Whilst house sitting in County Clare last week I went to visit the Irish Seed Savers Association who are based in Scariff. Started in 1991 by Anita Hayes in Carlow they now have 8 hectares of land in East Clare. ISSA is a registered charity. They research, locate, preserve and use traditional varieties of fruit, vegetables, potatoes and grains.
Despite the wet day I walked all the land which is divided into orchards, vegetable growing areas, seed bank, Apple tree nursery and composting facility.
There is one orchard which is made up of 33 self-rooting Apple trees. When these trees have being growing for a few years they put out rooting nodules on the branches, these branches can then be taken off and planted to make a new tree. This is the largest collection of these trees in the world.
There is also a small peaceful woodland. If you look closely you can see a group of visiting school children through the trees.
A small pond surrounded by Willows in this quiet corner makes a lovely nature sanctuary. Actually the whole place is a sanctuary for nature as no chemicals are used on the land.
Due to the damp Irish weather seed saving here is a challenging task. Much of it is done in polytunnels.
Cucumbers are left to the over-ripe stage, they are perfect at this stage for saving seeds from as the seeds will be fully mature.
These lovely red Peppers will not grace any salad or cooking pot. They too are being grown for seeds. I was so tempted to pick one! Don’t worry I did’nt! I did however test a few Apples from the heavily laden trees!