Archives for posts with tag: seeds

Thankfully, the warmer weather and brighter evenings have given us the opportunity to be outside more. After the winter storms, I have a bit of cleaning up to do in the garden, but I’m not naive enough to think the kids will want to help me with that.

So, I had to think of something that will encourage them outdoors. We have the trampoline, and they were excited about being able to use it again (after they remembered we had one!). But that wasn’t enough. I’m a fan of Pinterest, so I collected (pinned) a few ideas of ‘gardens for children’ over the winter months. This is the time to put some of them into practice. You can see below what we’ve done, and in an effort to prevent you from staying indoors reading this, I’m keeping this post short, and hope you enjoy the possibilities of good weather.


The picture above shows our tic-tac-toe game. I gathered a few stones from a local beach and painted them to look like bumble bees and ladybirds. I also painted a pallet table we have in the garden to create the board, and now we have a outdoor board game.


For less than €30 I got some concrete flag stones to put across our gravel path. Then with the magic of chalk, we also have a hopscotch game. The added advantage of these stepping stones is that the kids can cross the gravel towards the grass in their bare feet – resolving one of their issues from last summer. 🙂

So, that’s just two simple changes to the garden this spring that brought the kids outdoors. We’ve also planted some seeds, so check back with us in a few months to see the results. Bye!

I don’t intend making this a common occurrence, but I always said I would like to have a political element to my posts. This is to inform you of the changes that are being proposed next week to EU legislation on the seed industry. I’ve been a big fan and subscriber to an organisation known as Irish Seed Saver Association for many years. As the name suggests, they save seeds of various fruit and vegetables so that we can purchase these seeds to grow in our own gardens. What’s special about these seeds is that they are old and local varieties that have grown for years and therefore are more likely to survive, grow and produce more seed. Seems simple enough.

However, the urgent concern for it’s members, including myself, and it is likely the concern of any food bloggers out there – the EU will vote on a change to legislation that will make this organisation illegal. If successful, local seed savers and sellers will not be allowed do what they do best. The only seed we can buy and use will be those produced and sold by big corporations – the name Monsanto will probably sound familiar to many of you.

There are two immediate ways to try get your voice heard if you are against this legislation coming into force:

1. is a simple online petition you can sign and get more information. Their synopsis of the issue is outlined here

The forbidden seed! How many here know that the EU is preparing legislation that will make it illegal to grow crops that are not on a list of approved seeds? A list that currently 60% dominated by big corporations like Monsanto, AstraZeneca, Bayer and others? Today, there are three lists, one for professional growth, one of the endangered species and one for amateur cultivation. The latter two should be removed. The pros list are basically only hybrids – which means that you can not take next year’s seed from his crop. Furthermore, it not only be forbidden to sell other seeds than those already mentioned, but also to grow. “File sharing” in the area of seeds will become a criminal act. This means that people be even less able to influence what you eat, when you can not even decide what to grow. It also means that the varieties that are historically interesting will disappear, even varieties that can withstand our climate, because the market is too small for the majors to be interesting. This means that poor people who live off what they grow is referred to in the seedtrades discretion in terms of pricing, which can be costly where there are few players. What do we think about this? Source: Nordgen, Alnarp, association SESAM English translater Monica Ramsten 

2. You can write to our EU Commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn who gets to vote on this and ask her to vote NO, we want choice, local and historic seeds; not GMO products:


Dear Ms Geoghegan-Quinn,

I have recently been made aware of the upcoming proposed changes to EU seed marketing law. This proposed new regulation will de facto ban old and rare varieties and farmers varieties and stop the exchange and selling of traditional seeds.

The apparent background to this is that DG SANCO (the Directorate General of the EU for Sanitary and Consumer affairs) has been working on a proposal for a new regulation driven by lobbying of the big agricultural seed companies. Apparently, however, two other EU directorates, DG AGRI (agricultural affairs) and DG ENVI (environmental affairs) both opposed the last draft of the proposal because it was so bad for agriculture and biodiversity. DG SANCO is now pushing ahead with the new law by putting it directly to the Commission this week.

I would urge you to vote against the current proposal, as it impacts everyone who cares about our seeds and our freedom to save, use, and exchange them.

Given our Irish heritage and background in agriculture and indeed the many rare and beautiful varieties unique to our country, it is vital that you understand how the proposal for a new EU seed legislation will affect the cultural and biodiversity heritage of Ireland, and the freedom of farmers and growers to use the seeds and the varieties they want to. By forcing registration of all varieties of every crop species that exists, the new law will prohibit old, rare and traditional public-domain farm varieties. This will guarantee huge profits for the seed industry but will be a terrible loss to the people of Europe as our agricultural heritage is outlawed overnight!


Yours faithfully,


Please consider making the time to fight this. If you like choice in your food, If you like to grow your own food, If you like the idea of sharing your food history with your children – this campaign is very important. Help stop big business telling you what to eat by controlling the seeds of the food we can grow!! More info is available here


I mentioned in a previous post that helping my wife with her ideas is what got my creativity flowing again. She wanted a small business with an online presence and I decided to help her with that.

For a few years she talked about starting this little venture – she was passionate about pregnancy and birth before we had children and even more so when she gave birth to our two children. So, on her birthday a few years back I presented her with a small gift of a domain name for the ‘business’ she dreamed of having. This was presented with a homemade token from me, offering to do a simple website for her. (I bought a MacBook a few months previously and was eager to try the iWeb app)

She was thrilled with the gift. Even more than I expected! On that day, the seeds of her business were taken from her mind and sown. We brainstormed ideas on how to develop her plan, and we tried to be practical as to what would work with our family and other time commitments. Some ideas were put into practice, and the cogs turned to produce stock and services. And from this we saw the seeds sprout and start to grow.

I never realised doing this work for my wife was going to help resurrect an old passion of mine. While drafted ideas for her website I also doodled ideas for a logo. These sketches developed into graphics that could be used for print and online. The structure of the website had to be worked out several times, and redone as demands and knowledge changed. The small seedling of her business and my creativity was growing into a tree, with several branches bearing fruit.

It was a lot of work for me to take on after my own (hectic) full-time job; plus my time with the children when I got home, as well as the cooking and cleaning…but somehow I kept going. In hindsight I recognise that my stamina to do all this was helped by my love for the design and creating process. It kept me up until 4am some days as I happily tried to get some more work done. I started noticing logo designs on everything, identifying which websites I liked and didn’t like. My mind often raced with more ideas, especially when I did finally go to bed early some evenings.

Over the last couple of years I have still followed this passion, but I try control it so that it balances with my family and work commitments. I have dropped out of other community activities in order to spend more time at home with my family and to give me time to design. There are days when I want to lock myself away from everyone so that I can just design stuff. Thankfully that doesn’t happen too often! Instead I’m using the time with my family to give me ideas and inspire my work. I’m recognising that helping others to plant seeds can produce nourishing fruit for everyone. I enjoyed last year’s harvest, and look forward to sowing more design seeds this year.



This ‘guaranteed Irish’ logo is a design I remember as a child; sitting eating my cereal and noticing how it played with the g + i initials of its name. I remember pointing it out to my father who never recognised it.