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Watercress is easy to grow and super nutritious

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

I have recently rekindled my love of cooking – for years it has been an uninspiring rota of 10 meals, all of which were fairly nutritious and healthy but monotonous. However, recently I have given myself a shake and started taking an interest in cooking again.

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Why am I writing this in a gardening column, you may ask? Two reasons: firstly, I have been asked on a regular basis why I don’t mention fruit and veg so much anymore, and secondly, I am re-appreciating the importance of the afore mentioned fruit and veg. I read somewhere recently that instead on your five-a-day, we now need to consume seven-a-day due to the decrease in soil nutrients as a result of over use. Now, I have found veg growing at home to be time consuming, and, to be honest, if you work full-time, there is only so much you can do. So next spring, I am going to write more about energy and time effective ways of growing your own, and am going to stick with the plan myself too!

In the meantime, to get back to my new found culinary interests, an ingredient I am coming across frequently is watercress. I have been substituting spinach and rocket as I cannot find watercress in any supermarket. It is actually an ingredient which grows wild in most countries, and Ireland is no exception. In fact it grows ‘everywhere’ once you start looking. It grows in slow running water so it can be found in springs, at the edge of rivers and in drains. It is not recommended to use it from the wild as there is a danger of liver fluke. However, I have grown some from seed, and use part of my pond where there is a nice bit of water movement from the pump, and it is growing ‘mad’! It is the most gratifying vegetable I have ever grown. If you do not have a pond or stream, worry not, it can be easily grown in a minimum of soil as long as it never dries out. I am constructing a watercress nursery for myself out of some shallow barrels joined to each other with water butt connectors to my own water butt over-flow – it sounds complicated, but a little bit of engineering versus zero weed picking is worth it! Basically, if you can grow it in a pot which you can stand in a few inches of rain water, you will be able to grow this wonderful greenery!

The nutrient content of watercress is awesome, it contains potassium, protein, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C, and is being sold as a superfood these days. It is peppery, but not too strong, and is ideal in salads and soups – it adds a freshness which spinach cannot compete with. There is a lot of research being done into the benefits of watercress, with astounding implications into its use for ailments from nappy rash right through to cancer.

So, if you grow nothing else, do give this a try. Basically, if you have a pot which you can stand in a few inches of rain water, you will be able to grow this wonderful greenery!

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No spare change – no problem, as charity embraces new technology

By Sean Moriarty With less and less people carrying lose change around, one local group have now embraced a new technology to make donating much easier. For their annual Christmas fundraiser, the Killarney Conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society will have a special collection bucket that will allow supporters to use their bank […]

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By Sean Moriarty

With less and less people carrying lose change around, one local group have now embraced a new technology to make donating much easier.

For their annual Christmas fundraiser, the Killarney Conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society will have a special collection bucket that will allow supporters to use their bank card to make a donation.

The Society’s annual churchgate collection will be held on the weekend of December 11/12 at places of worship in the town and surrounding areas. This year’s collection has be renamed as ‘Giving Sunday’ and makes a return after the pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s fundraiser.

“We are moving towards a cashless society,” explained Killarney Conference President Breda O’Dwyer. “You can tap and swipe your card to make a donation.”

Breda added that they are hoping to have the buckets ready by next week in time for the collection.

She said the local conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society has seen a marked increase in the number of families it is helping mainly caused by the increase in the cost of fuel and home heating products.

The annual St Vincent De Paul Society’s Christmas Jumper Day, in association with Radio Kerry is scheduled for December 10.

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SURVEY: Locals are reducing their social contacts

It is just over a week since new restrictions were announced by the Government in an another effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. In our latest online poll we asked our readers if they had reduced their social contacts over the course of the last week. An overwhelming 62.90% said they had reduced their […]

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It is just over a week since new restrictions were announced by the Government in an another effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In our latest online poll we asked our readers if they had reduced their social contacts over the course of the last week.

An overwhelming 62.90% said they had reduced their level of contacts with people.

Interestingly, 37.10% of people had made no change to their lifestyle, but they could have been extra cautious already.

A tiny minority – just 1.61% – said they increased their social contacts over the last week.

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