Drumlane Community Garden (spring 2008)
Drumlane (organic) Community Garden can be seen by all on route to Milltown from the main Ballyconnell/Cavan Road. It is situated between the football pitch and the road, right beside the play ground. There are gardeners there working on Wednesdays and Saturdays as well as some in-between times.
The first sods were turned in early April 2008. Potatoes were planted using the traditional coaping methods of the Northwest to create ridges. Two main crop spuds, “Desiree” and “Arran Victory” were planted and also “Sante”, a disease resistant variety, well tried by organic growers.
The gardening group has settled at around 12 members, give or take the few who come and go. It was amazing to see the volume of work done on the first evening, and indeed on subsequent ones. All the members are highly motivated, and it has been an inspiring experience to be a part of what can be achieved when a group of people like this works together. It is not all work though, there is tea, cake and quite bit of comedy. Gardeners have a bit of a reputation for being wise…. well I’m not so sure about that but, I’ve heard a lot of wise cracks!
Although the garden has unfolded effortlessly so it seems, there has been a quantity of groundwork laid in advance. Sourcing funding from Cavan County Council, finding a suitable site and most importantly, a group of interested people. This all took some time to come together. Also a 6 Week course in Organic Gardening to arm the participants with the basic principals of organic growing took place in March.
At present the garden is comprised of 4 main sections. Crop rotation principals are in use. Each section is home to a particular family of plants or plants that have similar requirements, these will rotate annually. This year’s crops are as follows: Potatoes, Onions, Courgettes, Pumpkins, Squash, Peas, Beans and various Lettuce, Cabbage, Broccoli, Romanesque, Carrots and Parsnips. More salad crops such as Rocket, Coriander, Purselene, and Oriental greens have been grown. A recent frost has been a bit of a setback for the pumpkin, courgette, squash and runner beans, as can happen in May. Many an enthuasiast has been caught out by late May frosts. Fortunately though, keen gardeners such as ourselves have plenty more plants to replace them.
A Herb bed has just been finished and has been planted up, interspersed with sunflowers and other flowers too. Next up are the Comfrey bed and a compost area. Comfrey is a native plant, we are planting a particular variety (“Blocking 14”) which allows several cuts in the season. It and Nettle are both important plant foods when broken down and added as a liquid tea. A comfrey bed, nettle patch, and usually a small wildlife pond are all integral parts of an organic garden. The pond does not have to be deep at all, just a wet area, and so completely safe for children and indeed a fascination for them also.
Speaking of children, Tir na Paisti, the childcare group in the community centre here, have their own patch as part of the community garden. The chidren’s involvement is most welcome. Who knows, perhaps these children will pass on their knowledge and skills to their busy parents who have not got the time to garden themselves (though they would love to!). In any case, they are going to get lots of fresh air.
So, on that note, i will end with an open invitation to visit this promising garden. Do feel free to take with you any ideas you would like to try at home. Come and have a look and watch this space for more later. Also see some photos of our work below.
See you there.
You can’t beat the cupán tae…..
agus an cáca milis after a hard day’s graft!