greenhouse.

Christmas Gift Seed Box (indoors) – Green Vegetable Seeds


The most ancient bean in the world

Broad Bean – Martock

The Martock bean is an ancient broad bean variety.  In fact, it is the oldest recorded vegetable variety dating back to the 12th Century where it was grown in the village of Martock in Somerset, England. It is likely that this was the bean grown in Roman times and used for the Roman voting system – black beans for “NO” and brown beans for “YES”.  The dried seeds of the Martock bean keep for many years and eventually turn black.

Last year I got a handful of pods from Joan, one of the expert gardeners at the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin where they are grown in their Viking Garden.

The plants grow like the broad bean but the pods and seeds are much smaller.  One recognizable feature of this variety is the fact that the pods are pointing upwards on the plant.

The seeds can be eaten fresh like the broad bean seeds or dried and stored for the winter and then soaked overnight before cooking.

These are such little gems and will hopefully be grown by many gardeners and thus kept alive maybe for another few hundred years.

I managed to save a few seeds and they are available on our website while stocks last. Here is the link:

Broad Bean – Martock – Green Vegetable Seeds

Bean, Broad - Martock
Martock Bean Seeds

Why not grow your own poppy seeds for the kitchen?

Breadseed Poppy – Czech Blue

Poppy – Czech Blue is a breadseed poppy variety that I found in the Czech Republic where it is grown on a large scale. The Czech Blue Poppy has white flowers with a purple base and produces large pods with distinctly blue seeds which are ideal for baking. These are ideal for growing in your vegetable garden or flower garden. The plants grow up to 1m tall and start flowering about 3 to 4 months after sowing.

Poppy seeds are amongst the so-called superfoods. They contain plenty of vitamin E and calcium as well as magnesium, iron and vitamins B5, B3 and B1.

Poppy – Czech Blue – Green Vegetable Seeds

Poppy Czech Blue
Poppy (Breadseed) Czech Blue

Jerusalem Artichokes tubers

Jerusalem artichokes are the easiest vegetable anyone could grow.  The name – Jerusalem artichoke has nothing to do with Jerusalem or Israel – it came about from a mispronunciation of the Italian word “Girasole” (sunflower – turning to the sun) which sounded a bit like “Jerusalem”.  The word artichoke was taken due to its similarity in taste to the globe artichoke.  The original name from some native American tribes is “Sunroot” – a far better name.  In German they call it the Diabetes Potato due to its high inulin content.  It’s also great for weight loss.

Jerusalem artichoke

Jerusalem artichoke tubers for sale:

We offer a mixture of different varieties.  Tubers can be planted from late February onwards until April.  When you receive the tubers you need to store them in damp sand or soil in a cool shed or garage until planting time.  Each tuber produces over a dozen new tubers by the end of the growing season.  They can be grown like potatoes and earthed up.

5 tubers @ €5.00

Here is the link:

Jerusalem artichoke tubers – Green Vegetable Seeds


Upcoming Gardening Courses:


Course:  Establishing a fruit garden

Fruit trees and bushes often look just as beautiful as ornamental trees and shrubs.  So why not incorporate them into your garden and get the benefit of delicious apples, plums, nuts and berries.

This course is for beginners and will include site selection, good choice of varieties (not all apple varieties are suitable for the West of Ireland!) and general care of the plants.

There will be practical demonstrations on how to plant fruit trees, how to prune various fruit bushes and how to propagate soft fruit bushes using cuttings.

Date: Saturday 3rd December 2022

Venue: Mayo Abbey Training Centre,

Contact: or 094 9365987


Happy Gardening