Grow It Yourself - Grow it Forward

As GIY founder, Michael Kelly, said at the launch of their latest campaign Grow it Forward, “The pandemic has seen a record number of people turn to growing their own food and discovering the joy and pride that brings. The process of seeing a seed turn into a seedling and eventually food you can eat is full of magic and no shortage of optimism. And this new GIY campaign is all about sharing that feeling as far and wide as possible at a time when we need it most. That’s why we’re inviting people to get free seeds and do good deeds.”

So, in partnership with Healthy Ireland and Libraries Ireland, GIY aims to help half a million people grow their own food with ‘Grow it Forward’. As part of the Government’s Keep Well programme, this campaign is designed to help the nation eat well by inspiring and supporting people to grow some of their own food at home while connecting with friends and family to join them.

A massive 50,000 free food growing kits will be given away through this initiative, with participants asked to use the kits to share the experience with ten people, enabling half a million people across Ireland to enjoy the wide range of benefits that come from growing food at home.

Each food growing pack includes seeds for beetroot, carrots, salad leaves, peas and tomatoes; a guide to help grow them and a postcard and gift tags to help share them. Those who sign up will also receive regular e-mails with growing support, video clips and ideas for how to ‘grow it forward’ by passing on seeds, seedlings or produce in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

Grow It Forward is a great initiative that will help to improve the health and general wellbeing of a huge number of participants and their families, friends and communities, not only through the activity of growing food itself, and the healthy meals produced, but also by helping to give back a sense of having some element of control over our lives at a time of great restriction. The gifting side of it is a lovely idea - and best of all, perhaps, it’s something that all ages can enjoy and it will introduce many more people to the satisfaction of gardening.

Apply for a Grow it Forward pack while supplies last at or contact your local library. #GrowItFoward #KeepWell

April is the month to catch up in the garden - and the key words are weeds and slugs. You need to stay on top of them both. Check your early spuds regularly and ‘earth-up’ as required. Water your tunnel/greenhouse – things can get pretty warm on a nice sunny April day and seedlings will dry out quickly.

SOW (seeds in bold are included in Grow It Forward packs)
Indoors: lettuce, tomato, pepper, chilli-pepper, cucumber, celery, celeriac, basil, leeks, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, parsley, courgette, marrow, globe artichoke, beans, sweet corn and pumpkin.
Outdoors: broad bean, onion sets, pea, beetroot, cabbage, spinach, Brussels sprouts, parsnip, spring onion, leek, carrot, radish, broccoli, turnip. Plant out cabbage plants when they are 15/20 cm tall into well prepared soil that has been manured.

Stored fruit and vegetables are likely to be a distant memory at this stage and new crops are only starting to trickle in. But the middle of this month sees the arrival of the first asparagus and the first early spring cabbage. The other two star performers this month are purple sprouting broccoli and rhubarb.

TIP OF THE MONTH – Nettle Fertiliser
Pick huge bundles of tender young nettles - divert around 5oz to the kitchen for a delicious nettle soup and use the rest for an organic fertiliser. Nettles are extremely high in nitrogen so if you soak a large bucketful in water for a week, you produce a brilliant nitrogen-rich fertiliser which will be hugely beneficial for any plants which need leafy growth, for example lettuces, cabbage, kale etc - and it’s free. Put a kilo of nettles in a hessian bag and soak in 20 litres of water, then leave it to stew for a month or so. It gets pretty stinky so put a lid on top. Mix one part nettle liquid with ten parts water when applying to plants.

RECIPE OF THE MONTH – Salmon and Leek Filo Parcels
April is a classic hungry gap month and, for many GIYers, leeks may well be the only fresh vegetable in the soil at this time of the year. Here’s a fresh, healthy salmon and leek recipe.

• 4 leeks, finely sliced
• 20g butter
• 6 sheets filo pastry
• 2 salmon fillets, skin removed
• 100g crème fraiche

Cook the leeks in a saucepan with a few tbsp of water and a knob of butter for 10 minutes, covered. Season well. Allow to cool.
Brush a sheet of the filo pastry with butter, then lay 2 more sheets on top, brushing butter between the layers. Place a salmon fillet on top.
Mix the crème fraiche with the leeks – put about half this mixture on top of the salmon. Fold the pastry up over the salmon to make it into a parcel.
Repeat this process for the second parcel. Brush them with a little melted butter.
Place on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes at 200C until nicely browned.
To accompany, some sprouting broccoli or mixed leaves from the veggie patch would be very nice

There are currently no comments

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment
Not a member? Register for your free membership now!
Or leave a comment by logging in with: