For advice on organic gardening in polytunnels and raised beds, making wildlife-friendly gardens to help biodiversity, keeping back-
garden organic poultry, sourcing organic food and seasonal healthy recipes.
(Photo: Richard Johnston)
Hello, welcome to my website.
This is where I share my experience of growing organic vegetables and fruit in raised beds and polytunnels, as well as wildlife-friendly gardening to attract bees, beneficial insects, butterflies and birds to your garden. You'll also find tips for small scale poultry keeping. I've been gardening organically in Ireland for 39 years now, in all types and sizes of gardens - and for a couple of those years even growing only in containers. I've been a small-scale organic sheep and poultry farmer, and also a commercial, certified organic vegetable grower - starting Dublin's very first organic box scheme in the early 1980's. Over the years, I've discovered a lot of very useful and practical tips for time-saving, money-saving and carbon-friendly ways to produce healthy food with the minimum of effort, while recycling as much as possible and avoiding food waste. I also share the latest news on shopping for organic food, along with my tips for cooking it too - using my own tried and tested, easy, healthy and budget-friendly recipes which I've developed over many years of cooking for my family, at the same time as coping with a very busy life. Here I share my original ideas, thoughts and experiences of living life as organically as possible but also as realistically possible, in today's chemical-laden world. I take into account that we can't all do the idealistic 'self-sufficiency on 5 acres' thing, and that many people have very small gardens, or perhaps no garden at all. I believe not in simply preaching, or 'talking the talk' - but in actually showing you practical ways to 'walk the walk' - as I do! I call my philosophy "Down to earth organic living, without the hair shirt, hassle or expense".
Organic food isn't about wearing hair shirts - and neither is it a just fashionable 'lifestyle choice'! It's about growing and eating the very best, purest, most humanely-produced and most traceable food possible. It's about having the reassurance of knowing exactly where your food comes from - and also knowing that it's produced in a way that protects Nature and the precious soil that sustains all life on this planet.
I hope you will enjoy all the information on the website and find it useful. Please visit again, as each month I'll be talking about what I'm currently doing in my vegetable garden, polytunnel and wildlife diaries, giving you a healthy seasonal recipe or two, and updating you on the latest organic news - with other occasional ramblings - or possibly even rantings!
As we go about our busy lives in this hectic world, it's easy to feel frustrated, powerless and let down by the politicians and large multi-national corporations who make decisions for us on such issues as feeding an increasing population, climate change, energy use and carbon emissions. Many seem to care little about increasing pollution, loss of species, biodiversity and degradation of soils. These and all the other related problems seem to be a grim reality that many lack the courage to face. They talk much but do little. Most seem to think only as far ahead as the next election and often seem to actually care more about the future of large multi-national corporations than they do about the future of our beautiful planet and of our children. It's very easy to feel that there's nothing we can personally do to make any difference. But there is. There is something we can each do - we can make a statement by the way we live now, by the choices that we make in our everyday lives as consumers - even if it's just something as seemingly simple as what to have for supper! If we choose a loaf of bread or a carton of milk that's produced in the only truly sustainable way - by organic farming, then that is ultimately a political statement. If enough people make that statement - then retailers have to take notice and begin to change. They ultimately then influence governments.
Gardening organically, without toxic chemicals that harm nature and without using peat products that destroy precious biodiversity - is not just a very satisfying occupation. It brings abundant rewards for both our physical and mental health, and gives a real sense of being an integral and positive part of the greater scheme of things. It makes a real and genuine contribution to preserving biodiversity, combating pollution, reversing carbon loss and climate change. It can also make a big difference to your household budget, no matter how small your plot! Remember, each garden may only be one tiny piece of a huge jigsaw, but together all of those organic gardens all over the world can join together to make a real difference to the bigger picture. Even if you don't have a garden, simply by buying organically grown produce you'll be helping to make that difference to our beautiful and irreplaceable planet as well.
Here's a verse I love, which I often pause and reflect on in our current troubled times - this says it all for me:
Let fortune's bubbles rise and fall;
who sows a field, or trains a flower,
Or plants a tree, is more than all."
(J. G. Whittier - who must surely have been an organic gardener!)
"I don't think I've ever seen a polytunnel quite as beautiful as Nicky Kyle's - it's almost like Narnia." (Fionnuala Fallon - Irish Times - 18.11.10)