Blissberry Healthy Gardening Programme 2013

More than vegetables take root and grow at Blissberry Social Farm!

Most of them do it for fun and exercise.

Some make it a social thing, exchanging tips about growing vegetables while sharing cake and a cuppa under the shade of a tree!

Some take the scientific approach, determining, for example, the best kind of organic manure for a particular crop and the temperature that starts tomatoes ripening.

Others just want to get out of the house, take a walk, feed the donkeys -and they really don’t care about the wet summer weather as they like having a safe place that gets them outdoors and engaged in meaningful activity.

They are the HSE Healthy Gardening Community Participants with green thumbs who continue to delight in a phenomenon of health promoting ecology experiences here at Blissberry.

In the blueberry field our veg garden is resident between narrow paths weaved between plots and raised beds which contain clumps of spuds, cabbage, rows of onions, green beans all but concealed by their leaves, tall in hight and supported by wooden stakes. Tiny windmills and tin cans shoo birds away. Local made garden furniture here and there offers tired gardeners a place to rest.

“This is something to pass the time,” says a regular participant, “I’m down here every day, doing what needs doing. That’s mostly watering, cultivating and keeping the weeds out.”

Another participant said she “saves a few euros a week in groceries by growing such things as string beans, red cabbage,chard, lettuce and spuds. And pulling weeds, raking and hoeing, she says, is better exercise than she’d get if she paid to go a gym! ”

The birds and rabbits are a bother. One participant took an old hat and a white jacket and made them into a scarecrow after losing crops. “The birds would sit up on the wires, watch me slave, and after I left they’d come down and eat my crops,” she said.

For some growing vegetables was something new. “I had no experience and I learned how to do it,” another participant said, explaining that veteran gardeners helping out novices is part of life at the garden “I just planted everything according to the directions from James the gardener and fellow gardeners”.

“It’s a challenge,” said another participant. When she first tried courgettes she got only two! Deciding that she hadn’t prepared the ground right, she tried seaweed manure as a fertilizer and got 4 to 6 courgettes the next time.

More later.

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