This garden is a place for people who enjoy working with the earth, experimenting with new (and old) ideas and like eating fresh vegetables grown without pesticides or artificial fertilisers. Our goal is to work with nature and to encourage biodiversity to create a garden that with each year requires less effort to maintain yet becomes more fertile.
We aim to turn outputs into inputs. Improving the soil with compost made from grass, hedge clippings, straw and fallen leaves from the festival site, weeds and spent plants from the garden itself and even kitchen leftovers. We also grow comfrey, a plant that accumulates many minerals with it's deep roots, to make liquid fertiliser.
We use a compost mulch on the garden and paths to protect and improve the soil and to suppress weeds and slugs. We grow flowers and herbs that put off pests and encourage pest predators and there are two bug hotels created by the RSPB to bring more insects and birds to the garden.
The Sunflowerfest Community Garden is open to people keen to learn and adopt the practises of permaculture, who enjoy toiling in the soil with other like minded people and enjoy reaping the rewards of their efforts - Food is Free!
Permaculture is an innovative framework for creating sustainable ways of living. It is a practical method of developing ecologically harmonious, efficient and productive systems that can be used by anyone, anywhere.
A forest garden is modelled on the structure of a young natural woodland and is a carefully designed and maintained ecosystem of useful plants that aims to work with nature rather than fighting it.
Our garden began as a legacy gift from the All Ireland Permaculture Gathering which Tubby's Farm hosted in 2015.
The design, created by Matt McEvoy and Amandine Pelletier, uses a diverse range of plants that work together to improve the health and fertility of the soil. Other benefits of the forest garden design include its low maintenance and high efficiency, resilience to climate extremes and disease, biological sustainability, high nutritional value and benefit to the environment.
We began planting in April 2016 and first to go down were many young trees. Nut pine, heartnut, plum yews, apple, pear, plum, cherry and greenguage trees will eventually form the canopy layer, watching over a lower layer of plants and shrubery which includes artichokes, gooseberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, blackberries and blueberries.
The ecosystem is completed by a groundcover layer that protects the soil and improves its structure. Besides comfrey, which is used for fertiliser, the many perennials planted so far include phormium, Nepalese raspberries, strawberries, red clover, mint, fennel, red valerian, mallow and sorrel. Some are edible and some attract beneficial insects and others have practical uses.
As some of the areas in the garden are currently covered with a thick plastic to kill weeds in prepartion for planting, there's still plenty of room to add to this diverse life space.
If you're interested in sharing the gardens and the produce here in return for working a few hours a week then we'd love you to contact us.
We also have a Facebook Group if you can't physically be present and still want to be part of the community.
We would like to extend our gratitude specifically to Colin Beattie and Mark Cummins, without whom our community garden plans may never have taken root.
"I first got involved with the garden at Sunflowerfest as part of the preparations for the All Ireland Permaculture Gathering in 2015. I was inspired by the place and the people and the creativity happening there. The ideas of observing and working with nature and sustainable energy use make a lot of sense to me and fit well with my work as an Alexander Technique teacher. I like being out in the fresh air and working with the earth in the ever-changing landscape, quietly buzzing with life and food tastes so much better when it's fresh off the plant!" - Colin Beattie
"I've been teaching swimming for nearly 24 years, and the key to both this and gardening is observation and patience. I started putting my hands on the Earth about six years ago after seeing what a very good friend of mine was doing, and well, I kinda liked it. All in all its about creating a well balanced environment for everything to grow. Over time I was looking for better ways to grow food, and stumbled upon permaculture in 2015, and it seemed to fit, 'Earth care, people care and fair share' since then I have never looked back." - Mark Cummins