Ballybeg Greens

Award-winning suppliers of salad leaves, microgreens, edible flowers, herbs and specialised vegetables to the food service industry


Rhubarb rhubarb….

Our rhubarb ready for harvesting

 

 

This week at Ballybeg Greens we will be harvesting rhubarb, well known in most kitchens as a tart and pie filling. It can be harvested from late March or early April till about June.
Rhubarb grows from a crown which is planted in to the ground or raised bed. It benefits from a layer of compost mulch or farmyard manure applied to the crop ideally before winter but can be applied at any time.

 

Raised beds of rhubarb at Ballybeg Greens

 

When harvesting, sticks should be twisted off not cut and always leave four stalks with leaves as so the plant can generate energy from the light. Before the cold weather comes try insulating the rhubarb with straw as this will protect the crowns from snow and frost.

 

 

Head Grower, Jack Cashman

Follow all of Jack’s work on
Facebook at @BallybegGreens1 and Twitter @Ballybeg_Greens

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Helter Celtuce!

Celtuce growing in our polytunnels

 

 

Here at Ballybeg Greens we have Celtuce growing as part of our salad mix. Celtuce is also known as asparagus lettuce, stem lettuce, celery lettuce or Chinese lettuce and in China it is primarily grown for its stem. The stem is said to have an asparagus/celery taste but it can also be used for its leaves.

 

The same celtuce as above, one week later

 

 

It is a very easy salad crop to grow. In February, we started planting seed into trays on to a heated bench. We used modular trays where the seed is planted directly into the tray using a standard mix of seedling compost. The compost is soaked once the seed is sown and then is left on the heated bench. Germination begins shortly afterwards and you should see its cotyledon leaves or seedling leaves emerge in 6-8 days.

 

As mentioned, we use its leaves as part of the salad mix. This is because we pick the leaves when they are young and fresh. We pick the outside leaves, leaving those in the middle as so it can still produce energy from the light. You can harvest leaves throughout the season. Keep the bed weed free, water regularly and you could harvest the stem in 90 days.

Head Grower, Jack Cashman

Follow all of Jack’s work on
Facebook at @BallybegGreens1 and Twitter @Ballybeg_Greens


World Health Day at Ballybeg Greens

This year we see The World Health Organisation (WHO) planning their 70th annual World Health Day on 7th April.
According to the website, the organisation is building the day around the theme ‘Health For All’.

The WHO is dedicating this day to fight for universal healthcare for all people in the world, with statistics from the organisation highlighting the need to focus attention on this issue:

It is estimated that half of the world’s population is lacking access to appropriate medical services, according to the WHO. Another 100 million people are forced into poverty by paying medical bills or services. The organisation wants to see more than 1 billion people gain access to the healthcare services they need by 2023.

Here at BBG, we actively look to find ways of promoting health and well-being in order to help members of our community to stay fit and healthy.

To eat healthy foods, why not try growing your own? It can be as easy as planting some lettuce in a seed tray and watching it grow.The internet is a wonderful place to look up simple ways to grow your own.

Who loves to exercise? Studies show that even moderate levels of activity can lead to a healthier, happier and longer lives with Ireland Active promoting gardening as one way of doing this.

Our head grower, Jack, regularly has useful tips and tricks that can be found on our website and on our Facebook page so do keep an eye out. If you’re in the area, you can pop into the garden to have a chat with him about what you can do to help improve the way you and your family eat.

Another great way to buy good produce is to look out for locally grown food in the shops or go to a farmers market. There are some lovely stalls in John Roberts Square on a Sunday, or you can call us on 087 438 2455 to see what we have for sale.


