A day in the life…

Maria, who is currently undertaking the OGI internship program in Organic Horticulture on Glasraí farm in Co. Mayo, tells us about one of the workshop days that she completed recently.


OGI, internship 2021

On June 1st we were in Cloughjordan Eco Village having a Pest, Disease and Weed Management workshop with Klaus Laitenberger. I was excited for this day as I had borrowed two of his books “Vegetables for the Irish Garden” & “Vegetables for the Polytunnel and Greenhouse” from work. I highly recommend both of them, they are to the point and the information is easy to absorb. In person, if one word was to describe Klaus that word would be charming. His charismatic German accent is easy on the ears as he talks about all things organic horticulture.

In the morning we went to the allotment area of the Eco Village. There we picked weeds and leaves affected with pests that we didn’t recognise. Klaus then identified the plants and gave a brief background on them (were they edible, poisonous etc).

Then we met Bruce Darrell, who does research with different types of family scale gardens – Extensive, Intensive, No Dig, Ploy Culture Garden, and a Simple Garden. He also has his own YouTube channel called “RED Gardens”. I’m looking forward to the next time we’re in Cloughjordan to check in on how these gardens are developing.

Before lunch we had a power point presentation which mainly focused on pests and preventative measures. During our break I had a little walk around the Eco Village and came across a cob house which was a first for me in Ireland. After lunch we had a walk through the Eco Village farm, where we met Luke who was working the field crops that day. He told us about a very interesting looking truck container that was surrounded with straw bales. The straw was to control temperature in the container so that they could store vegetables. He then joined us as we made our way up thought the drills of kohlrabi, brassicas, onions, spinach, and chard. There were also some really nice tunnels – one full of tomatoes and a beautiful grape vine at the end of it. There was also a seeding tunnel which had the tables suspended from the roof bars to avoid pest damage from, for example, slugs… “genius”, I say!

 One of my classmates told me they saw a guy selling grape vines on the street in Cloughjordan. After the course day I went to meet him, Denny Baldin (Instagram page @irishwinecoop). Well worth calling into if you’re around Cloughjordan, I even brought a vine, now to get a tunnel to put it into, start small dream big!

And just in case anyone was wondering did I learn anything from the day: one of the first things I did Wednesday morning was identify a cabbage root fly worm in a transplant.

I’m already looking forward to the next course day!