Totally captivating. Klaus Laitenberger’s new book has loads of tips for the vegetable grower.
Costing the EarthIt looks like us gardeners are coming under a bit of criticism this week. New research from the University of Reading, the University of Sheffield, and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) suggests that, far from doing our bit to save the planet, we might be doing more damage.
According to the research, mowing, watering the lawn to the use of peat and pesticides all have a harmful effect on the environment say the new paper called “The Domestic Garden: Its Contribution to Urban Green Infrastructure”
I know I have mentioned before about garden centres and DIY stores seem to have more products on the shelves that kill things compared to products that help plants grow, so it’s no surprise to hear that gardeners are being advised to change their ways. Some gardeners are already changing and some of us with small lawns are abandoning petrol lawnmowers and opting for push types to save up to 36kg of CO2 every year. Another suggestion is to stop using lawn sprinklers that can use up to 1,000 litres of water an hour, that doesn’t really affect us in Inishowen though.
The paper also claims that planting a tree can take a decade to become "carbon neutral" and patios have a carbon price. A paved area of 25sqm has a one tonne carbon footprint. There has been a rising problem with flooding in some areas and covering areas in concrete is one of the factors blamed for this. I’ll take my chances and plan for the future though and plant even more trees.
The study also blames the gardening industry for being "directly responsible for the introduction of invasive species" by importing plants that escape from gardens "with huge consequences for native biodiversity and the economics associated with eradication measures".
The widespread use of peat by gardeners is also identified as a problem. Peat dug to be used as compost in the UK and Ireland releases half a million tons of CO2 a year – the emissions of 100,000 cars.
Senior advisors from the RHS are here to help though and will soon be advising us on how to create less environmental damage. Here are two tips for a starter from me. Grow organically using natural self sustaining methods without the use of chemicals and don’t concrete anything. Problem solved.
Polythene TunnelKlaus Laitenberger from Milkwood Farm in Leitrim has a new book out “Vegetables for the Polytunnel and Greenhouse”, and one of the points he mentions is that even with using the plastic covering on a polythene tunnel when we grow our own vegetables, we will still produce far less pollution and carbon emissions than if we go out to buy shop bought veg that some would have travelled half way across the world to get to us. He’s got a point
Book ReviewKlaus Latenbrgers book “Vegetables for the Polytunnel and Greenhouse”
Klaus Laitenberger’s new book, “Vegetables for the Polytunnel and Greenhouse” compliments his earlier book “Vegetables for the Irish Garden” This fresh release is specifically aimed at growing vegetables under cover. As expected the range of crops we can grow under a bit of protection is far greater than out of doors and exposed to the extremes of our climate.
The book contains lots of useful information about choosing a site for either a polythene tunnel or a greenhouse and takes into account your individual budget. Klaus gives us step by step directions on propagation of the young vegetable plants, improving the soil pest and disease control and what confuses me even after 30 years, crop rotation.
There’s a month by month guide on caring for the plants in the tunnel and if things are planned well there’s no reason at all for the tunnel not to be providing some types of vegetables all year round.
There are some plants that just wouldn’t perform well out of doors in the tried and tested list Klaus has put together. The alphabetical list starts with Aubergine and ends with the Yacon. The Yacon is one of Klaus’s favourite vegetables, not only for taste but the fact that it stores starch as insulin, not as sugar. This makes it ideal for diabetics to eat. Interestingly enough the Yacon leaves were use by the Incas as toilet paper. Now there’s another money saving tip.
The book has some great photographs of earlier successes taken by Anna-Maya and Mary from Greenhill Farm in Malin and also includes some extremely attractive pencil drawings from the Thomas Etty Heritage Seed Company and Dympna O’Driscoll.
This captivating reference book, written by a gardener who loves to grow food is available from the Milkwoodfarm.com website as well as John and Mary Reilly’s farm in Malin.
Every polythene tunnel needs a raised bed, so if you need any tips and advice about how to include them into the garden I would like to remind you that my e-book “Raised Vegetable Beds for the Organic Garden” is now available at raisedvegbeds.com or through Amazon and will fit very neatly onto your virtual bookshelf!