Every year seems to go faster and faster – we are already in September
and up here in Leitrim we didn’t get a summer – yet again. The last bit
of sunshine was in June. However, there is always the Indian summer to
look forward to. I’m very positive about it. Just in case you haven’t
anything planned for the weekend - it’s the Ballymaloe Garden
Festival. It’s always a wonderful weekend.
In this newsletter you’ll find the following:
- What to do in September
- Update on my Potato Breeding and Unusual Vegetables
- Love Leitrim
- Families wanted in Kiltyclogher
- An article by Maria Cannon on “How gardens affect our health”
- What are the most sustainable countries?
What to do in September?
In September we often have the best weather and the harvest is even more
abundant. Broad beans and early peas are likely to be finished by now.
You can either pull out the crop or cut them off at ground level to
keep the nitrogen they have fixed in the ground. I don’t think there is
a big difference as you just move the nitrogen into the compost and at a
later stage spread it out in the garden again.
You can now sow an overwintering green manure crop such as grazing
rye/vetch mix or field beans (only towards the end of the month).
The only crops you can still sow in September are the hardy winter
salads. There is a large range of them available. My favourites ones are
rocket, mizuna, mustard ‘Red Frills’ and ‘Green Wave’, pak choy,
claytonia, tatsoi and corn salad.
You can plant out lettuce, scallions, turnips, annual spinach, spring
cabbage and all your winter salads. Over-wintering onion sets can be
You can still harvest early carrots, beetroot, dwarf French beans,
runner beans, cabbage, calabrese, cauliflower, courgettes, marrow,
kohlrabi, lettuce, scallions, peas, early potatoes, radish, spinach,
chard and turnips.
New vegetables to harvest this month are kale and leeks. If you haven’t
harvested your onions yet it’s high time. If you have attempted to grow
sweetcorn you should check the
cobs now. Just lift the husk a little bit and see if the kernels have turned yellow.
A short update about my potato breeding
I couldn’t wait and had to dig out a few of my new spuds – just 4 plants
and so completely different. All were grown from seed – so each plant
produces a unique new variety. It was quite obvious already in the
growth habit. I’m so excited.
Here is a photo of some of my Inca vegetables:
At the front is oca, then ulluco and at the back is yacon.
Ireland bans Fracking
This is one of the great success stories of 2017. The following text is from Rob Doyle, a member of the Love Leitrim group:
“Love Leitrim was formed in late 2011 with the purpose of preserving
and promoting the quality of life in our part of the world. At that
time the biggest threat to this region was UGEE (unconventional gas
exploration and extraction); the process commonly known as fracking.
Love Leitrim has spent the last 6 years working to prevent this
irresponsible development. Love Leitrim’s vision for the region is
Vision Statement Love Leitrim is an ad hoc community group governed by this
constitution and was formed to promote all the positive aspects of our
beautiful unique county and its contribution to the national wealth and
heritage. Love Leitrim supports long-term sustainable, economic
development and the creation of employment, but not at the expense of
existing jobs in tourism and farming or the welfare of future
generations. Leitrim is a vibrant creative inclusive and diverse
community. It is a leader in renewable energy, with a sustainable local
economy and is a model of good practice for Ireland and beyond that can
be expanded further to contribute to the nation’s well-being. The
environment in Leitrim is sustainable and safe, with a beautiful and
unspoilt landscape, clean water air and soil and protected flora and
fauna. Leitrim is also an ideal place to raise a family. Love Leitrim
will seek to promote and develop environmentally friendly projects, the
importance of recycling, sustainable, and renewable clean green energy,
and its vibrant and artistic community. Love Leitrim will do everything
in its power to oppose what we see as the single biggest threat to all
of these at this present time which is the possible dangers resulting
from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
In 2017 all our efforts were successful as Love Leitrim welcomed the
passing of the legislative ban on fracking as it completed the final
stage in the Seanad on Wednesday June 28th and was signed into law by President Micheal D. Higgins
On welcoming the move Love Leitrim’s spokesperson Eddie Mitchell
acknowledged that the community campaign had won by informing themselves
about the issue, lobbying local and national representatives and by
promoting the positive aspects of Leitrim and Ireland.
He added “As a small community it was a fight for its life. We have a
right to live in a safe place. People didn’t have a choice but to get
involved, this is our home, where our families are from, where our
people are buried and these fields are the place where our children
Love Leitrim could see at an early stage that this was a national and international issue not a local one.
Mitchell added “seeing the plight of communities in Canada and
Australia acted as a warning for us, they showed us that you could stand
up and make a change and be successful like communities in New York. We
couldn’t afford to lose everything that was dear to us just like we saw
others losing what was important to them.
Describing the thinking behind the successful strategy behind the
Love Leitrim campaign Mitchell said “We did it by engaging the
community, through participation and empowerment. We are proud of where
we are from. We are proud of Leitrim and Ireland. We wanted to reflect
what Leitrim was about, farmers, fishermen, artists, professionals,
parents and about sustainability. This is about Ireland. We knew we
wouldn’t win unless we brought everyone along. We understood that we had
to convince everyone. We knew that we had to be non-political. We had
to win over hearts and minds.”
Living in Leitrim?
People wanted – to live in North Leitrim
What a great initiative in my neighbouring village – Kiltyclogher – which they still refer to as a town – with just 233 people.
Kiltyclogher is beautiful, quiet and safe place. Like many other rural
villages it has suffered from emigration and also as a border town it
suffered during the troubles.
But now there is a vibrant community in the town – I was there at this
year’s summer festival where the amazing “Love Leitrim” group served the
most delicious full Irish breakfast – free of charge.
Kiltyclogher needs another family or two to keep their local school open
– the invitation is there – the people are wonderful and welcoming –
maybe someone needs a change from the hustle and bustle of city life?
By the way the school has 6 Green Flags!
Take a trip to Leitrim and explore – it’s also very close to the Organic Centre in Rossinver.
How Gardens Affect Our Health
The following article is a beautiful reminder of how gardening can keep us healthy and sane. It is written by Maria Cannon (www.hobbyjr.org) who reaped amazing benefits from it.
“A beautiful garden can do wonders for your yard and are a joy to
look at. If you grow your own garden, you feel a sense of pride as you
watch your garden transform and bloom. Vegetable and herb gardens have
the added benefit of providing food. But gardens are more than something
pretty to look at that sometimes produce food. Taking gardening up as a
hobby also benefits your health in a multitude of ways.
As someone who has suffered from depression most of my life, it was a
wonder to find gardening as a means to cope. I found that gardening
helped me feel more relaxed and I was able to focus on the task at hand,
rather than feeling my brain go haywire worrying and ruminating.
Gardening helps me let go and be in the moment.
Health Benefits Gardening is used as a tool to help peoplecope
with issues such as anxiety and depression, as well as physical health
conditions like heart disease and post-surgery recovery. The process is
called horticultural therapy, and the therapists combine psychology,
ecology, and botany to help their patients. Patients report “a renewed
desire to live, decreased anxiety, and improved self-worth." One New
York medical center uses a therapy garden to help patients regain
mobility after surgery or a stroke.
Gardens can also benefit those with eating disorders, dementia, and
chronic stress. In fact, some researchers believe that gardening may
help some people suffering from chronic stress more than traditional
cognitive behavioral therapy. While patients simply enjoy therapy
gardens without tending to them, a home garden is more demanding.
However, it still provides the same benefits and can be a sanctuary from
a busy life.
Gardening is also a great way to exercise. The amount of exercise
you get depends on you personally. Someone who’s more fit can do more
heavy-duty work, like hauling soil and shoveling, while someone with
less capability may only be able to pull weeds and water plants. Both
provide their own benefits. The opportunity to learn a new skill with
gardening also improves cognitive functioning. Be sure to spend some
time in your garden beyond tending to it, so you can really enjoy and
admire your hard work.
Since I started gardening several years ago, my bouts of depression
have become minimal, my blood pressure has normalized, and I have lost
10 pounds. I attribute all of these positives to spending time outside
digging in the dirt and creating my own flower sanctuary.”
Which are the most sustainable countries?
I was really surprised to see this list – France is the most sustainable country in the world!
This rating is based on following parameters:
Food loss and waste
You can read more on the following website: http://foodsustainability.eiu.com/country-ranking/