Frank Boucher: Growing your own fruit and veg
Frank grew up in the suburbs of south county Dublin.
He left Newpark Comprehensive in 1978 and worked for a while in a shelter for homeless alcoholic men. He joined the campaign for nuclear disarmament ,worked for the Irish Peace Council and lived as a volunteer in the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation at Glencree in Co.Wicklow.
In the early nineties I travelled in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, picking fruit and working on organic farms. He returned home inspired to grow and feed people good organic food. Frank answered an ad in the Common Ground magazine and joined the Inisglas community in Wexford where he became the gardener. Excited by the ideas of Rudolf Steiner he moved to a Camphill Community in England where he did a two year training in biodynamic agriculture and worked with people with different abilities.
Returning to Ireland he looked for land and joined an eco village project in Monaghan and helped set up a box scheme on an organic farm in Meath but it was when he came to the Irish Seed Savers in Clare that he found home. Frank got to work with a great team of people and is proud
of what they accomplished over the last ten years.
Now Frank works with his partner Gráinne on their own bit of land creating paradise and teaching others about growing food as much as we can.
Top Tips for growing your own fruit and veg
- One of the easiest food crops to grow is the potato. Early varieties (new potatoes) should be planted by St Patricks Day at the latest.
- When designing and starting your vegetable garden, use raised beds. These will help in a number of ways. The beds will be warmer as they are raised to the sun, it is easier to incorporate organic matter and fresh soil and compost and also they are much easier to work for the gardener as you don’t have to bend over as much.
- To avoid damage from carrot fly cover the seedlings with some Horticultural Fleece or alternatively try growing them in tall pots as the fly cant fly higher than 60cm.
- For best results with all vegetable crops use plenty of organic matter such as well rotted Farm Yard Manure. Make sure you’re not creating more problems by ensuring the compost is well rotted (if it smells it’s too fresh) otherwise you could be introducing weed roots and it will be too strong for the roots of the plants.
- Remember with Herbs that most of them are native to Mediterranean and sunny regions so they like lots of sunlight and very well drained soil.
- Fruit trees can be grown even in the smallest of gardens. Many of them can be grown in pots and trained to grow along a wall. Just ensure that it is a wall that gets plenty of sunlight.
- If you have a small garden, try and plant self fertile varieties of fruit trees.