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Margaret's Blog

 

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Schools Competition Blog

Hello Spring.

Spring has arrived and it is time to begin preparing your school garden. Through out  the school year Griffins Garden Centre, Muintir na Tíre and Cork County Council will be posting various blogs with quick top tips, proven winning formulas and advice for  School Gardens in Cork . If you wish for advice on any part of your school garden, please feel free to email Margaret or Miriam in Griffins Garden Centre, Dripsey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. or call us on 021 7334286

Each year we all ask, Where to Start?Take a walk around the School Garden, take photos, notes and be creative.  
Many garden projects are created with a Mood Board for your Garden. This is just a board with pictures of your space and images you find of garden ideas that you would like to do in your school garden.  Then decide how to get this project done, who can we get materials from, can we get external help with the manual labour, what can we plant and when to start planting. 

 Sow and Grow 2017 is open now and accepting applications from schools across Ireland! This is a primary school based campaign. Early registration gives teachers the best chance of receiving a free growing kit, with seeds,soil and instructions and, of course, loads of support from GIY.  Apply now at giy.ie 

Ask the local commuinty groups if they would like to help, Mens shed, tidy towns and active retirement as well as the parents can be a great local resource. 
Also you maybe able to get older compost for local fruit and vegetable growers. 
What to do in your Garden over the next few weeks?
 
Get Organised
Collect Toilet Roll Inserts for biodegradable pots , plastic water bottles  for watering or for upcycling Containers. 
Get Cleaning, spring clean glass houses, polytunnels, raised beds etc. 

If you already haven't, get well rotted  (at least 2 years old) farm Manure or Fresh Compost into the Garden Beds

Do you have a compost heap? Its a great time to get one started.

 

Have you a water butt? Is it near the School garden? What can we use as a Water Butt?Start Chitting you first early Potatoes 

  • Chitting simply means encouraging the seed potatoes to sprout before planting. 
  • Start chitting from late January in warmer parts of the country or in February in cooler areas, about six weeks before you intend to plant out the potatoes. 
  • Each seed potato has a more rounded, blunt end that has a number of 'eyes'. 
  • Stand the tubers with the blunt end uppermost in trays or old egg boxes, with plenty of natural light.

 

 

Save the bees with seed bombs:
Make a seed bomb with soil, compost and bee friendly seeds. allow them to dry. when it gets alot warmer, get the kids to throw these seed bombs into a Wasteland  area and watch these bloom 

 

DIY Pebble Art 5 2
Be creative and start making your labels for flowers, trees shrubs and plantsI hope this will help you to get started in your school garden and remember please reach out to Griffins Garden centre if you would like any advice at all. 
Happy Gardening from all the team at Griffins

Potty about Potatoes
potato-plant
There are so many different potato varieties, usually described as early, second early and maincrop potatoes.These names indicate when they crop and also give you an idea of the space you'll need, how closely and when they can be planted.

First Early :

First early potatoes are perfect if you want to grow small, new potatoes and should be planted from the end of February to late May. They'll be ready to harvest in about 10 weeks from the planting date. It's a good idea to 'chit' these varieties before planting - this produces long shoots from which the plants will grow. First early potatoes are ideal for growing in potato patio planters or containers. If you are short on Space and would love to Grow Potatoes The PotatoPot is ideal for you.
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A few of our most popular First earlies are 

Sharpes Express,: ‘Sharpe’s Express’ is a favourite early in Ireland for good reason. It is unusual amongst ‘earlies’ in that it is a floury potato . Ideal for steaming

HomeGaurd :  a superior potato with excellent flavour

Pentland Javeiln: A lovely soft waxy-textured new potato with white skins and flesh that is ideal for boiling as a salad or new potato

 It's also worth remembering that earlies are less likely to encounter pest problems as they're lifted so much earlier in the year. 


SECOND EARLIES
Second earlies take 16 to 17 weeks to mature after planting, so you should be able to harvest them from very late June through to the start of August. 

Kestrel - An exhibition winner – with outstanding taste 
Pink Fir Apple – Wonderful nutty flavour – RHS Award
 British Queen : This  variety is over 100 years old and still highly prized for its yield, shape, floury texture and delicious flavour.


Maincrop 
Maincrops are ready 18 to 20 weeks after planting, so they can be lifted usually from July through to October. Maincrops take up the most space in the garden, but they tend to be the best varieties to grow if you want some for storage.

 Sarpo Mira : Blight resistant winner:  unprecedented blight resistance, good slug resistance and it grows well in a wide range of soils. Potato 'Sarpo Mira' produces huge yields of tasty, floury tubers that have a long storage potential. 

Cara : An allotment Favourite:  Excellent for baking and Chipping. 

Rooster: the good old favourite in Ireland . Its the most widely grown potato in Ireland Ideal for the novice gardener


How to chit : Chitting simply means encouraging the seed potatoes to sprout before planting.. Start Chitting Now . Each seed potato has a more rounded, blunt end that has a number of 'eyes'.  Stand the tubers with the blunt end uppermost in trays or old egg boxes, with plenty of natural light . Keep this room cool.   The potatoes are ready to be planted out when the shoots are 1.5-2.5cm (0.5-1in) long.


