I started growing organic food in Galway in 2012 and did the distance learning course with Dromcollogher Organic College before working on two local organic farms. I started growing commercially in 2016 while doing Jim Cronin’s Market Gardening course. I grow my vegetables on an acre of family land in Abbeyknockmoy and sell them in Tuam Farmers Market. My vegetables are grown in an environmentally friendly manner with great concern for soil health and biodiversity. All of my produce is sold fresh and in season at my stall by myself, with minimum packaging. I have many regular customers who appreciate local, organic produce direct from the farmer, in a friendly, sociable atmosphere with no air miles involved! It’s a system that is fair on the environment, the farmer and the customer.
How We Farm
I believe that food should be produced in as natural a manner as possible with the health of the environment and the customer as priority. The garden is organically certified and in line with this certification there are no synthetic chemicals used in the garden. Challenges such as pests and diseases are dealt with through good observation and management practices, rotations, a healthy biodiversity that encourages beneficial predatory insects, netting and biological controls. Suitable vegetable varieties are chosen for our conditions such as blight resistant potatoes. Weeds are managed through hoeing, harrowing and earthing up, hand weeding and sometimes we just leave them be!
I use only natural fertiliser (farmyard manure/ seaweed meal/compost) which also helps build organic matter. Green manures are sown to keep soil covered, fix nutrients and build organic matter. I keep tillage to a minimum and only use the tractor/machinery when conditions are right. I’m looking into no-dig methods and would hope to convert part of the garden to no dig in the coming seasons.
I planted a willow hedge and every year sow wildflowers for birds and insects. The vegetables include many plant families which add to the diversity of the garden. The soil is abundant with worms and lots of other weird and wonderful insects. There is more to do in this area with plans to plant a lot more native trees but I have already noticed a big increase in wildlife since I started gardening here.
Organic vegetables and eggs
I sell veg that are in season so the selection varies throughout the year. In the high season I could have over twenty types of vegetable on the stall with a smaller selection in winter time.
This year I got hens and was delighted to add eggs to the selection. My chucks live in an old caravan, converted into luxurious hen house accommodation. They are outside roaming in the grass all day long and are happy in their lodgings at night. I feed them organic, non GMO feed and they also get leftover greens from the garden. We regularly move the caravan onto fresh grass.
Find Our Fair Food
I sell my vegetables at Tuam Farmers Market on Fridays from 8am to 2pm. The market is located in the yard of Brownes Restaurant in the centre of the town