Farm Ireland

Wednesday 17 January 2018

'There is a whole cosmos of interactions at root level'

Simple plant waste and cattle dung composting techniques are key to organic farming success, says Patrick Frankel.

The rising star farmer has developed a system of three rows of natural fertiliser, all at different stages of maturity, on his farm in Doneraile, Co Cork.

"We have a row that is just coming on with plant waste and manure from the cattle and we just mix it green layer by brown layer.

"Then we have a fresh row of weeds that we've been pulling before they went to seed and we put manure on that and thirdly we have the row that we're taking from that has broken down. So we always have one nearly ready, one we are making and one we are using," he said.

This year, he has spread 40 tonnes over two acres, while each poly-tunnel gets about 20 wheel barrows a year of the broken down compost.

When asked if his techniques are contributing to the visibly healthy status of his vegetables he says "if you eat well, you won't get sick."

"There's a whole cosmos of interactions at root level of how the plant is accessing nutrients but it's not just about nutrients it's about life in your soil. Keep it simple, the key is mixing," he said.

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