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Inishowen joins GIY Ireland


 
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inishindie
Rank attained: Tree plantation keeper


Joined: 27 May 2007
Posts: 563
Location: inishowen Ireland

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:00 pm    Post subject: Inishowen joins GIY Ireland Reply with quote

New Inishowen GIY group

I'm walking into Harry's Bar in Bridgend. It's not often I venture out into bars, but tonight is something a bit special. It's the first meeting of the new Inishowen GIY (Grow It Yourself) group. The GIY movement was started in 2008 by Irish Times Journalist and author Michael Kelly as a non profit making venture in Waterford. The idea is help people find out more about growing their own produce and has quickly spread nationwide with over 80 groups forming around the country.

The bar is packed, I know a few familiar faces such as radio gardening expert Gareth Austin, gardening gurus; Willie Grant , Bev Doherty and Colm Grant, as well as others I haven't met before, all with the common interest of growing their own produce and in some cases rearing their own livestock in Inishowen.
Michael taps his glass and introduces himself to the 50 or so people in the room. "I'm no gardening expert," he begins humbly. "In fact my first attempt at looking after plants ended in disaster when I managed to kill off some very old bonsai trees. " (That's not that difficult I can assure you, keeping a plant in a tiny container and cutting off its tap root is best left to obsessive fanatics.)

How GIY began

Michael continues to tell us how the idea for GIY began. "About eight years ago I bought a garlic bulb from a supermarket. I had got used to the fact that these bulbs had been grown in Spain or Portugal, but this one I picked up was grown in China. I couldn't believe that this item, which cost less than 50 cent, had been shipped 5000 miles across the world. I got on my high horse and decided to grow some for myself. I took the bulb home, divided up the clove and planted them in the garden.
The cloves were then ignored and neglected, but that didn't stop them sending up green shoots, which eventually fell over and withered away. I thought the plants had died so I started to dig the brown shoots out. To my surprise the single cloves had grown into fabulous bulbs. "
This realisation that plants instinctively want to grow inspired Michael to want to learn more about the art of growing his own. "I was impatient and tried to find local groups to join but as there was nothing in my area, I decided to set up a small group locally."

The first meeting was in Michael's local library. He set out ten chairs for a small gathering. 100 people turned up and the enthusiasm was contagious.
In just two years the idea has spread throughout the country. To date 6000 people have joined the local groups, with Inishowen being the latest group to sign up, lead by Donal Doherty, the proprietor of Harry's Bar.
"People came to that initial meeting for different reasons." Michael explains, "It could be that the recession was forcing people to rethink their spending and grow for financial savings. There were people who had money but also had time on their hands, people who worry about getting good healthy, nutritious food and also people who liked the exercise that gardening gives you."

Well travelled
Michael bought a few vegetables on his way up the country earlier in the day and showed us a pack of tomatoes (from Morocco) some mixed red peppers (from Holland) and some grapes (from Brazil). "The combined food miles for these basic vegetables, is about 13000 miles." Micheal tells us. "I was on the Sean Doherty show this morning and he asked me if this was just the 'Global Village' we now have and expect with food. I had to disagree. The statistics don't add up. We import 5 billion euro worth of food a year into Ireland and export 7 billion euro. The most ridiculous fact is that Ireland imports exactly the same amount of onions as it exports. Now where's the logic in that? Ships are passing each other in the oceans with the same products on them?"
There were more statistics for us. "In the 1980's 35% of our disposable income was spent on food. Now that amount has reduced to 17-18%. (You might find it interesting to know that here in Ireland we spend the same amount of our income on mobile phone charges as we do on food."
Of course Michael is here to welcome Inishowen to the GIY fold and doesn't dwell on the negatives. This is a positive movement to nurture locally grown produce, reducing our dependency on imports and benefit from a community spirit.

Michael's Top Ten
Michael is keen to tell us his top ten favourite vegetables for growing.
"Tomatoes, potatoes (early ones like Orla or Sarpo) peas, garlic, leeks, herbs, salad crops, (which can be grown all year round), courgettes( one of the most prolific and easy crops to grow) cucumber (you can get 40 from just one plant), leaf beet, fruit bushes and an apple tree." Observant counters amongst you will notice there are 12 in the list, but whose counting anyway. "Just grow what you really like" is the advice that Michael gives us.
"The space needed for a family of four to be self sufficient in vegetables is just 30 feet by 50 feet and a polythene tunnel 40 feet by 14 feet and should only take about 8 hours a week to upkeep ." Michael can even tell us exactly how much it costs him to feed and rear a chicken to 12 week maturity (€7.50). He's done the maths.
Michael concludes his fascinating talk by saying, "GIY wants to inspire people to gain and share skills in the edible garden. Please give it a try. The worst thing that can happen is that something doesn't grow."

Time for me to mingle....

Monthly meetings
GIY Inishowen will have monthly meetings at Harry's Bar. See the GIYireland.com website for more details. The meetings are non profit making, fun and open to all levels of gardeners from the professional to total novice. Refreshments will be served and there is absolutely no charge.



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Photo: l-r. Donal Doherty, Michael Kelly, John Hamilton, The Doherty/Donnelly family and Bev Doherty.
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if you are interested in raised vegetable beds and veggie growing I have a new website - raisedbeds.net We're busy on social networking too and have over 12,000 members in the group.
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walltoall
Rank attained: Orchard owner


Joined: 25 Aug 2008
Posts: 705
Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:04 am    Post subject: Grow It Yourself Ireland Reply with quote

GrowItYourself is what we do here on Irish Gardeners Forum. And then some! How has this article quietly languished over nine moths without a murmur or a whimper of [dis]approval] from the host of Irish Gardener Forum Folks? Went out in the freezing cold of mid December? Everybody wrapped up in their own worries and concerns? Nobody noticing a shivering idea in a gloomy corner?

Come on Irish gardeners Forum People.

Get out your opinions and your experiences, dust them down, polish them up and let's be having them. If there really are 6000+ GIY gardeners growing their own and none of us are part of the action, we need a beagán of mitheall. But that I can't believe as the numbers don't stack. There have to be quite a few of us involved either in the centre like Inishindie or in the borders.

I've had a look at their website www.giyireland.com/ It's homepage is bang up-to-date so there must be scope for us lot to be working with them lot and they with us. if nothing else how many of them need a copy of Michael Brenock's book? Their gathering next month in Waterford looks like a must go?

Discuss.

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Retired trouble-maker. twitters @walltoall and dreams of being promoted to Pedunculate Oaker.
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michael brenock
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 12 Aug 2008
Posts: 1275
Location: cork

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

there is a great wealth of knowledge available in this forum and the members are serious and practical growers. I have been to a number of CIY meetings and there is a great interest in ideals of living off a small area of land both growing and rearing your own but there is a great shortage of basic knowledge of soils and growing.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
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walltoall
Rank attained: Orchard owner


Joined: 25 Aug 2008
Posts: 705
Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:23 pm    Post subject: Grow It Yourself Ireland Reply with quote

Good evening Michael.
So would I be right in saying some kind of link up between the GIY crowd and Irish Gardeners Forum would be a good idea?
Shaun (Wall)
PS: If they don't know much, I hope you are actively pushing your book? lol


let action commence.

IF THERE ARE ANY OF YIZ ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE G I Y MOVEMENT WOULD YIZ MAKE YEERSELFS KNOWN HERE ON IRISH GARDENERS FORUM.

AND IF YEE'RE KEEPING THE HEAD DOWN, WILL YIZ TELL THE G I Y CROWD ABOUT IRISH GARDENERS?

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