November Gardening Newsletter

November Gardening Newsletter

Dear Fellow Gardeners

This newsletter is about protecting ours soils.  The “People4Soil” petition is now open and I hope many of you will sign this important petition.  We need 1,000,000 signatures in the EU to get some soil protection legislation initiated.

As Sir Albert Howard already said in 1940: “The connection which exists between a fertile soil and healthy crops, healthy animals and healthy human beings must be made known far and wide.”

We continuously have to remind ourselves that the top few centimetres of the earth’s crust are essential to all higher life on earth. Most old cultures realised this fact and have referred to soil as Mother Earth who provides food for her children.

Since farming has become industrialised we have done far too much damage to our soil.  We need to act now to make urgent changes to how we treat the giver of life.

The slogan for the Irish People4Soil initiative is:

“Stop treating soil like dirt”

Ian from the Environmental Pillar designed a wonderful T-Shirt.  You can contact Ian on if you’d like to order one.


Here is the link to the petition and please sign it, pass it on to friends.

It’s actually quite easy to get the petition completed.

On Monday 5th December there is a fabulous event on:  it’s WORLD SOIL DAY and we launch the People4Soil campaign on this day at the wonderful Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin.

You’ll find more details on this below.


From the People4Soil website:

Save our soils

Each passing minute, the soil is assaulted, suffocated, contaminated, exploited, poisoned, mistreated, and depleted.

In Europe, there is no longer a common law that protects the soil.

Safeguarding the soil with laws is the primary way of protecting people, plants, and animals. Without healthy living soil, there is no future. Healthy, alive soil protects us from environmental disasters, from climate change, from poisons all around.

More than 400 associations have joined together as part of the People4Soil coalition which asks the EU for specific regulations to protect the soil, which is as essential to life as water and air. Save soil with your signature.


Dates for your diary:

5th December 2016:  World Soil Day

The official launch of the People4Soil campaign will be held on World Soil Day on the 5th December 2016.

Venue: Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin

Speakers include: Matthew Jebb (Director Botanic Gardens), Michael Ewing (Environmental Pillar), Klaus Laitenberger, Helen Kelly and more speakers will be confirmed shortly.


Saturday 3rd December 2016: Gardening Course in Blarney with Klaus Laitenberger

Course title: Introduction to Organic Vegetable Growing

Venue: Hydro Allotments, Blarney, Co.Cork

Booking through:

Saturday 10th December 2016: Gardening Course in Co. Roscommon with Klaus Laitenberger

Course title: Introduction to Organic Vegetable Growing

Venue: Croghan Organic Garden, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Booking through:


Other important diary dates:

21st November 2016:  Future Growers Conference

In Conjunction with the Organic Growers of Ireland (OGI), National Organic Training Skillnet (NOTS) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) are hosting a 1 day seminar: Location: Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, Co.Westmeath. Time 9.30 am-4.30pm Cost €20.00 per person

To book or discuss training or mentoring requirements, please contact National Organic Training Skillnet (NOTS) on 0719640688 or 0870657864 / 086 1728442 or email or check out for further details.


This conference will cover the following topics: (full details below)

  • Green manures in protective cropping.
  • Encouraging Bio-diversity in protective cropping.
  • Soils.
  • Hygiene Regulations for growers and their effects.
  • Case Studies.
  • Small Growers Network

Future Growers Seminar, Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, Co Westmeath Monday 21st of November 2016 9.30 Registration Tea and Coffee 10.00 Jason Horner Introduction to the day 10.10am. Jason McCormack, Bray, Co. Wicklow; Reflections on this year’s apprentice programme. 10.30am. Oisin Kenny, Bia Oisin, Claregalway, Co. Galway; Getting started, how it all comes together. 10.50am. Penny Lange Ballinroan Farm Co. Wicklow. Hygiene regulations and how a small grower deals with them. 11.30am. Pete Dolliemore, Hankham Organics, East Sussex, UK. Market gardening under glass: Soil care, fertility and rotations 12.15pm Deirdre O Sullivan Nurney Farm, Co Kildare. How to make a market stall really work for you. 12.45pm to 2.15pm Lunch 2.15pm Catherine Hayes, Hayes Veg, Gort Co. Galway. The Small Grower Network’s first year. 2.45pm Pete Dolliemore, Green manures and beneficial bugs; are homegrown methods paying their way? 3.30pm Jim Cronin, Bridgetown, Co Clare. Real biological farming 4.15pm Close
Snail Farming Conference

