ISSA e-zine 10 February 2012

In this edition -

  • Valentines Day...

  • A Pioneer of Plant Genetic Conservation ...

  • Construction of New Seed Bank...

  • What to do in the garden...

  • Upcoming Workshops...

Valentines Day

If you are looking for a gift for a loved one this Valentine's Day then why not consider a pair of apple trees? You will be giving a gift that will blossom beautifully in the Spring and bear fruit for many, many years to come. An apple tree is an appropriate Valentine's gift as the apple is sacred to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. In ancient Greece, to throw an apple at someone was to symbolically declare one's love and similarly, to catch it was to symbolically show one's acceptance of that love.

You can see all our available apple trees on our website Organic Apple Trees Fruit trees are available for collection as potted trees at our garden shop in East Clare, or as bare-root trees that can be posted out this month. The following is a selection of what we still have available:

Councillor: A medium-sized fruit with green skin turning to yellow. Sweeter than a Bramley, this variety is best used for cooking in August or eating in September. It bears heavy crops.

Ard Cairn Russet: Fruit has white yellow flesh, dry, firm and sweet with a vague taste of banana. Medium sized and conical with yellow golden skin often flushed with carmine. Almost entirely covered in golden brown russet. Keeps into January and sweetens with keeping.

Cavan Sugarcane: Crisp sweet fruit with yellow golden skin. Trees bear well and naturally form a goblet shape making picking easier.

A Pioneer of Plant Genetic Conservation

Erna Bennett, one of the early pioneers of plant genetic conservation, passed away in January 2012. She was 86 years old. Erna Bennett was an Irish rebel of a very special kind.

Born in Derry and raised in Belfast, she is said to have coined the phrase 'genetic ressources conservation' and struggled successfully against the erosion of agrobiodiversity. She gave an inspiring and challenging example to many.

Click here to read Erna Bennett's biography

Construction of New Seed Bank

Bohatch Construction is doing a great job and work is progressing quickly on the new seed bank.The ground works have been completed and the concrete slabs for the building and the solar drying space have been poured and have been curing for a few weeks.

Next week the builders will begin the wooden framing for the new facility, which is expected to be complete by this July.

What to do in the garden this week

  • It would be of benefit to you this year to Check your soil structure this will give you a good idea of what is happening in your plot of Earth. Please use this link to discover how easy it is to save yourself a lot of work, and what your soil type needs to bring you a good harvest and promote disease resistance. Check your soil structure

  • As the weather is still a little cold and miserable perhaps it would be a good time to pot on your houseplants. Use larger pots and new compost to insure pest free good growth.

  • It would be a great idea to sweep up any dead leaves as they are a brilliant source of carbon for the heap (browns)and either add them to your compost heap after mixing them through the nitrogen items, (the greens) or make a chicken wire tube and store the leaves until your'e ready to turn the heap.

  • The sounds of the spawning frogs are gracing our ears again, do make room for a frog area in your garden if you can. These creatures are part of our food web and do great work on the slug control.

Upcoming Workshops

Kind regards,
Chrys Gardener
Project Manager

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