Carnaun School Organic Diary – August 2006

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Kieran Doherty, Niall Moran and Keith Williams 3rd Class with Conor Cooley 5th Class working in the school garden

We were very late sowing the vegetable garden this year! The fine warm weather in January and February turned our plot green with weeds. March was also bad and “Trí lá na Sean Bhó Riabhaigh” the three days of the old cow, carried on to the end of April and in May “Garbhín na gCuach the wet and windy weather of the cuckoo lasted nearly until the end of the month.

Then the birds, we fed all winter, decided the cabbage we planted was for them so we had to replant – this time for the slugs. Needless to say, “pest control” was the garden topic for the first fine week in June.

This year thanks to “Seed Savers” in Scarrif, Co. Clare we sowed some “endangered” potato species namely “Black Bog and Lumpers” and we hope that they will do well so that we can share them with our friends.

Congratulations to the teachers and children of Aughamore School near Knock in Co. Mayo. They are starting an organic garden in their new playground. We wish them many great years of environmentally friendly gardening. Well done, Mayo!

I attended a film on GM foods recently and was appalled at the account of a farmer in Canada, who failed in the highest courts in the land, to stop a huge multinational company from taking his crop because some of their patented seeds had accidentally blown onto his land. I hope we will not see the likes in Ireland where seed from a truck could contaminate ten small farms at once and drive the owners straight out of business. What I learned from the film was that GM foods really will not alleviate famine in the world.

What we need is fairer distribution of food and wealth!

Finbarr 0’Regan, Principal Teacher

Pest Control

If we spray with chemical pesticides, we kill the bad insects but we kill the good insects also. So, in our school garden, we use natural pest control.

We put up twigs and strings to frighten the birds. But not all birds are our enemies! Some control a lot of pests. A blue tit’s family eats about a thousand pests each day.

Lady birds eat greenfly and frogs eat slugs. This year we have lots of tadpoles and we see many frogs in the long grass.

Thrushes kill more snails than slug pellets. If you listen, in the morning, you may hear a thrush tapping the snail on the pathway outside your window. It seems cruel but that is the law of nature. Another way is to go out in the dark with a torch and pick up snails. Not my choice of pest control!

This year we are trying a new experiment – putting copper wire around plants to keep away the slugs. We will see how it works! However, we need to keep the area around the garden free from long grass and weeds as they love to hide there during the day.

Worms are not pests even though some people do not like them! They are our friends! We need them in the compost bin and in the soil!

These are our last days in Carnaun National School. We will be sorry to leave as we enjoyed our time here. Our class of Michael Mullins, Paul McCormack, David Williams Paul Tracey, Melissa Langan and I Róisín Qualter, would like to thank Finbarr, the other teachers, Anita, Mary and Máirín, our organic advisor and friend Cáit Curran and all others who helped and gave us an introduction to the Organic way of life! Slan go fóill!

Roisin Qualter, 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 Finbarr O'Regan

Published here 18 Feb 2024 and originally published August 2006

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