Have any companies out there organized allotments for their staff? At FitzGerald Nurseries we have and hopefully later in the year we will be able to share our experience with other companies who might be interested in this type of initiative.
Ok so it might be a bit easier for us as some of us are trained horticulturists but we are a bit rusty on growing our own veggies. Like many farmers or others who were brought up when the vegetable plot was a common sight we too have lost the plot (no pun intended) for a while so now we are trying to catch up. This was something we wanted to do for many years and now the catalyst to begin again has arrived.
This year we set up our company allotments beside the nursery. Five staff are actively getting their plots up and running. This pilot scheme looks like its going to bear rewards with a good harvest later this year. After a slightly late start things are now beginning to pop out of the earth. And some interesting varieties of vegetables will be on show later in the year. Vaida and Akvile who are from Lithuania have brought their own seeds from Lithuania with varieties of Cauliflower, Cabbage, Beans and other veg that I have not heard of before so this should be fun to see how these varieties do in our Irish Climate. Ann was off to a good start with her potato seed she brought up from her West Cork home surfacing now and lots of other veg now well established in Anns plot. I have tried out again this year some French potato varieties specially suitable for sauté and salads. We exhibit at a French Horticultural show each year and the last two years I have purchased some varieties commonly used in the Loire Valle area of France so more about these later in the year when we will see how they have performed. I have picked out some French beetroot, onion and carrot varieties to see how flavour and texture compare to home grown varieties.
Sweet Potato (Ipomea batatas)
Sweet potato is one of those healthy and beneficial foods which has been introduced to the Irish diet and supermarket shelves more noticeably in recent years. Normally quite expensive to buy compared to other vegetables so I reckon very well worth trying to grow.
After 12 months research into the possibilities of growing this root vegetable in Irish conditions I have selected the variety Beauregard Improved as the most likely to succeed in our climatic conditions. With fantastic co-operation from some colleagues in USA I managed to get certified stock from Louisiana. Ideally Sweet Potato will require growing in protected greenhouse but we suspect some reasonable yield can be achieved out doors with this variety. Sweet potato can also be grown in patio containers and once our trials are finalized we will post instructions on how to do this in 2010. Testing on how this plant grows in the Irish climate has begun. Already we have fantastic reaction and demand in UK so this plant looks like its could be a success story for 2010 allotment gardeners.
Watch out for future posts about the MyPlant staff allotments and our results on trying some new things just as we do for our garden plant varieties. If you would like to comment on this post please feel free to do so.