Organic Week Harvest & Cookery Day

On 17th September there was an open day held at Gortbrack to celebrate National Organic Week.  About 30 people were here to enjoy the farm tour and a delicious cookery demonstration by Ita McConville.  Ita cooked a variety of dishes using vegetables from the farm including beetroot salad, frittata (made with duck eggs and potatoes), tomato salad, cucumber salad and basil and pumpkin seed pesto.

Gortbrack harvest
Home made bread
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Mushroom Day at Gortbrack

ON the 1st October a fully booked up Mushroom Identification Course was held at Gortbrack.  It was run by Jonathan Spazzi from County Clare and focused on basic identification of edible mushrooms (and importantly identification of the few that are potentially harmful!).  There was a foraging trip around the farm and down to Ballyseedy Woods followed by practical identification.  A great day was had by all who attended and we’re all hopeful for some good foraging trips throughout the Autumn!

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School Garden Tips for Autumn/Winter

{  Harvest any vegetables and fruit and celebrate with a cooking day!

{  Tidy the garden ready for the winter months, weed and clear out vegetable beds.

{  Mulch fruit bushes and trees with cardboard and grass cuttings/bark mulch

{  Spread seaweed or manure on your vegetable beds and cover or sow green manure such as rye or winter wheat

{  Plant onion sets and garlic in prepared ground

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KEEP Autumn School News!

Douglas National School have planted a native hedgerow along the front of the school, every child in the school dug holes and planted the mix of hawthorn, blackthorn, oak, spindle, rowan, crab apple and hazel.

Nuachnabhail National School pruned and trained their willow fence to make a living willow dome and planted lots of vegetables in their raised beds.

Donaghmede National School in Dublin were on Morning Ireland on TV3 (on Tuesday 13th September – check it out on TV3 website!) showing off their vegetable harvest from the school garden.

Fybough National School has been enjoying their living willow fence and dome and planting lots of vegetables and flowers in their raised beds.

Ardfert National School used timber from the Leylandii trees taken down from the school grounds to make six very attractive raised beds and have planted them with a wide variety of vegetables.

Moyderwell Primary School have carried out a school grounds planning day as part of their Biodiversity Green Flag and a group of parents have been working hard on the allotment bed in Moyderwell allotments to see how many different vegetables they can grow in a small space!

Fossa National School have transformed the large raised bed at the froint of the school into a delicious soft fruit and herb area. They have also had a good year of growing vegetables in the raised beds – look out for them as you pass on the main road!

Flemby NS have installed one vegetable bed and planted a small area of native woodland.

Tralee Educate Together ensured each class had a bed to look after by making class by class plans for the garden, each class planted seeds and labelled their areas.  They also visited the farm for a local organic food themed day.

Scoil Realt na Mara had a visit to help plan their summer school garden with parents, teachers and pupils all involved.

Tureencahil National School, Dromclough National School and Cullina National School have all carried out planning days to design their environmental school grounds.

St Brendans National School visited the farm for a day of organic food and wildlife study. Lispole National School and Meenkelly National School both visited to learn about biodiversity to help them with their 5th Green Flag!

Mercy Mounthawk Secondary School transition years have worked hard on their vegetable gardens, native woodland areas, shelter belts and willow fences and one innovative group designed and installed a wildlife pond in the school grounds.

The Tree Nurseries in Schools project will hopefully be continued by Caherleeheen NS, Flemby NS, Nuachnabhail NS, Blennerville NS, Ardfert NS and Shanakill Community Garden.

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School garden tips for Spring

{  Prepare raised beds or dig lazy beds and add manure or seaweed for soil fertility

{  Sow lettuce, scallions, kale and broccoli and sunflower seeds in pots inside

{  Plant broad beans, runner beans, beetroot, spinach, carrots and cut and come salads directly into prepared ground

{  Plant potatoes

{  Plant onion sets and garlic in prepared ground

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