ISSA e-zine 2nd September 2011

In this edition -

  • Come to our Apple Weekend at the end of September!...

  • Volunteers for Open Day...

  • Seed Savers at Other Events This Month...

  • What to do in the garden this week...

  • Upcoming workshops...

Come to our Apple Weekend at the end of September!

The apples are ripening in the Seed Savers orchards and soon we'll be picking apples for all of you to sample at our big Apple Weekend on September 24 and 25. We've got a great line-up of events happening on both days, including cookery demonstrations by Darina Allen and other chefs, children's entertainment and craft activities, apple sampling at our new barn, live music, food and craft stalls, demonstrations of traditional skills such as basketry, sugan chair weaving, horse ploughing and more, expert talks and guided tours of our gardens and orchards.

Saturday September 24 is a special Open Day exclusively for Supporters (members) of Seed Savers while Sunday September 25 is open to everyone. Admission is €5 per adult, children are free. Due to our rural location and small carpark there is no parking on site unless you have a disabled sticker. Free shuttle buses will be running every 10 minutes from the national school in the village of Scariff. C'mon out for a delicious and fun day for the whole family!

Marshs Field

Apple Bobbing

Volunteers for Open Day

Apple Juicing

Thanks to those who have already volunteered for our Open Days, we still need a few more volunteers so if you think you might like to try your hand at it on Saturday 24th or Sunday 25th September, please email and let her know. Volunteers get an Irish Seed Savers tee-shirt and pizza made in our lovely clay oven

Seed Savers at Other Events This Month

If you can't make it to our Apple Weekend at the end of September, Seed Savers will be at a number of other events around the country this month. On September 10 and 11 I'll be at the Rude Health Show at the RDS in Dublin, along with herbalist Vivienne Campbell who will be giving talks and demonstrations at our stall. We'll have apples to taste and seeds to give out, as well as fruit trees and seeds available for purchase. This is Ireland's biggest health and well-being show with hundreds of exhibitors, and the organisers have generously offered ISSA a free stall for this year's event.

That same weekend Dave Breslin will be giving a talk on Irish apples and seed saving at the GIY Gathering in Waterford on Saturday September 10. This looks to be a huge event with loads of workshops, activities, and speakers including former ISSA orchard coordinator Kevin Dudley speaking on biodynamics, Darina Allen on harvest cooking, and many more interesting food sustainability topics.

On Sunday September 11 Dave will be at the Dromcollogher Organic Picnic in County Limerick with apple samples, information on apple varieties, and fruit trees and seeds for sale. This event is to celebrate National Organic Week and the 20th Anniversary of the Organic College, and will feature local food producers, children's activities, free talks, and more.

If you live in the northwest, save the date Sunday October 2 for the Organic Centre's Apple Day held in conjunction with Irish Seed Savers. Apple sampling, workshops on pruning and grafting, and tours of the orchard and gardens.

Vivienne Campbell

What to Do in the Garden This Week

  • You should be harvesting loads of veg from the garden now - carrots, potatoes, swedes, beetroot, runner beans, courgettes, onions, garlic from outside beds and tomatoes, peppers and aubergines from the tunnel. Try to keep things picked and preserve what you can't eat right away by freezing or canning. Onions, garlic and potatoes should be laid out to dry the skins well before storing for winter in a cool, dark place that is safe from frost.

  • Remember that tomato plants can get blight as well because they are in the same family as potatoes. Water indoor tomatoes in the morning so the tunnel isn't damp overnight; water the soil around the plants rather than the leaves; and pick off foliage that looks infected. Blight will affect the fruits and make them inedible if it spreads.

  • Sow seeds of Autumn and Winter crops now, like salad greens, kale and spinach. Salad greens can be grown in a tunnel right through the Winter, even if it's very severe like last year. These leaves can freeze solid and will still be fine when they thaw out, and will reward you with fresh salads all Winter and early Spring. Kale and spinach are very hardy and can be grown in outdoor beds

  • If you grew more runner beans, broad beans or peas than you could eat, allow some of them to dry on the plants to collect for next year's seed. Wait until the pods are brown and brittle, and harvest from a number of different plants in the row rather than just one so that you maintain the genetic diversity. Save only pods that are large with a good number of peas or beans inside, remove them from the pods, and spread out to dry in a warm, dry place. Wait until the peas or beans are truly dry before storing - one test is to hit one with a hammer, if it shatters rather than being squashed then they are dry.

  • Keep sowing green manure cover crops as beds become empty. Phacelia is good for adding nitrogen to the soil and it's easy to dig into the bed in the spring. We also use a mix of winter rye and vetch in the Seed Savers gardens - the rye stalks are sturdy and provide support for the nitrogen-fixing vetch.

  • Upcoming Workshops

    • Organic Gardening Part 3 - Outdoor Winter Crops - Saturday September 3rd: What you do now can make all the difference to next year’s growing. We will talk about harvesting,storage and preparing your garden for the winter season with green manures, mulches and cover crops.

    • Planting to Attract Wildlife - Saturday September 9th: - On this course we will look at native trees and plants and the wildlife they host. We will cover the types of trees and shrubs to plant to attract wildlife, best practices in tree planting

    • Preserving and Storing a Bountiful Harvest - Sunday September 11th: - Make jam and discuss the methods for successful jelly, chutney, sauce and relish making. Drying and freezing will be demonstrated.

    Kind regards,
    Chrys Gardener
    Project Manager

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