Transplanting Seedlings

In Ballybeg Greens at this time of year we have lots of little transplants ready to go out for planting into new beds. These transplants are generally sown into modules or containers and germinated on a heated bench indoors where they grow till they are ready to plant out.

seedlings-transplanting

Prior to planting out the seedlings need to be hardened off. Hardening off gets the plants used to the variable temperatures that can occur outside. To do this, leave plants outdoors during the day and bring back in during the night. Hardening off is important with most salad crops as these crops are a softer leafy crop which don’t respond well to dramatic changes in temperature. Most plants transplant well. However carrots, parsnips, potatoes and a few others prefer to be planted directly to the area that they will mature in.

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A garden dibber can help with transplanting seedlings

Before transplanting, water the seedlings to ensure the compost is damp but not soaked. Plant into a bed that is weed free, stone free and free draining. Plant the seedlings in to a trench or a hole made using a dibber. Water well after transplanting. If planted outdoors and frost is still occurring, a fleece or straw should be used around plants to prevent frost damage.

 

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Head Grower, Jack Cashman

Follow all of Jack’s work on
Facebook at @BallybegGreens1 and Twitter @Ballybeg_Greens


Jack Cashman Head Grower at Ballybeg Greens

So tell me a little bit about yourself, where you are from, where you studied, etc.

I’m originally from Westport in County Mayo. I started my first year in college in WIT studying a Bsc. in Horticulture. I then moved down to Waterford permanently to finish the last two years of college and have stayed here ever since.

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What made you want to study horticulture? Was it something that began in school or something that developed a little later?

I have always been interested in food. My family has a background of growing their own food. So the interest began when I was young, seeing my father and grandfather growing their own fruit and vegetables. This later developed into a passion for producing a sustainable food source with little impact on the environment around us. Hence, our gardens in Ballybeg Greens are organic.

For people thinking they would love to grow their own food, but think they don’t have the time or space, is there any tips you could give them to begin?

Well, there are loads of ways to fit small grow spaces for basic leaves and greens in around the house and a few seeds only takes a couple of minutes to plant. If you keep an eye out on our Facebook page there will be loads of tips and hints coming!

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What are you most interested in within this new job as Head Grower?

As mentioned previously, my aims for Ballybeg Greens is to produce a variety of high quality crops through sustainable and organic methods.

It would also be great to get people from the community involved to share ideas, knowledge and to show the importance of where food comes from and how it is produced.

What would your plans be for BBG over the next year, given that you are only here 2 weeks, are you excited to build this plan? Could you tell us a bit about that?

I am very excited. The future plan of Ballybeg Greens is to develop a site where the people of the community can come learn about growing food, to show the importance of locally sourced produce and supporting local business. We hope to set up a centre that can spark an interest or passion for food and in doing so improve the quality of people’s lives.

 


Thyme, the wintry herb.

Thyme AKA T. vulgaris is a species of flowering plant in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to southern Europe from the western Mediterranean to southern Italy. It is a bushy, woody-based evergreen subshrub with small, highly aromatic, grey-green leaves.

It is useful in the garden as a groundcover, where it can be short-lived, but is easily propagated from cuttings.

Culinary uses for the herb are vast and varied when compounded with mint, bay, or marjoram it can be used to cook almost any dishes.

It was the Ancient Greeks who discovered the attraction of Thyme to bees and other pollinators. As honey plants, they aid in producing a honey that apparently sensational.

It is indispensable in bouquets garnis for making stock, particularly chicken and lamb stocks.

Here is some further information on growing herbs in Winter.


Preparing For Hibernation

This is a perfect time of year to gather a group of friends together, get wrapped up warm and go look at the beautiful change in the all the colours on the trees and how the sun shines just that little bit brighter as the darkness creeps in earlier and earlier.

According to the Irish Independent, “over the last 40 years, researchers have been examining how friendships affect us, what they have found is that the people we surround ourselves with have a huge effect on our mental and physical health”.

Having someone who you can laugh with as these winter months are approaching is incredibly important for our wellbeing. Having someone to laugh with, also known as “positive social interaction” can be the most important predictor of physical quality of life” (Irish Indepenedent, 2017)

So go get that wolly hat out, buy yourself a lovely new warm scarf and begin walking and laughing your way through these winter months.