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Welcome to our Summer Newsletter 2012

Our summer course programme is now in full swing and we offer courses on storing and preserving (8th July), companion planting (July 22nd), dry stone walling (30th June/1st July, and 11th and 12th August), natural cosmetic making (7th and 8th July), soap making (21st and 22nd July) and aromatherapy (11th August).

Also please note, the Woodland Management course with Steven Meyen, which was cancelled will now take place on Sunday 24th June and there are a few places available. The course fee is only €35 as it is supported by Teagasc.

For more details and bookings visit our website at

  1. The Organic Centre Garden Party—Sunday 15th July from 11am–5pm.
    Tickets €8, children and “Friends of The Organic Centre” (membership) freeEvery year we try to showcase our gardens to the wider public and also invite back Friends of The Organic Centre to keep them up to date on developments here supported by their membership fee. What started as a Garden Day has become more of a Garden Party with the by now traditional cooking demonstration by our own Neven Maguire from McNean House and Restaurant in Blacklion. He will be back this year as will Trevor Sargent the former Minister for Horticulture, who will promote his new book Trevor’s Kitchen Garden, the proceeds of which will go to the national network SEED (School Earth Education) to bring about school gardens in every National School in the country.

    There will be guided walks, demonstrations and short workshops by staff, students and lecturers on all matters of organic gardening and growing, including a talk on Grow your own Salad Bowl by Hans Wieland, a session on How to assess and improve your soil by Ingrid Foley and a Wild Herbs and Food demo by Gaby Wieland.

    The Grassroof Café will be open with summer dishes. The Eco-shop offers seeds, plants, books, tools, sundries and other organic goodies.

  2. The Organic Centre will host the conference of the 2nd International Cloud Festival Head in the Clouds on Saturday 28th July in the afternoon.The festival will take place in North Sligo and North Leitrim, details about the full programm and tickets from You can also join The Irish Cloud Appreciation Society (TICAS) on facebook.
  3. School ToursWe had a few very busy weeks with school tours, where we entertained sometimes up to 65 pupils from National Schools with guided activities based on the food growing cycle including sessions on seed sowing, composting and tasting vegetables and herbs in the gardens. The children also enjoyed the playground, the willow domes and sculptures and running up and down the Earth Sculpture. On one of the school visits we were also assessed to become a Discover Primary Science and Maths Centre.
  4. Teachers Summer Course: How to create an organic garden in your schoolThis is the 6th year we are running this popular summer course for teachers, who want to establish an organic garden in their school. The course will cover all the basics and will show how the curriculum can be supported through an outdoor living classroom. The course runs from 2nd–6th July from 10am–3pm and can be booked through the Education Centre in Sligo, tel: 071 9138700. More information on 071-9854338.
  5. Green Manure TrialOur Green Manure Trial is again on display featuring 8 Nitrogen fixing plants like Crimson Clover, Red Clover and White Clover as well as seven other green manures like Phacelia, Mustard and Buckwheat. One purpose of the trial is to let visitors see, feel and experience green manures before they make a decision to incorporate them into their growing repertoire. Different
  6. Heritage Potato Growing TrialNew this year is our potato growing trial, where staff and students grow some heritage varieties of Dave Langford’s potato collection:

    Featured varieties are Taws Down Black, Bloomer, Irish Peace, Madeline, May Queen, Skerry Champion, Valour, Yeltem Gypsy, Harlequinn, Dave’s No 5, Peru Red, Tibet, Highland Burgundy Red, Champion, Desiree, Dobbies Asset, Langworthy, Aphrodite, Land League, Dave’s No 12, Russet Burbank, Pink Fir Apple, Axona. The potatoes are grown in 10 liter buckets in Lady Muck (composted horse manure). We will keep you up-to-date on developments!

  7. Vegetable plants for winter harvesting and overwinteringThe next batch of transplants will be available from September onwards and will include mixed winter lettuces and oriental greens. Check the website for further details and online sales.
  8. New books: Trevor’s Kitchen Garden by Trevor Sargent and Just Vegetating by Joy Larkcom. We can highly recommend those books to any gardener. They include a wealth of information, useful tips and tricks.

Hope to see you over the course of the summer!
Hans and all the team, 15th June 2012