Focus Corner

Upcycle with at Electric Picnic 2013

August 28th, 2013 by is proud to be part of the Global Green area of this year’s edition of the Electric Picnic festival (Friday 30 August – Sunday 1 September, Stradbally Estate, Co. Laois, Ireland) marking the 5th time that this website makes it to one of the greenest and most eco-friendly music festivals in the world. is the leading Irish green consumer website and social campaign promoting greener and more sustainable ways of living in a simple and realistic manner and offering independent info on green products and services. The website is not just for the green “purists” but for everyone… Read More »

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bean slicing

What is Bolting? – Micheal Kelly from GIY explains

August 25th, 2013 by   

This month is a bit fragmented or me in the garden. Some things I am trying to speed up, like ripening the tomatoes and sage cuttings. Then on the other hand I am trying to slow down the spinach and lettuce to stop them bolting. I have three types of tomatoes growing, I can’t remember their names but some are bigger than others and they have all been left to do their own thing barring the odd comfrey feed and nipping out a few side shoots. If they don’t start to ripen soon we’ll be eating a lot of green… Read More »

Alderleaf Wilderness College basket 2

Innovation, Moss Graffiti

September 2nd, 2012 by   

Innovation in the garden is the topic for this week, inspired by Noel Joyce and his recent visit on the Dragons’ Den. Noel came up with the idea to fix frames onto wooden fences and sheds for hanging plant pots in and has called the invention the ‘Breezy Garden Plant Holder’. For me it was a case of “Why didn’t I think of that” Sean O’Sullivan, one of the Dragons thought it was such a good idea he invested in it, so they will be on the DIY shelves very soon. I have put my creativity to good use and… Read More »

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A Bee or Not?

May 13th, 2012 by   

I’ve been outside painting the windowsills of the house bright yellow this week and splashed white emulsion on the wall around the front of the house. We also have walls either side of four very large steps leading up to the front door, which also needed painting white. As I was putting on the paint I couldn’t help noticing that I had company. I was obviously disturbing what looked like honey bees and they were making their irritation known to me by flying around my head. It wasn’t long before I found out that their nest was underneath the large… Read More »

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Self Sufficient or Self Reliant?

March 19th, 2012 by   

Great Expectations I dabbled in the world of ‘Self Sufficiency ‘for a long time, if you can do such a thing. It’s probably a bit like being ‘almost’ a vegetarian or ‘nearly’ stopping smoking. Attempting to become totally self sufficient in anything sets the bar of expectation so high that a majority of us would give up with a huge feeling of failure. I’m not sure if it’s the recession or just a shift in consciousness but the emphasis is changing from “Self Sufficiency to “Self Reliance”, which I am all in favour of because it potentially makes our lives… Read More »

Book Review – “Vegetables for the Polytunnel and Greenhouse”

March 19th, 2012 by   

Costing the Earth It 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… Read More »

h bone

Biodynamic Agriculture

February 26th, 2012 by   

A cow horn preparation courtesy of Howard Sooley   I got some very interesting feedback from last week’s article about homeopathy in the garden. Some people say that water has a conscience and you can even alter it with mind control even before adding drops of plant extract. We’re not without the odd sceptic too, which keeps everyone on their toes, or their feet on the ground anyway. Here’s what EK said about water. “Water should work as a homeopathic remedy for all preparations, as it would have had the substances dissolved in it before. The controversy surrounding homeopathy is… Read More »

jar opening

Homeopathic Gardening

February 16th, 2012 by   

I’m in the kitchen attempting to open a jar of curry paste. The lid is stuck tight and try as I might it just won’t come off. Tapping the lid with a knife could work as could giving the jar to a stronger member of the family to open (that’s all of them). As no one else is around I pretend I am an oak tree with big roots harnessing the earth’s energy. Sounds a bit daft but it worked. Homeopathy is another thing that sounds a bit daft, but it seems to get results in eradicating pests and diseases… Read More »

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seed box

Choosing seeds from Catalogues

January 31st, 2012 by   

Choosing seeds from Catalogues It’s time for us to be looking at seeds now for planting out in the garden for the coming spring. I was talking to garden guru Klaus Laitenberger from Milkwood Farm recently and he thinks the same. So much so that he has set up a mail order seed company in conjunction with Quickcrop selling small packets of carefully selected vegetable seeds that will be ideal for our climate. I asked Klaus how he went about choosing the right seeds for his company called “The Vegetable Seed Co” “We selected the best varieties for the Irish… Read More »