Recent Interview regarding snail farming with the RTE Ray D’Arcy Show can be heard HERE on Monday the 24th of Novembers podcast. 2 day conference, learn about snail farming and why this industry might suit you and your farm. Meet National and International snail farmers and hear their experiences. Date : 14th and 15th of November. Location The Bridge House, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Cost: 2 day pass €100.00 per person. Delegate package including 2 day pass, over night and evening meal is €150.00 per person ( limited spaces)

The National Organic Training Skillnets (NOTS) will be hosting an exciting two day seminar on Snail production. This unique seminar should be of interest to all those who might consider snail farming as a part-time of full-time source of income.

Presentations will be made by a number of Iriish Snail Farmers and International experts on all aspects of the industry, including different methods of production, domestic and international markets, viability and profitability of snail farming, difficulties that may be encountered and the main reasons for failure.

Some of the guest speakers will include:

Ms Panagiota Vlachou: Founder and CEO of Fereikos in Greece. Since 2007, Fereikos has established 182 outdoor snail farms in Greece, Germany and Cyprus. See . In 2016 Panagiota inconjunction with NOTS trained many aspiring snail farmers in Ireland on the methods required to establish a successful snail farm. Additionally through the use of social media Panagiota continues to support and mentior Irish snail farmers.

Ms. Eva Milka: Founder of Ireland’s first commercial snail farm Gaelic Escargot in Garryhill Co Carlow. Multi business and investment award winner. Eva has worked ovel the last few years to develop the snail farming industry in Ireland.

Mr. Stephan De Wit, Founder of Marphan Escargot in Co Wexford. Stephan is a newly established snail farmer and advocate of the snail farming methods proposed by Panagiota Vlachou. Stephan through hard work has seen his snail farm florish in 2016. In late 2015, Stephan undertook the mammoth task of breeding all is own baby snails for the 2016 session. Stephan has also helped support others to develop their farms and sourse materials, Stephans contribution has been a driving force in the development of the sector.

Catherine and Richard Cocollos, Catherine and her husband Richie have set up Celtic Escargot in Kinvara, Co. Galway. Catherine is now part of the SuperValu Food Acadmey. Catherine was awarded the title of Female Entrepreneur of the year through the Acorns Program.

Catherine and Richie developed the first Irish Snail feed ration produed by an Irish Mill.

Why consider snail farming as an option?

The global market for edible snails is 300,000 tons, valued at €1billion. The French and Italian markets alone amount to €300 million. France imports over 80% of their needs and Italy imports 60% of needs, creating an export potential of approximately €200 million.

The market is growing at 4.5% per annum, so price levels are being maintained. .

The Irish climate is ideal for snail farming.

The profit margin on snail farming is high, if the correct farming techniques are applied and investment is relatively low.

Snails are easily exportable live, with a shelf life ranging from 2 to 6 months.

Snail meat is a recognised health food, high in protein and low in fat.

Snails are not susceptible to any serious diseases.

Other countries have established a successful snail farming industry in the recent past. Ten years ago, there were 3 snail farms in Poland. Today there are over 200, providing over 1,000 jobs and generating high income for small farms.

Organic Production Principles QQI level 5

Date: 11th, 12th , 25th and 26th of November 2016 Location, The Enterprise Centre, Drumshanbo, co Leitrim Cost: €220.00

Certificate in Organic Horticulture Distance Learning

Enrollment is now open. This 2 year course in horticulture will be delivered via Distance Learning, 4 Modules are taken each year, commencing in October 2016. For full details visit Cost €600

Westport Collage of Further Education

Level 6 in Horticulture This course is offered directly by the collage and more information can be found here . The collage offers sustainable horticulture training and agriculture techniques in their IOFGA certified garden. If interested please contact the collage directly as this is NOT a National organic Training Skillnet course

If you wish to book any of our courses, please contact a member of our team on 0719640688 Glyphosate Update:

Monsanto Tribunal

The  Monsanto Tribunal  and  the People’s Assembly was attended by over 750 participants representing 30 nationalities. In addition, many followed the proceedings online, which included witnesses’ testimonies, lawyers’ pleas, and initial impressions of the judges.

Have a look at the video message from Dr. Vandana Shiva, Hans Herren and Andre Leu on


Happy Gardening,