Growing in the Community

The wind is howling again as another storm rolls in from the Atlantic. It was a lovely weekend after the rain finally stopped. Wet and windy is what you expect from the winter in the West of Ireland which makes those occasional breaks in the weather special. Low tide was at just about the right time early on Sunday morning and I was able to get to the beach to collect a new load of washed up seaweed for the garden and for the polytunnels at the community centre.

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I have been trying to promote a “community garden scheme” using some of the land that surrounds the community centre. It’s a grass patch which I now know is around 450m2, I know it is that size as my son James lent me a hand drawing up a template that we can use for planning the new garden. He is doing technical drawing at college and I welcomed his offer to help me out. The site is right next door to the tunnels and I hope we will be able to combine these resources to develop this space into a place that will produce both food and a place to sit and enjoy nature. Goleen Community Garden

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I have organised an information and planning meeting for next Sunday and I am advertising it in the newsletter and on the village Facebook page. I have managed to persuade my college tutor to visit me on site this Wednesday and I am hoping he will give me some advice on how best to develop this space. There are a lot of experienced gardeners in the area as well as a local youth group and a couple of primary schools and my dream is that we will all be able to come together to create a space the community will be proud of.

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A Selection of veg for the Social Centre

Wish me luck, it will be a long term project but every journey start with a first step and that has now been taken.

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College is going well. We have been setting up a number of experiments with various nutrients, making solutions in beakers and test tube where we are planting broad beans and wheatgrass. We will be recording how the seedlings are affected and it will probably show us a bit about deficiencies. Some of the solutions included Sulphate of Iron, Potassium Chloride, Boron, Magnesium Sulphate, Dolomite lime, hydrated lime and organic products like rock phosphate, chicken manure, chicken feather and bone, seaweed and other combinations.  I have been experimenting myself trying to develop my own hydroponic nutrient formula using horse manure, seaweed, coffee grounds as well as nettles and comfrey and a few “secret” ingredients. I think getting consistent concentration levels is the difficult bit.

Everyone is talking about the temperatures dropping this week; one of the headlines in the paper was “Flake News” as there might well be snow. I am not sure it will get that cold down here but you never know, the kids would love it! Me? Well I am not so enthusiastic about the idea.

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