It’s a Right Handed World

January 15th, 2012 by   

It’s a Right Handed World There’s no doubt about it-it’s a right handed world. From the way doors open, how we take off the top of a can and do gardening work with tools, everything is geared to the 90% of right handed people. The remaining 10% of us lefties (yes I am one) have to deal with all sorts of potential obstacles daily. 10% The10% percent of left handed folk would be a lot less if overzealous teachers from the very recent past had their way. My experience of a primary school teacher who forced me to write with… Read More »

dog fence

Leaving the garden alone

January 2nd, 2012 by   

There have been a few changes in my life over the last few months, the largest probably being the house move. Gone is the acre garden with the myriad of raised beds and natural woodland overlooking the Swilly to a more modest, but beautiful semi detached bungalow in the town. The Garden The overgrown  garden is half taken up with a crumbling double garage complete with internal ivy dangling down from the rafters and the trampoline that originally looked tiny in the garden it was originally bought for, but now looks extremely out of place. Its fun to see children bouncing… Read More »

liz sheppard book

Book Review – A Space for Nature by Liz Sheppard

December 19th, 2011 by   

I have three books on the go at the moment to help while away the wet evenings. I have the 2005 Beano annual, classic yearly fun that’s a bit like Viz but not funny, but I like looking at the pictures.  The second book is called 50 Ways to Kill a Slug by Sarah Ford and is providing me with even more ways to help eradicate the ongoing issues with these pests. You think you have found all of the methods of killing the slimy creatures then find come more. Here are my favourites up to page 30: •    Hoe… Read More »

newly planted beds

Raised Vegetable Beds are great

November 21st, 2011 by   

I’ve finished my book! It’s been a long time coming, but I have finished my book.  What started out life as a one page A4 information leaflet about how to make your own raised beds has grown to over 25,000 words and 80 images. I first started putting the information together in January in the cold spell when the ground was so frozen I couldn’t go out and do anything in the garden.  As the weather warmed up, I got back into my usual routine and the book fell neglected into the background, until a few week ago when the… Read More »

autumn clean up

Autumn Tidy Up

November 4th, 2011 by   

The recent DIY work I have been doing on the house makes me realise that sometimes you have to make a bit of a mess to get things done.  I’m one of those irritating people that have the pans washed before the family sit down for dinner and try to keep mud free when I’m digging the garden.  It can be a sign of stress, or a never ending cause of it. I’m getting better at not noticing jobs that need doing in the house though. I’m working on the theory that the dust only gets to a certain depth… Read More »

this week I am a platerer

This week I’m a…..

October 2nd, 2011 by   

A bag of trouble I’m at a local DIY shop getting some plastering finish for a wall (This week I’m pretending to be a plasterer).  The 25kg bag that I wanted is unfortunately still on a pallet, shrink wrapped and six feet up in the air on a large shelf.  I was going to jump on the mobile stairs that are for workers only but thought I would conform and ask a member of staff to get a bag down for me. “I can’t do that” the shop assistant said, “The pallets are wrapped up with cling film and I… Read More »


Picnic Puppets

August 24th, 2011 by   

Boy, do we have some fun lined up for our festival kiddies at Electric Picnic this year!! As well as our packed storytelling schedule GreenMe are bringing a veritible feast of puppetry fun!! Enter the The Brothers Dimm….purveyors of peculiar puppet shows. One day, whilst stepping out of the house, these two fellows found a neatly tied bundle on their doorstep with a small note attached; & it read….. Dear Wierdos, I have chosen you two to look after my puppet shows for me. There are puppets, sets & the biggest book of fairy tales. Please treat them with respect;… Read More »


Gordon goes to the Picnic

August 18th, 2011 by   

For Electric Picnic 2011 GreenMe are delighted to introduce our friends at Greenieland Interactive Ltd.  Greenieland, the brainchild of Morag Kelly and Michael Duggan from Galway offer children aged four and over a fun and interactive way of learning about environment and our impact on the earth . Greenieland have just released their first book of the series – Gordon Goes to Greenieland. For Electric Picnic 2011, GreenMe are looking forward to introducing you to Greenie. Greenie is a fun fictitious character who lives in the magical place ‘Greenieland’ and knows everything there is to know about nature, growing your own,… Read More »

garden accidents

Safety in the Garden – Especially using ladders

August 9th, 2011 by   

Gardens can be a place of pleasure, relaxation and exercise. They can also be a dangerous place. In Ireland and the UK there are over 100,000 people attending accident and emergency hospitals every year with gardening related injuries. According to research done by the BBC, the lawnmower tops the list of the most dangerous pieces of equipment, with 7,500 lawnmower related accidents reported each year. Surprisingly the innocent looking flowerpot is the second most dangerous tool, causing 6,300 accidents, with falls, cuts and lifting injuries some of the most common types of accident recorded.   Here are some reasons why… Read More »


Guerrilla Gardening-12 Easy Steps

July 2nd, 2011 by   

On balmy summer evenings my mother and her friend would choose a garden to raid. It sounds exciting but this generally entailed walking down the driveway and taking a cutting from a plant they didn’t have and repotting it into their own gardens. They never got caught and in hindsight I think the garden owners’ probably just let them get on with it as their antics did no harm.  The same could be said for the popular sport of Guerrilla Gardening. This is bit more organised than my mother’s misdemeanour and achieved a slightly different result.  You are not gardening… Read More »

peat harvester

Peat Free Gardening

May 16th, 2011 by   

There is a growing movement of gardeners moving away from traditional peat products and finding more sustainable alternatives for young plants and seedlings. Peat extraction began on an industrial scale after the war for use in horticulture to put nutrients back into the soil and since then intensive methods of extraction have been used to produce the big bags of moss peat and compost we see in the shops. This is exactly the same principle of open cast mining that is used to extract coal. Today less than 8% of the original area of Irish peat bogs has been left… Read More »

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