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New Year’s resolutions from the garden

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New Year’s Resolutions...are you the type who rolls their eyes when this is mentioned?

Me? Well, I am one of those people who has an unattainable list of goals, an unrealistic idea of how I might change for the better, and, in 11 months’ time, a list of resolutions identical or longer, than the previous one!
So, this year, no New Year’s resolutions for me. However, I am going to make a change, well, carry on and improve on a change we, as a family, have already started, which is to have a more plant--based diet.
Following on from this, as I have written previously, I hope to have another, sustainable go at the veg garden. With this in mind, I have had a look at various catalogues online for seeds, I particularly like Irish Seedsavers, which are a company based in Clare.
They encourage open pollination, saving your own seeds and promoting heirloom and Irish varieties oF apples, fruit and veggies.
They also run excellent workshops – from setting up your polytunnel to making skincare products.
Needless to say, all organic, as is my other go-to for seeds and especially potatoes, Fruithill Farm based in Bandon. Fruithill Farm is exclusively organic, and apart from seeds sell organic pest and weed controls. I mention these two resources, not because they are paying me, (ha! that would be nice!), but because I am so often asked where to buy organic Irish produce.
It is a bit early to do anything outside other than to cover the beds with black polythene or weed suppressant in preparation for the spring, but inside you can sprout greens or grow micro greens while you wait.
To grow sprouting seeds, all you need is seeds, I recommend using organic ones, and a jar, or a special sprouting tower. Sprinkle a small amount of seeds, such as kale, alphalpha, fenugreek or radish, on the tray if using the sprouting tower, or in the base of a jar.
Chickpeas, lentils, sunflower seeds and mungbeans can be used too – just be aware that a small amount goes a long way! Place in a bright spot, and rinse the seeds twice a day, leaving a small amount of water in the jar – it will automatically stay in the sprouting trays. Within a few days your seeds will be ready to eat. A handy trick for sprouting mungbeans is to soak them overnight to start the process. Then place them in a muslin cloth, or cheesecloth, the size of a hanky, and tie the 4 corners together. Place in a bowl and rinse twice daily.
As the beans begin to sprout loosen the corners slightly. Keep them in a press, or somewhere dark, at room temperature. When the beans are fairly tightly packed together, they sprout a bit stubbier than you would normally see them in the supermarket, which makes them more nutrient dense, crisper and sweeter.
Microgreens are very easy to grow indoors now also, a seed tray with two-centimetre depth of compost is all you need. Peas, sunflower, kale and fenugreek are my favourite plants to use. Soak peas overnight before placing them close together on the compost. Cover with one-centimetre of compost and place something such as a piece of plastic and a magazine on them for about two days. Peas need to feel a bit of pressure to germinate! When they are ready to cut for use, they will give you a second crop within a week.
I hope that, like myself, you are optimistic for the New Year, and that rather than making personal resolutions, we might make promises which will help our health, mental and physical wellbeing as well as helping our planet.
Happy New Year!

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Ring of Beara Cycle launches school programme

The Ring of Beara Cycle is for kids too! As part of its commitment to make a positive impact on the local community, the Ring of Beara Cycle are proud […]

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The Ring of Beara Cycle is for kids too! As part of its commitment to make a positive impact on the local community, the Ring of Beara Cycle are proud to continue to with two great initiatives: its Kids’ Cycle and its sponsorship of the School Cycle Safety Programme.

The Ring of Beara Cycle will take place on May 25 with over 4,000 cyclists taking part. The event starts and finishes in Kenmare town, Co Kerry to complete either a 110km or 140km route encompassing the magnificent mountains, valleys and the rugged coastline of the Beara Peninsula.

Kids’ Cycle
Adults are not the only ones getting on their bikes on May 25 for the Ring of Beara Cycle. The event also has its very own cycle for children around the town of Kenmare. Not only does this give kids a chance to join in the days’ activities with their parents, but it’s free and a great way for kids to get outdoors and exercise in a fun and safe environment.
Open to any child in national school between third and fifth class and following a 2km route around Kenmare and a slightly shorter route for tinier ones, registration is from 9.15am in Kenmare town square. Parents and guardians are welcome to cycle with their children. All participants should bring and wear a safety helmet for the cycle.
School Cycle Safety Programme
Another community initiative from the Ring of Beara Cycle is the Cycle Right Programme, working with local schools to get kids’ up to speed on road safety and cycle best practices.
The Ring of Beara Cycle is working with Cycle Sense and Wheely Good Cycling Academy to deliver this 4-week programme to local schools in and around Kenmare and the Beara Peninsula.
Some 250 students across 8 schools are participating in this initiative, and the schools involved are: St John’s National School, Realt Na Mara National School , Lauragh National School and Tulloha National School in Kenmare, and on the Beara Peninsula: Scoil Chaitigheirn in Eyeries, Oir Cheann iNational School in Eyeries, Cahermore National School in Allihies, Scoil An Croi Ro Naofa in Castletownbere, Mhichil Naofa in Castletownbere, Adrigole N S in Bantry, and Trafrask Mixed N S in Ardrigole.
This initiative is normally paid for by the schools themselves but is now free for all the children taking part thanks to a generous donation by the Ring of Beara Cycle Committee that covers the cost of delivering the programme to these schools.
Cycle Right is the National Standard for Cycle Training and provides practical cycle safety and skills training through Department of Transport, the Road Safety Authority and Cycling Ireland. The aim of the programme is to promote cycle confidence on the road in increasingly complex scenarios delivered by qualified, registered trainers.
No stranger to giving back to the local community, not only does the Ring of Beara Cycle make a significant, positive impact on the local economy, it also encourages kids to enjoy themselves on their bikes and to do this safely with confidence.

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Browne’s Agri Open Day is a must-attend event

Browne’s Agri Open Day is always one that was marked in  Agri calendars as a ‘must-attend event’. This year’s event is taking place on Wednesday May 22 on their site […]

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Browne’s Agri Open Day is always one that was marked in  Agri calendars as a ‘must-attend event’.

This year’s event is taking place on Wednesday May 22 on their site in Castleisland.

The event was always renowned for getting great advice on the Agri topics of the day as well as a window into modern developments taking place in all aspect of Agriculture and country living.

The extending of the yard area will allow more space to be given over to even more exhibitors, ensuring all areas of agriculture, and rural life will be showcased on the 22.

There will be experts on hand to advise on Calf Rearing, Grassland management, Weed control, Drainage, Fencing , Shed and Yard Layouts as well as bee keeping, and helpful health advice.

“As well as the great advice, you will be ensured of great deals, great food, great craic and free entry to the many spot prizes that will be available on the day,” said general manager Denis O’Connor.

“All that is asked is your attendance and if at all possible, to make a small contribution to our chosen charity Pieta House.”

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