Carnaun School Organic Diary April 2006

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Propagation of seeds with Cáit Curran

Anois teacht an Earraigh – Spring is here!

We applied for our fourth European Green flag and were examined by Mark Molloy from the Environment Department of Galway Co. Council on Wednesday the 25th of January and we are delighted to report that we passed our test once again.

On Wednesday the 1st of February we celebrated the old festival of Imbolg, the Christian Feast of St. Brigid and the coming of spring by a nature walk and by making the traditional rush crosses.

This is a lovely time of the year and in our spring garden the snowdrops are in bloom and the other spring flowers that compete for light with the hedgerows and shrubs are well on their way. On the 9th of February last year we first noticed frogspawn in the wildlife pond but we think the frogs delayed spawning until the weather got wet on the 13th.

Our first dawn chorus was heard on the 16th of January and we are wondering if it is because of the mild weather that the birds have started so early. Just outside the classroom window our winter friends are busy at the bird feeders. All the “usuals” – robin red breast, pied wagtail, wren, great tits, blue tits, coal tits, bull finches and green finches have been joined this year for the first time by a pair of gold finches who are well able to fight their corner at the feeding area.

The junior children are enthralled and sit watching them, fascinated with the spectacle.

Róisín Qualter, 6th class

Because we don’t have one of our own, we visited Cáit Curran’s propagation tunnel to learn about propagation and of course to help her sow some spring seeds. We used some of last year’s compost as the new stuff had not come yet. Cáit explained that over the winter some of the nutrients in the compost are lost and it has to be revived with additives such as chicken manure pellets, seaweed or hoof and horn meal. We mixed the lot up and put it through a very fine sieve in order to prepare it for the seed trays. Trays for smaller seeds can take up to 240 seedlings while trays for bigger plants have bigger holes and do not take as many.

First you fill the tray with compost and tamp it down lightly on the bench to make sure the holes are filled evenly. Next you put small finger holes in each section – depending on the size of the seeds. Then you put in the recommended amount of seeds into each hole – one seed per hole for cabbage and lettuce and a few in each hole for spring onions.

Cover lightly with more fine compost and scrape off the excess with a ruler or a piece of wood. If the divisions between the holes are covered with compost the roots of the seedlings will get mixed up and there will be a problem when you are planting them out.

Water the trays and place on the thermostatically heated propagation bench, cover with light sheets of glass and finally with newspaper as seeds germinate better in the dark

Jasmine Roundtree 6th class

Editor’s note: This article was, one of many ,written in Carnaun School, Athenry, from 2006 onwards, for IOFGA’s Organic Matters Magazine, Editor Cáit Curran!

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About this record

Written by 6th class Carnaun School

Published here 18 Feb 2024 and originally published April 2006

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