Edible landscapes in the West of Ireland – Kinvara Sustainable Living

Fruit and Veg Growing Courses Commence in Feb

Grow your own edible landscape this Year.

As the winter chill still grips the country some gardeners are enjoying the thrill of anticipation, perusing seed catalogues and planning their campaign in hope that this year they will achieve the garden of their dreams…..some are already awaiting the appearance of autumn sown garlic and onions. Others are dining out on leeks, kale and cabbages planted at the end of last summer. But what if you want to supply yourself with a supply of home grown produce but feel that you haven’t a clue, or don’t know where to get started?

The answer is to get together in a class with a group of like minded people and learn together. A whole range of classes and courses for budding gardeners, allotment holders and back yard farmers are starting soon in Co. Galway. Enthusiastically taught by Anna Jeffrey Gibson and Lynn O’Keeffe-Lascar, both keen gardeners, cooks and poultry keepers, they are delighted to pass on their knowledge, expertise and skills in the classroom and in practical gardening sessions. If you are interested in learning how to grow fruit and vegetables for yourself they can teach you how, through evening classes, day long and weekend courses.

Kinvara Sustainable Living, founded by Anna and Lynn is an organization with the goal to encourage and support practical small scale food production in the community – to enable people to grow their own food and improve their quality of life. Sustainable food production means looking after the land and raising plants and animals without the use of toxic chemicals, an increased awareness of the seasonal nature of locally grown food follows logically. Eating local produce is environmentally sound – reducing food miles and if grown in a sustainable manner limiting pollution.

Upcoming courses in Kinvara and Athenry: – Ten weeks of fruit and vegetable growing evening classes commence at the beginning of February. This comprises four evenings on fruit growing and six evenings plus a half day in the garden on vegetables. Cost for the ten weeks is great value at €150 (€135 concession).

If you prefer the courses can be booked separately; the four week ‘fruit growing for beginners’ evening classes – starts beginning of February in Athenry on Thursday evenings 7:30 to 9:30pm, tea/coffee and home baking provided and in Kinvara, times to be arranged.

‘Now is the time to plan your fruit garden, you’ll save money buying bare root plants, available up to March, and have healthy well established plants come spring. This course will cover planning an orchard and soft fruit garden, buying bare root plants, what varieties to buy, how to prepare the soil and site, staking and pruning ,it will also cover how to grow strawberries, raspberries, currants etc. and the basics of making jam’. Course costs €60 (€50 concession).

This is followed by ‘create your own kitchen garden’, a 6 week evening class in the basics of growing veg., with a half day practical. Commencing in the first week in March in the same venues in Athenry on Thursday evenings 7:30 to 9:30pm, and Kinvara, times to be arranged.

This course will cover locating your veg. plot, preparing the soil, soil types and testing, raised beds, why and how?, successful seed sowing, manures and composts, rotations, what to sow when, and growing the vegetables! ‘This course will give you the opportunity to put into practice at home what you’re learning as the 6 weeks progress along with spring. It is an ideal time to attend a vegetable growing course.’ The half day practical will take place at Doorus Orchard project in Kinvara, where there are vegetable gardens, polytunnels, and fruit gardens. Course cost €115 (€85 concession)

There are lots of other courses on offer from Kinvara Sustainable Living, including vegetable growing, fruit growing, poultry keeping, polythene tunnel gardening, creating school gardens that actually work in term time, and clay oven building. Visit www.kinvarasustainableliving.com and see what interests you. Good food and good cooking go hand in hand, home-made lunches are provided on all day courses, made with fruit and veg. from the garden where possible, with home-made bread, and our own free range eggs.

Gift certificates are available and tailor made courses can be arranged for groups, email us to inquire. Day courses cost €70 (concession rate €55 for a day course for students, O.A.P.s, and those in receipt of social welfare). This includes tea/coffee, home-baking, lunch and course notes.

www.kinvarasustainableliving.com , contact Lynn on 091 638099, or e-mail Lynn or Anna at kinvarasustainableliving@gmail.com.