Skills for Life at The Organic Centre


Training and Marketing Manager Hans Wieland says: “A new food culture in Ireland is emerging and the GIY movement reflects the desire in people to grow their own food. People also see the health benefits of gardening besides growing healthy food for the family. Gardening means physical exercise and being out in the fresh air. All our courses are very practical and hands-on and can be of immediate benefit for any gardener.”

A newly designed gardening course in Co. Clare is one of the new courses. Held at Jim Cronin’s farm near Bridgetown, Killaloe it features 5 highly practical short days (10am -2pm) with long lasting effects. ”Jim is one of the most respect organic market gardeners in Ireland and a highly sought after trainer in organic growing with 25 years experience in the field.” says Hans Wieland from The Organic Centre, who has organised courses at Jim’s farm for many years. Participants will gain a well grounded knowledge in growing their own food.

Topics covered are garden planning and rotation, soils and composting, growing in polytunnels, organic pest and disease control and weed management.

Jim also hosts his famous course “Working with horses”. Bookings and a hard copy of the 2012 programme through The Organic Centre. (071-9854338,

The Organic Centre team has come up with 7 ideas for the new gardening year matched to a new course, which can make a huge difference:

  1. Develop a low maintenance garden. Gardening is addictive and as soon as the days get longer and the weather warmer and the garden centres and plant suppliers offer the latest new variety, that new seed and the must have plant this year, we go over board and buy or order, but are we prepared? So if you think you won’t be able to resist the latest trends, prepare your special bed now, 10sqm, for all the impulsive buys and try to develop a low maintenance garden. You won’t regret it! New course: Garden set-up and useful structures
  2. Harvest all year round. Self sufficiency is a great idea, but to come even close to produce all your vegetables all year round you need a specific and detailed plan for sowing, planting and harvesting and you need to start in February. New course: Plan a year’s harvest: start now
  3. Propagating flowers and border plants can help reducing cost. To save money as a gardener the best way is to improve your skills in sowing, composting, propagating and grafting. Grafting your own fruit trees does not only save you money it can become a very exciting and rewarding hobby. Dividing perennials can produce fantastic presents for other gardeners. New courses: Grafting workshop and Propagating perennials
  4. Save water and harvest rain water. Water as little as possible in the outside garden and you will save money (water charges are looming) and time. Mulch your beds, hoe in dry weather and so keep evaporation down, have good soil that enables plants to send their roots deep down and find water. Try to harvest rainwater for all your garden needs and for domestic use. New course: Rainwater harvesting systems
  5. Get your compost right and be a real pro. Collect green and brown materials separate and mix 2 to 1, once you have enough for a compost heap of 1m X 1m X 1m. Cover the top with plastic. Speed up the composting process by rebuilding the heap from top to bottom after 3 month Good compost is the wonder elixir for gardeners. Courses: The complete organic garden course and Organic Gardening for beginners
  6. Grow food organically and cook food nutritionally. Grow only what you like to eat and work on your cooking skills. Prepare meals in the most nutritional way. Courses: Soups, dips and breads, Cooking without Raw food un-‘cooking’
  7. Try something new: Make your own beer, felt your own scarf, make your own soap, learn about micro greens, bake glutenfree.

» see course details