Organic Ireland an article August 2008.
Below is a quick introduction to our vegetable
growing. We also have some more detail on these linked pages ...
Are What We Eat:
At the end of 1999 we took over a part of the farm to start organic production. We focussed on vegetable growing at first with the intention to gradually expand the range and extent of sustainable production in the ensuing years.
Previously the land had been grazed. Originally we planned to grow on 1 hectare only, but we put 9 ha in to conversion. This proved fortunate since the original space became difficult to work and the expansion site is better. During 2003 we decided to move vegetable production from open field to the walled garden to which we did not have access when we started, but we will continue management in the 1 ha and the 8 ha sites. The walled garden, offers a warmer micro-climate with better access to utilities and protection from birds and small herbivores. The other sites will be used for tillage crops and fruit and timber growing.
At the end of 2003, after 4 years of experiment and experience we are raising the level of commitment by introducing biodynamic methods and livestock.
Originally the main production base was a 1 hectare horticultural unit operating an eight plot rotation. Here the main crops are: Beans; Carrots; Courgette, marrow, pumpkin; Potatoes; Corn; Brassicas (cabbage, calabrese and cauliflower); Peas; Tomatoes. In each plot we also sow a companion herb or two and a green manure. In addition, off the plot we grew additional herbs and flowers.
The expanded system will include a 5 plot rotation for vegetables, flowers and herbs, a 3 plot tillage rotation, perennial plantations of fruit and herbs and the greenhouse for tomatoes and some other warm climate crops. Poultry is added in 2004 and we expect to add larger livestock by 2005.
We were operating a single growing season till 2003 and have extended the harvest season in 2004, without forcing growth.
Tools include a 10 HP two wheel tractor with various implements, spade, shovel, hoe, trowel, seeder, rinser and various others. A recently added four wheel tractor with some implements now also helps to shorten some tasks, but is mainly for use on the 8 ha field and for groundskeeping.
The produce is for consumption by those of us living and working here,
some is sold locally and some to visitors who get an extremely good
deal for self service selection!
Also see ...