Gardening Newsletter October 2021
Dear Fellow Gardeners,
Everything in nature has gone to rest and maybe we should also slow down a little bit now. However, there are some plants that want or even need to grow now. One of them is the Ivy (Hedera helix). From spring to autumn it grows under the canopy of the big trees, trying to survive and only when the leaves are shed in winter they come fully alive. The ivy is in full flower at the moment and will still provide the main source of pollen for a vast range of insects including moths and bees. Then in late winter/early spring, the ivy will produce berries which will be the first food for birds. Maybe we need to be less judgmental about this humble plant!
The only vegetables you could still sow or plant are broad beans (Aquadulce type) in milder areas and winter garlic. It always amazes me how this “Mediterranean” vegetable grows so much better here in Ireland and will survive any Irish winter.
BioFarm Conference 2021 – 8th – 12th November
This is always one of the highlights of the year – a full week of amazing talks by the most amazing speakers from around the world. The keynote speakers this year are Zach Bush MD and Dr. Christine Jones. I hope Zach will speak about the effects of the soil microbiome and our microbiome in our intestines – and how a healthy soil can produce more nutrient dense food. Christine Jones always inspires me and I always come away with wonderful new ideas.
There are lots more amazing speakers and my talk will be on Friday evening on “The Globalisation of Irish Agriculture” mainly looking where all the inputs for Irish farming come from. Just a couple of points – in each bag of conventional animal feed there are GM roundup resistant soy beans and palm oil products. Both of these are directly linked or even the cause of rainforest destruction and all for the sake of increased production to create even more greenhouse gases. As you can see it may not be the most uplifting talk but I will highlight wonderful and exciting alternative which were shown throughout the conference.
The conference is online but you can also join it live at the Landmark Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon. Most Irish speakers will be there. It only costs €50 for the entire week and you will have access to all the lectures indefinitely.
Future Growers Conference 2021 – 30th November
This is a one-day online knowledge sharing event for organic horticulture producers. I’m really excited about that – as one of my all-time heroes – Eliot Coleman will be the keynote speaker.
Have a look at the programme below:
Future Growers Conference 2021 – NOTS – National Organic Training Skillnet
Gold in Leitrim?
Sorry about this non-gardening piece in my newsletter, but this is one of the most absurd and disastrous political decisions made in recent years. How can the head of the Green Party even want to grant a prospecting licence for Gold and other mineral mining in Co. Leitrim?
At the same time as COP 26 takes place to try and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to protect biodiversity – they decide to ruin and destroy biodiversity while adding greenhouse gases to the environment. It is ironic that they are imposing carbon taxes while being the culprits themselves.
Please don’t underestimate Co. Leitrim – they managed to ban Fracking and even banned the use of the dangerous weedkiller Roundup in all public places.
I wish that every Green Party member would temporarily suspend their membership until Eamon Ryan will pull back from his decision. This could be the ruination of the Green Party!
I would very much appreciate if you could sign the petition below.
The following is from James Gilmartin who is an organic farmer in the affected area:
“On the 7th Oct Minister Eamon Ryan declared his intention to grant a prospecting licence for Gold, Silver and other base metals to Flintridge Resources. Leitrim as a county has done so much to attract tourism with greenways and blueway and is an area of outstanding natural beauty. A lot of Leitrim people want to move back here but they certainly won’t if this goes ahead. It is incredible to think that in the current climate in the middle of a biodiversity crisis that anyone would even contemplate entertaining an extractive carbon-heavy industry like mining.
As of last night’s Dail session Minister Ryan has indicated that he is most certainly in favour of granting this licence which beggars belief. You can watch his response here.
People still have time to lodge their objection at this link. The deadline is this Sunday 7th December
The online action to make objections is up now,
I’m just so shocked that a Green Party is working against nature for private profit. Sad times!
Actually I’m still very confident that this will never happen but we will need a lot more objections.
Here is a link to Marian Harkin’s speech yesterday:
Let’s go back to the garden!