ISSA e-zine 10 Dec 2010

In this edition -

  • Posting Apple Trees Orders...

  • Newsletters and Seed Lists in the Post...

  • Children's Christmas Activities...

  • January Workshops...

  • What to do in the garden and orchard this month...

Posting Apple Trees Orders

The snow and ice has once again delayed the shipping of apple tree orders. The trees are grown in pots and have to be bare-rooted before we can send them out, and for weeks the soil in the pots was frozen into solid blocks of ice. Matteo, our orchard coordinator, packed the grafting shed full of pots and ran two electric heaters until the pots thawed out so we could at least ship the orders that were requested in time for the holidays. The temperatures are finally above freezing in East Clare, but we will hold off on posting the rest of the orders until after Christmas and hopefully the ground will be thawed enough for customers to plant their trees.

Newsletters and Seed Lists in the Post

The snow and ice also delayed the printing of our winter newsletter and seed list, but they are finally getting posted to our 1800 or so supporters. When the newsletters finally arrived from the printers, it was all hands on deck as the staff stuck on mailing labels and stuffed envelopes. Look for these new and unusual varieties in our seed list this year:

  • Shinkinu Onion: An overwintering Japanese bulb onion. With these overwintering onions plus a summer variety it's very easy to be self-sufficient all the year round with your own onions.
  • Purple Heritage Moldovan Garlic: A unique, hard neck rocambole garlic which owes its existence to dedicated garlic lovers who passed it on to us.
  • Temuco Quinoa: We were very excited when we heard that Brown Envelope Seeds in West Cork successfully grew this South American grain, which is being touted as a superfood. Quinoa is a sacred food of the INcas and is very high in protein and essential amino acids. It is grown in mountainous regions of S. America and thrives in areas where nights are cool.
  • Musquee de Provence Pumpkin: This amazing pumpkin is very productive and each fruit can grow up to 8 kg! It belongs to the 'cheese pumpkin' group, resembling a wheel of cheese, with green skin and intense orange flesh with a lovely sweet and nutty flavour. The ISSA have been enjoying delicious pumpkin soup from the fruits that we harvested seeds from.

Children's Christmas Activities

Drop your children off at ISSA for a day of children's holiday activities while you finish your holiday preparations. Held on Sunday December 19th from 9:30 to 3:30 pm activities include making biscuits, Christmas cards and a star, treasure hunt, story telling, pizza making in our cob oven, making natural decorations, solstice wishes, and much more. Cost is 25 per child, and booking is essential as places are limited. For children ages 6 to 11.

January Workshops

This will be the last ISSA e-zine of 2010, so here's a heads up on the workshops that are scheduled for January:

  • Saturday January 15: Fruit Tree Pruning - learn to prune old overgrown trees and train newly planted trees

  • Saturday January 23: Introduction to Herbal Medicine - An overview of herbal medicinal theory with practical knowledge on treating common ailments with safe herbal remedies

  • Sunday January 30: Willow Weaving - Learn to weave arches and huts from natural living willow

What to do in the garden and orchard this month

  • If you have purchased fruit trees and the soil is too frozen to plant them, heel the roots into a bed of mulch or compost so the roots don't dry out.

  • One of the positive effects of all the frosty weather is that it will help kill pests that live in the top few inches of soil. The frost also has a wonderful effect on soil texture - the repeated freezing and thawing action helps break up clods and lumps.

  • Fruit tree pruning can start now that the trees are dormant. If you're not sure how to properly prune fruit trees for optimal fruit production, sign up to one of our pruning courses on January 15 or February 19.

Wishing you a happy and peaceful holiday season from all the staff at ISSA!

Kind regards,
Chrys Gardener
Project Manager

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