How to plant

Plant your chitted potatoes when the soil has started to warm up, usually from ST PATRICKS DAY.  
Plant early potatoes about 30cm (12in) apart with 40-50cm (16-20in) between the rows, and second earlies and maincrops about 38cm (15in) apart with 75cm (30in) between the rows. 
Handle your chitted tubers with care, gently setting them into the trench with the shoots pointing upwards, being careful not to break the shoots. Cover the potatoes lightly with soil. 
As soon as the shoots appear, earth up each plant by covering it with a ridge of soil so that the shoots are just buried. 
You need to do this at regular intervals and by the end of the season each plant will have a small mound around it


Every Gardener should grow the potato tree
 
Solanumn Glasnevin
The potato tree, Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin'  is a plant I wouldn't be without. Also The Solanumn Alba.  These are incredible Climbers that flower so well.  
solanum  glasnevin chilean potato tree pruning

To plant a Garden is to believe in tomorrow

The key to a successful school garden is in the planning. No matter the size and style of your garden, you will need to answer important questions about who will use the garden, where it will be located in order to sustain the plants you plan to grow, and how it will be maintained

Where to start ?

This is a lot to do with the space the garden is been created. The size of the garden, the soil type and the location.

Location ideally your garden should be getting 5-6 hours of sunlight. If you garden is located in a dark corner, it will make it much more difficult. Keep an eye on the direct sunlight for a few days to get an idea of the garden. If it is in a semi shaded area then you will be able to grow shade tolerant plants and herbs. Ideally you will be hoping for a south facing garden.

The soil: Is it a hard or soft surface. When planting a vegetable garden raised beds can be a lot easier and can be placed on either hard or soft surfaces. Be creative creating a raised bed. There are great products on the market. If you have budget restrictions you can create raised beds with up cycling. Parents, Local mens sheds and other organistaions may be a great resource to do this part for you.

Access to water. It is a good idea to try a position you school garden near to an outside tap for ease of watering. But an alternative is to harvest rain water.

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Small Garden.

Even if you have a small garden, you can have great success?

Firstly plan what you would like to achieve. Vegetable garden, sensory garden, Bio diversity garden or elements of all.

Look at the whole area. How much ground space has the garden. Is there a wall or fence that can utilised or can one be erected. Vertical gardens are an alternative for gardeners who don't have a lot of horizontal space or want to cover an un attractive wall.

Vertical gardening can save a lot of space. A few ideas for vertical gardening is a Living wall, Hanging baskets (for vegetables and herbs) wall hanging containers like pots, hayracks, drainpipes or unusual containers like wellies, bottles or shoe organisers. See images below for inspiration.

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Container Gardening: Most trees and Shrubs and Vegetables can be grown in Pots and Containers. If you have a small Garden look at dwarf varieties. For example a cornet apple tree is a miniature tree. An old wheelbarrow can be a a lovely salad or herb container. (make sure it has lots of drainage) Window boxes for Salads, watercress , herbs, rainbow chard to name a few.

Climbing fruit and Veg up a wire fence : Peas, beans, cucumber, tomatoes , Trained blueberries, rasberrerries, Grapes

 

Top tip in small Gardens. Make sure that the containers and beds will get enough feed and water to produce a bounty for the season.

 

Rockery gardens. Most herbs including lavender are naturally rockery plants. They can grow in areas that other plants wont thrive as long as the have sunshine. There is varieties of ground cover thyme and rosemary that can be grown in between slabs and pavings. The release a fabulous aroma when stepped on. Too much traffic on these plant is detrimental to them.

 

Be creative, Use bold colours in a small garden. Create a garden that is big on Colour

unique garden ideas-2bag-plantersunique garden ideas-2 

Happy gardening

From all the team at griffins of Dripsey

 

If you would like any advice please email Griffins of Dripsey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

Cork School Garden Competition Launched

 
The Cork Schools Garden Competition was officially Launched today by Dr.Mary Stack of Cork County Council Environmental Awareness and Research Unit at Griffins Garden Centre Dripsey.
The competition which is organised by Muintir na Tire is now in its fourth year has gone from strength to strength with over 40 entries last year.
 

Dr Stack said that awareness and the promotion of upcycling and biodiversity are key elements of the Councils Environmental strategy going forward to 2020 and that the Cork School Garden competition  fits all the boxes with regard to the environment

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Conor Nelligan Heritage Officer Cork County Council said the competition gave students a chance to interact with the environment and nature in a positive way. He stressed the importance of every one doing their bit to protect our native bees by providing a place for them in our gardens both at home and in school. 

 

Deputy County Mayor Councillor Kevin Conway praised the co-operation between Cork County Federation Muintir na Tire, Cork County Council and Griffins Garden Centre in organising the competition. He said the aims of the Cork Schools Competition' in supporting pupils, teachers in County Cork to bring nature, wildlife, plants and colour into their school garden/grounds was bearing fruit as many schools around County Cork were now developing gardens to grow vegetables and flowers.

 

Mr Sean Holland Chairman of the Organising Team thanked Cork County Council and thanked Miriam and Margaret of Griffins Garden Centre for hosting the launch. Miriam said if schools need any advice they would be willing to help.

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Teachers and pupils from Scoil Chroi Iasa Blarney and Aghabullogue National School were on hand to help Mickey Mouse with the launch. Mickey Mouse was keen to point out chemicals, pesticides and herbicides endangered all small animals and that natural methods were better for our environment.

Earth Day 22nd April 2013

 What Can we do to help save our Planet

 

Plant a tree for the future


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The Students of Coachford College planted a tree with Margaret



But what if you dont have that space?

Here are a few ideas:


herbgarden

Herb Garden

filled with parsely thyme, mint, oregano what ever you love to use. 


Or why not just make your own seed pots?

pots paper

eggsssss

 

This is how our little gardeners got on last Saturday in the Slug Club...

slug club

Happy Gardening everyone!


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