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Gardening newsletter December with Klaus.
.Dear Fellow Gardeners,
 
I have finally finished my Nuffield report. It’s such a relief to have it all completed.  The title is “The potential of growing Yacon and other Lost Crops of the Incas and Jerusalem Artichoke as crops and functional foods in Ireland”.
I really think there is potential to grow and commercialise these crops. 
Here is the link to the report:
https://www.nuffieldinternational.org/live/Report/IE/2018/klaus-laitenberger
Here is the link to my short presentation (with Nuffield tie and all!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zM9qhGze4Ts
 
A pamphlet for Jerusalem artichoke
The popularity of Jerusalem artichoke has gone up and down throughout the last few centuries.  Generally in times of food shortage or potato failures, this crop has gained temporary popularity. 
With new findings of its health and environmental benefits, Jerusalem artichoke is set to become a staple crop throughout many parts of the world.
Why Jerusalem artichokes?
–          Jerusalem artichokes grow in any type of soil.
–          It can turn an infertile soil into a good loamy soil after a few years.
–          Apart from compost or composted manure there are no other inputs needed.
–          It grows on most sites – even some semi-shade.
–          It is the easiest vegetable to grow – if you can’t grow it – give up gardening!
–          It requires very little maintenance apart from earthing up and weed control in early stages
–          It is completely weather resistant – cold/heat tolerant, wet/dry tolerant
–          It’s leaves and stems can be used for animal feed
–          It’s hard stems can be dried and used as fuel or biomass
–          It can be made into poteen.
–          The tubers can be stored/kept in the soil – no storage costs.
–          The tubers contain lots of inulin – one of the best prebiotics.
–          The plants sequester more carbon from the atmosphere than a forest.
–          The stems can be made into a paper pulp to save forests.
 
The list goes on and on.  I’m currently writing a small booklet on Jerusalem artichoke to try and promote this wonderful ancient crop.  It was introduced to Europe in 1617.  It had its ups and downs but now due to its health and environmental benefits it will finally make it to renewed popularity.
Sorry I forgot to say – it tastes absolutely delicious especially roasted or in a soup.  We’ll have some seed tubers of Jerusalem artichokes available at our shop in Manorhamilton in the next couple of weeks.
 Bord na Mona updateI’m still involved in the Bord na Mona medicinal herb project.  Just in case you haven’t heard yet – Bord na Mona has converted over 100,000 acres of land into organic.  This is used for the production and wildcrafting of medicinal herbs which some people mistakenly call weeds such as plantain, dandelion, yarrow etc as well as calendula and lemon balm.  Another project is the collection of birch sap water.  Birch trees naturally colonise bogs once peat harvesting stops. It’s so amazing to see such monumental changes occurring everywhere.  It’s an exciting time.

Open Day at Featherfield Farm in KildareFeatherfield Farm will open its new farm shop on Saturday 14th December time 10am-4pm.
Come and share a coffee and a mince pie.

We will have Organic Dexter Beef, Organic Lamb & Organic eggs available as well as a larger selection of home made jams, chutneys & pickles.

In addition there will be a unique selection of handmade ceramic and wood Christmas decorations.

The full schedule of our 2020 courses will be available offering the perfect Christmas gift.

Come and see our demonstration garden, bee hives and chickens all tucked up for the winter.

Our postcode is R51 Y188 Lullymore West, Rathangan Co. Kildare

Call Mark Hurst 086-859 4438. Or email Julian@featherfieldfarm.ie

Courses and Workshops for 2020
 
Date: Monday 27th January 2020
Talk: Organic Gardening
Venue: Roscommon Abbey Hotel 8pm
Contact: Eilish 0861718114
 
Date: Saturday 15th February 2020
Course: Grow your own Vegetables
Venue: Glor na Mara Community Gardens and Allotments, Bundoran, Co. Donegal
Contact: Sr Assumpta
 
Date: Saturday 29th February 2020
Course: Gardening Tips
Venue: The Organic Centre, Co. Leitrim
Tips and tricks to make gardening easier;  how to propagate herbs, fruit and vegetables; how to breed new vegetable varieties – eg potatoes, etc; how to create a free soft fruit orchard with little work.
Contact: info@organiccentre.ie
 
Date: Friday 6th – Sunday 8th March 2020
Gardening Weekend at Renvyle House Hotel in Connemara
With: Anja Gohlke (Head Gardener Kylemore Abbey) and Klaus Laitenberger
Book early to avoid disappointment.
Email: info@renvyle.ie
Tel: 095 46100
There will be talks and workshops on organic vegetable, fruit and herb growing, a trip and guided tour to Kylemore Abbey Gardens as well as the very popular gardening quiz night.
This course quickly booked up in the last couple of years – early booking is essential.
For more information or booking:
https://www.renvyle.com/en/activity-breaks/gardening/
 
Date: Saturday 14th March 2020
Course: Spring in the Tunnel
Venue: The Organic Centre, Co. Leitrim
The first of our seasonal polytunnel workshops, designed to help you organise and make the best use of your polytunnel and enable you to harvest lots of produce throughout the year.  Workshop will cover crop rotation, composting, sowing and planting, tips, pest and disease. Hands on experience with Klaus.
Contact: info@organiccentre.ie
 
Date: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd March 2020
Course: Complete Beginner’s Gardening Course
Venue: Featherfield Farm, Lullymore, Co. Kildare
This course is suited for anyone who plans to start a food garden.  It is filled with practical tips and demonstrations on how to prepare the soil and make raised beds; compost making session, seed sowing demonstration and how to avoid pests and diseases. There will also be a session on growing fruit bushes and herbs.  It will include classroom sessions on crop planning, rotations and tips on which crops are best suited for the small garden.
A hands-on course – so bring gardening gear.
Contact: Julian@featherfieldfarm.ie
 
Date: Saturday 3rd May
Course Title: Summer in the Tunnel
Venue: The Organic Centre, Co. Leitrim
A tunnel based, practical session focusing on: maintenance, plant care, ventilation, feeding and watering, preventing and dealing with pests and diseases. Designed to support your summer production.
Contact: info@organiccentre.ie
 
Date: Saturday 9th May 2020
Course: Growing in Polytunnels and Greenhouses
Venue: Featherfield Farm, Lullymore, Co. Kildare
This course is for anyone who considers buying a polytunnel or greenhouse or who already has one.  Polytunnel growing is far more productive and reliable  than outdoor production.  Instead of just producing one crop outdoors you could get up to 5 crops per year in one space.   The course includes crop planning, detailed guidelines on growing a variety of crops, crop rotations and other practical aspects  eg types of tunnels, ventilation, pest and disease control and general management.
Contact: julian@featherfieldfarm.ie
 
Date: Saturday 30th May 2020
Course: Profitable Polytunnel Production
Venue: The Organic Centre, Co. Leitrim
This course is for anyone who considers making a small income from their garden.  Polytunnel production is far more productive than outdoor production.  Instead of just producing one crop outdoors you could get up to 5 times the amount of crop.  The course includes crop planning, crop rotations, selling produce, soil fertility, and other practical aspects  eg types of tunnels, ventilation, pest and disease control and general management.
Contact: info@organiccentre.ie
 
 
 
Happy Gardening
 
Klaus Laitenberger