Ballinagrana Community Garden open day took place in Carrick-on-Suir on Saturday, July 12 with a great turn out from neighbours, friends and community garden enthusiasts.
The garden, located in the grounds of the Camphill Journeyman, near to Sir John’s Estate was opened to the public in 2013, through a series of courses in gardening, green building and rural crafts. These courses were generously supported through the South Tipperary Development Company.
Green building tutor Gary Dalton from Tramore led a course to build a clay pizza oven and an outdoor kitchen area in autumn and spring with herb beds, runner beans and salad leaves grown by the gardeners. Firing up the pizza oven for the first time was the highlight of the open day and those who attended could make their own pizza, with toppings of their choice, to load into the oven.
Rural craft tutor Giedre Dunphy, led workshops in willow weaving small fish ornaments, and decoupaging souvenir stones, to highlight the courses which included decoupage, weaving baskets and weaving willow garden structures to grow sweet peas and beans. Loyal community garden participant Francis O’Sullivan was on hand to sell glasses of homemade elderflower juice made with Giedre on the foraging courses, and jars of spiced beetroot chutney made during the autumn gardening courses.
One of the biggest tasks for gardening tutor, Michael Miklas, and the gardening course participants over the year, was to bring the soil into the best condition for the next growing year. The first series of gardening workshops in Autumn 2013 was to grow green manure – mustard, clover and hairy vetch – which flushed nutrients back into the soil.
It was a source of great pride on the open day for community garden participants to show off the soil which is slowly returning to crop rotation with an initial planting of onions, potatoes, and beneficial cornflowers and nasturtiums.
The raised beds at the outdoor kitchen were complemented by these oncoming crops, which include tomato and pumpkin plants in the polytunnel. It certainly bodes well for the next few seasons of growing at this shared garden – a place for community and education! Ballinagrana Community Garden will be looking for new funding for courses in Autumn 2014.