Growing Forward in 2017


by Hans Wieland


For most of us gardeners December and January often are more reflective times, we sit and think and dream what happened in the garden this year and what we want to happen next year. Here is what I have been thinking:


Protect our soil – Sign the People4Soil petition

Gardening organically means looking after the soil, growing in it, walking on it and harvesting from it. Feeding our soil with compost, manure, seaweed and green manures is the best way in protecting it. Modern agriculture is stripping the Earth of high-quality topsoil, “the skin of the Earth,” and the depletion throughout history of these few inches has led to the collapse of civilizations, but all of us can take part in restoring healthy topsoil and therefore what we do in our own backyard has an impact on the larger world. In the People4Soil coalition more than 400 associations have joined together to ask the EU for specific regulations to protect the soil, which is as essential to life as water and air. Please support the petition with your signature and follow them on


No dig gardening makes a lot of sense

When I meet Charles Dowding at a GIY conference a few years back I thought ok no dig gardening is his way of gardening. When I heard from Jim Cronin a year later that he is growing vegetables with no dig gardening I though ok another one of these marvellous market gardeners that doesn’t dig. But then I thought well Hans you are not exactly digging either and you use a lot of compost to top dress the beds. So now I am a promoter of no dig gardening, because it works for me and I am delighted to hold a copy of Charles Dowding’s new Diary in my hands. Charles is not only a great gardener and inspiring lecturer, he is also one of the best gardening writers and this new Diary is full of practical tips and sound advise how to grow great vegetables.


And I am also delighted that Jim Cronin has come up with a new course for 2017: “Learn how to garden organically with Jim Cronin.”

Jim Cronin doesn’t just grow fantastic vegetables, he grows vegetables that bounce at you with leaves that shine. He is also an advocate of the No Dig gardening method and believes in using green manures. He also works with horses on the farm and is one of the most reputed organic market gardeners in the country. We are delighted to have Jim as one of our lecturers as he innovates his teaching every year and for 2017 we offer 6 mornings with Jim at his farm near Bridgetown in Killaloe, Co. Clare.

You will learn all about site selection, sowing seeds, setting up a polytunnel or glasshouse, growing different vegetables, growing beneficial flowers in the garden for biodiversity, learn about no dig gardening and green manures, and find out how to deal with weeds , diseases and pests.

But more than that you will get infected by his sheer enthusiasm for growing and will leave inspired to start growing yourself or if you already do setting the bar a little higher. The course is suitable for total beginners as well as more experienced gardeners. It is a mixture of classroom and a practical outdoors learning experience.


The Complete Organic Kitchen Garden

On the 8th and 9th of July 2017 I will team up with my colleagues Ingrid Foley, Phil Wheal and my wife Gaby Wieland to present “The Complete Organic Kitchen Garden”: Growing Vegetables with Ingrid, growing and using herbs with Gaby, growing fruit with Phil and preserve and ferment with myself. Our aim is to deliver a sensational weekend full of sowing, growing and culinary delights. Includes a 3 course dinner in The Grass Roof Café. Detailed programme available on




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The Organic Centre, Rossinver, Co. Leitrim, Ireland.

From within Ireland: (071) 985 4338
International: +353 71 985 4338

From within Ireland: (071) 985 4343
International: +353 71 985 4343


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