Carnaun School Organic Garden Diary – Oct 2005

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Melisa and Mico taking the temperature of the Compost Bin

Finbarr O’Regan, principal of Carnaun school in Galway, and his pupils, are on their summer holidays. He explains what happened when they gave their garden a holiday as well.

When the “Good Friday Peace Accord” was signed we planted a “Peace Tree” in Carnaun School to commemorate the event. The teenagers of Athenry had signed a letter of congratulations to all the people who signed the agreement and received letters of acknowledgement from them. These letters from Bertie Ahern, Tony Blair, Gerry Adams and all the other signatories are in the school’s archives.

The tree — a white beam – reminded us over the years of the conflict that was going on in the North of Ireland and there were times, especially after the London Bombing by the IRA or after some atrocious murder or robbery in the North, when we wondered would there come a time when we would have to cut this tree down. However, the 27th July, when the IRA statement of the end of their conflict was published, we were happy that the tree still flourishes in our school grounds.

Sarah O’Regan, Saoirse and Alicia looking after the garden during the holidays

Miniature jungle

After being away for a few weeks, we visited the school garden to find it very overgrown and a jungle of weeds. Wet warm weather had helped the growth of chickweed, fat hen and redshank, some of our most common weeds, so we had a few hours of intense weeding to get some semblance of order. The weed cover provided an ideal home for slugs and snails, so cabbage and lettuce suffered some damage. We removed some caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly before they got to eat too many leaves and the plants have now recovered and are growing well.

Some success

However, not all was bad as many of the vegetables had flourished in our absence. The Potatoes, Spinach, and Broad Beans were doing very well. The Carrots, Parsnips, Spring Onions and Beetroot had not done so well (probably because of the lateness of planting and the adverse weather conditions) and of course a lot of lettuce had gone to seed.

Our pumpkin bed is growing well and plants are beginning to trail off into the nearby grass.

Sweet meadow

The rest of the school grounds were looking good and a walk through the wildflower meadow to the wildlife pond was a sea of richly coloured wild flowers and shrubs. The scent of the flowers and the humming of the bees and the colour of the butterflies made all the hard work in the school grounds very worthwhile.

A few hours with the lawn mower filled up the compost bins quickly and home we went with lots of lovely spinach, onions and cabbage for our friends.

 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 16 Feb 2024 and originally published Oct 2005

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