ISSA e-zine 01 July 2011

In this edition -

  • Interpretive Panels...

  • Volunteers Sought For Open Day...

  • Apple-Potato Barn Dedication...

  • Seed Training Field Trip To Brown Envelope Seeds...

  • What To Do In The Garden This Week...

Interpretive Panels

We received a grant from Clare County Council under the Local Agenda 21 grant scheme to create interpretive panels in our shop explaining 1) how plants make seeds, 2) how they’re saved and 3) why agricultural biodiversity is so important. Felicity Rae, a garden staff member here at Capparoe has done an incredible job on them and we’re delighted to have received our first one (see photo!). The panels will be displayed in our shop/café and can be taken to schools and educational events.

Felicity Rae with her lovely and informative painting on how plants make seeds

Volunteers Sought For Open Day

Visitors at our 2010 Open Day watching a cooking demonstration by Chef Richard Corrigan

Our Open Day last September was a resounding success, and based on the immense help which our volunteers proved to be we’re looking for people to help again this year. This year’s event will take place on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th of September, with volunteers working a four hour shift on the weekend. Volunteers get free admission on the day, lunch (pizza baked in our clay oven), a free t-shirt, a free hug and the satisfaction of knowing you’ll be key in the smooth running of our biggest event of the year! Call us at 061-921866 or e-mail if you’re interested.

Apple-Potato Barn Dedication

Our apple-potato storage barn is almost complete and is a really important addition to the infrastructure here at ISSA, as well as being aesthetically beautiful. We’ll be holding a dedication ceremony on Friday July 15 at 3 pm, dedicating it to the memory of Dr. Keith Lamb, who passed away earlier this year. An obituary to Dr. Lamb can be found in our latest newsletter, which has just been sent out and contains full details of the important contribution Dr. Lamb made to Irish Seed Savers. We’ll be dedicating it to Dr. Lamb due to the vital work he did travelling around Ireland by bike, train and bus in the 1940s, saving many old Irish apple varieties from oblivion.

Our LEADER-funded Apple-Potato Barn is nearing completion and will be ready for the first harvest of early potatoes in July!

Seed Training Field Trip To Brown Envelope Seeds

Tuesday, 21st June, saw the highly valuable third module of our LEADER-funded seed growers training, consisting of a field trip to Brown Envelope Seeds in West Cork. Owner Madeline McKeever provided a tour and a lovely lunch, with more than 30 growers taking part in the day’s discussions and learning. It was really fantastic to see how the only other commercial and organic seed producer in Ireland operates, and how Madeline has turned production of organic seed into a viable enterprise. Her dedication was palpable, her thoughts on the potential for a more self-reliant Ireland intriguing, and how the operation takes place on a relatively compact growing area left us all with food for thought.

Madeline McKeever showing the group the different varieties of peas being grown for seed

Mike from Brown Envelope demonstrating a low-tech way to separate seeds from chaff

Ruth from Brown Envelope demonstrating the use of stacking sieves to clean seeds

Upcoming Workshops

  • Children's Cookery - Saturday July 9 (½ day): Children from ages 5 to 13 will enjoy this hands-on cookery course.

  • Soft Fruits – Cultivation and Tasting - Saturday July 16 (½ day): - Currants, gooseberries and jostaberries are a wonderful addition to a garden and produce abundant amounts of fruit for jam and summer desserts.

What to do in the garden this week

  • Keep an eye on your first early potatoes and once the leafy growth starts to turn yellow and die back, cut the haulms (stems) down to the ground and leave the tubers in the soil for another while to give the skins time to harden off. This will, among other things prevent any fungal infections from affecting your crop, and stop the plants energy going into seed production.

  • We made a video showing you how to start tying up your tomato plants ( and now is the time to keep loosely wrapping the string around your plants – thus keeping them upright. Also, continue to pinch out side shoots on your plants, to encourage good fruiting.

  • Weed, weed, weed! Regularly tending your crops is important now that they’re in the ground and, as well as weeding by hand, hoeing between rows on a dry day can prevent weed competition, while also aerating the soil.

  • You can still sow a late planting of carrots, which will avoid the worst of the carrot root fly and give you a late harvest of winter carrots.

Kind regards,
Chrys Gardener
Project Manager

Irish Seed Savers Association
Co. Clare
Tel: +353-61-921866